Tuesday, June 9, 2009

After leaving Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park, we decided to continue headed eastward, further into the south-eastern corner of the province of Alberta.
We followed some very quiet secondary roads, not far from the US border.
This is an area where all the locals wave at you - whether they know you or not!

Some, err, most all of the land was a bit on the flat side!But, as we soon came to discover, it was definitely - antelope country! No telephotos were available, so there are no photos, but in almost every field in some areas were a couple of antelope. I theorized that many of the females had left their herds to avoid predators and have their young. And we did see a few that appeared to be newborns.
Some of the areas near rivers had a lot of irrigation evident, with various types of sprinklers doing duty in the fields.

I think the big teepee was near Medicine Hat, along the highway.
We stopped at a cemetery pretty much in the middle of nowhere. It was the Pendant D'Oreille cemetary, with a large area and relatively few graves marked. A large stone listed pioneers in the area.
I found the following reference to it in another blog of the 'Midwesterner'
from Milk River, Alberta, we'd come past two cemeteries set out on the prairie. Still within sight of the Sweetgrass Mountains, we had stopped at the Pendant D'Oreille Cemetery where a large marker read: "In memory of the pioneers who settled this area and found their last resting place on the plains of Pendant D'Oreille." There were twenty-six names carved into the monument, twenty-six lives. The earliest: 1848-1917. The latest: 1902-1982.
We eventually reached Cypress Hills Provincial Park, which is actually an Interprovincial Park, that straddles the boundary between the provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan.
For information on the Saskatchewan side click here!
Cypress Hills is:
the highest point in Canada between the Rocky Mountains & Labrador (maximum elevation - 1466 metres above sea level); the Cypress Hills are unique in that they were not glaciated during the last ice age; the park's montane environment is an oasis of mixed & lodgepole pine forests in the midst of the Canadian prairies; the park features a wealth of plant & animal life, including 14 orchid species.

That said, there is a LOT more relief to the terrain here in the park, than what we had been driving through.

This is actually much more of a hill than it appears in the photo - even for someone more used to the Rocky Mountains.
We checked out the large map on the roadside and checked out a few of the camping options, and finally decided to camp at Reesor Lake. We were getting short on time for the return trip, and as a result, will have to save any exploration of the Saskatchewan side for a future trip.

On the way home we tried to avoid the main highways so turned off the Trans Canada just past Redcliff, and took secondary road 524 due west towards home. We stopped in at a small recreation site to cook up some supper. From there we just kept heading generally west before coming back through Bragg Creek.
All this meant it was a late arrival back home in the mountains. Yet another couple Parks to tick off the list!

Back at home, I struck up conversation with an RV'er in Lake Louise, who turned out to be a full timer, originally from Florida where he 'graduated' from work about 5 years ago. When I told him that we had just been to Writing-on-Stone, he told me that he had just done so as well - and blogged about it to boot.
You can check out his blog - and report on WoS at Roving Reports by Doug P
You can also read about his travels through the areas I call home!
Dang it. Back to work for a few days!
It could be worse though. 'Work' involves keeping an eye on wildlife - like these two grizzly bears, whose photo I took through my spotting scope.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Last week I gave you the safety instructions for the installation and operation of some high-tech and dangerous equipment, and you had to guess what it was. Today, I shed some light on the answer - but not before a few more safety notices. On this warning label, it warns you Not to remove the warning label, and details the need for ANSI approved safety glasses.

You must read the instructions - before installation.
(Click on the photo if you can not read the text)
Okay, are you ready?
There is the 'equipment', in use. I guess I should have some fencing to keep the children away, and an umbrella to keep the moisture off it! Surprisingly, there is a very sharp, plastic stake used to stick it in the ground, but no where in the instructions is that even mentioned. As far as I could tell, the sharp stake it about the only hazard, period!
Okay, back to traveling! The weekend was upon us, so we headed out after work on Friday and drove as far as possible towards our final destinations in the south eastern corner of the province.

We drove on through Vulcan, of Star Trek fame, and ended up in a little roadside recreation area and historical site near Carmangay. It was very quiet, and free, and boasted some historical tipi rings. In the morning we were serenaded by a meadowlark at full volume.
We had planned to stop in Lethbridge for some groceries and fuel, but their road construction project effectively closed all exits into the city, so we carried on to Milk River, where we visited the information centre, before heading off in search of Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park.
The road signs were somewhat lacking, as was the brand new highway map just purchased. Eventually, the park was located in time to get us a campsite, in spite of the new reservation system that might have had most of the campsites pre-booked.
Then we joined a guided tour of the petroglyphs and pictographs, many of which are otherwise closed to the public to protect them from vandalism and graffiti.The park also features the reconstructed North West Mounted Police post, located across the Milk River in Police Coulee. This was a major smuggling route from the US - which lies just a few miles to the south.
The next day we did some self-guided hiking and exploring in the areas of the park that are not restricted.
There are some very striking hoodoos formations.

And some flowers.
And quite a few trees in the protected coulees and river bottom areas.

The Sweetgrass hills, visible to the south are across the border in Montana.

The Milk River runs right through the park.

Every once in a while, ya just have to pose.
Click on any photo for a larger view.

There were butterflies ...

And even special perches to keep the birds from pooping on the signs!
Next - on to Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park.