The cycle of life in Canada's national mountain parks is an astonishing thing. And, every now and then, someone is able to capture the wonder through a camera's lens.

So, to mark the year that was, both Banff National Park and Waterton Lakes National Park made best use of social media and compiled stunning photo galleries to mark some of the most amazing events caught on film in 2013.

From elk losing their way amidst the 2013 summer Alberta flood, to a small herd drowning under the ice, and the efforts of parks staff to keep wildlife and ecosystems healthy, the galleries are a stunning literal snapshot of life, and death, in Canada's Rocky Mountain parks.

Click through the slideshow below for some of the best moments and photos captured in Banff and Waterton Lakes by Parks Canada staff in 2013.

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  • A very young black bear runs across the Bow Valley Parkway.

  • <blockquote>Flooding in late June of 2013 caused a lot of challenges – and not just for people. These elk found themselves caught on the highway corridor in the lower Bow Valley. Flood waters had swept away sections of highway fencing. The elk found their way in but needed a little help getting back ‘out’. Luckily there was no traffic as a result of a highway closure.</blockquote>

  • <blockquote>Checking to see if the tufts of hair coming off her ears are in place, this Lynx (and her kittens) spent quite a bit of time this winter around Deer Lodge in Lake Louise. While monitoring her, Resource Management Officer Alex Taylor captured this shot of her looking at her own reflection in the window.</blockquote>

  • <blockquote>Black bears are good climbers. Resource Management Officers found this one perched comfortably on a pine bough. </blockquote>

  • <blockquote>Bear Guardian Trevor Donald caught this young grizzly bear breaking the speed limit at the Lake Louise campground. Bear Guardians - a team dedicated to maintaining the safety of bears and people - spent a lot of time in this area over the summer educating visitors on safe viewing distances and good bear watching etiquette.</blockquote>

  • <blockquote>A few years ago, Bear 128 and his sibling were orphaned at a young age. This spring he was seen travelling with another young male, Bear 126. Male bears don't normally socialize but Resource Management Officers suspect these two animals found safety in numbers. But love was in the air and the two bears parted company when Bear 126 began spending time with this female in the area. Here the two are captured in an intimate moment.</blockquote>

  • <blockquote>Elk – or Wapiti - are most likely to be seen around the Banff townsite/lower Bow Valley area. Over recent years Resource Management Officers have worked hard to deter them from hanging around in the townsite. Here a Bull has been encouraged to move his harem of females across the Bow River away from more populated areas.</blockquote>

  • <blockquote>Resource Management Officer Dan Rafla spotted these two coyote pups while on patrol in the spring of 2013.</blockquote>

  • <blockquote>A dramatic story unfolded in early winter 2013 when 9 elk fell through the ice and drowned in the Bow River. Most were discovered by staff, removed and flown to a safer location for predators, but this large male grizzly bear discovered one more and spent a few days gorging himself before the cold weather really set in.</blockquote>

  • <blockquote>This is one of the two offspring of Bear 72, a female grizzly well-known to Resource Management Officers in Lake Louise. The two siblings spent the summer on their own for the first time after a large, male grizzly began courting their mother. </blockquote>

  • <strong>NEXT ----> 2013 in Waterton Lakes National Park in photos.</strong>

  • Vimy Peak at sunset.

  • <blockquote>Visitor safety training on the cliff near the visitor centre often draws spectators. This time around the furry, four-legged variety drops by.</blockquote>

  • <blockquote>A Waterton bighorn sheep poses for the camera.</blockquote>

  • <blockquote>Park staff conduct a high-elevation prescribed burn in Blue Grouse Basin in October.</blockquote>

  • <blockquote>Elk on the Blakiston Fan during the Waterton Wildlife Weekend in September.</blockquote>

  • <blockquote>Early snowfall in October provides a backdrop for golden larches at Upper Rowe Lake.</blockquote>

  • <blockquote>A chinook arch is lit up as the sun goes down in Waterton in late November.</blockquote>

  • <blockquote>One of Google's Street View camera operators hikes the Waterton trails in June.</blockquote>

  • <blockquote>Waterton welcomed four new bison calves in 2013.</blockquote>

  • <blockquote>Tree huggers - one of our remote cameras captures some young grizzly bears having fun.</blockquote>

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