Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Canada - Part 3

Canada – Part 3 The Great Plains

Our last posting was all about water. This posting will be mostly about BIG things. As we travel around the U.S. and Canada, mostly on back roads and avoiding cities, we have noticed that many communities state their “claim to fame” in some fashion. Here is a sampling of what we encountered:

Eddie the Squirrel in Edson, Alberta  

Paul Bunyan's Bowling Ball in Drayton Valley, Alberta


Huge sausage in Mundare, Alberta 

World's Largest Pysanka (Ukrainian Easter Egg) in Vegreville, Alberta

UFO sculpture in Paynton, Saskatchewan

Canada's Largest Baseball Bat in Battleford, SK

Giant wheatstalk in Prince Albert, SK 

Large Radio Flyer wagon in Dundurn, SK

Snowman in Kenaston (blizzard capital of Saskatchewan)

Giant coffeepot and cup in Davidson, SK 

THE moose in Moose Jaw, SK 

World's Largest Tepee in Medicine Hat, Alberta

Largest Chess Set (verified by Guinness Book of World Records) in Medicine Hat

(Vulcan, AB was too far off our route (and we are not Trekkies) so we did not go to see the large model of the “Enterprise” at the Spock Center.)

Oddball attractions were not the only places we visited. We visited three more Canadian National Parks and a few national historic sites, too.

Elk Island National Park east of Edmonton, Alberta is where we were finally able to watch some beavers. We also spent some time at the Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village. Many immigrants from Ukraine homesteaded in eastern Alberta. We saw some old churches and the inside workings of a 19th century grain elevator.


As we were approaching Saskatoon, SK we made a spur-of-the-moment decision to head north to Prince Albert National Park – the farthest north we have been on any of our trips so far. We hiked through a peat bog on a boardwalk and enjoyed a scenic drive through the park. In the town of Prince Albert, we made a quick visit to the Evolution of Education Museum where they had Dick and Jane readers on display (are we really that old?).


From Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, we backtracked into Alberta to attend a weekend of geocaching events in Medicine Hat. We met some friendly folks at five different gatherings, including a Flash Mob at the local Farmers Market. The landmark from almost any point in town is the Saamis Tepee and it is a grand thing to see when you are standing under it.

 Cache find #21,000 near Medicine Hat
  Hawk on the prairie

Another BIG thing we stopped to see was “Scotty” the T. rex discovered in Eastend, southern Saskatchewan.


The last few days of our Canadian sojourn has been through the rolling hills and prairies and wheatlands. They have their own special beauty just as the lakes and mountains and waterfalls do. Our last important stop was Grasslands National Park in southern Saskatchewan very close to the Montana border. It was too windy to do any hiking and the gray cloudy skies were a deterrent. We did see two black-tailed prairie dog colonies and lots of bison, some sitting on the shoulder of the road.

Prairie sunset

Other photos of interest:
  St. Patrick's Church in Medicine Hat
 Public Library - one of many we visited
  Fort Walsh National Historic Site
  Pooty's Poutine food truck
 Poutine with bacon - YUM!
 Another Saskatchewan sunset

Our time in Canada is ending. We spent 34 days and visited 9 national parks and met many friendly Canadians. It has been quite interesting to get their perspective on the upcoming presidential election and to read the local newspapers from time to time, but we won't go into any details about that in this blog.

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