But I did get up eventually, and we'd done a little research the night before about the various breakfast places in town. One seemed a little too posh, relying on "Best Breakfast in Radium" advertising along with lots of types of Eggs Benedict and fancier dishes. There was one that was just around the corner from our hotel, so we went there, instead, and were very glad of our decision.
So much so that I don't even really know what John got. *laughs* I was concentrating so much on my breakfast. I think it might have been the same thing, actually.
We also took a minute to browse through the local grocery store's shelves, just to see if there were Canadian things that we wanted to get while we were still up here, and we happened upon a Schwep's Amber Ginger Ale, that was darker than their usual stuff. We bought a 12 pack, and when we opened a can later during the day, it was delicious. Sadly, we can't seem to find it in the US.
And we were! Zoom... and along the way we stopped at a grocery store just to browse again and I got a Fruit and Nut Cadbury bar. We got this shot of a Canadian Tire with proper Canadian mountains behind it. It was just such a gorgeous shot.
We went from 93 to 95, and back onto the 93. We stopped at a remote rest stop where some guy who was the maintenance guy had just washed out the bathrooms with a hose, lots of soap, and that was pretty much it. The entire interior of the women's bathroom was dripping and sudsy. *laughs* It was really clean! But... so wet. I managed to dry off the seat and was happy to have the rest of it be sparkling.
We drove through Canal Flats, the reported Source of the Columbia and then we got to the Waterton Lakes National Park.
There were also a lot of enormous lakes, and we stopped by the biggest in the center of town and stopped to have our lunch by the water and to just walk up and down the main street. After that we hit the information center in order to update our national parks pass, as we had to pay for one more night's stay while we were there. The lady there pointed out the Red Rocks Canyon and various places where there were wild flowers, along with what she said was a super sweet smelling tall white orchid that grew among the trees. So we decided that we were going to go looking for that.
I wasn't up to much adventure, as I was pretty sore from the tea house hike the day before; but I was willing to do a little walking and at least step out of the car to look at things. A lot of the places to stay were also full up, so we got a hotel room in town, pretty quickly, and then headed out on our small adventure. John started by going the furthest we had to go.
The walkway along the side of the canyon was pretty well maintained, but the bridge that crossed the far end so that we could walk the whole loop was closed. That was sad. And from above, it was mostly just like this... brush and a bit of dirt. some of the meadows around it above; and you really couldn't see far into the canyon, just could look down on the stream a bit and see people down there.
Dozens of young families had gone down into the shade and water, to cool off on the very hot day, and they were all over the flat rocks at the opening of the canyon. Fewer people had waded down further into the ravine. I'd put my relatively waterproof sandals on in order to go wading. John had put his boots on and he followed from rock to rock and wading in the shallower parts of the water to keep up with me.
Much deeper in it was like this, narrow and deeper, and you can see all the colors of the stones. I loved the clarity of the water, and the cold just felt so good.
I sat down for a little while not that much further than this, and just breathed for a while. It was cooler down here than out on the meadows and in the sunshine, and the water brought a breeze, as they often do. The water bed is sloped with the water flow so that cooler air can flow with it. I was tired enough by that point to just rest and relax into it all.
Eventually thunderheads threatened, so we packed up, got back into the car to head to where the orchids were supposed to be; but on the road back, there were suddenly dozens of cars parked by the side of the road, some of the even blocking the way. So we decided to make the best of it, got out, and took a look around...
I was glad to see that people were smart, stayed well out of their way, and weren't doing things to call attention to themselves. But there were dozens of people out there peering at them, and all with our cameras. *laughs* that was pretty fun. But we were really happy we got to see some bears while we were out here.
The orchids turned out to be quite different than we'd thought they were, big disks with thousands of tiny white flowers on them, all out in the shade of the trees, and they certainly smelled strongly. But it was a scent that was on the verge of being too strong, and hinted along the curve of that the yucca flower takes, which isn't always pleasant. But we got to see them, and then we headed back into town.
We didn't even park in the regular parking lot, instead taking a temporary spot in the bus parking in order to walk out onto the lawn and take a picture of the famous view. We were joined by nearly a dozen other cars in pretty short order, people just speeding by to see what there was to see and move on again. I half regret not taking advantage of that, but I was pretty tired.
From there, we headed to our room, got all our laundry and took it to a laundro-mat within walking distance of our room. It was in the the late afternoon sunshine, so I sat, drowsed, read, and listened to the washing machines and dryers turn.
I was reading Scott Westerfield's Uglies, Pretties, and Specials series. I'd bought them a long time ago on the recommendation of Amberley, and then Jet said that they were really good. So I finally actually took them along to read them, and they were quite good. Though... it was interesting thinking about them in the context of a man writing teenage girls. I still remember being impressed that Scalzi had a number of women review and critique his handling of Zoe, and I'd always loved her. Westerfield's girls were... good, believable, and with the right balance of intellectual, emotional, and physical that I remember being. I enjoyed them and some of the key choices were really solid.
That made me laugh. With the bear earlier, it was pretty obvious that the wildlife was comfortable with the small enclave of people in the midst of their areas.
We got back to the room with our clean clothing. There was supposed to be in town wi-fi, but it was really weak in the hotel and it wasn't any better at the laundromat. We sat down on the curb by the road, though, and got better reception, which was pretty funny. Next door to the laundromat was a waffle place that looked good enough that I decided that I wanted to go there for breakfast the next day.
They also had schnitzel, a pork schnitzel with gravy and mashed potatoes. I had to get that. John got the chicken. And we were both so happy with what we got I completely forgot to take pictures of the food before it was all eaten. *laughs* The potatoes were smashed, so that they had lovely texture and plenty of garlic and butter. The schnitzel was crisp and perfect. John's chicken was crisp on the outside, tender and juicy on the inside, and he had the same luxurious potatoes and veg. The salads that came to start were fresh and various and wonderful.
It wasn't exactly wild berries, the strawberries were typical Californian monsters, huge and solid. But they were really good with the raspberries, blueberries, and even a few blackberries. And the whole mess was warm and wonderful on a short crust that was tender and flaky and lovely.
After dinner, we wandered through Zumi's backstore, too, just looking at all the stuff, and in the very back, they had a racks of gorgeous custom sweaters. There were a lot of solid ones, but there was one series that had a Gortex liner and a shell made from Icelandic wool. On the sweaters were these beautifully simple designs depicting various animals: an eagle, moose, bear, wolves, buffalo, and others. Each of the designs pretty much fit the actual item of clothing.
One of them just called to me, a gray sweater with black liner and a high, turned up collar and the spitting image of the black bear we'd seen earlier during the day; but I could tell just from feeling it that it was really expensive. A moose caught John's eye, but it wasn't quite right, as it was on a pullover and the moose covered the whole front of the garment.
He also managed to dig up another sweater with the moose on it that fastened in front, instead of being a pullover, and John asked him if he could do a deal for two sweaters instead of just the one. The young man had to bring his uncle in to do that, and we talked with them pleasantly for a while; and he gave us a pretty good deal. It turns out that these were both designed by Graham Howard, a Canadian clothing designer who had died recently. So these were being slowly discontinued, but also since they were designer sweaters, they were expensive enough that he wasn't selling them very quickly. They were also solidly made, especially for Canada's weather, so they were going to last forever; and the Icelandic wool would shed water like an oilskin.
The funny thing was that as we finished buying them, it started just howling outside. The wind picked up, rain was falling, and the sweaters were perfect for the weather. *laughs* They were thick enough, and the lining made them entirely wind proof, and as we went out into the howling gale, the owner shook his head and said, "You two look thoroughly Waterton, now."
And we were. We were the only two out walking in that weather, and enjoying it thoroughly. We went all the way down to the lake, and walked along the shore before heading back to our room.
It was pretty much the perfect ending to a very very good day.