:: Sunday, June 03, 2007 ::
5/30 and 5/31 Southern Alberta
Regina was just a stop over. Didn't want to do anything other than sleep and go. Getting antsy and wanting to see the Rockies. I hit the TCH and drove for some distance before seeing the salt flats in Chaplin. they are part of what appears to be a vast salt marsh about 75 km from Moose Jaw. Left side of the road is the flats and the right side some sort of processing plant for extracting the salt. I did one of my classic turn arounds on the TCH and headed back to somewhere I could pull over. I did and walked back about 150m to a small overpass which is in the image below. It's salt run off. Not snow. Though you could certainly convince yourself that it was. you certainly get odd looks from truckers when being on a lonely stretch of highway shooting this sort of stuff. :P
At this point I decided I would head SW to Lethbridge instead of north to Edmonton. I wanted to get closer to the rockies and hoped that Lethbridge would be better and more modern that Swift current, Medicine Hat and the like.
I shot a train at a couple of points as I caught up to it, it drifted away and it got closer again. I managed to get close to it at a level crossing as it was nipping by. an entire train of grain cars pulled by two engines and pushed by one. Went on forever. Easily 100 cars I would imagine. And a little further on on Hwy 3 near Burdett I shot a leaning house or shed on the open prairie. You can certainly tell from which direction the wind coming over the rockies is hitting the structure..
Lethbridge is an awesome place. Similar to London in scale I think, but in the foothills of the rockies. I asked Rachel at the front desk what there was to see and do and she suggested a trip down to the Waterton Lakes National park down by the US border was in order. She also suggested a few other local attractions and I felt that it was worth a stay so instead of one nite I stayed two nights in Letbeidge at the Days Inn. Wireless was spotty in the room, and I couldn't maintain a connection to upload or blog, but I could at least check my email.
I headed out via HWY 5 on the 31st to the Walkerton National Park. And at 1207pm I saw the Rockies for the first time. At first as it was hazy off in the distance I thought it was clouds then I squinted and realized that those were snow capped tips an inch above the horizon or so. Real classic mountains with snow on top, not the hills I had seen before. A little ways down the road, about half an hour or so, I pulled over to get a solid shot - and not a pin dot sort of thing. The Rockies and most mountain chains are split up into segments or ranges. The ones in this shot are part of the MacDonald range. I have asked and have found that there is no difinitive recognition guide for the rockies. I could buy a topo map which would do the job, but I would probably need a dozen or more of them. So when I say this is a pic of mount so n so, I am pretty much guessing based on local info which could be sketchy! :)
The Waterton park is nestled in those mountains and quite pretty. And not massively travelled like the bigger Banff and Jasper ones. So easy to not jostle with tourists when trying to take pics -oh wait, I am one. :P This shot is of the Prince of Whales hotel on a huge outcropping at the top end of Loon Lake. Like Lake Louise and it's resort, but on a somewhat smaller scale. Pretty cool though. the shot after is the view looking south from the hotel. And no I didn't stay there. :)
Near Cameron Lake (below) in the park and right at the US border, I was able to 'rescue' someone. I was flagged down by a couple who had two dogs. They said they had been chased by a huge silver tipped grizzly bear and had to throw their pack at it to get away. Unfortunate issue was that the keys to their car were in the pack. I gave the woman a drive to Cameron Lake below so she could call the park rangers and her husband followed along with the dogs. I never saw the bear but another car of visitors to the park did and they said it was lumbering down the road. I miss all the good stuff! Well not really. but still...
more to follow...
:: Mike Wood 18:43 [+] ::