My niece, Kate, learned about Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump at school and has wanted to visit for more than a year. She received a "coupon" to visit the site as Christmas gift and the. Kraft-Mullane's decided to visit this week. They invited us for the day trip and we were happy to tag along!
The canola is blooming and when the sun decides to peek out from the clouds, it is absolutely stunning. Actually even when the sky is moody and grey, the canola fields glow. If you have never seen a glowing canola field, make sure to put it on your list. The prairies are spectacular in July.
We drove to Calgary the night before to break up the drive. When we left Calgary Tuesday morning, it was raining but our journey two hours south brought us to sunshine - for a little while at least!
Head Smashed in Buffalo Jump is a UNESCO site. It is located about two hours south of Calgary, 18 kilometres North and West of Fort Macleod on secondary Highway #785.
The site and interpretive centre tell the story of the Plains Buffalo culture for the past 6,000 years. The entrance fee was $15/adult.
We started by looking at the site where hunters drove the buffalo off the cliff to their demise. Over the years (thousands of years) the earth has built up so it doesn't look as steep as it once was.
Inside the interpretive centre we learned the creation story (Napi's World), all about the buffalo hunt culture and how important the buffalo were to the survival of the Blackfoot.
We watched a short movie that showed how the communal hunt was planned and executed. The Plains people carefully studied buffalo behaviour and the topography of the area and used it to their advantage for the hunt. It was fascinating and a little sad. BUT, the people used all parts of the buffalo - nothing was wasted and it really was what allowed them to survive through the harsh winters.
We also learned about the eventual demise of the hunting culture. Europeans crossed the ocean with horses and guns which totally changed the hunt. The Europeans mass killed the buffalo for their hides and almost brought the species that was so important to the survival of the Plains people to extinction. Fortunately the species has been protected and there are herds found in Alberta and other areas in North America.
Archeologists have dug up bones that date back almost 6,000 years. It is a fascinating place to visit. You can also do a hike around the site to see the drive lane (kind of like a runway to run the buffalo off the cliff) but it was raining when we finished inside the centre so we headed back toward Calgary.
All the learning made us hungry so we made a pit stop at Roy's Place in Claresholm for a late lunch. It was soooo good. We highly recommend a visit to Roy's Place. We didn't know it at the time but the owner has been on Chopped Canada and was featured on an episode of You Gotta Eat Here.
We could smell cinnamon buns when we walked in the restaurant so we ordered some to go. We had to wait 20 minutes for them but we would later learn it was well worth the wait. Plus we drove back to Calgary with the delicious smell of cinnamon buns!
When we got to Calgary we opened up the containers and we were treated to MASSIVE gooey cinnamon buns with a side of cream cheese. D'lish!
We had a fabulous road trip down Highway 2. There is so much to explore in Alberta. Next on our list (again, thanks to Kate) is Writing on Stone Provincial Park. It received UNESCO designation just this month.
As a footnote - the night we returned, I had a horrible dream. I dreamt that our little dog Westley fell off some very steep steps and splat on to concrete below. It gave me a sick to my stomach feeling and I couldn't shake the dream or the feeling. I told my sister about the dream and she thinks the spirits were talking to me. I'm not sure what they were trying to say but they have a scary way of communicating. So, just a warning - learning about buffalo falling off a cliff may mess with your sleep.
We had a lovely Easter Sunday filled with food and family. We started the day with a walk to The Nest - a cafe a short walk from my parents that is dog and cyclist friendly.
We enjoyed brunch at the grand Hotel Grand Pacific. There were lots of people downtown and the city is in its full spring splendour! Victoria is beautiful in all seasons but the spring is special.
Aunty Pat hosted Easter dinner - a delicious meal with family!
Monday we celebrated James’s birthday.
It was a rainy day but that didn’t stop our celebrations!
On our way to lunch we were able to see the earth day protest against the banks.
We had a delicious lunch at Pagliacci’s. At Pag’s its all about the bread - it’s so good! Actually all the food is good and a fun experience.
We walked around downtown and then went to see Hotel Mumbai. It was a great movie - kind of stressful and sad but well done. It is based on the 2008 terrorist attacks in Mumbai.
James won $91 on the BC lottery. We think it’s pay back for the ridiculous gas prices here.
The Easter lamb cake is a family tradition. Mom baked the cake before I arrived and this morning we decorated it. We are in direct competition with the Kraft-Mullane clan in Canmore. Since I was on team Kraft-Mullane last year, my niece made me swear not to reveal any of their lamb cake baking/decorating secrets. The icing we made this year tastes delicious but I learned cream cheese icing is not great for decorative lamb wool curl. Here is our finished cake...
Here are some before shots. I didn’t take photos when we took off all the icing because it was too soft, made it thicker and tried again.
It was a beautiful sunny day so we headed out to Butchart Gardens to see and smell spring in bloom. In my opinion, spring is the best time to visit the gardens. The gardens are bursting with colour and there are so many different varieties of spring bulbs and trees in bloom. The hyancinth and flowering trees smell amazing.
The dogs bought James a Butchart season pass for his birthday so we will be back!
we made it to the island
The dogs had to be coaxed out of bed Thursday morning. The mountain air and hikes tired them out or they weren’t excited to leave the resort life. We weren’t sure but we promised them walks along the ocean. They got out of bed, barked at some mule deer and we packed up.
We stopped at Bears Paw Bakery to buy some treats for the road. I’m not sure if Yoda always carries a carrot or if it’s an Easter carrot?
The highway was quiet and dry. Perfect driving! Except for a bit of rain and fog on the Coquihalla. At least there was no snow.
The devastation by the pine beetle in Jasper National Park is astonishing and sad.
We made a pit stop in Blue River to watch the bears fight and someone forgot their TV. Maybe it’s art?
We had some time to stop in at Traveland RV in Langley before our 7 pm ferry reservation. That was enough time to see a 25’ Airstream with twin beds which we have wanted to see “live” for a long time. We love the layout.
We arrived at the ferry and had a short walk in the rain before driving on for our 90 minute ride.
We were thrilled to find Rogers chocolates on our bed in Victoria. Apparently Casa Kraft didn’t want to be overshadowed by JPL!
Today we coloured eggs...a family tradition.
We visited St. Mary’s in Metchosin- a grave yard full of fawn lilies. So pretty and peaceful. When you visit Victoria in April it’s hard to believe you are in Canada. We left 249 shades of brown and roads full of gravel at home. We are hoping for some green by the time we return. .
The dogs enjoyed their first run on the beach and are now crashed on the couch.
Another day seized.
spring road trip west
The dogs saw the suitcases packed and weren’t sure how to react. They were thrilled to be loaded in the car with all the gear instead of waiting for their dog sitter to arrive after we leave. They love their dog sitter but they also love a good adventure!
We stopped at Seba Beach to check on our still to be officially named Airstream. She looks great and we can’t wait to get set up for the camping season in May! There is still snow around the site which could delay the water being turned on. We will see.
We arrived in Jasper around 2 pm and checked in to Jasper Park Lodge. JPL is one of my favourite places in the world and staying here is a treat.
Speaking of treats, when we arrived to our cabin/room, James had a plate of birthday chocolates and a mini bottle of wine. Nice touch!
The dogs also received a welcome package. The package included vegan treats. Fail...our dogs do not embrace the vegan lifestyle.
We went for a short hike to Maligne Canyon. Stunning to see the ice and hear the running below it. We only made it just past second bridge before the trail got too mucky. The trails around Lac Beauvert were dry and beautiful! We walked around Jasper - it is quiet in town on a Wednesday in April!
We had the best view for dinner and drinks. Just don’t look at the prices on the menu and the evening is more enjoyable!
We were all pretty tired after seizing the first day of vacation. Tomorrow we head to the coast.
Wow - where did 2018 go? We had a great summer of camping with Phoebe the Airstream (blog here), and finally decided that she was a bit too small for the way we camp so we sold her and Red the truck. We purchased a 2007 Airstream in October and are looking forward to the spring.
We had a great time in September cruising through the Netherlands, Germany, Austria and Budapest on a Viking River Cruise. Blog here.
It's time to book another trip!
Here is a look back at our year...Happy 2019!
I am excited to have a trip in the planning stages. We are heading on a river cruise in September 2018. Our itinerary is here.
Now we are in preparation mode. We've booked most of our (free) excursions, we've been watching videos about the ports, we've been researching river cruising - which is not as easy as ocean cruising - and this past weekend we decided to go for German breakfast.
We went to Barb & Ernie's Old Country Inn which has been in Edmonton since 1975. It has a lot of character. If you are going for breakfast, I recommend you get there early. They don't take reservations and when we were leaving at about 10:30 am, it was lined up outside.
The potato pancakes were very good.
We didn't have beer. But we could have.
cheers to 2017
How is it Winter Solstice already? It's a good time to reflect, express gratitude and set intentions for the new year. This year seemed to fly by - I wish we could slow down time!
We don't have any adventures planned for 2018 yet. We have to do something about that very soon.
I always enjoy going through photos and putting together a snap shot of our year. Here is our 2017. As always a disclaimer - if you are not related to us, you will likely find this very boring. No hard feelings!
We are heading to the mountains to enjoy a few days with family.
All the best of the holiday season and cheers to many more adventures...
We are back home now and already talking about when can we go back to Maui? Is Christmas too soon?
I caught a cold when I got home - probably on the plane - so it has taken me a while to get this post done. Today while lounging around, we watched The Endless Summer. It's a fun, around the world surfing documentary from 1966.
Here it is, my account of our last day and trip home.
Tuesday August 15, 2017
I was up early and James told me if I get up and go for a walk to wake him up. So I did. It's so nice to walk first thing in the morning. It's a bit cooler and you see all the dogs out for their morning walks. We brought home warm cinnamon buns from the Cinnamon Roll Place down the street.
We also popped the bottle of prosecco to celebrate our last morning. Actually we weren't celebrating, more like acknowledging our last morning. Or trying to drink the alcohol we bought on our first day at Costco and didn't drink.
I love this bumper sticker.
We went to the pool for our last waist whittling session led by Aunty Mary Lou before packing up. What will happen to our waists without our daily aquasize?
We were out of the condo by 11 am and brought all our left over "stuff" over to Aunty Mary-Lou's. The person she rented from allowed them to have the condo for the day which was very handy!
Erin was thinking of walking down the beach to sell her left overs...
Our flight was at 10:40 pm so we had lots of time. We decided to drive to Paia for lunch.
Paia is interesting - it definitely has a surfer/pot smoking vibe to it. We had lunch at Flatbread which was very good.
We continued down the road to Ho'okipa to watch the wind surfers and surfers. The highlight was the beach was full of Hawaiian Green Sea Turtles (Honu) sunning themselves. There had to be 20-30 turtles on the beach and in the water around it. Spectacular! A very special treat for our last day.
James and I walked around the Kihei 'hood until it was time to take Stinky (our rental van) back to the car rental place. I didn't get a photo with all of us and Stinky but here is the Kraft-Mullane clan with Fred.
We all flew to Vancouver on the same flight and then went our separates ways (after hitting Starbucks) - Victoria, Calgary, Saskatoon and Edmonton.
We made it home safe, sound and tired. We were happy to see the dogs and like always, they were well looked after while we were away.
We had such a wonderful trip. Maui was perfect! It's a magical place where stress seems to melt away. Must be the tropical air. Or the Mai Tai's!
Thank you to my family for an amazing vacation together. It was the perfect way to celebrate mom and dad's 50th anniversary and Aunty Mary Lou & Uncle Rick's 40th anniversary (and retirement). We shared lots of fun times and made lasting memories!
final beach day
Monday August 14, 2017
I was up really early and decided to go out for a walk. There are a lot of people up early in Maui. Must be the squawking birds.
We were at the beach by 8.30 am this morning and put in a solid four hours of boogie boarding and snorkelling. While out snorkelling we saw a couple turtles. One was huge and majestic. S/he floated through the water around us and then came back to our beach area as if to say goodbye. James thinks it was because he bonded with the turtle. Who knows.
Kate built a fortified sand fortress. We all felt safe by the added protection of the sticks. We enjoyed sunning ourselves and cooling off in the water.
We did some shopping and thought we would check out the 5 Palms for happy hour as many people suggested. We took pictures of the views but didn't stay.
We headed over to the Shops at Wailea to pick up some shirts that were to be in stock today at Malibu...and went to happy hour at Longhi's.
We are trying to use up our food so we BBQ'ed and then had ice cream birthday cake for Ben and Kate. Ben's birthday is Aug. 29 (how can he possibly be 12 already?!!) and Kate's birthday is September 25. She'll be 8.
Now we have the sad chore of packing up. We don't leave until late tomorrow evening but we need to be out of the condo by 11 am. Luckily the owners of the condo Aunty Mary Lou rented are giving her the day at no charge so we will all go over there.
We have a full day left of Maui sunshine and we will be sure to seize it!
Enjoying the journey!