Monday, August 17, 2015

Alberta Bound

On Thursday, 6 August I flew out to Calgary, Alberta for my niece's wedding. Beckett and Keltic had to stay home with Adrian, their littlest peep cousin.

The wedding was on Saturday so that gave me time on Friday to drive to Vulcan, Alberta to visit a friend. Vulcan, if you don't know, has a replica of the Enterprise and hosts a Star Trek convention every year.

Star Trek and me!
The friend I went to visit, I hadn't seen since high school but it was like we had never been apart.  It was so great to see her again.

My sisters and brothers-in-law drove the other way to Banff which is in the mountains but my drive took me further into the prairies. In the prairies, there are views that seem to go on forever. You can also spot a few of the old grain elevators. They used to be in every small town but now there are very few left.

View for miles and miles!
Grain Elevators
Saturday with the wedding in the afternoon, we headed to the mall in the morning to the see the big Bass Pro Shop, and I do mean big, so big you can hang a plane from the ceiling. The mall, called CrossIron Mill, is huge; we only did half before stopping in the food court to have a bite to eat before heading back to the hotel to change.

Bass Pros Shop - Outdoor World

The wedding and reception were just beautiful. It was such a nice day.

The bride and groom with my sister, the mother of the bride.

Sisters with the bride

Wedding decor
Sunday, my sisters and brothers-in-law all got together for brunch before everyone started heading back home.  As I was staying another week, I didn't have to rush off but since everyone else had their own plans I went out to Spruce Meadows. Spruce Meadows is a premier show jumping venue, I have watched horse shows from there on TV for many many years and have always wanted to go. In 2010, the AAC held their agility national championships there but I had no dog to compete with that year.

Monday, after checking out of the hotel, my sister and I went to the Calgary Zoo.  It was rather hot so many of the animals were taking siestas in the shade. Only the crazy people were out in the hot sun.

The zoo also has an animatronic dinosaur park. The dinosaurs probably need less to eat than the real animals. We said that they should put the gopher and meerkat exhibits in there, maybe even a reptile exhibit, now that would be cool.

Hiding from dinosaurs

On Tuesday, my sister and I headed off on an overnight trip to Drumheller and the badlands of Alberta. It's really funny how you drive across this wide open prairie and then just off the highway there are these huge expanses of canyon that are nearly invisible from the road.

Horseshoe canyon

People hiking the canyon floor.

If you make the first picture larger you can see the people hiking. It's a long way down and would be a steep climb back up that's for sure. This canyon is only about 500 m off the highway and you don't even see it until you drive into the parking lot. You can take a helicopter tour of the canyon, that would be the way to go.

When we got to Drumheller we went out to see the World's largest dinosaur, the Hoodoos and the Atlas Coal Mine.

Drumheller, Alberta


Atlas Coal Mine (got my finger over the lens but it looks vintage)

You can climb up the big dinosaur if you like, it's only 106 steps up and then back down. Again we didn't do it, I can't imagine how hot it would be in there. We did walk around the HooDoos some. The HooDoos are formed because the layer of rock above the sandstone is  harder and makes a cap and protects the sand stone column underneath from erosion. The black layers in the hills are from plants and often indicates coal. Coal was a huge industry in the area until the early 50's, now most of the mines are abandoned. The Atlas Coal Mine is a national historic site. We took a little train ride and walked around but didn't do the tunnel or tipple tour.

The next day, we went to the Royal Tyrrell Museum. Drumheller is considered to be one of the best places in the world to find dinosaur bone beds and fossils.

After seeing the museum we did the badlands interpretive trail and then went a few kilometers further to see Horsethief Canyon before heading back to Calgary. Horsethief Canyon is much bigger than Horseshoe Canyon and they warn you that once down in the coulees that you might get lost as every direction looks the same.

Horsethief Canyon

Horsethief Canyon

It's hard to get the scale from the pictures but while at Horseshoe you could see that you could go around the canyon, Horsethief seems to go on forever. We wondered what the settlers thought when they got there with their wagons.

Back in Calgary, the next day we went downtown for a few hours as it was another hot day. Turned out that they broke a temperature record for that day in August.

On my last day before heading home, we went to Heritage Park. It's a living history museum that has different eras represented from the 1800's to early 1900's.

Some of the buildings are actually shops like a candy store or ice cream parlour but most depict the life and times of the era. Many of the buildings were moved and restored on site. Not all the buildings are original, some are replicas. We took the steam train for a ride around the park, you can get on and off at four stations. We also took the paddle wheeler for a ride around the reservoir. They have day camps and even week long camps for kids. NOT sure I'd want to wear a dress all week.

So now I'm home again but am heading off on some more adventures, this time Beckett and Keltic do get to come with me.  See you again soon!


  1. It sounds like a great trip Helen. You got to be at your niece's wedding, met an old friend, and got to see many interesting places!

  2. Pawsome post! Beautiful wedding! Pawsome animatronic dinosaurs. And loved the bench design with the cows painted on it. It looked like a really fun trip!

  3. Wow, it all looks very cool.

  4. I've never been to Alberta, but I think I may have to go. Those canyons are really cool!


We love to get your comments on our activities. Please drop us a line.