Great Divide Trail: Waterton to Blairmore

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  •  3.5 days
  • “The hardest section of the GDT”
  • A mixed bag of good trail, cross country, and dirt road walking
  • Challenges: Trail closure, steep ascents and descents, lightning and heavy rain, scree, resupplying in Waterton’s small and expensive store
  • Highlights: Running into Rocco Shun and Kim chi before the US/Alberta border! A close but harmless encounter with a mother grizzly and two cubs on the Akamina Trail, Absolutely epic scenery from the very start! Challenging terrain! Alpine lakes and glaciers!

Our route choices:

     Mt. Rowe alternate: A beautiful ridge walk that is shorter than the main route

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Mt. Rowe alternate

The main route was closed due to a bear attack provoked by inexperienced hikers. You will often see signs warning of bear activity on the more popular trails in the National Parks.

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The Rowe Lakes Trail

We also tried the Lineham Falls alternate route, but gave up when we realized we’d need some class 5 moves to do it. Maybe there is a way around, but we didn’t take the time to find it.

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Lineham Falls…How?

Castle Mountain: This is the main route and descends to a ski resort that has a soda machine (coins only) and wifi. Our plan was to tackle the Barnaby Ridge Alternate but a lightning storm rolled in which had us quickly descending to a saddle below La Coulette Peak.

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Descending to the saddle. See the trail going steeply up the other side?!

 

Blairmore alternate: Shorter than the main route and goes directly to the town of Blairmore which has hiker friendly amenities like a good grocery store and “cheap” ~$70 lodging. The main route goes directly to the town of Coleman, but hikers who stay there must resupply in Blairmore anyway. These are the only non-tourist towns along the route!

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Much appreciated road walk before town!
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