As I left Waterton Lakes National Park, I thought most of my sightseeing was done for the day. Much to my surprise, there was still plenty more to see and photograph.
As you leave the park, you’re following alongside the Waterton River as it makes its escape from the mountains. Around the point where Route 5 and Route 6 meet (near the park entry gate), you can find this view.
During the summer months, you’d probably be tempted to make a quick drive across the border to Glacier National Park in Montana. Unfortunately in winter, the shortest route there, Highway 6, isn’t maintained for the final few kilometers to the border (or the first few miles on the American side). So, the border crossing is closed from the end of September to mid-May. Your only other option is to take Route 5 to Cardston, then follow Route 2 south to the border, where it turns into US 89.
If you don’t want to head to Cardston for the night, your only other option is to drive back to Pincher Creek, Alberta, which is about 56 kilometers away.
It’s a beautiful drive, even though most of the really impressive mountains will be in your rear-view mirror.
About halfway back to Pincher Creek, I saw the fog creeping back in. This is the same fog that had plagued the first two days of my trip. It’s the kind of cloud that envelops everything, and blurs the line between the sky and the ground into a haze of grey. I had already seen the sun set at least 3 times on this day, and I started to think that all the fun was over. But then, on a whim…
… I randomly selected a dirt road, that headed west towards the sun, and the mountains. I was on the edge of that foggy cloud…
… which made for some incredible pictures. I would drive a few hundred feet, then jump out and shoot, then drive again. Every curve in this road seemed to reveal an incredible sight, with clouds and sunlight quickly changing, as they both danced around the mountains.
One of my better shots didn’t involve the mountains at all. This old fence curved up and down the rolling hills, next to the dirt road.
And then, after I had turned around and was heading back to the highway, my jaw dropped. I looked over to my left, through a patch of trees, and saw the sun in a way I had never seen it before. Yes, that’s the sun, not the moon, shining through the clouds. I shot a few pictures out the side window of my car, then rolled forward just a bit further…
… and discovered this scene. Wow. I stayed here until the sun had slipped behind the mountain — and then drove back to a foggy, grey Pincher Creek, for one final night.
Here’s the time-lapse, dash-cam video of the drive from Waterton Lakes National Park, back towards Pincher Creek: