Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Crypt Lake

Crypt Lake hike in Waterton National Park in southern Alberta was in my list since early May but I had to postpone it due to weather issues. Last week M. C. told me that they would wanted to go for the weekend but since The Lady had to go to work I shortened the trip to a one-day and just by myself! 
As crazy as it sounds I woke up at 04:00 AM on Sat. and after preparation head down Highway AB-2 south and then turn to southwest on Highway AB-3 and passing through Pincher Creek finally found myself in Waterton National Park's gate. The admission for one day is almost $8 I guess and then I easily found the Marina and checked out the ticket counter. After making sure that M&M have the same ticket as mine, I paid $21 to cross Waterton Lake. Our departure time was 09:00 AM and the bout had a capacity of, I guess, around 125 passengers. It was a very sunny day and not a single cloud in the sky but early morning was not very hot. This is one of the disadvantages of Crypt Lake hike that all the hikers start at the same time but on the other hand there will not be many hikes after the first group because there would be only one other bout and that would be at 10:30 AM, I guess. 
The first few minutes of the hike is quite similar to a race. Everyone takes long steps and really paces himself or herself and that is what I don't like in hiking. So we took a short break and let the maniacs go. 
The paths has beautiful views but it's not as great as I read. Maybe because I have had so many hikes so far. The interesting part of the hike is where you reach this very narrow ledge, the metal ladder and then the tunnel. The tunnel is not very long. You can see the other side and the ledge is not very dangerous but hikers should be careful. You see metal cables at the other side of the tunnel which are very helpful to pull yourself up. I forgot to mention two waterfalls that you also see on your way. It's pretty much it and after the cables you will have a short hike and will see the lake. 
The lake was still partially frozen and snow patches could be seen on the shores. M&M wanted to have a long break and eat something as usual but me disappointed at the amount of energy I had spent, only drank some juice. I was not hungry at all. To me this hike so far was much easier than Rockbound Lake
We rested for a bit and then checked another side of the lake and after that headed down. Going down felt harder and longer for me probably because of the heat. I stopped once and filled my water bottle from a 
This beautiful scene is seen through the trail before and after the tunnel. The little pond down in the valley has no name or at least I haven't seen it be named
stream, something M&M does not normally like it. Our bout departure was set to be at 17:30 so we took our time to take enough number of photos on our way back. In fact we would have been able to make it to 16:00 hours bout but the guys wanted to enjoy the hike and not rush it. I guess it was finally 17:20 that we arrived at the pier. 
Reaching at the other side I said goodbye to M&M and grabbed the vehicle and headed back home but I wanted to get something to drink so stopped at Pincher Creek to see where a McDonald's is. I really liked their Iced Coffee when we tried it the week before with The Lady. I first didn't find the McDonald's so got a small bottle of water and an Iced Coffee from a Tim Horton's which I was able to find t through my GPS. The Iced Coffee was OK but the guy had added sugar and that is what I didn't like. Plus it was much more expensive: I guess $1.90 or something versus $1.05. Then I headed south to turn east and get myself to Highway AB-3 and that is where I saw Wal-Mart and McDonald's logo! 
I grabbed two Iced Coffees in there and that was a mistake! The amount of caffeine in the three drinks helped me to leave through the day although I only had 4 hours of sleep the night before but sure prevented me from sleeping almost the entire night!
If I wanted to summarize the hike, I would say that it is a nice one but it has been exaggerated. The views are nice and the ledge-tunnel-cable challenge is worth trying and you even can deep in the lake but it is not considered a strenuous hike. My assumption is the guys has given it extra credit to attract more people to the park. After all Waterton is far away from most of the populated major cities both in the US and Canada.
(Photo, top: Crypt Lake from its east shore. I wanted to go a bit higher but didn't want to split from our small group)

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