Fresh pine, damp snow, fallen leaves: in between two seasons at Waterton Provincial Park, Alberta

Crossing the border back into Canada was easier than anticipated. ‘How long were you in the US?’, a quick glance at our passports, and we were on our way. We were prepared for more complications given that one passenger was a German national with a US study visa and Canadian research visa *shrug*

I have found that my mindset matters as much as the quality of the scenery when it comes to my enjoyment of a place. I was completely immersed in the fresh, fragrant air and the beauty of the pines and mountains, whereas my traveling companion was not especially impressed. To be fair, we had just enjoyed some truly stunning scenery in Montana!

Waterton Provincial Park suffered from wildfires in 2017, and that is evident in the landscapes seen today. A significant portion of the park is closed to visitors while various repairs and road clearing activities are performed. On open hiking trails, charred husks of burnt trees dotted our surroundings, and signs of new growth were evident (fortunately, nature always prevails).

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Because Waterton Park straddles the US border (in fact, it lies adjacent to equally-lovely and more-famous Glacier National Park), there are hikes that continue across the border. There was even a phone along the hiking path, for border crossers to call in to the appropriate government agency and report their passport numbers!

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We stayed at the Waterton townsite campground, using guy lines to secure our tent against fierce winds. It was cold, but fortunately a picnic shelter near our campsite allowed us a calm space to cook some pasta and enjoy a beer- with thoughts of the warm bed we’d enjoy at an AirBnB the next evening on our minds!

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