All the public schools in BC are on strike, so no school for the kids. We have this indefinite extension to our summer holidays and my brain was cooking up a plan to ‘do something’. The forecast looked great for 4 days, and I didn’t want to waste it at home. I wanted something close, but not too close. I also needed it to be something manageable for me to do as a solo parent with the kids, since hubby would stay home to work. I decided on Waterton National Park since we had never been there and it was only 2 hours away.
I could make it sound like I was full of confidence to make this trip happen. But ya know? I wasn’t. I was unsure of my ability to take 5 kids on my own tent camping, and simply manage them, let alone it be fun for them or me. I was also nervous about bears. There is tonnes around this time of year, as they finish fattening up before winter hibernation. I was imagining my peanut butter and jam smeared kids being the object of some hungry bear’s curiosity in the middle of the night. And though the weather forecast was good, it was also predicting some pretty chilly nights – there was still some unseasonably early SNOW lying around on the ground and it was meant to get down to -4 celsius at night.
All that said though, I didn’t want to be deterred. Though they were valid reasons to stay home, that is not the fashion in which I want to live life. I had a plan in place to manage all 3 of those scenarios above, and the kids were oh-so-keen to go. So GO we did!!
After a quick stop at Pincher Creek to get a pillow (I forgot mine and DID NOT want a pile of clothes for a pillow while car camping!) we rolled into Waterton. I had done my research before we left and knew that the Townsite Campground would be good. It was right in the little village, on the shores of Upper Waterton Lake. It was a large campground, mostly a grassy paddock/field with tree’s here and there. And a playground and spraypark was just up the road. Since the kids can smell those places a mile away, we went there just as soon as we had camp set up!!
The favourite activity, hands down, was climbing trees! Every time we went for a walk or I turned my back at the campground, some smaller person was hollering from amongst the branches ‘look at me Mum!’ We hiked up the Bear’s hump, which is a steepish short trail directly behind the visitors centre, with amazing views over Waterton Township & Upper Waterton Lake. Scambling on rocks was a favorite on the way up, and down!
I needed to keep our activities pretty simple, but there is a tonne more that we would do there if another adult was along. The kids have plans to go again with their Dad! And those bears I was talking about? We saw TEN. Yes, my friend, 10. Eight Grizzlies and two Black Bear, thankfully all from the safety of our van.