Post by Dionne
My Favorite Place on Earth:
Waterton Lakes National Park and How It Relates to Perfume
Greetings, my fellow niche nerds!
This is a post of a different sort than my usual review; call it my “What I Did for Summer Holidays” assignment. Portia has mentioned to me that visiting Banff National Park is on her bucket list (just like seeing Australia is on mine), so I thought I’d let her and you in on one of Alberta’s best-kept secrets and a place very dear to my heart, Waterton Lakes National Park.
First of all, here are some maps to get you oriented:
Photo Stolen Waterton Park
Just to give you an idea of scale, Alberta’s about 1,125 km (760 miles) from top to bottom, bigger than California, smaller than Texas, and almost three times the size of the UK.
Photo Stolen pc.gc.ca
You see that liiiitle green blob in the southwest corner of the map? That’s Waterton. It’s a lot smaller in size than Banff or Jasper, the two much larger green areas on the west edge of the map.
Photo Stolen pc.gc.ca
So here we are in the southwest corner of the province, about a 3 hour drive from Calgary. Waterton shares its southern border with Glacier National Park in the United States, and the two combined are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/354
So with the technical stuff out of the way, it’s time to gush. As much as I love Jasper and Banff, Waterton is a truly special and unique place. As you’ll see from the pictures, the prairies come right to the feet of the mountains, so there is a sense of airiness and grandeur here I’ve never experienced anywhere else. Waterton has been called the “Anti-Banff” because it’s quaint and quiet, with very little development.
Both The Engineer and I had spent time here as kids, and I remember distinctly our first visit back as a young married couple. I said to him, “I feel like a dried-up sponge that’s been thrown back into water. There’s just something about this place.”
Since then, we’ve come back every year. One of the things that struck me on that first visit as an adult was how strong of a scent memory Waterton held. It’s mountain air and water and the prairies all mixed together. Portia asked me what perfumes I wore when we were camping there this year, and I told her I hadn’t worn any. I brought a passel of decants, and I typically enjoy working my way through a bunch of samples whenever I camp but….. I just couldn’t do it. Stepping out of our trailer that first morning and breathing in, I wanted nothing to get in the way of that smell. I thought to myself, “What is that? Is that sage? I wonder if there’s anything that smells like this in perfume form.” So that’s become one of my latest quests, finding a perfume that smells like sage and mountain air, something that reminds me of Waterton. Will I find it? Not sure, but it’s going to be fun trying.
So before I show you some of our family photos, here are a couple of questions for you: 1) Have you ever been somewhere so special you chose not to wear perfume? 2) Sage and mountain air, people. Any recommendations for my sampling quest?
Here’s hoping you all have places that touch your spirit and soothe your soul. Mwah!
The Engineer and Dragongirl hiked to the top of Bear’s Hump, a short but steep trail on the edge of the townsite that gives an amazing panoramic view of the area. This is facing south, and it also shows one of the reasons why the town has stayed small. Basically, there’s no room to get bigger.
The same spot facing north. Waterton’s combination of prairie and mountain makes for an extremely diverse and unique biosphere.
Mainstreet. Most of these stores haven’t changed since I was a kid.
The Playground in town.
A plaque at the playground
Our site at Crandell, facing west.
Same spot facing north.
This fellow was in a neighbor’s site. There are deer EVERYWHERE here.
It’s typically for bears to be around the Crandell campground as it’s away from the town, and we usually see one or two every year we come. For some reason, possibly the abundance of berries, we saw three or four *every single day* this year. It got to the point where I just left the camera with the zoom lens on my lap everywhere we drove.
Because of the bears, we saw this sight all the time too, typically referred to as “Bear Jam.” This is on Red Rock Parkway on the way to our campground, there are mountains to the left and the right of this photo.