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Waterton Lakes National Park

Trapped! in Twin Butte

September 4th-5th, 2015

What happened…

Andrew writes:Amanda’s passport was set to expire in March 2016, so when were in Calgary last month, she applied for a new one and had it mailed to Twin Butte, Alberta; site of a post office close to the US border. Today, we would finally be able to pick up her passport and then head into the States. It was a glorious day for cycling!

We started it off with a scrumptious pancake breakfast that ShirlEh prepared for us. The hotcakes were so big and fluffy! Apparently because of all of the baking powder used in the recipe. Then Brad from “Shootin’ the Breeze”, the local Crowsnest newspaper, came and interviewed us. Finally, we were ready to leave and we set off back down Highway 3. We cycled past the Leitch Collieries without a flat tire this time! We got to Pincher Creek and enjoyed one last Tim Horton’s coffee. And just south of Pincher Creek we started going through some foothills.

For every kilometre we rode south of Pincher Creek, half of the kilometre would be uphill. It started raining. It got cold. I remember reading someone else’s blog and they said that this section of road between Pincher and Waterton Lakes was a pretty tough go. Thank goodness we didn’t have that headwind from days past!

We arrived at the Twin Butte (pronounced: bewt) General Store / Post Office, but it also has a Mexican restaurant attached to it. The food was terrific! I had a pair of chimichangas with rice and beans, and Amanda had a burrito. We ended up enjoying the great food and warm atmosphere from a few hours, passing time by talking to other customers who had seen our bicycles parked outside. Amanda finally admitted to me that she felt like she had the flu. Her muscles were aching, and she was light-headed. She popped a couple of pills and zombie’d out for a bit. Finally, at 1700hrs, we set off back into the pouring rain, hoping to find a good wild camping spot.

The worst of the hills appeared to be over by the time thankfully, so Amanda was able to just coast downhill most of the way. Finally we came around a bend and there was a rest-area. We weren’t very hungry after eating such a huge meal, so with the rain pouring down upon us, we quickly arranged the tent and settled in for the night.

It got COLD! My feet were frozen in the morning. I knew from the weather forecast that it was supposed to rain all day today, so Amanda and I just decided to sit tight and not bother trying to ride to Waterton Nat’l Park. Our altimeter read 1,400m so we knew we were up high. Visibility was nil. The rain turned to snow. We got out of the tent only a handful of times, either to wipe accumulated snow off of the tent, or to pass water. Finally at about 1900hrs, I braved the frigid prairies to cook. The snow had turned into sleet by this point. It was pretty miserable outside, but inside the tent we were snug as bugs in rugs, and I think I read 2.5 books. Hopefully the weather improves tomorrow and we can ride into the park and dry out!

Amanda writes: As Andrew said I had the flu. I had felt it coming on for about a day but thought maybe I was reacting to the prairies and the wheat fields. When sneezes and congestion moved to my head and muscles, I knew it was bad. Complaining never helps so I hadn’t said anything to Andrew until Twin Butte.

After heading out again it didn’t seem so bad but as we saw the rest stop with an RV settled in for the night, we both knew that would be our home. After waking to rain we knew we would stay another day, no argument. We had learned early in our travels in Northern Canada that it takes so long to recover from super rainy days that it is not worth it. Andrew left the tent to relieve himself and the RV owner invited us in for hot chocolate. Thank goodness!

Pat and Dean are from Salt Lake City and such a treat to talk with. They do quite a bit of travelling themselves and were able to share some incredible tales of their journeys. They were so generous and shared not only hot chocolate, but breakfast too. We are so grateful to people like Pat and Dean who open their homes to us and share their adventures. It’s because of these kind souls that we are able to travel. Thank you!

Today’s Photographs

Back in Crowsnest Pass
Waterton Lakes National Park