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    Hello dear readers, Belated Happy Thanksgiving to everyone! What is the importance of Thanksgiving? As a liturgical festival, Thanksgiving corresponds to the English and continental European harvest festival, with churches decorated with cornucopias, pumpkins, corn, wheat sheaves, and other harvest bounty. English and European harvest hymns are sung on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend. Since Thanksgiving holiday is [...]

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Day Trip to Cayley, Alberta and Area

Day Trip to Cayley, Alberta and Area thumbnail

I recently had some time to spare and a full tank of fuel in one of our vehicles while my wife Ludy was in the Philippines. On a beautiful, sunny day in January I decided to go for a drive down some back roads. Being Saturday I avoided the congested highways to the west of Calgary and went south on Hwy #2 instead. About 20 km. past High River and before Nanton, I turned off to a side road going to the small hamlet of Cayley. Just a couple km. from Hwy #2 on this side road I noticed a peculiar style of home. I have never seen one like it in Alberta before, so later I researched and discovered it is called a Geodesic Dome. It is not easy to describe so please check out the photos that accompany this story. It is unique and I will do additional research on it as I would like know more about their space, heating, construction, costs etc.

A couple more km. down this road and I arrived at Cayley, Alberta, population 265. There is not a lot to this town, although it does have one grocery store…

I continued driving around Cayley as I had heard that there is a unique assembly of old Avro Anson aircraft in the area. I found it on the edge of the town. This Art Installation, built in 2009 is called Gravitas. The airplanes are training aircraft left over from World War II and there are 12 of them arranged in a circle 75 Metres across. The information I had gathered before my trip indicated that the display is better viewed from the air and I agree. Also, right next to it is another strange type of home – with several funny shapes to it.

Satisfied that I had seen what I came for around Cayley, I returned north on Hwy #2 just a few km. to get to Secondary Road #540 West. This little travelled road winds back and forth and up and down through beautiful prairie grasslands, with the majestic snow covered Rocky Mountains in the background. There are many large rock outcroppings, scenic winding creeks and an abundance of wildlife. What a splendid day just to be alive and driving around!

I stopped to eat my customary picnic lunch and thermos of coffee and relaxed, dreaming about my wife in the Philippines, on vacation on the other side of the world – me, enjoying the peace, tranquility and fresh air while she is visiting family and friends back home. What a contrast!

Continuing west on Hwy #540 I soon came to the world famous Bar U Ranch National Historic Site. Set in the rolling foothills of the Rockies, the Bar U Ranch is the only national historic site to commemorate the history and importance of ranching in Canada. The site has many historic buildings and structures, illustrating various stages of ranching development, and is rich in cultural landscape features. A visitor centre and a vibrant living history program interpret a time when the West was young.  Although it was closed on this day, further research tells me two important details – it opens for the 2017 season on May 15 AND because it is the 150th Anniversary of Canada’s National Parks – admission is FREE! Be sure to add it to your to do list for 2017.

Deciding that it was still too early to return to Calgary, I took a peaceful drive down the road past Bar U Ranch, a gravel road that follows the tiny Pekisko Creek. It was stop and go as I found many interesting things within 10 km down this road, as well as frequent scenic points along the way. At the end of the road I came upon another sight – again, one I will check out this summer when my wife is back. This great discovery is the EP Ranch/D Ranch. The E.P. (Edward Prince) Ranch cultural landscape is a 41 hectare ranch headquarters, situated adjacent to Pekisko Creek, in a rural setting in the foothills of Alberta. The site comprises: a 1927 Ranch House addition constructed for the Prince of Wales (later His Majesty King Edward VIII); a collection of log and wood frame residential and agricultural buildings and structures dating from the late 1880s; a formal garden; irrigated working gardens; woodland paths; shelter belts; and archaeological remains of early homestead-era structures. The return trip later this summer will be exciting for sure.

I returned to the main highway full of more ideas for later trips and headed north on Hwy #22 – The Cowboy Trail. My wife and I have explored the Cowboy Trail south of Hwy #22X more than 20 times over the past few years. If you haven’t – then I suggest you check out Longview, Black Diamond, Turner Valley, Milliarville and Priddis. They all have lots to offer and each one makes a great day trip. Summer is coming, start planning your weekends now!

Steve Tarzwell









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