September 20, 2002


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Last Friday, I took a drive through Mormon country (why should the Mormons have all the good scenery?) in southern Alberta to Waterton Park, which is on the Montana-Alberta border. Steve Drent, a member of the congregation here, is one of the managers at a hotel there, so part of my reason for taking the trip was to visit him. I arrived in Waterton around 2:30. Steve was at the desk, but several of his workers had left to return to university, and so he was short-staffed and quite busy. He suggested that I take a hike. No, seriously. He recommended the Bertha Falls trail.

Before setting out, I took a walk around Waterton and stopped for a bite to eat. This was my first visit to Waterton. When I was young, my parents used to rent a cabin in Banff for a week each summer. Today, Banff is wall-to-wall people, but Waterton isn’t nearly that crowded. In fact, Steve has had people tell him that Waterton is like Banff was fifty years ago. Of course, it’s probably busier during the summer, but when I was there it was pretty quiet and there were deer everywhere.

While I was sitting on the porch of the restaurant, I spotted more members of the congregation: Louis and Cindy Brandsma and several of their children . Louis is a painter and lover of nature, and the Brandsmas have been saying for a long time that we ought to take a trip to Waterton together. It turned out that they were camping in Waterton for the weekend and that Louis had wanted to take the Bertha Falls trail that afternoon. So we did.

The trail wasn’t nearly as steep as the one from Lake Louise to the Lake Agnes tea house, but it wasn’t as wide or as developed. We stopped at a lookout with a great view of the Waterton lakes and then continued to the Lower Bertha Falls: beautiful. Across the river, we could see several feet of snow — all that remained of what must have been a huge snowfall (or avalanche) last winter. Louis kept saying that he’d love to see a bear … across the river, of course. I don’t know if I’m that much of a lover of nature. At any rate, we didn’t.

When we got back to Waterton, Steve’s shift had ended and we went for coffee. Steve had another engagement for supper, so I ate supper on my own and then drove back home in the evening, listening as I drove to an interview with Clyde Kilby on one of the Mars Hill tapes, in which he recommended going for a walk outside every day, rain or shine, in order to maintain contact with “real things” — perhaps advice worth taking seriously in a computer age (says he, as he writes a post for his blog).

When I got back to Lethbridge, I went over to Keith and Jenn Griffioen’s place, fed their cat, and watched Snow Falling on Cedars before returning home again. I don’t know why I put off going to Waterton for so long. I think I thought it was farther away, but the drive there is only an hour and a half. I’ll have to go again!

Posted by John Barach @ 11:44 pm | Discuss (0)

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