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the Degree Confluence Project
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Canada : Alberta

8.8 km (5.5 miles) SW of Waterton Park, AB, Canada
Approx. altitude: 1581 m (5186 ft)
([?] maps: Google MapQuest Multimap topo topo250 world confnav)
Antipode: 49°S 66°E

Accuracy: 18 m (59 ft)
Click on any of the images for the full-sized picture.

#2: View West from Confluence #3: View East from Confluence #4: View South from Confluence #5: GPS Evidence #6: Sacha, Calvin, Ryan #7: Letter "A" at the site #8: Cutline looking west from International Boundary point on trail #9: Cutline looking east from International Boundary point on trail

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  49°N 114°W (visit #2)  

#1: View North from Confluence

(visited by Sacha Peter, Calvin Chang and Ryan Shrieves)

25-Aug-2007 -- Most of the western confluence points along the 49th parallel were explored approximately five years ago and I am somewhat surprised that there haven't been further journeys. These areas are remote, but they are attainable.

Getting to the 49N114W confluence involved camping at Waterton Park, located on the southwestern edge of Alberta. The park is on the eastern fringes of the Rocky Mountain range.

As an aside, just before reaching Cameron Lake is a stop for a short and easy 1.6km hike into Akamina Pass, where the provincial border between Alberta and British Columbia is. The BC-Alberta border also marks the continental divide.

To attempt 49N114W, the hike started from the north end of Cameron Lake, which has a parking area and a boat rental facility. There is a well-used trail that goes east of the lake that climbs approximately 160 meters over 4km via switchbacks. It is a heavily forested area and taking a "direct" route would have been impossible. The climb leads to Summit Lake and continues southeast to the west boundary trail, which crosses into the USA. There were moose feeding inside Summit Lake.

The west boundary trail, after the first 700 meters, is much less used (vegetation was clearly winning the battle) and contained several wet patches where there is running water descending down the slope. There are nice views of Glacier Park (in Montana, USA) walking down this slope.

The west boundary trail descends about 140 meters through 2km and you hit the Canada-USA border - at this point the boundary vista can easily be seen arcing up the mountainside. At the actual border crossing, my GPS read (48 59' 55.1"N, 114 00' 35.1"W, error 9m). This point is about 700 meters west and slightly south of the confluence point. The original plan was to go along the boundary cutline until we reached the longitude south of the confluence, but the strategy was made impractical by the 6-8 meter cliff that was just to the east of the trail. It doesn't sound like a lot of distance, but it was about 80 degrees vertical and we didn't want to risk anything.

Instead, we headed further south into the USA (about half a kilometer) and the trail turned east. We hit a dry creekbed (full of red rocks) and made our way slowly north. The dry creek turned wet and we continued following this until we hit the boundary vista again, except this time at the bottom of the cliff. We then tracked eastbound along the boundary cutline until reaching 114W. Hiking along the cutline was relatively easy - although it had not been frequently hiked along, it was quite navigable. Large tree trunks sometimes had parts chainsawed out.

Finally, we headed north into the forest which was full of shrubs, fallen trunks and other such debris until reaching the confluence. There was a significant slope to climb, but it was manageable. The GPS reception was not great, but it was enough to unambiguously take us to the confluence point.

There was a conspicuous pattern of fallen tree trunks that made the letter "A" which is in one of the photographs. The dead trees were quite dry and it was easy to snap off branches.

We did not encounter any boundary monuments during this part of the hike. The nearest one from the point where we turned north into the forest would have been about 1.7km east.

Also, we did not encounter any other people along the boundary trail (there were several people going to Summit Lake), and no black helicopters (or any other known aircraft) were there to get our customs declaration, although I did say I had nothing to declare in case their satellites were listening.

The other remarkable thing about this area at this time of year is that there were no mosquitoes or annoying bugs.


 All pictures
#1: View North from Confluence
#2: View West from Confluence
#3: View East from Confluence
#4: View South from Confluence
#5: GPS Evidence
#6: Sacha, Calvin, Ryan
#7: Letter "A" at the site
#8: Cutline looking west from International Boundary point on trail
#9: Cutline looking east from International Boundary point on trail
ALL: All pictures on one page (broadband access recommended)
  Notes
In the Waterton Lakes National Park. The borderline with the U.S. is running about 150 m south of the Confluence.