Trip Start Dec 06, 2006
188Trip End Ongoing
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The next day we didn't do too much better, but the time finally came when it was time to leave the comfort of the Poang and venture to see something. On the list was a drive oot to Bragg Creek and Elbow Falls, neither of which were life changing, but then we were missing the vital information on Bragg Creek which was that it's home to a nice ice cream shop. We arrived, had a quick glance at the quaint shop fronts and drove straight back oot. Having driven to many a waterfall in NZ I wasn't bowled over by Elbow Falls but the drive oot there through Kananaskis Country was pleasant enough and at least we'd made it oot of the house. That night was the next Flames game and we headed in to the city to meet up with a few of Steve and Tara's mates and soak up some atmosphere which was good until the final period when they threw away their 2-1 lead and lost to a goal with 8 seconds to go. Bit of a downer to the end of the night.
Slowly but surely we were improving on getting up in time to achieve something but Wednesday was a bit ambitious. The plan was to head to Chester Lake which involved a fair old drive and then a hike. I had to run an errand first though. Steve and Tara's marriage was crumbling, a divorce was looming, I could see it unfurling before my very eyes. I had to do something. The trigger for the disastrous and sadly inevitable end of their relationship was the choice of in car entertainment improvement options, something I'm sure divorce lawyers have seen many a time before. Steve wanted a tape adapter, Tara an iTrip radio adapter. There would be no compromise, only heartache. Until Steve realised that an iTrip thingy is actually quite a nifty device unlike a soon to be obsolete tape adapter. I had to step in and resolve this before it was too late. So we popped along to Best Buy and bought one. It was on the far side of town and we didn't drive there in exactly the most direct route but that ended up being a good choice as when we left to head back across town on Hwy 1 we ran in to some roadworks and a traffic jam. This meant by the time we got oot to Canmore and fed ourselves time was a ticking.
We thought we'd leave the trip to Chester Lake until the next day and just enjoy the loop drive through the park and head back. There was some very picturesque scenery, the only thing lacking was a bit of water as all the lakes are still frozen snowy wastelands.
We got back and I'm pleased to say Steve and Tara are now happily married again, just don't mention potholes.
Take two and this time we could head straight to Canmore and to head off on the hike to Chester Lake. But surely you can't go hiking, you've no boots and there's several feet of snow on the ground I hear you cry. No fear I say back in this imaginary conversation I'm now having with myself. I'll simply hire snowshoes. And so it was. Steve had recommended this as he'd tried it oot and as he predicted when we got back, the first thing we did when we strapped them on was to walk up the highest pile of snow, just because we could. It was good fun and quite hard work as most of the walk up to Chester Lake was uphill. They were definitely needed, I saw a few footprints from people testing the depths and we'd also been playing in the snow drifts the day before on the drive through. Near the lake the ground levelled oot and with piles and piles of damp snow lying I couldn't resist it. We built one of the finest snowmen every to be built, I wouldn't be surprised if by now it's been walking in the air. We then headed on and saw Chester Lake. When I say we saw it, we saw a flat expanse of snow that in a few months time would be a lake. There was plenty views and snowy mountains on the way and the sun came oot so it was definitely still worth the trip.
We finished the week with a drive in dodgy weather as a cold front was coming in to put an end to the sun for a few days. We headed south oot of the city and managed to find the only sun in Alberta at the catchy titled Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump site. It was named this because a bright young spark thought he'd watch the kill of a herd of buffalo from the action end of things, below the cliff edge. He was enjoying the waterfall of doomed Bison until he realised they'd done a particularly good job of rounding them up and they were piling up around him. He ended up getting his skull crushed. This area is now a world heritage site and as they proudly explain it therefore ranks alongside the Pyramids, Stonehenge and Durham Castle and Cathedral. An info centre is built in to the hillside and they've adopted an overly complicated one way system where the floor levels you're physically on have no resemblance to the name of the level. It contains explanation of how the buffalo were killed, how they lived and the archeology that's helped explain it all. They were pretty easy targets, it's the same as hunting cows. They ran them off cliffs, rounded them up, found them at their watering holes and in the winter used snow shoes to out manoeuvre them.
We got back to Calgary, bought some grub for the weekend and packed our bags and we were off on an adventure in a winter wonderland.