Rural Alberta, Calgary
In the countryside where our daughter's boyfriend was brought up on his parent's 140-acre horse ranch, we decided on a Sheep River rafting trip where it flows past their back pastures! With two rubber rafts loaded aboard 4WD All Terrain Vehicles, we headed down a steep trail and eventually emerged onto the flat and gravelly riverbed (2nd pic). The snowmelt run-off causes major erosion, leaving steep banks after the water level drops to its normal level - very shallow with many areas of rocks. The river also has sharp turns where trees that have been torn loose in the floods are packed against the bank by the swift moving current. Just as we unloaded our rafts and were inflating them, Ryan's young dog Copper turned up - he had escaped from the garage and wanted to join the trip!
We were soon off in the rafts floating down the river, taking a few easy turns and lifting ourselves up off the bottom when we scraped over boulders just below the surface. Some of the turns were wild, with narrow fast flowing channels that drove us straight at the piles of logs and branches that had been caught there. Usually wild paddling would do the trick but a couple of times I had to use my leg and sandled-foot as a shock reliever as we crashed into the trees and then bounced off into the current again! On some of the turns, Copper panicked and jumped out of the raft and we would see him high up on the bank following us once we were clear. We managed to retrieve him on the 3 times we lost him, but one particularly bad corner held us up for quite a while and he had wandered far ahead as he tried to find us.
There were lots of other people out too, enjoying the same thing with rubber tubes and the odd canoe. Finally, over 2 hours and a lot of exertion later, we were in the outskirts of Okotoks where we hauled up over a steep railway embankment to reach the highway where we had arranged for a friend to pick us up. He arrived in the nick of time as a huge black cloud with wind, rain and lightning just began to affect us!
On our next visit, almost 2 years later, we did some different Off the Beaten Path Activities! After leaving the Elbow Falls area (see 'To Do' tips) we drove a short distance into the hilly area around McClean Creek, where the local lads like to enjoy all sorts of mayhem related to off-road 4WD vehicles. There are a series of mountain roads here on the forested slopes where it is possible to camp for the weekend while everyone takes turns trying to deal with different levels of mudbogs and other tricky off-road situations. During our afternoon drive, we saw both 4WD trucks and All Terrain Vehicles battling with the elements.
In this pic, we came across a Jeep Cherokee that had become stuck part way through a mud hole. We descended for a closer look as his buddies attempted a rescue attempt with another of the vehicles. I stood there watching as they attached a line and the smaller Jeep CJ attempted to haul the other one out backwards (2nd photo). The wheels of both vehichles were spinning and mud was flying everywhere, but nothing was moving. During a lull in the action, the driver of the smaller vehicle suddenly shouted out to the other guy to put his stuck one into Reverse. That accomplished, they reved up once more and the rescue was over in no time - it always helps if you are both pulling in the same direction!
The big V8-diesel driven Ford F350 that we were in would have probably walked right over them (3rd photo)! Great fun for me to watch the action though!
Ghost Reservoir is a gorgeous lake located in the shadows of the Rocky Mountains. Located just 35 minutes from Calgary the Ghost is the perfect place for wind surfing, sailing and ice racing due to the almost constant wind that whips down the valley.
It's also great for fishing. We always stop at the lake onour way to Morley on Highway 1. The closest town to the lake is Cochrane..
If you're heading south, rocket past the sprawl and head to the small town of Cardston. The Mormon Temple there is visible from all over town and is enormous.
While not being allowed inside because I would sully the place with my infidelity, I did manage to take a picture of me outside.
Also, swing by the Fay Wray fountain dedicated to that lovely Cardston gal Fay Wray (King Kong's love).
calaway park is the biggest amusement center in western Canada. There are plenty of rides and games for your children to play. Located west of the city about 20 minutes.