Thursday, July 25, 2013

Across the Border

The past few days we were down in the Cypress Hills in South-Eastern Alberta and South-Western Saskatchewan with our friends Ken and Verna Pohl to do a little riding, see some new country, and tell some tall tales around the campfire. It had been a long time since I had been down here, 50 odd years, and the others were first timers so we had a great time exploring new trails and enjoying new vistas.

Fields of Flowers
The country was beautiful and every meadow we rode through was carpeted in flowers. While we were there we thought we should look at a little real estate but I think the fixer upper below was a little to much for Brenda.

Symons-Noble cabin
We headed down some hills

And we headed up a few

And then from time to time we stopped to check the map and take a few photos.

Checking out the trail map

Brenda, Verna and Ken with Bullet in the background overlooking Battle Creek

The view from the old Patrol cabin

Here Ken and Verna are looking back down at the Historic Reesor Ranch, our rigs are to the left of Ken

Brenda crossing from Alberta into Saskatchewan on the Trans-Canada Trail

And back over to Alberta again
As well as enjoying excellent weather and great company we were treated to some spectacular sunsets every evening.

Sunset over the pasture
And although all good things have to come to an end we will certainly not scratch this place off our list of places we need to go. There is a lot more country to explore here.

Those red roofs in the background are the Reesor Ranch overlooking the prairies of the Palliser Triangle to the north
For now we have headed home to get a few repairs done on our motorhome and our ponies have a date with their farrier to receive all new pedicures so we are ready for our next adventure.

For those of our readers who like a little look at where we rode.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Enjoying Summer

We got back from the Hummingbird and lo and behold the Calgary Stampede was in full swing. The catch phrase this year was Stampede 101, Come Hell or High Water, and although we had the high water this year, the Stampede went off without a hitch. Oh yah, a few big concerts had to be cancelled when the Saddledome filled with water but other than that things went along pretty well.

The folks at the Stampede put together a T-Shirt with that logo on it and at last count had sold 150,000 of them raising approximately $2.1 million for flood relief. The city had a good time and like the mayor said "you might not see Calgary at its prettiest, but you will sure see it at its best." Neighbours were helping neighbours and although it will be a long time till things are back to normal, things are getting done.

We took a spin down to the grounds with Kashton and his parents. Always great to see an old familar place through the eyes of a child. He loved the rides and getting him off was a job in itself. If he had his way he would have just stayed driving the cars and riding the rollercoaster while his Dad ran and got more tickets.

Kash and his Mom on the Merry Go-Round

Grandma and Kash riding

Kash loved these cars although he was not to sure about sharing it with this little girl
He thought maybe she should ride in the back!

Rollercoaster, Kash and Ved in second car

Brenda and I and that tree behind us was actually a person on stilts, imagine what your horse would do when a tree starting talking to them.
It was a great day at the Calgary Stampede's 101st edition.

Then this week I headed over to the Dogpound Rodeo grounds to enjoy our local rodeo, it has been running for 107 years and is still a local must do in this area. Seems like everyone in the country is there and a lot of them are participating. Me I participated in the pie eating and took a few pictures.

Hard to believe but this guy stayed on this bull till the horn

Our granddaughter,  Madison, in the orange shirt, but luckily the piglet was captured and taken home by some other youngster.

Local girl, Shelby Cummings, has been doing this rodeo since she was 9 years old.

And here she is starting the next generation of trick riders.

The Wild Rose drill team another local group.
The Dogpound Rodeo is always a fun time and well attended even though it always runs on the Wednesday after the Calgary Stampede show ends.

Today Brenda was off to Chestermere to keep an eye on Kashton while his mother was off selling houses or something, and Wink and I had a date with the Brand Inspector up in Olds to get that out of the way for our upcoming ride across the provincial border, and our trip south next fall. We are off with some friends to ride along the Alberta-Sask border. It isn't the mountains but it should be pretty nice as it was a famous American's, Sitting Bull's, summer home when things got a little hot down around the Little Big Horn. Who knew, he might have been the first snowbird. More on that after we return.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Room in the Bucket

Time is flying by here at Dogpound North. We have kept pretty busy, doing what I am not sure, but busy just the same. That might be a good reason to get my blog up to date and keep it that way. I would be able to go back and check just what it was I have been doing from time to time.

Of course July always starts with a bang around these parts. The first day of July the whole country gets put on hold so that they can celebrate Miss Ella's birthday. It is a national holiday and across the country there are parades and fireworks to mark the day.

Ella, her cousin, and Grandma's Ice Cream Sandwich Cake

Face Painting
Oh yah, and a little thing called Canada Day happens on that date also. As a nation we are 146 years old now. Just a little trivia, before that date 146 years ago Western Canada was in the hands of the Hudson's Bay Company and was bought for $10,000,000, not a bad deal I am thinking.

Once we got over celebrating Ella's day we were busy getting packed up to head out with our ponies. We had made plans to meet Ken and Verna Pohl out near the South Ram River along Hummingbird Creek. Ken and Verna were bringing along some friends of theirs Bev Schrader and Vic Lamond. We got setup in a pretty spot along the banks of Hummingbird Creek

The view from our campsite
There are a lot of trails in this part of the country and between the Pohl's and Vic we had pretty good guides for our first trip out here. Our first day we headed out along the South Ram River for a look see. Although the river had dropped down to more normal levels after last month's rain there was evidence that it had been up, in some places, 15 feet higher than normal. Must have been some heavy rains out there in the West Country.

The lower cascade of what I am calling Upper South Ram Falls

And here is a picture of Brenda and I at the Upper Cascade
 Long time readers may recall our visit to the Lower South Ram Falls a couple of years ago.

Here is a shot from a couple of years ago of the lower Ram Falls
Once we got the required photo's we headed up river to see the country. We crossed back and forth across the river multiple times to stay on the good trails.

An overlook high above the Ram looking to the West

Making our way upstream R to L; Ken, Verna, Brenda and Vic
For this ride we went out of camp on the South Ram trail and returned across country on the aptly named Muddy Trail. No photos of that as it was all in the trees and pretty wet and boggy.

Saturday we just did a short ride up Hummingbird Creek to a new Trappers cabin and back, Brenda sat that ride out to rest her knee so I ponied Wink along behind Blue, most of the time anyway.

Then Sunday we headed into the high country. Ken led us on a beautiful ride that just got better and better the higher it went. We were destined for a place called Monument or College Heights. The monument part I figured out as there were numerous monuments and even a couple of memorials to riders who have gone on ahead to scout the trails in the sky, but why it is also called College Heights escaped me. Maybe just because when you are up there you can see forever and it could be a place of "higher" learning. Sure was a great place to get the lay of the land from.

Here the group is taking a break as we broke out at treeline, typically ~6500 feet in Alberta.
From there we kept climbing through the alpine, enjoying ever expanding vista's as well as the wild flowers along the trail.

Shrubby cinquefoil, thanks Sandy

Wild Thyme

Once we got to the top we could see forever and certainly felt closer to heaven.

A Panorama from the top

Brenda and Verna at the top

Brenda on top of the world.
It was a great day to be up there, nice and warm, only a slight breeze and just some big puffy clouds floating by.

Bev and Vic at the top

Ken and Beauty along with Penny playing in the snow

Verna and Ben
Heading down the hill

Here we are crossing the Hummingbird coming back into camp. Our rigs are visible in the background.
Although generally we had good weather we did get a few opportunities to try out our slickers from time to time. In this country, unlike Arizona, you sure don't leave them in the trailer.

Getting the fire going with my F&BS
As well as being another place checked off our bucket list, hence the title of this entry, it was also our new pups first camping trip and they had a good time and didn't drive anybody to crazy.

Brenda and her "posse"

This week we are hanging around home while some of the renovations are going on, but we'll be back on the trails soon. Maybe another new place.

A Google map below for those who are really curious about where we have been riding, but keep it a secret we don't want the hills full of people.

Hummingbird Rides and some Points of interest.