*notcot in travel , 15:45

Inspiration: Waterton Lakes National Park- 09.10.14

watertonMAIN1.jpg This post is part of our special NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape series thanks to our friends at Travel Alberta. In Part I, Shawn, Bucky, and I are loaded up in the NOTFZJ80 spending a week in Alberta roadtripping, camping, and exploring all that we can fit in… follow the series here to see what inspires us along the way!

We made it! We crossed the US/Canada border in the NOTFZJ80 with dog and all with no problems, and even finally got to make use of our passport cards. I can’t even begin to tell you how excited Shawn and I are to embark on the adventure we’ve dubbed the NOTCOT Alberta Great Escape. As you know, the NOTFZJ80 Project was all about building a rig that could take us to experience new things and get inspired in a whole new way. So when Travel Alberta asked us to come explore their province - and were cool with us not only roadtripping up from LA (allowing for some fun adventures along the way) but also bringing Bucky along as he turns 2 next week… we couldn’t say YES fast enough. After crossing the border, we headed to Waterton Lakes National Park, which is essentially the Canadian side of Glacier National Park. In fact, in 1932, the United States and Canada joined together to create the world’s first International Peace Park: Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park to commemorate the peace and goodwill our two nations share. In 1995, UNESCO even designated it a World Heritage Site. What more perfect place to cross over and start our adventure? See what we found on our first day into Alberta on the next page - from Bison to stunning lakes, to Pop Shoppe, to our campsite and more!

We heard rumors from park rangers and hikers alike that you never know what you’re going to get at the border crossing… just be serious and straight forward, don’t joke around… and as we focused on being serious with the customs agent… of course he kept making jokes and throwing us off! But we crossed over without a hitch. waterton1.jpg

Fun to see the actual International Boundary markers as we waited in line! waterton2.jpg

Just to the other side… the Alberta Adventure begins! waterton3.jpg

As you head into Waterton’s main village, it’s hard to miss this adorable gas station… which is also a gift store, mini mart, and bike rental! Not to mention the only gas station once you’ve come into the national park. Up on the hill you can see the Prince of Wales Hotelwaterton4.jpg

Fun signage… waterton5.jpg

… and how could we resist it all? So filled up the NOTFZJ80! waterton7.jpg

The Pop Shoppe Sodas were too cute not to try - they’ve been around since 1969. How cute is Parka their junior park ranger beaver? We were told Wieners of Waterton was a must - surprisingly, they even server Nathan’s from NY alongside their local options. Fernie Brewing Co. in BC has great graphics… waterton8.jpg

Graphics INSIDE the umbrellas! Loved these roosters inside the Big Rock Brewery umbrellas at Peace Park Pizza. Also - delicious pizza at this spot! waterton9.jpg

On more graphic inspiration - the 100th anniversary of Canada’s National Parks have the best logo! So got Shawn and Bucky one of the commemorative pucks to play with…
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The rocky lakeshore was just stunning - everything glistening so incredibly. waterton10a.jpg

It was near impossible to keep Bucky still for this - he kept wanted to drink the glacier water, splash around, and roll on the rocks! waterton11.jpg

The view from the lot by Prince of Wales Hotelwaterton12.jpg

… such a beautiful day! waterton13.jpg

As we drove along the roads in the park - we stopped and stared at this golf course within the park. It is the Waterton Lakes Golf Course which is one of Canada’s oldest, inspired by Stanley Thompson and constructed from 1929-1939. Had we known, golf clubs definitely would have been tossed in the truck! waterton14.jpg

Cruising down to Cameron Lake towards the south - we wandered out to the docks - where Bucky summed it up quite well. It was lounging weather! Beautiful views, warm sun, and the perfect dock spot to relax. waterton15.jpg

Once we high fived and moved him along, we did the short hike around the lake exploring the little streams feeding the lake, popping out to the water, and staring off at the other side… waterton16.jpg

On one side of the trail you always look into the lake… waterton17.jpg

… on the other, dense, lush, bear country! waterton18.jpg

I wish the Americans would take a page from the Canadian National Parks and allow dogs on trails! It just made the whole adventure happier as everything Bucky saw and smelled filled him with such joy! Definitely contagious! waterton19.jpg

The way the mountains have formed is just epic… waterton20.jpg

I’ve been fascinated by the graphic details of their warning and notification signs… waterton21.jpg

One of my favorite parts of Waterton - the Bison Paddock! That you can DRIVE through - it resembles a huge mound of grassy dunes that would probably be incredible on an ATV - but you stay on the road that weaves through it all so that no hump is out of sight, and you can hang out with the Bison (and their calves!) all day long. We couldn’t help going by twice. Here’s a hyperlapse of the playful babies…

Bucky was fixated and fascinated with the bison who barely cared that we were there… waterton22.jpg

We watched them grazing as the sunset changed colors on the mountains behind… waterton23.jpg

We pretty much looked like this in the car for some time… waterton25.jpg

Baby bison! waterton24.jpg

Our camp spot at Waterton Springs Campground that is 73 acres of Nature Conservancy preserve that goes right up against the National Park. Why would you park alongside RVs in a parking lot like campground when you could be nestled amongst the trees on the other side of the national park fence? waterton26.jpg

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… then it was time to curl up in the double sleeping bag and get some rest as day one in Alberta came to a close…

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