Part VI – Chapter 12 – 2010

Lower Bertha Falls in the photo above is spectacular, but not nearly as spectacular as Upper Bertha Falls. Charlie enjoyed photographing both falls on his way up to Bertha Lake. And he enjoyed their sound, and their smell, and their occasion misty spray – as long as it didn’t get on his lens.


The hike into Lower Bertha Falls is one of the park’s more popular hikes. A gentle, scenic 2-2.5 hours that most people, including families, can handle. It’s rated as an easy moderate.

The trail is 5.2 km return, but it only has an elevation gain of 175 m.

The part of the trail in the photo below is just after Charlie’s secret patch of mountain lady’s-slippers and just before the cutoff down to the Lakeshore Trail, which he plans to hike on Monday, two days hence.

At this point, we’re looking south down Upper Waterton Lake toward Goat Haunt. The Lakeshore Trail goes along the shoreline on the right.

These photos are from Charlie’s earlier hikes. Because of his shoulder, he couldn’t photograph on the rainy hike in the chapter you just read.

The Trail into Lower Bertha Falls

On this particular hike, the bear grass lined both sides of the trail and beyond. It was everywhere.

Apparently, bear grass peaks every ten years, or every eight years, or every five to seven years, or every three. And the people who argue for those particular numbers of peak years are usually quit adamant.

But others argue that all those numbers are wrong. A year of exceptional blooming depends solely on having ideal climatic conditions.

But rather than worry about that right now, let’s just look at some blossoms.

And this is what they looked like along the trail.

After hiking through all that splendor, the pressure was on Bertha Falls to be really spectacular. And it was. Bertha is a beautiful bridal veil waterfall, especially resplendent in the spring.

Charlie had hiked into Lower Bertha Falls several times, sometimes alone, sometimes with BJ, and once with Jillian early on when she and Roz were visiting.

Actually, Jillian would see Lower Bertha twice more when she and Charlie set out to hike up to Bertha Lake.

You may remember from the post Part I, Chapter 1 that Charlie insisted the novel should begin and end at Bertha Lake. Bertha Lake held some of his happiest memories, but it is also one of the two places where he almost died.

And he insisted that the novel should have thirteen parts beginning with Part XIII, Chapter 1 and ending with Part XIII, Chapter 1.

I finally agreed to the thirteen parts, but I thought it would be too confusing for most readers to start with Part XIII, Chapter 1, 2018 and then immediately move to Part I, Chapter 1, 1996. So I started with Part I, not XIII, although I still think he had a very interesting idea.

Fortunately, either he hasn’t noticed how I started the novel, or he’s just given up on me. I’m sure he thinks I was simply too afraid to try something different. And maybe he’s right. Could be.


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



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