Before bidding adieu to Calgary and Canada we took a short trip to Kananaskis set amidst the towering Canadian Rockies hiding their bleakness under passive layers of melting snow. I suppose it is the pronunciation, Kananaskis, emphasis on two Ns, that adds to the topographical mystique of the place. It took me some time to get the name correct and this helped set the genial mood of the drive through the now brown prairie land towards the mountain foothills. Kananaskis Valley was home to nomadic Stoney Indians, a mountain Sioux band, who had lived and hunted in the barren flats of Bow Valley and mountain paths of the treacherous Rockies. One does get a feel of the awesomeness of the surroundings from the Lookouts along the walking trails overlooking Kananaskis River.
Kananaskis Country or K-Country and Village, an hours drive from downtown Calgary, tumbles out of a picture gallery with snow-covered meadows, gurgling mountain rivers, swishy- chirpy cool breeze rustling through Spruce Pines, trembling Aspens and other vegetation visited by discreet wildlife. The bears were still in hibernation and once again we had to be content with grazing Elk and mountain goats.
Winter is the time for skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and ice fishing, came across a couple in the frozen Kananaskis Lake area. Close at hand are the Nakiska Ski runs and we could see the skiers cascading down snow-ribbons. Nakiska was developed during the 1988 Winter Olympics and remains popular with novices, professionals and habitual skiers for its variety of terrain. Other nearby popular ski runs are Fortress Mountain for cat skiing and Canmore Nordic Center Provincial Park for its 65 km of designed ski trails.
Summer is another holiday opportunity and the mountains resonate with enthusiastic energy of mountain bikers, trail-blazers, hikers, horse riders, campers and golfers. Add to this kayaking, rafting and water sports and for loungers perfect selfie moments from decks of cozy lodges amidst the greenery.
Hike: Our hike was confined to Village Rim Trails, a flat, short paved easy path wrapped around east end of Delta Lodge. It is an exhilarating walk with spectacular views of the meandering Kananaskis River and valley, a beaming Mount Kidd and other peaks. The lookouts, Points 1 to 5, with conveniently placed wooden benches, are tempting journey breakers to watch the changing colors of the peaks attuned to bracing mountain air.
The entire Kananaskis region with its wooded and rocky slopes, caves, canyons and river paths is a hiker’s haven, graduating from simple to tough.
The refreshing mountain air makes us ravenous and our short walk ends in Woody’s Pub & Lounge.
‘Calgary in winter !!!!!!‘ …but here I am revealing in frisky icy winds and the white blanket all around. I had compiled a Calgary winter activity list in an earlier post. Now, when it is time to bid adieu to Calgary, for Hong Kong, I glance through my jottings to see how many I re-accomplished… 7 out of 10…not a bad score. https://travtrails.wordpress.com/2015/12/29/wintery-fun-calgary/
1. Walk the Malls…this i did aplenty…. especially on days when the temperature dipped to minus 20. There is choice, depending on area where staying, from themed CrossIron Mills, Chinook Plaza, South Center Mall and others to spend entire afternoons and evenings walking along the length and breadth of inner space flanked by brand outlets and showrooms, restaurants, pubs, coffee slots and children’s play stations.
2. Continued with Downtown visits.…..particularly Stephen Avenue the pedestrian mall/ walk in centre of Downtown. Past and present comes alive with cafes, street musicians and vendors, cultural shows against the backdrop of restored buildings flaunting architectural styles of the 1800s to 1930s. Calgary is referred to as the ‘The Sandstone City‘ because of the sandstone buildings replacing most wooden buildings after the devastating fire of 1886. Stand alone buildings are the Old City Hall, east end of Stephen Avenue Walk, and the upscale Teatro restaurant (200-8 Avenue) housed in the former Dominion Bank building and an example of Beaux Arts classicism. The Avenue walk can be divided and sub –divided into segments to appreciate and savour the settings. One can break the classicism monotony by loosing oneself in the nerdmania of INDIGO on 7th Avenue or the innaneness of Winners or Dollarama stores.
3. Calgary Tower… for a bird-eye view of Calgary from the 191-meter Calgary Tower. We were unlucky as it turned out to be a cloudy day. The booking for the revolving restaurant, Sky 360 was already done, this includes the glass-floor walk for a peek down at city streets. The hazy view was compensated by the 60-minute movement (dinner time revolve) for an all round vista view of the city.
4.VisitedGlenbow Museum. A must visit particularly forNiitsitapiisinni: Our Way of Life (The Blackfoot Gallery) to share in the history presented through an interactive display of artifacts of Glenbow’s Blackfoot collection via a circular narrative path. On 4th floor is the presentation Warriors..A Global Journey Through Five Centuries that compares ‘cultural approaches to war and people who do the fighting’ from First Nation of the plains,the Maoris, Samurai, Medieval Europeans and contemporary society. An multi-faceted display of armour and warfare choreography.
5. Continued with exhilarating snowy walks …..along the frozen Bow and Elbow River. (Start from Eau Claire and cross ‘Jaipur bridge’ for a stroll along the Prince’s Island Park, stop at River Cafe for refreshing coffee and sandwiches, continue towards the vermillion Caterpillar or Peace Bridge, west of Princes Island Park. This is a pedestrian only bridge ‘to nowhere’ connecting southern Bow River pathway and Downtown with northern Bow River pathway. The other easy walks are Heart Creek, the Bow Valley Provincial Park, Nose Hill and other Calgary parks.
6. Banff, Canmore, Lake Louise favoured all-weather activities.… An all time favourite summer or winter drive is to Banff and surrounding areas such as Bow Valley Parkway, Moraine Lake valley, Lake Louise and its Ice Sculpture festival held in January, the Jasper National Park and its environs, Columbia Icefields (winter time restrictions are there) and Canmore, a quaint village town, an hours drive from Calgary, nestled in heart of Rocky Mountains along Bow River.
1. Heritage Park.Spring and summer are the best times to enjoy the vastness and the exclusivity of the Park……family fun place for shopping and celebrations, buggy and train rides and viewing vintage cars at Gasoline Alley. If a history buff, like me, then the largest living history museum in Alberta, is the place to spend time in. The Heritage Park Historical Village started in 1964 and since then has become popular tourist destination.
2. Canada Olympic Park…Not ski person hence watched the skiers from far. The recent death of two teens in a sled accident in the Canada Olympic Park was heart-rending. …..(Canada Olympic Park on the city outskirts is a legacy venue of the 1988 Winter Olympics. The park is home to North America’s fastest ‘zipline’ where riders reach 140km/h after launching from the ski-jump. No harm in going for a look around).
3. Saddledome….A tick on my future activity list is to watch a hockey game at Saddledome, with its unique ‘saddle’ flowing concave roof. Another may-be is dog sledding and snow shoeing. or simply walking in the snow.
4.Drumheller located along Red Deer River (Southern Alberta) is a children’s and adults fantasy world with an interesting collection of Dinosaur fossils from the Alberta badlands housed in Royal Tyrell Museum.
5. FORT CALGARY and Calgary Zoo..a miss this winter.. .Fort Calgary wasconstructed in 1875 by North West Mounted Police at confluence of Bow and Elbow Rivers. The Fort comes across as a mansion, unlike the forts of India, but still interesting to see the reconstructed barracks and life of the people involved in setting up a new city. Close by is Calgary Zoo and during Christmas popular for Winter Lights.
6. The aerial Glacier Skywalk, anobservation platform 918 feet over spectacular glacier-formed valleys and rushing waterfalls on route to Columbia Icefields. Unfortunately the Skywalk is closed for winter months.