When I began considering a photo expedition for 2013, a friend who lived in Canada insisted that I carefully consider the parks there. He kindly sent me reams of information, and I was soon convinced.
I was already planning to do Glacier National Park in northern Montana, so we jointly worked out an itinerary which went from Waterton Lakes National Park (just over the Canadian border from Glacier) to the Fernie ski area, then over to his home in Silverton in the Silver country.
From there I took the Trans-Canada Parkway to three fabulous national parks-Yoho, Banff and Jasper.
In my galleries you will see the extraordinary beauty of the mountains, rivers, waterfalls and lakes that fill this entire region with amazing visuals.
Waterton Lakes National Park
Waterton Lakes National Park is a small, very scenic park just across the Canadian border from Montana’s Glacier National Park.
In 1995, the combined Glacier/Waterton Park system was named a World Heritage site to keep the two parks in as unspoiled a condition as possible.
From Waterton Lakes to the 1890s Silver Boom Country
The Tegeler’s home in Silverton is perched on a mountainside looking out on forest and mountaintops. Located on a winding dirt road far from city services, it required them to develop their own vital infrastructure—fresh water, electrical power, Internet access. By the way, in Winter, the snow on their road is measured in feet!
I traveled from Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta westward on the Crowsnest Highway to British Columbia and the ski resort town of Fernie, where I had a perfect day to ride the ski lift.
During my drive on the Crowsnest Highway, I stopped at the site of a famous natural disaster, now called the Frank Slide. In April of 1903, the coal mining town of Frank was buried in the collapse of much of the mountain next to town. When you see the relative size of a railroad train going through the slide, you appreciate the magnitude of the 1903 catastrophe.
From Fernie, I drove West to Creston, then turned North to drive along the shores of beautiful, 100-mile-long Kootenay Lake. That scenic road leads to a ferry across the huge lake to the small town of Kaslo. The final leg was on a scenic winding mountain road from Kaslo to New Denver, then South along the shore of Slocan Lake to the small town of Silverton.
Silverton, Slocan Lake and the Silver Boom of the 1890s
Visiting friends in Silverton, I joined them for a day on placid Slocan Lake, enjoying a short hike to Nemo Falls and viewing the wrecks of silver-ore barges lost in storms.
My host, Rick Tegeler, is a long-time researcher into the Gold Rush days in California and Nevada. Much to his surprise, he found that his new home town in Canada was near the epicenter of the Silver Rush of the 1890s. We drove up to Idaho Peak to look out over many silver mine tailing piles on nearby hillsides, Then we drove to Sandon, the ghost town which in 1900 was the center of the frantic boom. Rick told me there are an estimated 1,000 miles of mine tunnels in Silver Ridge, the mountain next to Idaho Peak. A crew of miners could drill and clear three feet of new tunnel in an eight-hour shift. A thousand miles at that pace is astonishing.
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