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Sat. 6/1/2013- Head-Smashed-In- Buffalo-Jump- Sun. 6/2/13 Lethbridge to Calgary

Saturday- We woke up to sunshine, the first time we have seen the sun in over two weeks!  At about 9AM we rolled out of the RV park to go to the Exposition Park  in Lethbridge for the Farmers Market. .

We stopped and took a picture of the bridge. This is the largest bridge of its design in the world.

Railroad bridge Lethbridge AB

What a market! They had meat, jewelry, meat, wine, meat, bread, vegetables and of course, more meat! We had a great time sampling foods and purchasing fresh items. Bob bought some brats and I was able to purchase a lamb chop.

From there we went to Home Depot to pick up more of the Styrofoam tubing, that Bob uses on to cover the windshield wipers. The old ones bit the dust!

We stopped back at the motor home and dropped off our purchases, walked the dogs, then drove north again, this time through Ft. MacLeod, to Head-Smashed-In- Buffalo Jump. This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, designated in 1981.

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The Jump is the oldest, largest, and best preserved of the many buffalo jump sites across the Western Plains of Canada. The area has been used as a communal hunting ground for the Plains People for nearly 9,000 years!

According to one of the Blackfoot oral traditions, a young boy wanted to witness the plunge of countless buffalo as his people drove them over the sandstone cliff.  Standing under the shelter of a ledge, he watched the great beasts fall past. The hunt was unusually good that day. As the bodies mounted, he became trapped between the animals and the cliff. When his people came to do the butchering, they found him with his skull crushed by the weight of the buffalo carcasses. This is why they named this buffalo jump “Head-Smashed-In” . From their brochure.

The jump is a well coordinated, highly productive, activity for the ancient peoples. The buffalo herd is gradually lured toward the cliff by the buffalo runners. Two rows of stone cairns mark the edges of the drive lanes. These extend up to 8 kilometers(4.8 miles) from the jump. These drive lanes direct the buffalo towards specific parts of the cliff.  When the buffalo get near the cliff, the runners start a stampede.. The rest of the tribe jump up and scare the animals, keeping them within the confines of the lanes. The momentum of the herd, pushes the buffalos over the cliff. Any that survive the fall are killed, as the tribe are superstitious and believe that if any live they will tell the other buffalo about the jump and they will loose their food source.

It is estimated that over 100,000 buffalo went over this jump in the 5700 years that they used this jump. The last use was in the 1800’s.

There was a very good movie that explained all of this. We were able to then go out and view the site. From there, we returned inside and went through the exhibits. There was a lot about the Napi tribe, their life and culture, and about Archeology, in particular, about their findings regarding this site.

Buffalo Jump

Buffalo Jump

The site is strategically placed, near the Old Man River. There is a spring just at the bottom of the site, where the tribes then skinned and cooked the meat. They had to prepare all of this prior to the winter or they would starve. The tribes lived in the valleys. They killed buffalo  in rivers and in the snow if they could. Every part of the animal was used.

The site is overlooking the Canadian Rockies.

Canadian Rockies from Buffalo Jump

Inside the building, we saw the various displays. Exhibit at Buffalo Jump

Exhibit at Buffalo Jump

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It was very interesting. The cost was $10 each, and we had a “buy one get one free” coupon from the Alberta Visitor Center.  The center is owned by the government, but most of the employees were First Nation Members. ( Black foot)

We returned to the motor home. As we had been leaving this morning, we noticed that the site across from us was open. We hoped to find Margie and Wayne would be parked there when we returned home. Sure enough, they were right there! They had driven most of the night to catch up with us. They had unfortunately spent the last two weeks in the Camping World in Salt Lake City. They drove hard  and fast because their mail was in northern Montana,  in the town of Sheridan, waiting for them. The Post Office was only open between 9AM and 11 AM on Saturday.  If they did not get their mail today, they had to wait until Monday.

They were very tired, but it was great to see them. We said hello, then let them take a nap. At 7, we went over to their 5th wheel and discussed plans. We decided to go a head and leave in the morning.

 

 Star-date 2013-6-2  Sunday– Dif Tor Heh Smushma!  ( Live long and proper)

We left Bridgeview RV Park at 8:30, driving north on Hwy 2. We split to the right onto Hwy. 23 taking us to Vulcan. Well, if the name of your town was Vulcan, and you were out in the middle of nowhere, wouldn’t you go with a Star Trek theme to attract tourists?

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Vulcan Visitor Center and Star Trek Museum

Above is the visitor center. They are advertising, June 7-8-9 as Spock days, starting Robert Picard and Ethan ? ( Next Generation) . The gal in the center said that it was their biggest event and the town becomes mobbed with people in costume and acting crazy!

Wayne in the Captains Seat

Wayne in the Captains chair,  he refuses to let me put this on Facebook!

Bob in the Captains Seat

Bob says Live Long and Prosper.

Beem 'em up Scottie

Beam me up Scottie!

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Star Ship Enterprise

Okay, it was cheesy, but it was free and we enjoyed it!

We left there and continued our journey. The next stop was in Nanton. Not much there, but they had this one room school house.

Nanton School House

And antique store.

Nanton Antique Store

The historic main street, where nothing of interest was open as it is Sunday.

Nanton Historic Main Street

We continued north on Hwy. 2 to High River. They are famous for their murals, but when we stopped at the Visitor Center, the gal said that they are trying now to focus on “Famous People, Famous Places” which is based on the TV show Homeland. Short sighted, as they are letting the murals deteriorate, and the TV show is just a fad. There were 4 RV’s while we were there, parking and people wandering looking at the murals, and it was a rainy day! Here are a few of them .

High River Mural

High River Mural

High River Mural

High River Mural

High River Mural

High River Mural

High River Mural

We continued north to Calgary. Our destination was Symon’s Valley Ranch RV Park, in north-east Calgary,a Passport America resort. . All day we had tried to call the resort. Since we do not have internet, we finally gave up and decided to go and see what we found. We were not pleased! First, they are closed on Sunday. That is the first time that we have ever seen an RV park closed on Sunday!  It was run down and very muddy with all the rain.  We could see where people had left, having difficulty pulling out of the mud. The electric hook-ups were ancient and we did not feel that it would be safe to try to hook up to them in the rain. Finally, some woman came out and said just pick a spot. By now, we had decided to leave, as we were afraid that we would sink in the mud! She said there was a KOA not too far down the road, but they are just too expensive!

So,  on to plan B. I called the local Moose Lodge. The bartender, who answered the phone, said that they had moved and did not have hook-ups. He said that they are renting a place for the lodge, but that we could use the parking lot. So I asked for the address, we put it into the GPS and off we went, about 15 miles to south-east Calgary.

The Lodge is the upper story of a Pentecostal Church. We arrived in the pouring rain. Bob and I went up, into the Lodge, and we donated to them $20, for two nights, each. This was voluntary, but we were so grateful to have a paved place to park! We set up next to the fence. The bartender called the Pastor, and let him know that we had left a donation and they are keeping the gate open for us.  The lot is flat, so we are happy!  So we are boon-docking for $10 per night.  We will have to conserve on water, as we had not filled up, since we were planning to stay in a full-hook up site.

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