Happy Birthday Bob!!
For Bob’s birthday we decided to drive to Waterton Lakes National Park in Canada. The epic vista of Prince of Wales Hotel and the peaks of Waterton greeted us as we approached the town on the shores of Upper Waterton Lake. The Hotel was constructed between 1926 and 1927, by the Great Northern Railway to lure American tourists north of the border during the prohibition era. The hotel was named after the Prince of Wales (later King Edward Vlll), in a transparent attempt to entice him to stay in the hotel on his visit to Canada in 1927, but the Prince stayed at a nearby ranch instead. We made dinner reservations to celebrate Bob’s birthday, then we went off to explore Waterton and some of the scenic drives. First we had a celebratory beer at a hotel on the edge of the Lake. Then we drove up to Cameron Lake at the end of the Akamina Parkway. At an elevation of 5400 feet this picturesque alpine lake, an aquamarine jewel nestled in the basin of the Rocky Mountains, offers the pristine beauty of a remote mountain environment. We walked out on the wharf for some photos and watched as a man went for a swim in the cool water. I would love to join him but not this time. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading
Drumheller, Alberta, was are final destination for the weekend. Drumheller is a town within the Red Deer River Valley in the Badlands of east-central Alberta. We had flown over Drumheller earlier to get a bird’s-eye view of the Drumheller Golf Club, where the back-nine holes are in the hoodoos. We visited the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology, a museum that hosts Canada’s largest collection of dinosaur fossils, (more than 130,000 fossils), opened on September 25, 1985. It is a magnificent museum more than 47,000 sq ft is dedicated to exhibits, in a series of chronological galleries celebrating the 3.9-billion-year-history of life on earth. The “Dinosaur Hall” with 40 mounted dinosaur skeletons, including the Tyrannosaurus rex, Albertosaurus Stegosaurus, and Triceratops, was the highlight of the museum. We saw the Devonian Reef, a life-size model of a 375-million-year old reef. Also on display is the “Triassic Giant”, a 1,700 sq ft long specimen of the world’s largest known marine reptile. We were so glad that we came early, when we left the Museum 3 hours later the line of tourists to enter the place was probably 1/2 mile long and the traffic to get in the parking lot was way down the road. It was well worth the time we spent exploring all the exhibits and we would definitely visit here again. A must see! Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading
Rosebud with golf course at top.
Our last weekend with Pat and Harry was a fun-filled adventurous 3 days away from
Calgary. We drove a couple hours northeast to a small town of Rosebud, where we had flown over in Harry’s plane a few days earlier. We played golf at the Akokiniiskway Golf Club, it was the Rosebud Valley’s original name meaning ” by the river of many roses”.
This 9-hole executive course has lush fairways and grass greens, meandering among the trees and along the Rosebud River, it was definitely a fun course to play. In the evening we enjoyed a spectacular show of the Wizard of Oz at the local theater. The next day we drove to Stettler, Alberta, Harry’s hometown. We had flown over Stettler in Harry’s plane to see his farm from the air. We were excited to ride on the Alberta Prairie Railway Excursions, a heritage railway originating in Stettler and runs between Stettler and Big Valley. Click on thumbnail to view images
Today our tour guides Harry & Pat took us to the Heritage Park Historical Village in Calgary, that opened on July 1, 1964. The Park is located on 127 acres of parkland on the banks of the Glenmore Reservoir, and is Canada’s largest living history museum. Exhibits span Western Canadian history from the 1860s to the 1950s, and many of the buildings are historical and were transported to the park for display. The people dress in historic costumes, and antique and horse-drawn vehicles service the site. We rode the steam locomotive train on a small railway that goes around the circumference of the park which has original 1900s stations. We also visited the roundhouse that houses various railway equipment, an operational turntable, and a car shop with very rare and unique passenger cars. We saw the working smithy and an aboriginal encampment the representing the Blackfeet where the women were braiding sweet grass. We ate lunch in the historical Wainwright Hotel where Pat used to visit when she was a child. As we walked around the Park we followed a moving play showing how the RCMP “always get their man”. It was such a great day enjoying the past and finished it off with a tasty beer at the Big Rock Brewery. This place is a must see when you are in Calgary. Click on thumbnail to view images
We all got an early start and drove to the Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump, a World Heritage Site, located where the foothills of the Rocky Mountains begin to rise from the prairie. The buffalo jump was used for 5,500 years by the indigenous peoples of the plains to kill buffalo by driving them off the 36 foot high cliff. The cliff itself is about 1000 feet long, and at its highest point drops 10 meters into the valley below. The site was in use at least 6,000 years ago, and the bone deposits are 39 feet deep. The buffalo carcass was used for a variety of purposes, from tools made from the bone, to the hide used to make dwellings and clothing. According to legend, a young Blackfoot wanted to watch the buffalo plunge off the cliff from below, but was buried underneath the falling buffalo. He was later found dead under the pile of carcasses, where he had his head smashed in. Thus the name for this site and the wonderful Museum that we explored. Click on thumbnail to view images
We are off to Cochrane today to visit Pat and Harry Koehler in Calgary, Alberta. We arrived at the Bow Rivers Edge RV Park early and made it to Pat & Harry’s by 4pm. Great to see them again and to meet their family. Excited for the 2 weeks that we are going to spend exploring with them around Calgary.
Our first adventure is to the Cu Nim Gliding Club near Black Diamond, in the foothills of southern Alberta, to ride our first ever glider plane with an instructor. Harry is a member of the Club and is a tow Pilot which means he tows the gliders into the sky from his plane and then releases it. Our instructor, Phil, is a 40 year veteran of gliding and gave us a lot of confidence. I went first, strapped into the harness, I climbed into the two seater glider, in the front seat. A glider is a highly efficient unpowered aircraft. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading
Today we did a driving tour on a gravel road from Canmore to the Kananaskis Country, we wanted to get away from the “maddening crowd” and figured there would not be too many tourists on a gravel road. The drive was very scenic following the Kananaskis River and at one point we had to stop to watch the mountain goats in the middle if the road. We passed through the Peter Lougheed Provincial Park and saw a magnificent moose from the road in the meadow. We ended at the Kananaskis Village where we did a little shopping. In 2002 the 28th G8 Summit was held in the Kananaskis Resort at the Delta Lodge, the only G8 Summit to be held in Western Canada. We got back to the RV Park in plenty of time to relax and get ready to leave tomorrow for Cochrane.
Today we drove from Canmore to Banff National Park and through the quaint Village of Lake Louise to Moraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks. The best view of the Lake is from the Rockpile, where you can see its amazing distinct shade of blue-green due to the refraction of light off the rock flour deposited in the lake all the time. We wanted to get away from the crowds so we rented a canoe and paddled our way around the Lake. The image of Moraine Lake is world famous and appears in many places including the reverse side of the 1969 and 1979 issues of the Canadian twenty dollar bill. We stayed out on the Lake for awhile just enjoying the scenic beauty and peacefulness of being on the calm water. Click on thumbnail to view images Continue reading
After leaving BC we and headed to Canmore, Alberta staying at the Spring Creek RV Park for three days. Early Monday morning we left at 6:30am to drive to the Columbia Icefields about 2 1/2 hour drive from Canmore. The whole way there it rained really hard and we were afraid that we wouldn’t be able to see the Icefields, however, when we arrived at 9am the sun came out and we went on the 9:30 tour in the Athabasca Glacier snow coach. A snow coach is a specialized vehicle, designed to operate over snow or ice, it weighs 33 tons, top speed is 25 mph but only 18 mph on the Athabasca Glacier, and it can transport 56 passengers, with six extra-large, low pressure tires. The Columbia Icefield is the largest ice field in the Rocky Mts of North America, astride the Continental Divide, it is about 125 sq mi in area, 330 ft to 1,198 ft in depth and receives up to 280 in of snowfall per year. The ice fields feeds 8 major glaciers, we could see 5 of them, North Face, Andromeda, Dome and Athabasca Glacier, which is the one we drove up onto in the snow coach. This glacier is approximately 3.7 mi long, covers an area of 2.3 sq mi and is measured to be 300-980 ft thick. However, it recedes at a rate of about 16 ft per year, when I was here in the 60’s it was massive compared to what I am standing upon today. We were excited to be able to see and experience the thrill of the glacier, without a mass of humanity. Continue reading