Publisher's Note

  • Publisher’s Note

    Dear Readers, Finally we can it seems that spring is almost in the air.  Weather wise it’s not that cold anymore and it looks like Mr. Winter is going to say goodbye. Soon you have to start cleaning up the yard and the flower beds.  And the trees in the backyard will start to have leaves [...]

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Page added on February 22, 2017

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Ram Falls Provincial Park

Ram Falls Provincial Park thumbnail

Wow! What an awesome weekend! While most people in our city did their usual weekend routine – those things that take neither a brain, nor physical effort – shopping, talking, eating…I loaded up the car with a few snacks and headed for the mountains. Unlike the majority, I am not burdened with insecurity; I can do things alone, solo. While my wife was on vacation in the Philippines, I took a short drive to Ram Falls Provincial Park.

Before you start thinking that I will tell you all about a Provincial Park, you must remember that it is still winter. Few people, if any, go to Provincial Parks in January. For the record though, Ram Falls Provincial Park is one of Alberta’s best parks in the summer, for families and outdoor types, those who can live without showers, flush toilets or cell phones. It is very remote and you WILL have bears going through your campsite, so if you are the type that leaves food, utensils, cooking oils or garbage out – please stay home in the city.

However, I will tell you about Ram Falls themselves, in the winter.

I loaded up with my food for the 2 days, some cookies, a bag of chips, one bottle of water and 2 pieces of leftover turkey drumsticks from Christmas. That’s right – you don’t need a 2 week supply of food for a weekend, even if you are Filipino. The goal should be to consume whatever you bring as it doesn’t make sense to come home with leftover food. Yes, you will probably need a bit more than I did but be reasonable.

Ram Falls is about 80 km. south of Nordegg, Alberta. If you are interested, be independent and GOOGLE it yourself for more information and directions. The only mistake I made for the weekend was that I thought of economics. (If you do a trip cheaply – you can take another one the next weekend) I decided to take my wife’s fuel efficient little car and left the bigger, 4 wheel drive vehicle at home. Big mistake when you’re heading to the mountains in winter time. If you spend your entire life in the city where snow is measured in cm. then you can only imagine traveling to an area of Alberta that measures snowfall in metres! From Nordegg, Alberta and further west there is almost 1.5 metres of snow on the ground. Unlike city slickers who are protected at a huge cost to taxpayers, the roads there are seldom sanded or salted. The resulting hard packed icy snow covered roads should only be driven on using a vehicle designed for Canadian winters. That rules out Hondas and Toyotas which are engineered to look pretty while you cruise to the Mall.

Along the way there are a lot of interesting things, including the little town of Nordegg. It is your last stop for fuel for a long time, so fill up there for sure. Also, you will probably see a few of Alberta’s wild horses as they frequent this part of the province. They dig through the snow and eat the grass below, and are very timid and will take off if you stop and try to get to close.

The last 65 km. of driving I did before arriving at the hiking trail to Ram Falls was really the highlight of the weekend. 65 km. in and 65 km. out, not another vehicle did I meet. This is on a forestry trunk road and really leads from nowhere to nowhere, at least in the winter. That is good because the road is single lane and if you get too far to one side or the other you will disappear over a cliff. If you survive the wreck, it may still be days before anyone finds you. And forget your useless cell phone. There is no coverage in the area and no humans for 80 km. or more.

The 65 km. journey off the main highway took me 3 hours to complete. Not a problem, it is not like the rush, rush, rush of city folk anyway. I stopped numerous times at frozen rivers, frozen lakes and even the trees had so much snow on them you couldn’t see their branches or needles. Always, in the background of the scenery, as this area is in the foothills, are the majestic snow covered Rocky Mountains.

Thinking ahead, when I arrived at Ram Falls Provincial Park, I left the little front wheel drive car at the gate. Getting it stuck in the deep snow in the parking lot, with no one else around, was not on my agenda.

The 3 km. trail on foot through 75 cm. of snow was a fine workout and was good exercise for me. Perhaps I could have brought snowshoes or skis but those are for wimps and take up space in the car.

Although the drive to and from the Park was difficult – the destination proved it was all worth it! At this time of year the river and falls are all ice. The thing is – under the thick ice the water is still flowing. Yes, even the falls from top to bottom are solid ice with water flowing under it! Spectacular indeed!

Our tax dollars have provided stairs, about 200 of them, and a lookout so you can see the falls better. While viewing, and of course taking pictures, I thought, these falls would be even more awesome in the spring when the river is high with the melting snow. I vowed to return with my wife for a weekend of camping, especially as Crescent Falls and Abraham Lake are also close by.

If you really are serious about getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life, for good health, less stress and lower blood pressure, I recommend Ram Falls. I caution you though, if you go summer or winter and don’t have 40-50 years of driving experience, Message me and I could give you some tips that could save your life and the lives of those you love. Anyone can head out on the 4 lanes of bare pavement to Banff or Lake Louise. Ram Falls is a different story!

Steve Tarzwell


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