Last Friday, my son Melvin and I left beautiful British Columbia in my rented car and headed for Calgary. We were sad to leave Creston, but excitedly anticipated the 7+ hour drive – we decided to take another route back so we could experience more of B.C. and Alberta through the Crowsnest Pass.
During the first couple of hours of our ‘road trip’, the highway wound through the Purcell Mountains, skirted many lakes, and curved around small towns. We arrived at Cranbrook first, nestled between the Purcell Mountains and the Rocky Mountains. It took about 10 minutes to drive through! From that point on, we were in untraveled territory!
As we began our drive through the Rocky Mountains, we passed through the town of Fernie and then a while later, the coal mining town of Sparwood. The roads were winding and steep at times with many lakes and rivers hugging the highway. Finally we began driving through the Crowsnest Pass at an elevation of 1,358 meters (4,455 ft) ! WOW! This section of Hwy. 3 is a high mountain pass across the Continental Divide of the Rocky Mountains on the British Columbia/Alberta border. Beautiful mountains; winding highway; evergreen trees along the mountain sides; lakes and rivers……….
We even drove through a tunnel carved right inside a mountain! There was ALOT of traffic on this narrow, two lane highway and it was very slow going. I made a quick pit-stop, where I changed from shorts to long pants with temperatures now at 8 degrees Celsius (46 F) and enjoyed the mountain vistas before heading out along the last leg of the British Columbia Rocky Mountain’s Crowsnest Pass.
Just like that, we were suddenly in Alberta and near the east section of the Crowsnest Pass. Soon we got to the town of Frank – or sadly, the former town of Frank : in 1903, the Turtle Mountain collapsed burying the mining town of Frank with 90 million tons of rubble from the landslide, killing almost 90 residents, most of whom are still buried in the rubble (known as the Frank Slide) . The highway cut straight through the house size boulders and rubble that seemed 3 stories high. It was an incredible, sad site.
Immediately after the Frank Slide, we were through the Rocky Mountains and into the Alberta foothills. I was astounded at how quickly the mountains just ended and the foothills rippled as far as the eye could see. We were encouraged to take the ‘Cowboy Trail’, Highway 22, up to the town of Black Diamond. There were many signs warning motorists of ‘Extreme Wind Gusts’ whipping through this area.
This road was not busy at all and we just whizzed by fields of cut wheat, hay, and cattle – thousands of ‘Alberta Beef’ on the hoof. We passed the historic Bar U Ranch, now a National Historic Site, which commemorates the history and importance of ranching ( http://www.pc.gc.ca/lhn-nhs/ab/baru/index.aspx). Near the end of the Cowboy Trail, we began to see small Oil Rigs – the symbol of Alberta. I was reluctant to stop anywhere to ‘site see’ since I didn’t want to miss our flight and we still had to go through Calgary at Friday rush-hour.
Before we knew it, we were on Hwy. 2, south of Calgary and pretty soon we were filling the gas tank for $1.16/litre ($4.38/Gallon) – a bargain these days! We arrived at the Calgary International Airport with two hours to spare before we had to board our flight home. We printed off our boarding passes and checked in our bags right away, then just relaxed abit. While going through Security, I was singled out AGAIN to be frisked!! Well, I was given the option of entering that full-body scanner, (but I declined) and being frisked in a private area (declined as well since I’d be separated from my son who I was travelling with). So I was frisked – and I mean every part of me was ‘patted down’ – right in front of EVERYONE! Why they think that a Grammom is a Security threat, I’ll never know! Apparently, I was just picked ‘at random’, but now that’s two out of three trips (66%) that I’ve been ‘randomly’ picked for intense security screening!!! Huff, I’m insulted ! Our flight home was uneventful with slight turbulence over Prairie thunderstorm areas. Melvin and I enjoyed watching the movie Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Prince and before we knew it we were back home.I think that I’m finally adjusted to our Eastern Time now after a few days. But I still can’t adjust to the humidity and heat here in Ontario……….
So now after all my adventures this summer, it’s time to focus on getting ‘things’ ready for the coming winter. My garden awaits my attention as does my pond and grass.
Now I wonder where my next adventure will take me…….
More amazing photos the B.C. trip by Marty @