Pack your passports for this one, folks. We are hiking across the border.
That’s right. Welcome to Glacier and Waterton International Peace Park’s Goat Haunt trail, where you boat from Canada to America and walk back from Glacier to Waterton. Talk about a diverse trail.
This summer, our friend Topher flew out to Alberta just to see what we do with our summers in the wild. To thank him (or punish him, I suppose) for staking out a fox den for several hours every day, we took him out for a taste of the backcountry and planned a 30 km hike that took us through two countries.
We started out by hopping on a Waterton Shoreline Cruise Co. ferry that transported us from the townsite, all the way down to Glacier, past the US border, via Upper Waterton Lake.
After the very informative and beautiful boat ride, we were dropped off at Goat Haunt and left to fight our way back to Canada (in fairness, you can catch a boat ride back to Canada if you want, but why miss out on the fun?). Although we were setting out to complete a 12km-plus hike back to town, the boys decided they wanted to do a little detour around Kootenai Lakes in Glacier, just for fun. So we ended up tacking on another 10km to this adventure. No big deal.
This is where we had to stop to have our passports checked. We were expecting something a little more lax, yet these border guards were all business. Seriously, not even a smile when commenting on their beautiful posting.
Kootenai Lakes ended up being a stunning stopover, even if it was in the opposite direction of our final destination. A nice gentle walk to the lake.
After a quick photo shoot with a frog (thanks little guy for your cooperation), it was time to cover the rest of the journey home.
The hike took us in a relatively straight path back along Upper Waterton Lake. Along the way we discovered a bald eagle nest, several different species of frog and toad, and one skiddish black bear (plus at least two other just-missed encounters), as well as several planks of wood that some would call bridges and stunning views of the lake and mountains.
Simon informed me that this hike would be so flat and gentle it would be a breeze. BUT he ‘forgot’ to mention that there were huge uphill portions right at the end of the trail, right about the time when I was running on double exhaust fumes. #StillBitter
So make sure you pack plenty of water and “fuel” in order to trudge up those last few km of steep terrain. But the hike is well worth the effort. The ferry ride is beautiful and informative. Kootenai Lakes is peaceful and wild. And the hike back took us through several unique eco-zones, each one being better than the last.
If you can believe it, the next day we were hungry for more and ended up doing the difficult Carthew-Alderson Hike. I should also add that we had done semi-difficult hikes on the four days previous to Goat Haunt and continued doing them for the four days after Carthew-Alderson. Ohhh the pain…I mean joy. If you were in Waterton in late July, then you may remember that funny girl (me) walking around like she had just ridden a horse for the first time.