Neil (nt) wrote,
Neil
nt

Yesterday I did a day trip to the High River area, about 25 miles south of Calgary. It was a part geocaching, part sightseeing, part "get the hell out of Dodge" trip. First stop was near the Old Woman Buffalo Jump, to find a geocache. There are no signs at this site, and I only knew what it was because I had visited there before while following a guide book (Explore Southern Alberta, by Joanne Elves). It is a valley (known as Squaw Coulee) with sandstone bluffs on either side. Indian tribes used to drive buffalo over the cliffs to their deaths. Archaeologists in the 1950s found buffalo bones and Indian artifacts to a depth of 20 feet, going back more than 2,000 years.

We first tried crossing the coulee from the wrong side, but couldn't get across the creek, so I checked the topographic map in my GPSr and found a way to drive to the other side. From there, we hiked to the cache site. On the way, Lorna picked a few handfuls of Saskatoon berries and gooseberries. We startled a pair of deer, and flocks of swallows flew from under the cliff. Apparently, owls nest there too, but we didn't see any.









Returning to High River, we stopped at the Whistle Stop Cafe, an old passenger rail car that has been converted to a dining room, and had coffee and pie. Then we toured the downtown area of this charming town. On the side of one building was a mural depicting Old Woman's Buffalo Jump.



There were a number of murals on other buildings, including this one of the Fort Spitzee trading post (active in the late 19th century).



The next stop of interest was Big Rock near Okotoks (o'kotok means "large rock" in the Blackfoot language). The rock is about 30 feet high, and is the largest glacial erratic in the world.





We spent a while in Okotoks looking for caches, and didn't like it much. Too much construction, too many new shopping malls and subdivisions. It lacked the laid back, small town charm of High River.
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