Pincer Creek to Waterton - Waterton and Glacier - CycleBlaze

June 18, 1990

Pincer Creek to Waterton

We hit the road early this morning, skipping breakfast in town in favor of an anticipated big meal in Twin Butte, twenty miles to the south.  Our guidebook indicated that we would find a friendly gas-station/café there.  The ride to Twin Butte was marked by a number of short, rather steep climbs and dips in and out of creek beds, through rolling and rather barren-looking prairie farmland.  It brought several especially scenic views, including a horse standing up to its haunches in a pond, surrounded by piglets; fields abundant with wildflowers; and a huge expanse of the eastern front of the Rockies visible to the west.

South of Pincer Creek
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After seventeen miles, having whetted substantial pair of appetites, we arrived at an abandoned-looking building which appeared to have been the former restaurant.  As we sat in front feeling hungry and discouraged (the next meal stop to the south is in Waterton, still another twenty miles away), a construction crewman appeared from the building and told us that the restaurant was still a couple miles further down the road.  Much relieved, we continued on to the correct rest stop.

The Twin Butte store turned out to be more like a private home than a café.  It was an interesting place to visit, but definitely not a breakfast stop.  The rather quiet woman who ran the store was slow to start the day - she didn't seem too interested in having clients when we arrived.  After her reserve broke down a bit though we enjoyed visiting with her and were entertained by her manx cat that kept trying to enter through the window.  And we did manage to get toast, fruit and coffee  - just enough to see us through to Waterton.

Taking a break at Twin Buttes. Must have been a harder day than I remembered.
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The ride to Waterton was a continuation of the previous twenty miles: rolling prairies, vast landscapes, tremendous views of the Rockies.  Especially memorable were a magnificent overlook of the Waterton valley; a coyote that loped gracefully away after we startled it by the roadside; and a deer wading in a creek bed after we entered the park.

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Before entering the township to fill our tanks we stopped in at the information center, where we obtained patches for the pannies and a poster of Waterton that we mailed back to Salem.  As we entered the township we were greeted by a family of six mountain sheep standing in the road.  They calmly observed us and obligingly stayed still long enough for us to photograph them.  We soon came to the realization that Waterton is overrun with semi-wild life.  Deer and sheep are often seen in the road or in fields and yards next to them.  It is easy to identify newcomers to town by the cars that stop in the road to photograph the animals - like ourselves, they haven't yet discovered that they are seeing an ordinary Waterton street scene.

This photo of Crowsnest Valley has been hanging on he wall of our condo ever since we moved in here.
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The Waterton welcoming committee
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Family portrait
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After briefly surveying our options, we settled on a restaurant that served us up a pair of badly needed omelets - mine was feta cheese and tomato, Rachael's Swiss chees and ham.  We then established ourselves at a pretty campsite next to the lake by the mouth of the creek, and hopped back on our bikes for the round trip to Red Rock Canyon.  This was a long, lovely ride up a ridge to the south of the township, through fields and along cliffs covered with splendid wildflower displays.  The scenic, colorful canyon and creek bed at the end of the ride made a pleasing destination.  We were greeted in the parking lot by a bold and curious family of sheep making the rounds - licking automobile hubcaps and bike wheel rims, begging food from the guests.  This area was as full of wildlife as the town was.  We were treated to visits by a pair of deer and numerous ground rodents as we rested in the field bordering the creek.  One chipmunk was even brazen enough to lick Rachael's toe!

Blackiston Creek
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At the Red Rock Canyon parking lot. This is another favorite shot of mine, that sat on my desk at work for many years.
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Cheeky little bugger
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After recuperating from the limb with a long rest, we remounted and coasted back down to the village, whee we left our bikes at our tent site and walked back along the river to the restaurants for dinner, passing numerous sheep and deer along the way.  We settled after much indecision on another pizza, followed by 'bumbleberry' pie (a blend of blueberry, rhubarb, raspberry and bramble berry) and ice cream.  Happily sated, we wandered back through the outdoor zoo in the dusk to our tent to retire for the night.

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Elevation gain: today, 3,200’; for the tour, 12,400’

Today's ride: 60 miles (97 km)
Total: 190 miles (306 km)

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