July 22nd, 2002

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Big Hill Springs

This summer, I plan to visit a number of places in southern Alberta that I either haven't been to before, or haven't seen for many years.

Today I went to Big Hill Springs, a small park in the ranching country northwest of Calgary. This park is aptly named; there are several creeks flowing down a large forested hill from a spring near the top. We followed the hiking trails up and around the hill, and explored several side trails. There was no wildlife visible, other than colorful butterflies, although the park is said to be home to deer, mink and coyote, as well as the usual squirrels and gophers, and a variety of birds.

Then we headed for Cochrane, where we enjoyed a late brunch. Our next destination was Skunk Hollow, said to be a ghost town. This proved difficult to find, but after considerable time on gravel roads, we finally found a sign commemorating the site of the former coal mining community. Unfortunately, there were no buildings remaining, and the site had been turned into a campground. Rather disappointing.

We slowly wound our way back to Calgary, stopping again at Cochrane to sample some MacKay's ice cream.
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Lorna took me to dinner tonight at Oh! Canada. I had wild mushroom soup and a bison steak. First time I've eaten bison. It's similar to beef but with a richer flavour. Coincidentally, we saw a herd of bison when we were out driving on Sunday. A number of the local ranches raise them.