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Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park

Over the long weekend we drove south east from Calgary, through Medicine Hat to the Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.

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While the rest of our friends and family had already settled  in the camping area we, together with our poms, Shandy and Sherry, opted for the luxury of Elkwater Lodge instead.  Unfortunately when we reached our destination and sifted through the various items we brought for the family – water guns, pillows, a duvet, a dog playpen, and a blanket  – we discovered we had inadvertently neglected to pack our own suitcase which still languished at home on our bed!

The hotel  staff were far too polite to comment on the luggage which we carried upstairs to our room – two dogs’ beds.  Having ‘unpacked’ we set off for Elkwater Lake to meet the rest of the group.  The lake is lovely, perfect for boating, and the kayaks had already been well used.

The 'beach' at Elkwater Lake

The ‘beach’ at Elkwater Lake

We drove back to the campsite, set up the dog playpen and left Shandy and Sherry there while we headed back for Medicine Hat – 70 km away –  but the closest place where we would be able to buy a T-shirt or two and a change of underwear to see us through the weekend.

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The dogs in their playpen (and Asher in his hat)

Lunch at Wendy’s and a shopping spree at The Bay in Medicine Hat and we wended our way back to Elkwater to join everyone in a barbecue at the campsite, then, ready for bed, we took our dogs and our new purchases back to the Elkwater lodge which is located in the tiny community of Elkwater alongside the Elkwater Lake where we slept comfortably in our airconditioned room.

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Sitting around the fire at Trace and Mark’s campsite

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… and the meat is sizzling!

Following breakfast the next morning we went back to the campsite where the annual water-fight was soon in full swing.  Water-filled balloons and water guns were brandished and soon everyone in range was thoroughly soaked.

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Water, water everywhere

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Water pistols are not what they used to be!

Having managed, fairly successfully, to avoid the worst of the dousing we decided to explore a little.  Asher and Cale came with us and we bought ice-creams before driving off in search of Reesor Lake.  After an unplanned detour which took us off in the direction of Wild Horse, the USA border post, we finally stopped at the Lookout point above the lake.  From here you can look out over the valley in all directions and imagine it as it was 10000 years ago when the plateau on which we stood was an island surrounded by glacial ice.

Image Looking down at Reesor Lake

Cypress Hills is covered in forest and forms a green plateau rising up above the surrounding prairies, The park itself spans the two provinces, Alberta and Saskatchewan, covers 50000 acres and is 1466 meters at its highest point.   This plateau was the only piece of land spared the glaciers as they scoured out the valleys below.

Apparently there is a large diversity of animal and bird life in the park, and Ray and Brian were woken up early in the morning by a flock of wild turkeys surrounding their tent but, although I travelled armed with my binoculars, camera and bird books, the only wild life I saw was on a walk with the dogs when we passed a squirrel and a Mule deer with her fawn.  Oh yes, and the pelican on Reesor Lake.

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Reesor Lake

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Reesor Lake with boardwalk and pelican

Spring fed, Reesor Lake is another beautiful body of water, about 20 km from Elkwater.  When we arrived at the Lake we were just in time to watch a bride and her entourage wading out of the water, skirts held high, where they had obviously been having photographs taken.

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The wedding party

We didn’t spend much time at the lakeside.  After taking a few photo’s ourselves we started back, only stopping to let Cale try out an old pump near the water’s edge.

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After another evening barbecue and bacon buns the next morning – food plays an enormous role on these camping trips – we helped Trace, Mark and the boys pack up their caravan. Ray and Brian had left the afternoon before as Brian had to work on Monday which was a holiday for the rest of us.

We left at noon, in sweltering weather and took about 4 hours to get home, stopping once to allow the dogs (and ourselves) to cool off under the trees at a rest stop area, about half way between Medicine Hat and Calgary.

Due in part to our impromptu shopping trip to Medicine Hat we did not have anywhere near enough time to explore the park which has many places of historical significance both for the aboriginal groups and for European settlers.  We will definitely be visiting again.

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August 11, 2012 - Posted by | Living in Canada, Travels | , , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Looks like great fun and a beautiful place. Thanks for stopping by my blog.

    Comment by sharkbytes | December 12, 2012 | Reply


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