Monday, July 31, 2017
34 miles back to Waterton, then 215 miles onward to Canmore
Nobody is around at the Stardust when we are ready to leave so we just go. I am not sure if I paid them (since they were not in the office last night when we arrived) so I dashed off an email to the proprietor.
This morning begins with a bit of backtracking. We must go back south to Waterton to play Waterton Lakes golf. There are places to stay in Waterton, but they were all completely booked up so we had to stay in Pincher Creek. It is only a 40 minute drive and is quite scenic. That is, we assume it would be quite scenic if it weren’t for the smoky haze that is obscuring what we are sure is an amazing view.
There are wildfires raging all to the west of us and the smoke has traveled for miles. You can read about it here. This is very disappointing to say the least, but it will not deter us from having a great trip. The air doesn’t smell smoky and it is not affecting breathing, but the views are messed up.
A stop is made in Waterton village for a quick breakfast. This town is super cute and would be a great place to spend a few days – if you could get a reservation!
After breakfast, we motor over to the Waterton Lakes Golf Course. On their website they say this course is “not all about the golf.” It is about the views and the BEARS! There are photos in the clubhouse of bear cubs playing with (and breaking) flagpoles! Take a look at this video. We are hoping to see some bears of our own.
Rich has declared that beginning today all of the rest of our rounds on this trip will be a match play between us for $1 a hole. (We have 108 holes to play together before we come home). He will not give me any strokes. Hmmm… Ok. Game ON.
Waterton Lakes is a really fun course. We make it through the entire front nine and only saw a glimpse of one bear (swimming!). The back nine is a different story.
At first we see a couple of bears at a distance. Then comes a hole where Yogi is directly between us and the hole!
My ball lands “bear high” and I wisely choose to abandon it! Rich generously allows me to drop it on the other side.
I started out our match with a bang, but by the time the dust settled, Rich was up by 3 holes. I will have to tighten it up tomorrow.
Lunch at the clubhouse watching the 18th green was very entertaining. We watched a group of 3 walkers get stranded on the tee box while waiting for a huge bear to leave the fairway. It took the ranger and an air horn to make him move!
Once again we have to backtrack to Pincher Creek and then onward to Canmore just at the edge of Banff National Park. We are determined NOT to go into Banff since it is on Rich’s ride route and also on my golfing route. We want to save it.
As we get closer to Canmore the smoky haze is very obvious. We can tell that the mountains would be absolutely awesome if we could only see them clearly!
Soon we arrive in Canmore and check into the Bear and Bison Country Inn. I can tell we are going to like it here. This place has a mountain lodge feel and is very friendly and comfortable.
Our room has a big jacuzzi right in the corner.
We ignore the tub for now and walk around the block to purchase a bottle of wine. The weather is so fine that we want to sit outside in the gazebo.
Dinner tonight is in the town of Canmore. We want to just have something interesting to pick on and Tapas Restaurant fills the bill. We order up the Plato Mixto of charcuterie, cheeses and accompaniments. Afterwards we decided that this was the best meat and cheese platter that we have ever had. There was cured Elk, Wild Boar (the best!), Speck, Manchego cheese, a Goat blue cheese and another local cheese along with olives, grainy mustard and preserves. We also ordered bread that came with Harissa/Lemon Butter that was simply outstanding. (Janel and Isam – you would love the butter. You should look up a recipe and make some.)
Canmore was a great stop. We are happy that we got in early to enjoy the late afternoon. Supposedly breakfast at the Bear and Bison is not to be missed. Thankfully we have a late tee time tomorrow and can sleep in and have an late breakfast.