Thursday, July 6, 2017

The beauty of Alberta


Next up is Alberta.  This oil rich province has a population of over four million.

The capital city 

Edmonton  (population roughly a million) is the capital city.  Calgary, in the south has a slightly bigger population than Edmonton.  There is an ongoing rivalry between the two cities.  I can say without hesitation I am an Edmonton girl.  I went to school there for a year and my sister lived there for a number of years so I've been there quite a few times.  The best I can say about Calgary is they have a good zoo.

I love Edmonton's river valley and the downtown area.  Of course there is the huge West Edmonton Mall which is a major tourist attraction.  I have been there numerous times simply because it was the closest mall to my sister's home.  To me, Edmonton is the river valley and its many walking paths.

The following pictures were taken on my last trip to Edmonton in the summer of 2012..one last trip to say goodbye to the city..and my sister, before she headed east to Toronto.  I did a beautiful 5 km walk in the river valley with the local walking club.

The North Saskatchewan (means swift flowing river in Cree) 




It was an absolutely beautiful walk..then I arranged to meet my sister at Fort Edmonton Park  (largest living history museum in Canada) which was at the end of the walk.




And then it was Canada Day...

The Alberta Legislative Buildings 


Another walk in a different part of the river valley.



A beautiful view of the river valley from downtown.

Lethbridge (and area) 


Another place I have visited is Lethbridge in the southern part of the province.  My cousin and family live there so have visited quite a few times.  It's a city of about 93,000 people.


Perhaps Lethbridge's biggest claim to fame is the High Level bridge that soars over the coulees.  It was originally constructed in 1909 and is the longest and highest trestle bridge in the world 1.6 km in length and 314 feet in height.

Another view of the bridge from the coulees

Ah, the coulees..to me that's what Lethbridge is all about.  My cousin lives very close to the coulees so we always walk in them when I visit.  What's a coulee?




The coulees are a great place for dog walking!


There's more to Lethbridge than coulees however.  While visiting my cousin one summer I got up very early one Sunday morning and went for a long walk.  Why?  I was training for a half marathon the next month. I walked from their place downtown (where I had the streets to myself) and over to a well known park and back to their place again...





I thought this was pretty cool.


Then I got to Henderson Lake - I loved this shot.  I did have a disturbing incident there...a fellow ahead of me was out walking his boa constrictor.  Yes, you read right.  He stopped to sit down on a bench as I scurried past and then got up to walk again - let's just say that part of the walk was good for my speed training.  I hate snakes!


I then took a break and stopped at the Nikka Yuko Japanese Gardens which were lovely.  




Also nearby is Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump...yep, that's the name.  It's one of the world's oldest and best preserved Buffalo jump sites.  The First Nations tribes would cause the buffalo to stampede over a cliff thus killing them.  They would then carve the carcasses up and transport them to a nearby butchering site.


Yes, jumping from there would be pretty much a jump you wouldn't be getting up from and some smashed in heads- especially as they would be tumbling on top of one another.  Kind of horrible to picture isn't it?  It is quite interesting to visit with an excellent visitor centre - definitely worth a stop if you are in the area.  It lies 73 km west of Lethbridge.



One of the residents in Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump...a prairie dog.  Blurry but oh well, had to put it in so I could say this "Alan, Alan"!!  (if you've seen the hilarious BBC video you will get it, otherwise just keep scrollin' on) 


Teepee on the site.


There were some great walking paths in the park...even if there were notices that there was a bear in the area.  A common occurrence in this part of the land.  

Banff


When people think of Alberta probably the first thing they think of are the Rocky Mountains..and Banff...


The Vermilion Lakes


The infamous Banff Springs Hotel - nice to look at but out of my budget.


Does my butt look fat?


The town of Banff and token dog picture.  The town of Banff is very touristy but I found it fun to snoop around the shops.



Walking back to town from the Vermilion Lakes.  I once did part of this walk on my own several years ago and I got it into my head that a cougar was stalking me.  Don't ask me why...but needless to say I walked er...scurried back to town..which is why it was only part of the walk.  Walking around on your own is not recommended in cougar OR bear country.


Did these canoes/kayaks...tempt me?  Nope....read on....


Looking down on the main drag in Banff townsite from a park.



Another great walking path.


Moraine Lake from many moons ago. Yes the lake is that colour.  My friend Pat and I went out in a canoe like this one.  Now that was an adventure.  We were both so nervous that when we got our instructions we thought the other one was listening.  NOT.  We got ourselves tangled up in the lumber on the sides of the lake..twice.  It's hilarious now but at the time we were freaking and I was yelling out to people "does anyone know how to canoe"?  We finally got out of there ourselves - our "audience" was no help.  Splitting their guts laughing and filming us to show a couple of idiots in a canoe to show their friends back home. I'm sure our escapades were viewed many many times in Japan... Once we got ourselves untangled we just sat in the middle of the lake until our time ran out.  So that's the canoe experience out of the way and I've done a kayak experience too. (similar experience, different friend).  Let's just say I am not an outdoorsy kinda gal - except for walking trails. (with a roof over my head and a restaurant meal at the end)


One of the friendly residents of Banff - a marmot.  So darn cute!

Canmore

Another great place to visit is the town of Canmore which is 26 km east of Banff.  I have stayed there a few times - in bed and breakfasts and most recently a youth hostel. (these photos were taken during my last trip there in 2014)  It used to be cheaper to stay here than in Banff although I am not sure of that now.  It has boomed as a tourist area with nearby Kananaskis park.






On my last visit we (because you know by now I am too much of a weenie to walk on my own in places I could get eaten)  did an 11 km walk around the area...I mean you have to love walking this trail. Don't let that blue sky fool you..we got stuck in a thunderstorm that rolled quickly through.  But it was one of the best walks I've ever done.  Loved it!




Medicine Hat

(yes we have some weird ass names in this part of the world...from the native word Saamis which translates to Medicine Man's hat) 


The largest teepee in the world - this stands beside the highway and is something you can't miss.  Although Medicine Hat is one of those places you tend to fill up with gas at on your way along the Trans Canada highway I have been lucky enough to visit twice.  The last time I actually stayed at a lovely bed and breakfast and was able to do a walk that took me downtown via the teepee as my B and B was quite close.  It really is a nice little city and well worth a stopover.




Beautiful mural - could this be the Medicine Man?  On the particular trip I took these photos I enjoyed a break at a lovely coffee shop downtown before heading back to the bed and breakfast...on my own two feet. My favourite way to travel!


There are so many more places in Alberta I could show but it has already taken me too long to do this blog post!   In the next few years I hope to revisit Waterton Lake, Banff, Jasper, see the Badlands for the first time and so much more.










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