Part IX – Chapter 4 – 2011

There are all kinds of little waterfalls like this in Waterton Lakes National Park. This particular one is at the beginning of the Lineham Creek Trail.

Charlie likes these smaller falls far more than the so-called spectacular horsetail waterfall at the end of the trail.


He’d found out at the Visitor Center that there were no problems with bears or cougars on Lineham. So he was good to go.

But he was told once again that Upper Rowe, Goat, and Crypt were still out of the question. Still snowed in.

Snow, for him, meant the Goat Lake Trail was definitely out. Several places on that trail, even when dry, scared the bejesus out of him.

Below is one of those places. Imagine stepping onto snow or ice on that little six-inch space to the left of that shrub in the center, right beside the trail. If you slipped, you’d bounce once and then you’d be airborne all the way down to the creek hundreds of feet below.

Goat Lake Trail

And Crypt was also out. In the parking lot, after talking with the people in the Visitor Center, Charlie saw a warden doing paperwork in her truck. He asked her about Crypt, and she said that you couldn’t go any further than Burnt Rock Falls.

She said someone had tried to go higher the day before and had had a problem, but she wouldn’t elaborate. He found out later, however, that the problem was well beyond horrific. (I’ll be talking about this in Part IX, Chapter 8.)

This is Burnt Rock Falls in the summertime. It’s two-thirds of the way to the top, and you come to it just after you leave the forest and begin the rocky (and excruciatingly boring) part or the climb.

Burnt Falls

By the time Charlie got to the Lineham Creek Trail, there were black clouds coming in from the west, despite Environment Canada’s promise that it would be clear and dry.

As usual, The Weather Network was more accurate. A thirty percent chance of rain. And there it was.

The storm was actually quite beautiful. Black clouds, lightning, and wet vegetation. But he took no photos. The wind was picking up. And he didn’t want to get his camera and lens wet, despite their being weather sealed.

Even without the storm, though, he wouldn’t have taken any photos of the valley. The vista to the west was a way too cliché. At least, it was for him.

But he always had a camera with him just in case.

Lineham Creek Trail

(Charlie took the photos of Lineham in this post on earlier trips when it wasn’t raining.)

Below is the upness that Charlie complained about in the chapter you just read. The first half hour of Lineham is nothing but up, up, up, and then up some more. No fun at all. He just wanted to get this hike done and get it off his list.

Lineham Creek Trail
Nonstop ups at the start
Lineham Creek Trail
Still going up, but almost there

This, for Charlie, was the toughest section. And the least interesting. It’s pretty hard to look around and enjoy the scenery, as a seventy-year-old, when your thighs are begging you to go back to the car and stop all this nonsense.

He did enjoy the flatness of the trail along the west side of Mount Blakiston, though. But there wasn’t enough joy in that to offset the up, up, up, part.

However, he’d already decided this was the last year for Lineham.

And the same for Lakeshore and Crypt. Finito. Auf wiedersehen. Adieu.

And especially Goat. The Snowshoe Trail from the parking lot at Red Rock to the Goat Lake trailhead was excruciatingly flat. Absolute flatness for 4.6 kilometers each way. Each way, folks. That’s 9.2 kilometers of unbearable flatness. And possible ticks.

Goat Lake Trail

From the trailhead itself up to Goat Lake was only 4.8 return, but it had the most challenging and the most painful grade of all the hikes. A nineteen percent grade. Straight up. Straight down.

But it was actually the flatness of Snowshoe that put him off, and not the grade.

The Lineham Creek Valley rises from the trailhead beside the Akamina Parkway up to the west-northwest between Mount Blakiston and Mount Lineham.

The creek itself descends almost seventeen hundred feet from the four Lineham Lakes, which are nestled between Mount Hawkins, Mount Blakiston, and the Lineham Ridge.

And the highlight of this hike is supposed to be the spectacular horsetail waterfall at the end of the trail, which drops over three hundred feet from the Lineham lakes up in the hanging valley.

But Charlie enjoyed the little waterfalls on the lower half of the Lineham Creek trail far more. Maybe not as dramatic, in his mind, but far more beautiful.

And beautiful little waterfalls like this one are all over the park.

However, he usually had to push his way through grasses, and weeds, and shrubs, to get to them. And that, for Charlie, was a deal-breaker during tick season, which he believed ran right through to the beginning of September. 

He much preferred bears, and cougars, and wolves, to ticks, as you no doubt remember him saying over and over.

So, immediately after he finished his seventeen-trail project in 2011, he began hiking and photographing only in the fall and winter, which, of course, got rid of all those eight-leggèd creepies. 

And he liked that much better. Four legs good, he thought, eight legs bad. Really, really bad.


Copyright © Glenn E. Christianson, 2017- 2022. All Rights Reserved.



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