2022-07-10 | Beauvais Lake
Our favorite paddling lake, in particular for wildlife is also a pretty nice place to camp and I was able to book a site for four nights. After the load, drive, and peg in we went for a walk to explore a bit with the wind up a bit we planned for a morning paddle
Morning paddles are often the best time for wildlife and also the fewest people. For the first time on this lake we saw turtles in two separate places. Not fully native here, but native to the Milk drainage, that was a cool find. We also saw loons with a baby, bald eagle, osprey, swans with their babies, Canada geese, grebes, and all sorts of other birds. After the paddle we returned to camp for coffee.
For the middle part of the day I soloed the ‘Beauvais Triple crown’ which was Mt Baldy, Mt Albert, and Piney Point. These are all connected either with official or unofficial trails or (if you make some wrong turns, cough cough) easy bushwhacking. I had done all three once or more in various combos but this was the first time for all three and some new ground between Albert and Piney. Everything was so lush and the flowers so brilliant that I stopped often for photos and breaks to look around. Caught up the Edwards and their guests and Shannon at the picnic site before returning to camp for a beverage. After dinner we went for a wander to see about the beaver ponds but trail was too wet to continue.
This was the best weather day for paddling (clear and a predicted lull in winds 9am to 12) so we set our sites on Upper Waterton Lake. We started out despite the wind being a little higher than desirable but as we headed south it moderated and was quite a good paddle down to the US border. A picnic on the way back before getting off the water as the wind picked up again making little whitecaps. We packed up and went to the Maskinonge dayuse area to sit in our river chairs and enjoy a Radler as it was a good hot afternoon. While there some paddlers came off the water and they had made the trip thru from the townsite, only possible when the water is high – an idea for later in the trip was formed. Back to camp and then an evening paddle right to sunset on Beauvais which was a nice treat as the doesn’t set until after nine at this time of year.
The forecast most unsettled day with everything in the forecast, after a later start I dropped Shannon with Toni at Crooked Creek and proceeded to Waterton to hike. I initially though of Bellevue hill, but with not even a scratch of a trail to be seen and not having all my scrambling gear I opted to reprise Carthew Alderson. Saw a black bear and cub near the start, then got pounded by two thunderstorms before it settled down a little to swirling systems that mostly missed me. Nearing the col above summit lake the trail was blocked by snow, so a short diversion and mildly questionable crossing the rest of the route was dry. Even had me eyeing Mt Alderson, but the clock read after 2pm and then a bold of lighting changed my mind. Down past Cameron lake and out to Crooked Creek for dinner.
After seeing Cameron lake with snow right down into the water we opted to make this our morning paddle, we tried to break camp quietly. The area is all refurbished after the fires with a large parking area and docks. Very pretty spot, crystal clear water with waterfalls coming down into the lake and the old snow making little icebergs (Peter called them ‘growlers’ – the NF term for them). We saw a distant grizzly on the lush slopes above. Decent sized trout made we want to return and fish someday.
Next we took Toni up on her offer for a shuttle and paddled from the townsite below the Prince of Wales hotel, into Middle Waterton lake, Lower Waterton lake, and then the Waterton River down to Maskinonge where our truck was spotted. Wind and whitecaps made the small portion of the upper lake the crux of the trip, and the run down the high river was fast and fun. Our kayaks aren’t as nibble as whitewater boats so had to look ahead for gravel bars and downed trees. A swim at the end was cold but refreshing. Dinner again with the Edwards and Shannon decided that making it a three paddle day was not in the cards – lots of paddling in the first two. Unlike us to get home at a reasonable time, lol, the next day was a series of errands and chores in Olds and unpacking anyway.
© Clayton Ditzler