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Ten Days on the Island.

July 4th   West Jet announced on landing in Victoria. “If you wish to smoke there are designated areas in the airport.  Anyone found smoking outside of these areas will immediately be flown to Winnipeg”.  A dire threat which, I’m sure, kept everyone safely within the designated smoking areas.

Our Bed and Breakfast was all it promised to be.  Finding it, however, was not that easy.  Our GPS appeared totally confused and we travelled three times around the same traffic circle before giving up and asking someone the way.  A very kind lady, undeterred by the harassed couple who accosted her in her own driveway attempted to show us where to go but gave up in the end and led us in her car to Lochside Road from where we were easily able to find our way.

We were originally booked on the second floor but Denise, who signed us in, took one look at Richard’s cane and changed our room to the main floor.  (We used the cane with effect to pre-board our Victoria flight as well.) We went to Smitties for dinner and came back to fall, exhausted, into bed.

July 5th Woke refreshed the next morning and took some time to appreciate our room which was lovely – spacious and well appointed, with a spa tub which we made good use of. Tea coffee and snacks available in the lounge and a tasty breakfast served up in the cosy dining room.

Our breakfast table

After a late breakfast we took a drive to Sydney Waterfront and walked around taking photo’s and admiring the outdoor statues.  Returned to the B&B and then walked to 3rd Avenue Café for sandwiches and soup before returning to our room for some R & R (reading and relaxation).  At 5pm sherry was served in the lounge and we had a chance to meet and talk to some of the other guests before driving to Save on Foods for some essentials and to Odysseys, a Greek restaurant, for dinner.

6th Today we drove to Victoria and took a hop on/hop off bus from outside the Empress Hotel for a 90min ride through Victoria.  This was really worthwhile and a stress-free way to see Victoria since this was our first time back on Vancouver Island for over 20 years.

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We then had coffee and a snack at a small coffee shop near the hotel and drove back to Sydney.  Rested and read again in the afternoon – a pattern was beginning to emerge! – the obligatory sherry during which we chatted to some guests who had just been to the Butterfly Garden and decided to follow their example over the weekend. We then walked up to the Street Market in Bailey Street where we wandered past the stalls and brought back salmon burgers for dinner.

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7th After another delicious breakfast we took a walk to Beacon/4th Street to visit the Sydney Museum. They had a very interesting exhibit showing the beginnings and growth of Sidney.  We had coffee and a snack in a nearby coffee shop.

In the afternoon we drove to Eastview Drive and walked along the sea path which is closed when the ferry comes in. Later we went to the Thai Restaurant which we had had booked by the very obliging B&B staff the evening before.

We had a table outside where we could enjoy the early evening breezes.

Thai restaurant

Hundreds of gulls flew over us, bombarding our rental car but fortunately not targeting us.  When we finished eating we started back down 2nd Street and noticed that the ferry was in so we went to have a look at it before returning to our room.

8th Great breakfast again, then off to look for the Butterfly Gardens. Got onto Lockside South instead of 17 but since it eventually led into 17 not a problem.  Butterfly Gardens were lovely – spent about an hour there taking photos and looing at everything.  Drove b ack to Sidney and parked at the B&B then walked along Bevan Avenue and found a Toast Café where we had lunch.  Back in our room Richard had a nap. I tried to use the guest laptop but it had no word processor. Later we played rummy kub in the yard then sherry in the lounge where we chatted to other guests.

We went to the Boondocks Pub for our evening meal. Probably the best meal so far (other than breakfasts).  I had clam chowder and Richard a seafood fettuccine and Caesar salad.

Outside Boondocks

We drove along the seafront after we had eaten and then back to the B&B where we had coffee and spent a couple of hours chatting to Dianne and Dwayne from Calgary.

9th After breakfast we exchanged cell numbers with Diane and Dwayne from Okotoks. Today we did a road trip to Nanaimo, crossing the Malahat and stopping off in Chemainus to look at the murals and have a cup of coffee.  We waited some time for the horse and carriage tour which did not materialize then drove through to Nanaimo where we had lunch.  If we do the trip again I would only go as far as Chemainus, there was far more to see there.  After lunch we drove back, arriving at 5.30pm and opted to skip dinner.

10th We decided to have a laid-back day today. Read for a while after breakfast then drove to Eastview Road, parked the car and walked along the pathways, ending up at Beacon Landing for a lunch of seafood chowder – pricy but delicious. Back at the B&B spent most of the afternoon reading.  Denise at the B&B booked us into the Seaglass Restaurant for 6.30pm so we took a drive there at about 6pm (after sherry) and ended up at the Latch Restaurant with no one around to assist us.  Phoned for directions and retraced our steps to find Seaglass.  Lovely setting right on the yacht harbour. The meal – Halibut – was well presented and tasty although Richard didn’t want the sauce and found the fish bland without it.  Very pricy though so shall be back to pub meals tomorrow.

Sea Glass restaurant

11th Drove to Butchart Gardens today after checking out the quick way to the airport. Ended up on East Saanich instead of 17th but it led into Keating which is the road we were looking for so worked well.  The gardens were lovely and we managed to cover more than I expected.

Sydney - Buchart Gardens

Had coffee and a sandwich at the coffee shop at the gardens before driving back to the B&B. Went back to Boondocks for seafood alfredo after a game of rummy kub and a glass of sherry.

12th A really laid-back day today. Richard not feeling too well in the morning so I went for a brisk walk – about an hour up to the wharf and back down Beacon Road before returning for tea.  Both of us went for a walk again in the afternoon and then chatted to a Dutch couple, now living in Ontario, over sherry.  We then walked to Bistro Suisse for schnitzel for dinner.

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Our last day. Packed up after breakfast and said goodbye to our gracious hosts before leaving for the airport.  A lovely holiday in beautiful surroundings.  I suspect we will be back.

July 8, 2017 Posted by | Living in Canada, Travels, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Weekend at Pigeon Lake

We went to Pigeon Lake for the weekend.  A three hour drive door to door (on the way back – on the way there, due to stops for gas and coffee and missing our turnoff from 13W, it took 4 hours)  We didn’t take our boat with us as we only had one full day there and planned to explore a little.

The condo-cottage was comfortable and well equipped other than bedding and towels which we had to take with us.  A barbecue and chairs on the deck,  a fire pit and a white chain fence surrounding a green lawn made sitting outside very inviting, even without the bonus of the lake being just across the road from us.

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We went for a number of walks around the little hamlet of Mulhurst Bay and along the lakeside.  Then spent Saturday afternoon driving around the lake which was fun, although much of the time the road takes you away from the water.  There are many little side roads to explore which do take you down to the beaches, but we’ll need to go back again to see them all.

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Mulhurst Bay is on the north side of the lake.  Driving down the south side we came upon the Village at Pigeon Lake which is a quaint little village with a number of shops. We did some shopping for our evening barbecue and sat outside one of the shops eating ice cream.

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Sherry also had some fun exploring.

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Evenings were spent playing rummy kub (of course).  Despite a sinus headache which plagued me all weekend we had a lovely time and will return, next time with the boat and fishing gear.

September 12, 2016 Posted by | Travels | 1 Comment

Widow Maker

This afternoon we drove out to the Kananaskis river and found a ‘picnic spot’ overlooking the Widow Maker, a rapid on the lower course of the river, which flows through Bow Valley Provincial Park.  The Widow Maker is just below an artificial lake, Barrier Lake, which is used for hydroelectric power generation.

The flow of water from Barrier Lake into this part of the river is remotely controlled by TransAlta who usually post the release times and flow rates so that the water flowing through the Widow Maker at any given time is predictable.  When we arrived the water level was low and instead of swift flowing rapids we looked out over a quiet pool. A couple of fishermen soon arrived and we watched as they flicked their lines over the pool, trying to entice a trout to their flies. (Tempting Brenda?)

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Within 20 minutes the scene had changed completely.  Water flowed down the river and over the rocks into the pool, forming the well known Widow Maker rapid and turning the quiet fishing pool into a swirling mass of water.  The fishermen wisely moved out and the canoeists started to arrive, entertaining us with their expertise and their many Eskimo or kayak rolls as they attempted to master the rapids.

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Later I took a short stroll along the pathway which followed the banks of the river to get another perspective of it.  In the quiet under the trees alongside the water I was struck anew by the beauty of this country and how blessed we are to be able to live here.

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A lovely afternoon spent in good company and in beautiful surroundings.

October 18, 2015 Posted by | Travels | , , , | Leave a comment

Saskatoon revisited

This was my fourth visit to Saskatoon and, while some of our family lives there, we will probably make many more. So the challenge is to find something different to see each time.  We drove there this time in convoy with Tracy and the boys, their dogs and cat and our dog, Sherry.  On the way we stopped at a picnic ground at Alsask, on the border of Alberta and Saskatchewan,  to walk the dogs (and the cat).

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During the week in Saskatoon we decided, in addition to our usual activities, we would visit Lake Waskesiu and take a ride on the Southern Saskatchewen River on the Prairie Lily.

In the end the day chosen for the drive to the lake, a trip of about 3 hours, was overcast and threatened rain and only Tracy and I chose to risk it.  It was worth the effort.  We had lunch at the Elk Ridge Lodge- the photo of which is unfortunately a little dark due to the low light –

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– before driving down to the lake itself.  The roads on the way to the Lodge and down to the lake were bounded by boreal forest. Who knew that the Prairies had so many trees?

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Lake Waskesiu is roughly in the centre of the Prince Albert National Park and is one of 7 major lakes in the park.   The name means elk in the Cree language, hence the Elk Ridge Lodge which together with cabins, cottages and townhouses provides accommodation for the many holidaymakers who enjoy the facilities at the Elk Ridge Resort.  There are a couple of public camping places nearer the lake and a little community of quaint shops and restaurants. Despite the development the lake itself looks serene and untouched and there are a number of hiking paths in the area. Unfortunately we did not have time to do more than wander along the banks near the town-site and visit a couple of the little shops.

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Our boat ride on the South Saskatchewan River was also taken in the rain.  This wasn’t really a problem since the rain was intermittent and the riverboat has both a canopy on the top deck and a heated cabin below.  The Prairie Lily offers a variety of cruises on the river, including dinner and brunch trips and can be booked for business and family events.

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We opted for a straight hour cruise up and down the river.  The hot chocolate we bought on board was lousy but the cruise itself was a fun way to see Saskatoon from a new perspective.  We passed the Delta Bessborough, also known as the Castle on the River – a beautiful hotel dating back to 1930 – where Tracy and I stayed when we first drove through to Saskatoon to look at purchasing a house there for the family.

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We also passed under a number of bridges, some of which sheltered flocks of pigeons, hiding out from raptors which apparently never think to look for them under a bridge!  Saskatoon has 8 separate river crossings and is known as the City of Bridges.

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The week went past far too quickly but I look forward to exploring Saskatoon and its surroundings further on our next visit.

 

September 13, 2014 Posted by | Living in Canada, Travels | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Houseboating on the Shuswap

This has been a beautiful summer, spoilt only by an extremely unseasonable snowfall in Calgary which left our yard looking like mid January instead of early September.

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Before this anomaly of nature we were able to make the most of the summer sunshine by taking a few trips around the countryside.  One of these was our trip through the Rockies to BC where we spent a long weekend houseboating.

The scenery alone makes the trip worthwhile. From Calgary to Shuswap the constantly changing view of mountains, trees, lakes and rivers is amazing.

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Once we arrived at Waterways docks our captain(s) had to go for a briefing while we loaded our belongings onto our boat, Shanda, and started to settle in, but not before we were taken on a thorough tour of the boat and required to check off a list consisting of everything from cutlery to waste bins.

Unfortunately we had scarcely started to unpack when we got a call from Calgary telling us that one of the dogs had gone missing. A frantic hour followed as our friend and dog sitter scoured the area together with many of the neighbours and a photo of the miscreant was posted on FB.  Knowing that we would not be able to enjoy the holiday while Shinga was roaming the countryside, Tracy and I drove the 4 1/2 hours back to Calgary, arriving after midnight and ten minutes after our arrival Shinga heard Tracy’s calls and came running in through the gate!

3 hours sleep and, Shinga loaded in the car we headed back to start our delayed boat trip. We took a water taxi to the little bay where the rest of our party was waiting for us.

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The rest of the weekend lived up to our expectations. We drank wine, and other beverages (and blew up floating devices) in the hot tub which is always our favourite haunt on the boat

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… visited the Sea Store – where we bought said floating devices

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… fished, well, some of us did, with varying success. The picture is of Cale, fishing off the back of the boat.

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… swam in the lake which was lovely and warm.

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… and went walking along the sand and through the trees when we beached for the evening. At least the more energetic of us did. The rest of us sat on the beach, sipped on wine and other beverages and enjoyed the view.

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All in all a perfect way to spend a long weekend in summer.  We have already booked our houseboat for next year.

September 10, 2014 Posted by | House boating, Living in Canada, Travels | , , , , , | 3 Comments

The Town of Irricana, Alberta

Last month we made another trip to Saskatchwen.  Beautiful as the prairies can be, the long straight roads and flat countryside can become monotonous after 6 or 7 hours driving so this time we decided to make a few side trips to see places of interest.  I found six places along our route which I thought would be worth visiting on a website called bigthings.ca/alberta.

The first place on our list was Irricana, a little town of approximately 1200 inhabitants just over 50 kilometres from Calgary.  In fact, Irricana was only elevated from village to town status in 2005.  But what an enchanting little town!  The ‘point of interest’ we were after was a metal horse standing in front of the rather run down Irricana Hotel.

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The only information I could find on the horse was that it was built of an unknown metal in approximately 1988 or 1989 and was commissioned by a man named Mel Brown who had lived most of his life in Irricana, presumably spent much of his time at the hotel,  and wanted the statue to stand as a memorial to himself.

But Irricana lived up to its slogan: More than just a one horse town.

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It was obvious from the little gardens on either side of the road as we turned off the highway that this was a community with a great deal of pride in their town.  We found, and duly admired the metal horse, but it was the fire hydrants which had us driving up one street and down the next, trying to identify as many as we could: Donald Duck, Sylvester, Tweety and many more added more than a touch of whimsy  to the streets.

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Eventually we decided to have our breakfast in the little camping area, near a statue of a unicorn, and, having spent an hour at our first stop off point, whittled down our list to avoid reaching Saskatoon after nightfall.

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November 24, 2013 Posted by | Living in Canada, Travels | , , , , | 2 Comments

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.

September 22, 2013 Posted by | Travels | , , , , , | 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

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.

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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.

August 11, 2012 Posted by | Living in Canada, Travels | , , , , , | 1 Comment

Saskatoon

Last weekend we drove back to Saskatoon.  Now that the canola and alfalfa have been harvested most of the fields are lying fallow, brown, yellow and beige.  I’ve been wanting to get a photo of an old grain elevator for some time and have only seen these on the prairies in Saskatchewan.   Apparently there was a time when these tall, stately structures dominated the prairies.  In the 1930’s there were nearly 6000 of them. They must have been quite a sight, painted in bright colours,  and standing in fields of golden corn.  Today, most have been replaced by more prosaic concrete structures and only about 80 wooden elevators are still operating.  The one I photographed stands alongside an abandoned railway line and, traditionally, bears the name of the town it used to serve.

Old wooden grain elevator

On Saturday we took a drive to the Wanuskewin Heritage Park, just outside of Saskatoon.  Wanuskewin, in the Cree language, means being at peace with oneself.  We were fortunate enough to be able to watch Josh Wabash, from the Waywayseecappo First Nation peoples in Manitoba.  Josh has been dancing since he was 3 and he demonstrated his talent in full, colourful regalia and then explained the dances to the audience.  His motto: I dance for those who can’t, and I will keep sharing my talents with those who are willing to experience it.

The First Nation dancer at Wanuskewin

Besides the dancer, we also visited the Mistatim exhibition, in honour of the horse.

One of a number of stories of horse battles painted on hide

Wanuskewin has much more to offer, including a number of interpretive trails which we were unable to sample, due to time restraints, but we will be back to visit again some day.

Sunday was a beautiful, sunny day so we drove out to Blackstrap lake, which none of us had seen yet.  Blackstrap is a large, manmade lake, fed via an earthern aquaduct from Lake Diefenbaker.  Only about 1/2 hour out of Saskatoon it is a perfect recreational area, offering boating, sailing, fishing and, in winter, cross country skiing.

Cale, ready to go paddling on the lake

Mount Blackstrap, also man-made, was constructed in 1971 for the Canada Winter Games.  Asher remarked, on seeing it, that only someone who has never been out of Saskatchewan would ever consider it a mountain!

The discovery of a self-serve yoghurt shop – Pure – with many flavours of yoghurt and any number of toppings to try – you load up your container and pay by the gram – was the cherry on the top of another enjoyable visit to our neighbouring province.

September 30, 2011 Posted by | Living in Canada, Travels | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment