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Waterton Lake National Park, Cowboy Trail

Explore Canada 2015
Waterton Lake National Park

When in Canada, one must-do is to explore the stunning wilderness around the town of Waterton in the province of Alberta, just a stone’s throw from the border with the US state of Montana.

The Waterton Lake National Park has so many natural features including all sorts of wildlife, and the Cameron Waterfall is just beautiful. Certain times of the year, the waterfall is just roaring. The interesting thing about this waterfall is, because of the minerals right up in the mountains, in the month of June, it flows red.

The reason for that colouring can be discovered 20 minutes up the road – at the Red Rock Canyon. To get to the canyon, you will need to take a red rock parkway, where you will meet some of the local wildlife, from the safety of your car. And when you get here, you will find out why it’s called Red Rock Canyon. It’s because of the oxidized argolite, which stains the water. You can have a picnic here, have a hike around or view the local wildflowers.

The guide Holly Fausett is a proud local whose family ties to Waterton go back generations. It’s such a joy to listen to someone so passionate and knowledgeable, amongst the blooming brown eyed susans and other native wild flowers. There are so many wildflowers at the canyon – that there is a wildflower festival here in June. The diversity is amazing.

It’s a brilliant place to hike and home to a great range of fauna and flora, as well as geological record as old as Australia’s Pilbara, making this place very special.

A place of such warm coloured rocks is usually a sign of an arid environment. Interestingly, you find these red rocks here in part of the world that complains of -40C temperature in the winter, although reaching high 30Cs in the summer.

For more information about Canada, visit: http://au-keepexploring.canada.travel/

For more information about Waterton Lakes National Park, visit: Waterton Lakes National Park

For more information about Prince of Wales Hotel, visit: Prince of Wales Hotel

For more information about Cameron Waterfall and hiking at Red Rock Canyon, visit: Cameron Waterfall and hiking at Red Rock Canyon

 

Cowboy Trail
The Cowboy Trail is a historical route through Alberta’s farming country that was opened up by pioneering ranchers and farmers who tamed the land back in the 1800s.

While the crops may have evolved over the years – even wind power is counted among the harvests these days – some time-honoured approaches are still considered the best way by ranchers in these parts.

Now ranching is very much a part of the fabric of Alberta’s development, but we’ve found out that there’s only one ranch that has been preserved to document this important part of Canadian history – it’s called the Bar U Ranch.

Born in the area, Mike Mclean is a fourth generation rancher who still lives nearby, and lives and breathes Bar U’s mission to preserve and tell the story of Canadian ranching to future generations.

Bar U Ranch is a very special place; it’s not just a theme park --it’s an authentic ranch. It’s the only jewel in Parks Canada’s crown that commemorates ranching right across Canada. So it’s unique. Bar U is one of first four corporate founding ranches in Alberta and it’s lasted the longest too. It started in 1882, and lasted as a big corporate ranch until the 1950. Then it became family owned and it was operated as such until 1991, when Parks Canada bought the headquarter site.

While it is historical, the Bar U is not a museum in a traditional sense. This is the real deal and you can get involved in a very a hands-on way. Mike is more than happy to teach you the basics of roping a steer and I’ll tell you what, he’s a pretty good teacher…. even succeeding with a couple of city slickers from Australia in big hats.

It’s fascinating to think that so much of the Bar U’s infrastructure has remained intact. The tools that hang on the wall may look like rustic ornaments from Bar U’s past, but the blacksmith’s shop is actually still functional. The cookhouse has remained largely unchanged and even the interpreter Marcy used to work in the saddleback when the Bar U was still a commercially operating ranch. If the wild western frontier, cowboys and ranching have always captured your imagination, make sure you put the Bar U on your itinerary when you’re out this way.

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