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Monday, June 18, 2018

Traveling Cowboys: Seeing the Light with Dark Sky Guides in Waterton, Alberta, Canada

Not So Dark


Sometimes you need darkness to appreciate the light. This is indeed an opportunity in Waterton National Park as the residents of the town reinvent themselves after the devastating Kenow fire of 2017.

One of the ways they are doing it is to offer a new experience that is well suited for the literal darkness of the destination - stargazing! You can now have a guided stare at the breathtaking heavenly night sky of Waterton with Dark Sky Guides.


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The four Robinson Brothers were lucky to grow up in Waterton Lakes National Park, and over the years they explored all areas of the National Park, both in daylight and after dark. As third-generation tourism service providers (they also operate Waterton Shoreline Cruise Company), sharing Waterton Park’s abundant human and natural history has always been a part of their lives. Now they are starting at the heavens and they want to take you with them.

After the Kenow Mountain Fire burnt a significant portion of Waterton Lakes National Park in September 2017, the brothers knew it would be more critical than ever, to show people that there is more to Waterton that just daytime hiking through (the once forested) mountain landscapes. And so, Dark Sky Guides was born.

Between the four of them, the Robinson Brothers officially have 40 years of experience acting as tour guides in Waterton Lakes National Park. And over the years the brothers have travelled to many destinations around the world, picking up best practices from other tour guides and companies across the planet.

Dark Sky Guides offers small, personalized tours that will open peoples’ eyes to an entirely new area of Waterton Lakes National Park – the night sky above. The brothers hope to encourage every single tour participant to connect on a personal level with the National Park, in their own particular way.

Observations


We were lucky to be invited to the dinner kick off and Dark Sky Guide launch night on the 29th of May 2018.

Keith, his brothers and their team surprised us with a fantastic meal while we waited for the sun to set and the moon to shine. At around 22:30 we were treated to the new experience of having our own local guide - one of the brothers - from Dark Sky Guides showing us the heavens above Waterton Lakes National Park.

The moon was full. With the telescopes they provided, we were given a chance to see it in a whole new light. We were left with a renewed appreciation for the area and for our own small place in the vastness of our Universe thanks to their expert guidance and commentary about the heavenly bodies.

Keith noted that while the summer nights in Alberta doesn't provide a lot of dark hours, they hoped to offer the experience year-round. Winter in Canada is a stargazers dream, and there is no better place to dream than amongst the beauty of Waterton Lakes National Park.

This is a recommended Two Cowboys experience, and we wish the Robinson brothers all the success they can have with their new venture!

Hendrik van Wyk
Moon Cowboy

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