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Rachel and I found each other’s blogs by fluke, but were we ever glad that we did. It turns out that we have a ton in common! Her blog is focused on things like hiking and fitness. She has spent many years in Waterton National Park, and although I have also been to Waterton for a few days this past summer, I wanted her to delve a little deeper into this magnificent park. You can check out Rachel’s blog at bettylivin.com.
My name is Rachel and I’m a 29 year old communications specialist Monday through Friday and an adventurer on the weekends. I was born and raised in Fort McMurray, Alberta which is where I developed my love of the outdoors and snow. My family moved to Seattle when I was in high school and I stayed for 10 years before moving back to Alberta, this time to the sunnier and warmer south.
My adventures are pretty close to home because I’ve never had much extra money for travelling so I get my avdentures in wherever I am. The exceptions are my trips to Hawaii. My mom is from there and I still have family there. I even lived in Hawaii for a short period of my life so if I have extra money for travel, you’d better believe I’m hitting Hawaii.
My blog, Betty LIVIN is all about finding adventure as much as you can, whether it’s squeezing in workouts and sports during the work week or hitting the mountains on the weekend. My motto is “Life isn’t worth living without adventure”. A lot of people ask me where the name Betty comes from and that comes from three places:
-My Jeep Wrangler I was driving when I started the blog was named Betty
=A Betty is a term for a girl who surfs or snowboards and is morphing into a term for an outdoorsy girl
-Betty from the Archie comics was my ultimate role model growing up
Waterton Lakes National Park in Alberta, Canada is my ultimate getaway. It’s gorgeous, not overly crowded and close to home!
When I first moved from Seattle, I moved to Waterton to work at a hotel there for a year. I was sick of the crowds and noise and hustle that comes with city living and I went to this teeny mountain town that has maybe 40 permanent, year round residents. I loved it though and in the short year I worked there developed a deep love for this park.
Top 5 Experiences:
1. Getting married here in the middle of a snow storm
I always wanted a winter wedding so when my now husband proposed I knew it had to be in Waterton in the winter. I wanted snow and gorgeous mountains in the background. However, a freak snow storm rolled in and prevented half the guests from attending and the low cloud cover hid all the mountains! So for my mountain wedding, I have maybe two pictures with an actual mountain in the background from a brief break in the snow.
But I wouldn’t have had it any other way, people still talk about my fairy tale snowy wedding and it gives me another reason to love Waterton so much. You can see photos here.
2. Climbing to the Peak of Mt. Vimy
This still has to be the most epic hike I’ve done in the park to date. My cousins and I rode our bikes to the base of the mountain (about 3 miles) and hiked up. The signs SAY it’s 4 miles up, but we were all cross country runners and know what 3.1 miles feels like and this was way longer. During the last mile scramble up the shale I kept having to stop and rest. But like all hikes, when we got to the top, it was absolutely gorgeous and I love pointing to the mountain across the lake when I’m in the town and telling people how I made it to the peak. Read more here.
3. Crypt Lake Hike
This is one of Canada’s top rated hikes for a good reason! No other hike makes you feel like a maverick hiker better than this one. You have to take a shuttle (or kayak) across the lake from the town site to the trail head. Guide books say that this hike is about 8.7 km each way and takes about 6 hours round trip. It took my cousin and I a total of 6 hours and 15 minutes to complete it and we ran down for 20 minutes so I would suggest you schedule at least 7 hours for it.
The climb itself is moderate but it’s a long distance. The best part is when you are almost to the lake and you have to walk through the small cave and then walk along the rock ledge hanging on to an iron cable. Most people who visit the park make the time to do this hike because it is such an incredible experience. Read more here.
4. Playing in Red Rock Canyon
I loved water parks as a kid and Red Rock is nature’s water park. It’s about a 20 minute drive from Waterton town site up the Red Rock Parkway. There is a parking lot and bathrooms and everything because it’s such a popular spot. Most people like to walk along the trail on top of the canyon and look down but the adventurous ones like to climb into the canyon to play.
I like to walk along the canyon and climb on the sides, walk through the water or slide down the natural water slide (it’s just a little guy, nothing huge). There has been a lot of flooding these past two summers and I watched how nature balances itself out. Last year a June flood caused a ton of grey shale and rock to come down from the mountains and it covered the entire canyon floor so it wasn’t red rock canyon, it was grey rock canyon. Then just a month later, another flood washed all the shale away to reveal the canyon floor again. I could go on for hours about how amazing this spot is.
5. Cross country skiing date
Finally, my last favourite experience is from when my husband and I were first dating and we went cross country skiing to Cameron Lake. My husband is not an outdoorsy guy but he was trying to impress me and we had a blast. He hasn’t gone with me since! Ha ha! So I treasure that date and I always enjoy cross country skiing in the winter. One of the hotels rents them for $15 for the day and Parks maintains tracks to the lake. If you don’t want to be on tracks, there are a couple side trails you can ski on which are more difficult but a ton of fun.
Something I wish I’d Known:
I wish I had known this place existed and that they hired like crazy in the summer! Waterton is mainly a summer destination with only two hotels and one restaurant open through the winter. Students come from all over the country, U.S. and even internationally to work here for the summer and spend their spare time hiking and being outdoors. If I had known about this place, that’s what I would have done through university. Both my brothers have also done a summer in Waterton.
Best Piece of Advice:
I would say to research the hikes you want to do ahead of time. I always look up elevation gain and distance before going on a new hike to make sure I’m prepared with enough water, snacks or meal if it’s long enough. There is a “hikers café” in town that I have worked at called Pearls Café and they have guide books and staff who are knowledgeable about all the hikes in the park.
Thank you so much for sharing, Rachel!