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posts about alberta.

during the second half of september and the first few days of october, we were roaming through canada. we spent two weeks in the west and one in the east. revisiting some places i’ve been earlier, and visiting a lot of places i’ve never seen before.


we started in vancouver.

next, we set over to vancouver island and crossed the island to its west coast.

little quasicum falls.

on our way to the west coast, we stopped at the little qualicum falls. (our first waterfall on this trip, but definitely not the last.)

on the west coast, we stayed in ucluelet.


ucluelet is a nice place placed directly at the pacific ocean. the following pictures are from a nice walk near the lighthouse.

long beach near tofino.

from ucluelet we continued northwards in the direction of tofino and stopped at long beach. after somewhat cloudy weather in ucluelet, the clouds opened up here and we had nice sunny weather. obviously, we put our feet into the ocean.

later, we continued to victoria. the last two of the above photos were taken near port alberni.

heading northways.

from victoria, we set back to the mainland and continued north. we took a tram up a mountain near squamish, had a little stop-over in whistler, and then continued north-east until we arrived in clinton.

continuing north.

from clinton, we headed north to prince george.


barkerville is an old gold-mining town not too far from prince george. on our trip to the latter, we did an excursion to barkersville.

crossing the rocky mountains in the north.

from prince george, we continued north-east to dawson creek, from where we continued to Grande Prairie and then headed south to jasper.

the northern part of the icefields parkway.

from jasper we travelled along the icefields parkway. or at least its northern part. it was a very nice trip, with one exception: the so-called glacier skywalk. despite its name, it has not much to do with glaciers. the landscape you can see was formed by glaciers, and you can see glaciers from far away – but that’s it. you can get way better views of still-alive glaciers (like the columbia icefield) for free and not far from there.

don’t get me wrong, the construction of the skywalk is great (from a technical point of view), but the name’s a terrible choice and quite disappointing. (an interesting fact is that roughly at the place where the skywalk is built, i remember a stop at the street where you could stop your car and take a look. the view was similar to the one from the skywalk. now you can’t stop there anymore, but have to pay quite some bucks to be transported there by bus.)

heading east.

from roughly the middle of the icefields parkway, at saskatchewan river crossing, we headed east along highway 11. the mountainous landscape changed to endless farmland, endless straight roads with regular (every 25 kilometers or so) perpendicular intersecting roads. except from slight elevation changes, you it feels like you can drive forward forever. eventually, we headed south, though.

drumheller and the alberta badlands.

our next destination was drumheller in the heart of the alberta badlands. from there, we explored the badlands a bit, in particular we saw horsethief canyon, horseshoe canyon, and the famous hoodoos. unfortunately, we had several rainshowers inbetween…


from drumheller we continued to vulcan, where we visited the tourist information as well as the trekcetera museum. thanks a lot to devan and michael for showing us around both places! (besides, a museum where you are even encouraged to take photos is a great museum!)


finally, we ended up in calgary, where i used to live for quite some time. this was the first time i visited calgary as a tourist, and it turns out there are quite some things to see you wouldn’t expect. if you ever want to explore calgary, you should visit the calgary tower – they have a great electronic tour guide, which is essentially a smartphone where you can click on buildings you can see and get audio information, sometimes also videos, about the places. it also included some material on last year’s flood, so it looks like it’s pretty new. i hope they’ll keep it and also keep it up to date.

the other great thing we did was a city tour on calgary’s only hop-on hop-off bus. apparently not well known, we happened to be the only two passengers for our tour. which was great for us, since our guide was really fantastic (he used to guide tours in the rocky mountains before)! he explained and showed us lots of things we would have never seen or heard about. he also showed us some nice places which are usually not part of the tour. it’s really a shame that this tour is not more well-known.

from calgary, we took a plane to toronto.

yesterday i was told by t. that there is a direct flight from zürich to calgary, offered by edelweiss air. (they fly to calgary each friday, return each monday.) today i checked their website and found out that they also offer flights to vancouver, anchorage, whitehorse, and also two scandinavian destinations, umea (in sweden) and kittilä (in finland), as well as keflavik airport on iceland. most of these flights are only offered during special seasons, though.
so maybe i have to try them out :-)

today i was a second time in the fish creek provincial park. this time, it was covered in snow. here are some impressions:

the temperature in the park was really nice. i never felt cold, more like sweating under all my covers. (which changed when i left the park, somehow…)
speaking of temperatures, yesterday, apparently at 11 am, calgary was the “second coldest place on earth”, or more precisely, the second coldest place in the list of places watched by wx-now, with -33 degree celsius.
well. i was inside at that point :)

today i decided to finally do a trip to the fish creek provincial park, conveniently located in southern calgary, whence reachable by c-train. well. as long as you use the canyon meadows stop and not the fish creek-lacombe stop, even though the latter name sounds like it is closer. here are some impressions.

i guess i should have went there during fall. with colored leafs this probably looks more interesting. but it’s still nice, though many trails are currently closed.

around 2 o’clock in the morning, i was suddenly startled by a very intense beeping. BEEP. BEEP. BEEP. so i checked the fire alarm, muted the one inside the apartment and heard more from outside. there was a strange smell on the corridor, so i put on minimalistic clothing (it was -3 degree celsius outside), grabbed my mobile phone, my laptop and my camera bag (unfortunately, i forgot my passport, i have to think of that the next time), a jacket, some socks (no time to put them on), jumped into my shoes, ran downstairs, and joined a bunch of neighbors waiting outside. after some time, sirens approached, three fire trucks showed up. some firemen, armed with hoses, got into the building. we were waiting. i walked up the street a bit, nothing unusual to see from the other side of the house. eventually, the beeping stopped. two of the trucks left. and finally, someone came out of the third truck, and told us that we can go back in. the strange smell was still there, but apparently everything was fine. gladly.
well. i also learned a thing: its impossible to overhear the alarms. in fact, when i walked to the stairs on the corridor, while passing a buzzer, it feld like i’d become deaf if i stop there for just a few seconds. oh well. its time to go back to sleep ;-)

…came, and went a few hours later. nice try, winter.

when i read yesterday that today, two red panda cubs would be presented to the public, i decided to pay calgary zoo another visit. here are some impressions of the really cute two little ones:

after that, i decided to pay the dinosaur section another visit, since i heard that it was heavily updated. indeed, things changed. there were a lot new dinosaur models, looking much better, which were even animated – they move and roar.

even though, there are still some artifacts from the past available, and artifacts due to low water:

anyway. i guess i’ve seen enough of the dinosaur section. there are other, more interesting parts of the zoo to see :)

today, i went hiking with a friend. our destination were cirque lake and cephren lake, located at the icefields parkway. the trip went pretty smooth, and we decided to first go to cirque lake. there was a bit of rain in the beginning, a few drops during the hike, but nothing serious, and soon the sun came out and presented everything in its full beauty. the hike turned out to be harder than expected, whence we decided to skip cephren lake, but we were rewarded with a really gorgeous view on cirque lake. here are some impressions of the hike to the lake, and the lake itself:

(note that the first photo was taken somewhere between calgary and banff, and not anywhere near to cirque lake. the first photo in the second row is a view of the upper waterfowl lake, if i’m not mistaken.)
unfortunately, while resting at the lake, it started dripping again, and when heading back the drops turned into water turned into graupel. not that much fun. we got pretty wet, and the trail continued and continued and didn’t want to end, until it stopped raining. only after that we left the forest and returned to the car, too exhausted to do anything more, so we returned home.