A Travellerspoint blog

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

First Nations - Blackfoot

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Just outside of Fort Macleod, Alberta, in the foothills of the Rockies, is a World Heritage Site. It was officially opened July 1987, by the then Duke and Duchess of York (Andrew and Sarah). This buffalo jump was used by native people (First Nations -Blackfoot) for nearly 6,000 years. Designated as a World Heritage site puts it at the level of the Egyptian Pyramids, Stonehenge, and the Taj Mahal.

Many other buffalo jumps sites were damaged or destroyed when the pioneers used the buffalo bones for fertilizer. As this site was off the beaten path, it was better preserved. Of interest is through archeologist digs they have discovered the site was used for thousands of years as a buffalo jump, then it stopped for 1,000 years. It then started again and was used until the buffalo herds were destroyed by the Europeans (mid 1800s).

Another very interesting item was the inside of a buffalo hide. The symbols painted tell the story of important yearly events. To the Blackfeet people this form of record keeping was known as the winter count. One important event was recorded for each year, such as floods, fires, mild winters, when the white mean with short hair first came, etc. I have included some pictures of this very interesting hide. It was maintained from 1764 to 1879.

We spent three hours at this museum and we would highly recommend people add it to their bucket list.

Posted by Mo-natravels 14:42 Archived in Canada Tagged historical Comments (2)

Lake Louise and Banff

National Parks

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In the past, when we have visited this area, it has always been in the summer. As this was a spring trip, we found the views of the Canadian Rocky Mountains even more spectacular and defined with all the snow covered peaks.

As Canada is celebrating 150 years in 2017, we lucked out and all National Parks and National Historic sites are free in 2017. We plan to take advantage of as many of them as we can.

Lake Louise was still frozen over and did not have the same magical effect it has in the summer months. But we have seen that turquoise blue several times in past visits, so to see this new view of what it looks like in the spring was equally as impressive. There were still remains of the ice rink on the lake, as well as partial thawing was starting to reveal the blue features of the lake.

A quote from a Banff and Lake Louise website, ".. a rich heritage as one of the world's most awe inspiring mountain destinations. With easy access to pristine wilderness, endless outdoor adventures, and all the amenities you need, in Banff National Park you feel truly immersed in nature." We were camped for three nights at a Banff campsite with pristine mountains surrounding us on all sides. It was truly breathtaking at every turn. Mount Rundle was towering over the area we were camped at and we took many pictures of this 9,672' magestic mountain that towers over the town of Banff. Apparently it at one time was a prehistoric ocean floor that had a classic thrust-fault that created this awesome mountain.

We did our normal rituals while in Banff, walking down main street, taking pictures at Bow Falls, and visiting the golf course (where we saw about 50 elk grazing on the greens).

We did one thing we had not done on previous visits, we went to see the "Cave and Basin National Historic Site", which apparently is the birthplace of Canada's national parks. Canada was only 18 years old when the government established a nat'l park around the hot springs on Sulphur Mountain. I had read online that only on Saturdays and Sundays at 1:30 they offer a 45 minute free guided tour. It turned out we were the only ones that showed up for this tour even though there were lots of people at the site. We had a very informative and enlightening private one hour tour.

Posted by Mo-natravels 03:29 Archived in Canada Tagged mountains Comments (2)

Sea to Sky Gondola - Squamish BC

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Squamish is about a 45 minute drive north of Vancouver BC. We parked at the Shannon Falls park and walked about 600 meters to reach the gondola basecamp. (Parking at the basecamp is restricted to 3 hours, but at Shannon Falls you can park longer.) The Falls are the 3rd longest in BC, and with the spring run off they were amazing. The hike was through the remnants of an old growth forest, it was an easy hike. It cost about $40 each to ride the gondola. There is a discount if you purchase your tickets ahead of time, off of the internet.

The 360 view of snow capped mountains that surrounds you was so spectacular. Make sure you go on a clear day. in order to get the benefit of the most incredible view. At the top there are hiking trails, a suspension bridge, gift store and cafe.

For more detailed info visit: seatoskygondola.com

Posted by Mo-natravels 19:18 Archived in Canada Tagged mountains Comments (2)

Pioneers in the 60s?

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We visited Whistler BC and spent time walking around the village. At the end of April there was still lots of snow for skiing and snowboarding. Whistler is about an hours drive north of Vancouver B.C. The scenery is breathtaking and warranted a second day to visit Squamish.

One thing I found amusing was the sign that indicated pioneers in the 1960s envisioned the Olympics coming to Whistler as they developed the area. Seeing as I went skiing at Whistler in the 60s, should I consider myself a "pioneer" ?😊👍

Posted by Mo-natravels 18:58 Archived in Canada Tagged snow Comments (1)


We are getting closer to our year long Adventure. Lots of preparation and planning is taking up much of our time. We plan to leave in late April. Our first stop is Birch Bay, Washington, which is right at the Canadian border. We will spend a few days visiting Vancouver BC before heading to Kelowna, in central BC. Kelowna is where I was born and many of my extended family still resides. Kelowna is a very popular tourist area, with lots of summer warm weather activities. There are wineries, orchards, golf courses, and summer activities on the Okanagan Lake. Be on the watch for the lakes infamous "Ogopogo" a reported serpent that even the First Nation people reported seeing before the settlers arrived in the area.

One of my favorite stories is from a book, "The Casorso Story-A century of social history in the Okanagan Valley". Giovanni Casorso sent for his wife and three young children (aged 5, 4, & 3) in 1884 from Italy. They took a windjammer from Italy to San Francisco, it took six weeks. She and her family were dropped off at the docks, she spoke no English. At some point a deckhand noticed a large crate destined for Okanagan Mission in central BC. In the crate was a church bell that was sent from France. She never took her eyes off the bell as it travelled first by boat to New Westminster BC. She then followed the bell by wagon train, which took several weeks. When they arrived Giovanni saw his youngest child for the first time as he had left previous to his sons birth (3 years).

Posted by Mo-natravels 07:23 Comments (1)

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