Marc Ankenbauer's 10+ year quest to jump in every named lake in Glacier and Waterton National Parks for charity.
168 lakes. Only 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
ZERO LAKES LEFT!!!
-- Marc jumped into Fisher Cap Lake on Sunday September 8th, 2013 to complete his goal! --
Read about Marc and how this project started...

Deer Lake – International Lake of Mystery – CAN #118

Folks, don’t try this at home...or in Glacier!
FULL SAFETY MESSAGE

The International Lake of Mystery….Duh, duh. Duh….

That last part was supposed to be pronounced like it just happened in a mystery movie and some important fact was just uncovered.

Try it again,

The International Lake of Mystery….Duh, duh, Duh…..

How’d it go?

One of the main things about humor that I have found out in my life is that it is not real great if you have to explain it. You certainly dropped the ball, if you are at that point.

Anyhoo….

In comes the saga of “Deer Lake” in Waterton National Park.

So, Saturday was a first for me. I had to access a lake and it was about a quarter mile into Alberta, but it was about two and a half miles from a road and was directly west of the customs station.

So, this meant that the path of least resistance was hiking the boundary swath.

What is that you ask?

If you knew it or not, there is delineation that visually and physically separates the U.S. from Canada. In some places it might just be markers like this one.

In the plains they may just mow a separation.

When there are forests, there is a 40 foot wide swath or clearing that runs east/west along the 49th parallel. So, since Glacier and Waterton are on the border, there is a boundary swath running east/west and separating the park the whole way.

I swear!!!

Why, I’m not entirely sure…But there is.

So on this particular day the route to the lake was an animal path that runs willy nilly up the boundary swath. I was happy to see that there was even a path, but I suppose the animals think it’s pretty cool that we keep this big clearing for them in the middle of the forest.

My friend’s cousin, Curtis and I drove through Canadian Customs. Had a really nice conversation with the nice men at the port and headed down the hill.

At the bottom of the ridge, we had to ford the Belly River. The water is low enough now that it is safe. Earlier in the summer it would have been terrifying.

The deal with this whole hike was that we had to stay in the swath. If we left it, it had to be to the north. We had entered into Canada, so we would be illegally entering into the country if we walked out of the swath to the south and back into the U.S.

All of this sound odd and a bit silly? I agree, but that is international law. I’m lucky that they extended this option to me to begin with.

After the river we found a nice mucky swamp and because of this tiny little rule, instead of walking around the swamp to the south, we had to walk straight on through. There was no end to it if you walked north…

Straight on through it was. The muck on the bottom of the swamp almost sucked my sandals off of my feet. I then lost my balance and basically fell face first into the swamp. I dunked my boots and half my stuff. I came out smelling awful. Note* This was not the swamp, it was the swamp after it that we could walk around. I have no pic of the awful boundary swamp. I am sorry.*

But we were in compliance with the law!!! I want to continue to make that very clear!

So, finally we headed back up the other ridge after the dreaded boundary swamp. It was really a pleasant walk. The animals cleared a great path the whole way until we had to deal with that “1/4 mile into Canada” part.

It is funny to be walking through a perfectly clear and very wide path with thick, impenetrable forest on both sides. Odd feeling, for sure.

So, we schwacked our way over, under and around the forest for a good while until we found a pretty pleasant lake. I was surprised because many of the small, forested lakes are really not too pleasant.

I spoke with a few guys who work for Waterton National Park and they said that they had both flown over it through the years. One said it was almost dried up at the end of a hot, fire filled season. The other said that he saw a moose swimming in it.

Now I have.

Lake #118

On our return we even found an amazing moose skull hidden in the willows.