Thursday, July 24, 2003

Path: A-2, A-3

YouTube  l  Panorama
A-2 Bauerman Creek / Crique Bauerman
July 24, 2003


I had gone to the Banff Centre for the Arts for Interactive Screen 3.0 as part of Cyberpitch 2.0. After the residency, I took a bus to Pincher Creek and a man drove another hiker and I to Waterton National Park with the promise that he would return to get me in a few days. I set up my tent at Watertown campground and went exploring.

To get to my waypoints, I decided to rent a mountain bike, rickety but at least it would get me to point A. I set off, my muscles still sore from my 20 km hike the day before (Alderson-Carthew trail). The way to Red Rock Canyon was all uphill. It was hot and muggy and I missed having my panniers on the bike itself as my backpack was lumpy and jabbing me in the back. I stopped several times to repack the bag, redistribute items, and pull the hair from my face, sticky and clinging. I was cranky. Thankfully, there were very little cars and I stopped to read a few interpretive panels. At one display surrounded by purple wild flowers, I noticed a black bear sitting on its haunches in the grasses, about 20 metres away. I wasn’t scared, just surprised. It showed no reaction to seeing me, chewing its cud as I hopped on my bike and took off.

About two hours later, I reached the Snowshoe Trail and continued on my bike, but an hour later I had to lock it up. The terrain was too rocky and steep. It was actually faster to walk. A retired man from the States, Phil, soon joined me. At first, I didn’t mind because I was afraid or running into a cougar or a bear again. (I had been told to make a lot of noise while hiking and to cover the back of my neck as cougars targeted this area of the body when jumping from above. Just in case, I carried a Swedish fishing knife attached to my water bottle. I needed that false sense of security – false in that my spindly little knife would not be an effective weapon against a wild animal. Same as the bells to warn bears of human presence. Most of the rangers said that these did not work as the sounds did not carry). Because of the forest fires in Glacier National park, Phil had crossed the border. That park meets Waterton National Park at the border; they are called peace parks as the border is undefended. At the end of the trail we decided to part ways and try and meet up later. I wanted to hike to Lost lake and to be honest, wanted a little peace and quiet to soak in my surroundings.

My heart was beating hard the whole length of the trail as I didn’t see another person. I made as much noise as I could, humming and making up songs, but my sounds seemed blanketed by the thick foliage. It was worth the hike to encounter this magical lake with its tranquil, emerald water, embraced and protected by a mountain range. It was fitting to find a lake with this placename as I had been lost so many times during the course of my project. A seesaw between two states: one of searching (discovery) and one of being lost (the unknown).

Apart from a small sign with the altitude, there did not seem to be any trace of human intervention. A wild, indeed lost lake. Grizzlies were said to graze on the opposite shore when the wild flowers were in season. Going back down the trail, I took photos for the second time of Bauerman Creek (A-2), capturing it at different bends. I had lunch and waited for Phil at our meeting point, but eventually set off alone. He caught up later. I politely declined a ride with him back at the Red Rock Canyon and went for a dip in the icy water to cool off. I saw Mount Bauerman (A-3) from a distance and realized that that would be the closest I got to its peak.

It was eery to see Bellevue mountain again in the summer as Jennifer and I had stopped at that location in the winter of 2001 when I first attempted to document Mont Bauerman by a snowshoe trail. I remember clearly how the sounds of coyotes yelping in the wind, witchy and highpitched, had sent shivers down my spine. We were not properly equipped to go on a long unguided excursion.


During both trips, Mont Bauerman was inaccessible. I had to trust that Bauerman was somewhere behind Bellevue mountain, without having seen it myself. In retrospect, the search for these waypoints is not so much about toponymy and placenames as much as about letting go and leaving some things to the realms of the unknown.

On my way back to the campsite, I saw what I assumed was the same bear again, this time in the middle of the road as I came up a hill. I turned my bike around ready to go the other way if it came after me. I put my arm up to warn the cars coming up behind me to wait. The bear eventually crossed the road and sauntered back to the meadow. I raced by in case it decided to give chase and went and reported the sightings to the warden.


Back at Waterton Lakes, the view was stunningly beautiful, but in a way that made me feel sick to my stomach. I knew why the skies were so pink. It was the smoke blowing in from the States: the forest fires in Glacier National park, just a border away.


Time Location Trip Odometer Moving Time Stopped Max Speed Moving Average
Snowshoe Trail
N 49°07'822"
W 114°01'578"
(4910 FT)
18.6 km 1:26 31 min 46.6k/h 12.8k/h
Stop: 1:00.
Locked up bike at 1:00. Started hiking with Phil.          
Bauerman Creek
N 49°08'67"
W 114°07'445"
(5639 FT)
27.8 km 2:55 55 min   9.5k/h

Stop: 3:05 Depart: 3:25

Lost Lake
N 49°08'844"
W 114°08'655"
(5639 FT)

Bauerman Creek
N 49°08'795"
W 114°07'735"

Red Rock Canyon          

Cycling parkway

Cycling Snowshoe trail

Hiking Snowshoe trail

40 km

8 km

12 km =

60 km

6:28 2:30   9.3k/h


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