Goat Lake, Waterton Lakes National Park
Heading northwest from the Red Rocks in Waterton Lakes National Park is one of my friend's favourite hikes. Chris has done this hike six times and will likely do it several more times. Our family sets out late morning on July 7 with Chris and Christie for a 7 km hike (with an elevation gain of 500 m).
The first 4.5 km follow a very well maintained path (an old fire road) along a creek between Anderson Peak and Mount Glendowan. We cross a part of that creek at one point by stepping on rocks.
For the last 2.5 km to the lake are a series of switchbacks on Mount Glendowan with stunning views of the valley. Wildflowers dot the steep edges and there is occasional shade from the spruce trees.
The final kilometre is mostly scree and I hold Acadia's hand to ensure she doesn't slip down the mountainside. The kids are enamoured with Chris's walking sticks and he is kind enough to stop, readjust, lend them and then repeat several times as they return and borrow them again and again.
The lake refreshes mightily. I am the only one to jump in and everyone on the mountain hears me exhale girlish screeches. Chris had packed up his dingy and we take turns paddling the kids around Goat Lake. Chris fails to catch a single trout after having talked up the feast of fresh fish we would be having. It turns out they are spawning and therefore not interested at all in his lures.
I have to say that the children impressed me greatly! They managed a 14 km hike with a 530 m elevation gain!! It took us all day, but they were in a good mood at the end and we all devoured our gourmet hot dogs in downtown Waterton.