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Day Trips from Calgary: Crowsnest Mountain Resort

 

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Friday was a lovely day, warm and sunny, blue skies and the mountain tops just dusted with snow.  We left for Crowsnest at about 3.30pm, stopping half way through our journey at Chain Lakes to take the dogs for a short walk. With the break the 206km (gate to gate) took us approximately 2 ½ hours.  While this trip was a weekend outing ratherthan a day trip it is one which features in Corbett’s book, so I’m posting it under this category.

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This is our cabin which had a magnificent view of the mountains. Here is the view from our deck.

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Once we had settled in we went for a walk around the resort and chatted to a fellow dog-walker.  Then back to the cabin where we sat on the deck sipping beer and admiring the mountains until the suns started to sink and it got a little chilly.  Dinner, rummy kub and a bit of desultory TV watching and then to bed, planning on spending the next day at Chinook Lake, fly fishing.

Fishing should ideally be a dawn or dusk activity.  By the time we had climbed out of bed, taken the dogs for a walk, eaten a full breakfast – eggs, bacon, sausages, mushrooms, crumbed prawns followed by coffee and orange juice – the morning was half gone!  We drove to Chinook Lake, which is a beautiful body of water, but the wind had started to come up so just enjoyed the scenery   and then went for a drive towards the BC boundary, stopping for a while at Crowsnest Lake and chatting to a lone fisherman who had not been successful enough to encourage us to try casting into the wind. (Brenda, where were you? You would never have let us wimp out so easily)

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Next stop was Island Lake where we found a parking spot under the trees right next to the water to enjoy the soup we had brought along for lunch.

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Sherry relaxing on the shore of Island Lake.

This is a beautiful country and I find myself taking photo after photo just to try and capture the splendour of the landscape.

Drove back towards the resort, passing a flock of Rocky Mountain Bighorn Sheep along the way, but decided to bypass it and head into Coleman, which is the nearest  town, to pick up some supplies.  Coleman is part of the Municipality of Crowsnest Pass and is on the Crowsnest Heritage Route.

Settled in 1903, Coleman was a coal mining town and it has a number of  historic buildings, a museum,  and, nearby, the ruins of several abandoned coal mines.  Someday we need to explore it more fully but today we were frustrated at the lack of any shopping facilities, after driving through West Colesman and Central Colesman we finally got back onto the main road and discovered a Happy Mart where we were able to buy  what we needed and also treated ourselves to ice-cream cones.

Another walk around the resort when we returned then hotdogs, more rummy kub and Baileys, and a movie before retiring.

Reading back it sounds as if our weekend break revolved around food and, true to form, we started Sunday with another big breakfast before packing the car and heading out.

Richard hadn’t been to Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump so we decided to go back home the long way around, driving along Route 3 towards Fort McLeod and turning off to the Buffalo Jump which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Jump is said to be named for a young Peigan hunter who stood under a ledge of the cliff at the edge of the Porcupine Hills over which the buffalo were driven.  His desire to watch the buffalo fall to their deaths resulted in his own as the piled up bodies eventually trapped and crushed him.

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I waited in the parking area with the dogs while Richard went through the Interpretive Centre.

From there we made just two short detours before going home.  Looking in vain for a turnout with a bit of shade we eventually turned into Granum – a pretty little town, which is, according to its website, the smallest town in Alberta with a population at last census of 445 people.  There we parked under a tree  to have coffee and a hotdog for lunch.

From Granum we continued along Highway 2, eventually turning off towards High River, still showing signs of the devastating flood, and then Okotoks to see the Big Rock, or Okotoks Erratic, close up, having simply driven past it previously.

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Okotoks Big Rock originated near the town of Jasper approximately 18000 years ago and was carried by a glacier down the Athabasca Valley  and along the foothills to its resting place outside of Okotoks.  The rock weighs 16500 tonnes and is the biggest glacial erratic in North America. The name Okotoks comes from the Aboriginal work okatoksituktai meaning ‘where the big rock lies’.

By now we, both human and canine, were ready for home and it wasn’t long before we were unpacking, settling down with a cup of tea and looking through the photo’s we took during the weekend.  Our next road trip will probably be a longer one.  We’re looking forward to visiting Saskatoon again.

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September 22, 2013 Posted by | Day Trips from Calgary, Living in Canada | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Day Trips from Calgary

Inspired by the book Day Trips from Calgary by Bill Corbett, we decided we would start to work our way through it, visiting as many places as possible within a day’s journey of Calgary.  Our first choice was the Leighton Art Centre, which I have been wanting to visit for some time. So we set out confidently yesterday, turning south on 37 Street according to the directions and then looking for the west turn into 266 Avenue.  However, we ran out of avenues at 242 and, completely lost, decided to turn the trip into a pleasant drive through the countryside, followed by a picnic at Lloyd Park.

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Today we made a second attempt to find the Art Centre, armed with directions supplied by a friend.  The book, unfortunately, left out a couple of important turns which led us astray yesterday and Google, for some reason, shows  the Centre in Millarville, nowhere near its actual location.

Despite the setback it was well worth the visit.  There is an exhibition of water based media on until the 20th October, featuring a number of canvases I would happily have bought and brought home with me if my wallet would allow. The house itself is a work of art, and a step back into history.

Beside the art though, the setting alone is worth the trip.  Leighton Art Centre is apparently at the same elevation as the Banff townsite.  As a result it has a breathtaking view across the Millerville valley to the distant mountains.

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After wandering through the gallery I took a walk along a grassy pathway to a well placed bench where I sat for a while in the sun. Although the temperatures are still sitting in the middle 20’s the breeze was  just cool enough to encourage me to linger there a while.

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Before heading back to the centre I wandered a little further along the path to gaze, fairly perplexedly, at a small grove of dead trees.  This consists of  1000 dead spruce trees which were dug up, stripped of their leaves and branches, and replanted on the hilltop at the centre  by  Peter von Tiesenhausen who named the area Sanctuary. Admittedly the artistic value escapes me but I am sure that there are many who have been entranced by the display.

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On the way back we passed a row of four atypical red barns in front of which were a number of beehives and many busy, buzzing bees.

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A well spent afternoon.  Next weekend – Crowsnest.

September 15, 2013 Posted by | Living in Canada, Travels | , , | Leave a comment