Vfyw_8-4

by Chris Bodenner

A reader writes:

The shape of the mountains screams the Alps. Though I have some confirmation bias at work, I think it looks Swiss. It looks like a late afternoon sun is casting shadows across the view, which mean it has to be north face. So a quick scan of the Swiss lakes shows only a few that are generally north-south in length, and the only good candidate to have a view like this, Lac de Gruyére, doesn’t have any mountains close enough. So we go west into the French alps, and there we find a winner in Lac d’Annecy. We find Duingt situated on a small peninsula affording us the view in question. Duingt, France. Final Answer (do we still say that in the States?)

Another writes:

Since the only Alpine lake I’ve ever visited outside of Lake Tahoe is Lake Como in Italy, this of course must be one of the little towns along that lake. I’m going to go with Varenna, with the photo taken from a ground floor room in the Hotel Olivedo. Boom … give me my damn book!

Another:

This has to be Norway, but harsher than the mainland. Those peaks, with the dramatic timberline, say Leknes, in the Lofoten Islands.

Another:

Andalsnes, Norway? This looks like the view from the youth hostel just at the south edge of town.

Another:

Cisnes, Chile? I see fjords that aren’t Alaskan, but also don’t appear to be Scandinavian. So it’s in the the Southern Hemisphere. Thus Cisnes.

Another:

This has the distinct feel of the Inward Passage, a trip I was lucky enough to make twenty some years ago. Take the ferry from Seattle, relax for 3 days gazing at amazing scenery and wildlife, then get off at Skagway and head into the Great White North. A trip you will never regret. I can’t place this with any certitude, so I will go with Fanny Bay, BC, simply because I like the name.

On the right track. Another:

I don’t know where the hell this is (yet), but I’m leaving for there on Tuesday at about 1:00 EDT.

Another has your answer:

This is the first time I’ve recognized a VFYW pic immediately, and the first time that I’ve attempted an answer. The photo is of a view of Waterton Park Village, Waterton, Alberta, Canada, in the Waterton Lakes National Park, in the Canadian part of the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. The last time I visited there was with my friend Jamie, about 10 years ago, although I’ve been back to Glacier National Park just a couple of years ago. The Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park reportedly has the distinction of being the only park in the world to be a UNESCO World Heritage Site, an International Peace Park, and a Biosphere Reserve. Here’s a Google Maps overhead view of the area:

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Another:

Interesting, just to the left of the photographer’s view is a narrow inlet connecting one side of the lake to the other that Google Maps calls “Bosporus.” Ha!

Another:

Given that we were camping in Waterton a year ago today, the timing of your contest picture is uncanny. I have a similar picture taken from just outside the hotel hanging on my office wall (though of the townsite of Waterton at dusk):

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Another:

The park is the Canadian counterpart of the Glacier National Park in northern Montana. Do I get bonus points for pointing out that the mountains in the background, specifically the last two peaks in the back (Campbell Mountain and Goat Haunt Mountain) are actually in the USA? The lake is a very long, glacially carved lake, and the international border runs right across it about half way down. If you take a boat to the other end and hike the trails you actually have to go through immigration …

Another:

That’s a view from the Prince of Wales Hotel. I went there on a trip with my family last summer. Here’s me and one of my kids looking at that view:

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Another:

I knew it the moment Google Reader revealed the tops of the mountains. This is one of my favorite Screen shot 2012-08-07 at 10.52.16 AMviews. My husband and I stayed there as part of our month-long honeymoon road trip through the National Parks. Glacier National Park was half on fire (this was August of 2003), our camping plans were dashed, so we headed up to Waterton, since there’s nothing a stay at the Prince of Wales hotel can’t cure. I’d been there as a kid on family camping trips and loved taking my husband back. Nine years, three kids later, and we’re taking our kids on a National Park excursion this month.

Another:

This is the Waterton marina as viewed from the Prince of Whales Hotel. Cheating a bit since I currently live in Calgary, Alberta and was camping in Waterton a few weeks ago with my family. Citadel peak at the far end of Waterton lake is quite easily identifiable from the brochures for Glacier/Waterton international peace park. Waterton is probably my favourite place on Earth and often overlooked by visitors to Glacier.

Another adds:

I’d like the global warming denialists among us to explain why Glacier National Park will soon have no glaciers left if the earth isn’t warming due to CO2 emissions …

Another sends a screenshot:

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Are they all this easy? I’ve never entered this contest before, but I found myself with some free time on a Saturday morning so I thought I’d give it a try. Feeding the picture into Google image search placed it at Waterton Lake National Park in seconds.

Playing around with the available snapshots on the web and the Google Maps terrain feature quickly puts it at the Price of Wales hotel, the only building on that particular chunk of land. We’re off the ground a bit and that black window frame must be a clue. The height off the ground and the window frame in this picture look like a good match:

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Another:

I once hiked 63 miles through Glacier National Park to get to the Prince of Wales Hotel. For the last 20 miles, only the thought of having a cold beer at the Prince of Wales hotel kept me going. By the time I got to Waterton and saw that the hotel was atop a hill, I had no climb left in my legs and opted for a beer at the Grizzly Bear tavern. It had no view, but the beer was cold.

Another:

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Here’s a picture taken during a trip with my parents from roughly the same spot on July 13th, 1952 (date recorded in my sister’s diary).

Notice the greater amount of glacier in that old photo. Another:

If you take the International cruise boat (the larger boat at the right end of the dock in the photo) to the south end of the lake, you’ll arrive at Goat’s Haunt, in Glacier National Park in Montana. The two parks together comprise the Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park. I spent many summer vacations with my family hiking around Waterton. It’s an oft-overlooked jewel of the Canadian Rockies. Here is a vintage postcard from a similar perspective as the VFYW photo:

Prince of wales hotel

Another:

Wow, the memories. My parents took my sisters and me on yearly hiking vacations to Waterton/Glacier during our grade school / high school years. I remember standing on the bluff outside the hotel, with winds coming down the lake strong enough to knock us over. During our grad school years, my younger sister and I returned for a backpacking trip that began in the Waterton townsite with a boat ride to the Goat Haunt trailhead down on the US end of the lake, then backpacking (take a right at the “Cathedral Spires” you see in the distance in your photograph) as far as “Hole In the Wall,” which has to be about the most delightful place on the planet. We camped, surrounded by small streams melting under and through the receding snowcover, revealing fields of glacier lilies, with dramatic mountain views all around. This was in contrast to the previous night, when we camped at Brown Pass, where the mosquitoes were so dense that our dinner consisted of crackers and instant hummus, consumed in haste while we were wearing full raingear for protection.

That was a year with an unusual amount of snow and very slow melting – hikes were opening late and we didn’t make it to our planned destination (Boulder Pass), in spite of hiking in mid-July. Seems to be very different this year.

Another sends a video tour:

I went there in 1981 as a 12-year-old and was fascinated by the Mule Deer walking through the streets of the town. 31 years later and I recognized the location immediately. Funny how memory works.

Another:

A bit of trivia off the top of my head: there’s only one church in the little town of Waterton there and it’s an LDS chapel. Mormons colonists settled in southern Alberta in the 1880s. Like the Mexican colonies that Romney comes from, this was a destination for many polygamist saints trying to stay clear of the feds (though polygamy was also illegal in Canada). My own great-grandfather grew up there, in Cardston, about an hour away from Waterton.

Another goes for the gold:

I can’t be the only one to get this location, so here’s my best guess at the location. It wasn’t taken from a lower story since we are way above the outside features, so that rules out someone snapping a shot from the tea room. Further examination shows that it was likely taken from a paned window, and since the panes on the second and third floors are on the upper half, unless someone was standing on a bed they wouldn’t likely get this perspective. The fifth floor seems too high, so I’m guessing the fourth floor.

Vfyw(2)Now, which fourth floor window? Well, there are two features of note here: the stone wall and the fire hydrant. (Some of the other hydrants are painted as bears, this one is red.) The best photo I found comes from this blog and shows the front elevation of the property. The wall is about 15 feet (or, in Canada, 5 metres) out from the tea room, but more like 15m out from the wings. It must have been taken from a wing to be visible from this high. And the location of the wall gives us the left/south side of the building. Also, the wall ends by about the wing, this would rule out the north-most set of windows; additionally the hydrant at the far left of the photo rules out the southernmost windows. So if I am correct, the photo was taken from the middle set.

Now, it appears that the photographer was standing to the left of the scene, so it’s probably not the left-most window. I’d guess it wasn’t the right-most window, either based on nothing but human nature. So it’s one of the middle two, I’d guess the photographer’s-left one. It’s marked on the photo attached.

Close but not quite. Details from the photo’s submitter:

I know you must get hundreds of these, but as a fanatic Dish reader and (very) occasional identifier of a window, I thought this might make a good window for you, either as just one to post or as a contest view. It was taken on July 19 at 6:24 AM from the famous Prince of Wales Hotel in Waterton, Alberta, at the northern end of Upper Waterton Lake in Waterton Lakes National Park, just across the border from Glacier National Park in Montana. My wife and I were staying there while on a biking trip through Glacier and Waterton Parks, and as soon as we looked out our room window (number 201 by the way), we said “this is for VFYW!”

The view is fairly well known and might be a tad easy for the crazed fanatics who identify windows in Uganda, but it might make a late summer gift to the rest of us who like to get one right every once in a while!

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The hotel is situated high on a bluff overlooking the end of Waterton Lake, and it’s reputedly one of the windiest places in Canada. The hotel is held down by cables so it won’t shift in the high winds, and we could hear the wind whistling through the room even with the windows closed. Certainly the most scenic view ever out of a hotel room for my wife and me.

Three readers sent images of the hotel with circles over the correct window, but the following entry was by far the most detailed, so it’s the winner this week:

I was instantly able to recognize the unique glacier formed terrain growing up in Kalispell, Montana and being lucky enough to visit Glacier National Park so many times. The landscape there is so beautiful it’s hard to forget them. The first thing that came to mind was the view from Apgar Lodge at the southern end of Lake MacDonald but I knew that wasn’t right because of the little bay and developed town on the right in the picture. There is no bay like that on Lake MacDonald. I had a hunch it might be in Waterton National Park, which is just to the north of Glacier National Park on the Canadian side of the border. There along Upper Waterton Lake is the town of Waterton, which I visited when I was a kid.

Sure enough the orientation of the bay and in particular the turquoise/blue roof confirmed that Waterton was the correct location. The direction of the photo and little stone wall is a dead giveaway that the photo was taken looking south from the Prince of Wales Hotel which sites up on a bluff across the bay from town. I remember the hotel fondly. We had tea in the restaurant and walked around the grounds enjoying the stunning view.

As for locating the exact window, the red pipe off to the left and the stone wall were the biggest clues. The ride pipe is actually a fire hydrant. Given the stunning landscape surrounding the hydrants (I think there are two of them on the property) they were photographed quite frequently because they are (or were) painted to look like little bears. Based on the elevation above the ground and the absence of a deck in the image I feel pretty confidant the photo was taken from the second floor. As for the exact window I spent many many hours going through flickr trying to triangulate everything. That was pretty hard. I’m going to guess that the picture was taken from the 1st window from the right. The yellow circle in the attached powerpoint shows which window I’m talking about:

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