Sunday, May 31, 2009

May 31st Into Saskatchewan & Fort Walsh

Fort Walsh - Sitting Bull and General Custer story. Kids sworn in as NWMP, Shawn tried in mock court. Named after Commissioner James Walsh. Shawn at grave site of first North West Mountie killed.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

May 30th 2000km Cypress Hills - Antelope & Pelicans

Wow - Cypress Hills has been described as a green oasis in a praire dessert for obvious reasons. It is high, has hills and trees and even alpine fauna, it is a gem stradling the Alberta/Saskatchewan border, we loved it and spent three nights here. First night at Michel Reservoir, other two at West Block Campsite where James caught a brown trout in the Adams river.
Visited Elkwater, cute small resort area of wealthy Albertans with big trucks and powerful motorboats. Nice sandy beach lake. We played mini golf. Lady running the mini golf moved here from Romford 40 years ago. Woman running the store was from Wiltshire.
This is the highest point east of the Rockies now from here all the way to Labrador. 1552 metres above sea level and 600 meters above the surrounding prairie. We loved it.
photos to follow

Friday, May 29, 2009

May 29th Fort MacLeod, Alberta

Fort MacLeod - First command post for the newly formed North West Mounted Police in 1871. Good historical tour. We are now going to follow Hwy 13 which is the Red Coat Trail which is the route that the first mounties took when they march out west.
Daisy May Campsite: Very slow Internet Access......Our rating - 8, pool, laundry..great location for the Fort...on river...we cycled to the fort and saw at least 6 beavers and their dams around dusk.
The most beavers I have ever seen in Canada and no sign of Tim Eastwood or Graham anywhere ( Bramhall joke!!)

Thursday, May 28, 2009

May 28th Arrived in Alberta - Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump &

We finally made it out of BC as you can tell we have not been in a great hurry.
We have decided to take a southerly route and see if we can avoid Hwy 1 all the way to Ontario.

Today we went to Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump in Alberta.
It was about the first nations that herded the buffulo off of a cliff then killed the ones they needed and left the rest. They had a impressive way to hunt Buffalo on foot and dressed as wolves and baby buffalo to entice the buffulo toward the cliff. Buffalo used to number in the millions on the praire, until the Europeans arrived first the spanish bringing horses in 1752 and the arrival of guns, saw a massive slaughter of the Buffalo herds, sometimes for sport, they ran hunting trains and you actually shot Buffalo from the comfort of a train, sometimes for the furs and often for the skin which was used for belts in the fast growing factories in the east. Down to less than 1,000 and with the indians starving, one early conservationist, drove 300 buffalo north to the safety of Northern Alberta. Now almost all surving Buffalo live in protected areas and are direct descendants of the 300 that were saved. It would be one of many tales of European destruction of a traditional way of life.

May 28th Cranbrook Railway Museum

Beautiful train carriages showing the carriages used by Royalty, VIP and business people who could afford to travel across the country in the luxury of a train. Girls liked it, boys were bored by it!! Showed how the beautiful woodwork and marquetry was painted over to modernise the trains in the 1950's and 60's. Ironically if the wood work had not been painted it may not have survived, so although very ugly and a pig to strip off, the yuk green paint actually acted as a preservative.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

May 27th Fernie & Sparwood BC

We loved Fernie a great little town completely surrounded by Rocky Mountains and the spectacular Lizzard Range. At dusk you can see the Ghostrider shadow on the rock face of the mountain. It is a great image of a man riding a horse with an indian woman walking behind him. There is a legend behind it that involves a white man renegining on a promise to marry a chiefs daughter after the chief had told the white guy where to find coal in the area. The curse was lifted by the indians in 1964. Fernie also had the best playground that we have found so far. Lots of new very ritzy Whister type mountain condo's being built here. We also saw our first moose.

After Fernie we drove on to Sparwood, home of The World's Biggest Truck, 3300HP with 14 foot tires that cost $10k per tire, so we stopped for a few photos and then drove on to the Alberta border.

Photo's to follow when I have a better internet connection

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

May 26th Waneta Hydro Electric Dam Tour

Wow - the power of water! Thank you Robert for the great tour. May is the month to see a spillway overflow the dam and stand in awe at the power of the water. Thank you Jane and Norm for your wonderful hospitality, it was lovely to see you again.

overflow the  

Sunday, May 24, 2009

May 24th Still at Christina Lake

Skands Campground on Christina Lake is so beautiful that we decided to stay another night here. Shawn and the kids went cycling over the huge trestle bridge over the Kettle River and saw some spectacular waterfalls and were stopped in their path by a rattle snake. Also spotted a marmot. Off to see Jane and Norm in Fruitvale tomorrow.


Today a very freaky thing happened we saw a


Shawn says " This is only half of the snake.....that was a very big snake!!  We even had to throw rocks at it to get it to move so we could ride our bikes along the path."

Saturday, May 23, 2009

May 23 happy birthday grandad

Kettle river Midway B.C

Today I fell in the Kettle river only half of me fell in though .

What happened was I was washing my breakfast plate in the river when I slipped and half of me landed in the river. It was freezing. I dug my fingernails into the mud and yeah-uly my dad was there and puld me up.    




May 23 - 1,000KM Christina Lake - West Kootenays

1,000 km covered. We have come through the gold, silver and copper mining boom and bust towns of Hedley, $48,000,000 worth of gold extracted in the early 20th century, Phoenix and Greenwood, which is BC's smallest city. We followed the meandering Kettle River from Rock Creek to Christina Lake. Shawn and I spent a week canoeing this river in 1994. At Midway we enjoyed an antique car show with some very beautiful classic cars from the 1920's to the 1950's, all  in immaculate condition. Spent a lazy Saturday afternoon at Christina Lake. A little snow remains on the mountains.

May 22 Haynes Point -Osoyoos BC

May 21 First Bear Poo at Manning Park BC

 At Manning Park we spotted our first Bear Skat..Poo and we also saw a Marten.