Part VI – Chapter 11 – 2010

This is what some of the mountains in Waterton Lakes National Park look like after being burned by the Kenow wildfire. The fire, which was started by lightning in British Columbia, was first detected on August 30, 2017. It entered Waterton Park on September 11 and was not finally under control until the beginning of October.


The Bear’s Hump is one of the most popular hikes in the park. Up until last year, the trail began right behind the Visitors Center. But the Kenow wildfire burned both the Center and the trail. The trail is still closed and may be for some time.

I didn’t take any photos of the Bear’s Hump with snow on it right after the fire, but here is a nearby mountain. All those beautiful conifers have become black matchsticks.

After the Kenow wildfire
The snow highlights the black matchstick-conifers.

This is looking up at the Bear’s Hump from the townsite before the fire.

This is looking down on the Bear’s Hump from the Prince of Wales parking lot before the fire.

The Bear's Hump
At a 3:1 magnification, you can easily see four people on the top.

And almost a year later, in July 2018.

The Bear's Hump
The Bear’s Hump is showing some signs of regeneration.

As a further comparison of the fire damage, below is the mountain on the west side of the bison compound.

But the compound is fighting back.

Looking through the fence into the compound. If some of these flowers look out of focus, let’s agree to blame the wind, OK? To get f/5.6, and I really wanted f/6.3, I had to use 1/160 sec. Too slow, right?

The Hump is only 2.4 km return, but it has an elevation gain of 240 meters, which means it’s very steep. In places, it’s almost like climbing a staircase. That’s why it’s listed as “strenuous.”

I’ve had to use photos of the trail when it was dry. I was going to borrow some hail/rain photos from Charlie, but the day he hiked up in the chapter you just read, he couldn’t take his camera because of his shoulder.

So here are some photos from the bottom two-thirds of the dry trail.

Charlie probably hit some snow like this after the rain stopped and just before he got to the top.

The Bear's Hump trail
The trail was rated Good-Poor because of the snow on the top third. You can see the Prince of Wales through the trees on the left.

Two photos taken just before reaching the top.

And some vista shots from up there.

The winding road in the bottom right of the first photo goes into Cameron Lake and to most of the major hikes. But it is closed now and probably will be for a couple years.

After looking around for a while, and his high-point piss, and his choosing a souvenir rock, Charlie went back down.

And discovered the signs that were warning everyone about the cougars.


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



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