Saturday, July 15 to Monday, July 17, 2023 (Cochrane, AB)

Saturday (July 15)...and time to move on again. We had such a great visit with Dave and Cheryl! When you only see folks in the winter, travelling down south, it's always great to meet them in their home location, spend time with them, and exploring their area. Thanks so much for putting us up for a couple of nights...and all of your hospitality!

We said goodbye to Dave and Cheryl just after 9:30...we have a lunch date in Calgary with more RV friends and wanted to give ourselves a little extra time since it is a 2 hour drive.  On the way out, we drove past the marina where Dave keeps their pontoon boat. It's a beauty, too bad we didn't get out on it.
Pretty smokey as we watch a boat heading out on the lake...
We arrived at Phil's Restaurant in northwest Calgary at noon. It's a very popular spot, so Pat had gone inside to get a table while John greeted us in the parking lot. We met John and Pat at Fort Camping in Fort Langley years ago...checking back on our blog, I believe it was 2016! At that time even though we had just met, John insisted that I use their car to go grocery shopping. We had also joined them for a day at the Granville Island Public Market and a harbour tour on one of the Mini Harbour Ferry Boats.

We are on our way to stay with friends in Cochrane, just west of Calgary, so Steve had contacted John to see if they would be available to meet for lunch today...so glad they were! Wonderful seeing them again and catching up!
With big hugs, we said goodbye to John and Pat, thanks for taking the time to meet with us! We then continued west to Cochrane Lake where we are staying with long time friends, Ken and Charlene. Steve and Ken grew up together as neighbours in Regina, Saskatchewan and have remained friends, maintaining regular contact since around the age of 5!

Steve, Ken, with Charlene in the kitchen starting to make a pie. They have uniquely decorated their home in a way that works...note the tools on the far wall...
They have a very cool house...it's an older one that Ken has renovated and has a warm and cozy feel to it.
Their deck...
Cochrane Lake...
They have 3 dogs...meet Zoey...                                                     and Buddy...
                                
I didn't get a picture of Allie...she's an old girl that spends most of her time sleeping in the bedroom.

Charlene cooked a delicious dinner...Buddy looking to see if there is any left for him, LOL...
They have collected some very interesting things to decorate their home with. This is in the bathroom...
And this is in the living room (which is on the entry level of the house)...
Sunday (July 16) morning, Ken put together a picnic lunch and we headed off to Kananaskis and Peter Lougheed Provincial Park...
An incredibly beautiful area...and, look...very little smoke!




Our first Rocky Mountain Sheep of the day. They like to lick the road salt from the previous winter...

Charlene dropped Ken, Steve and I off in the parking lot at the north end of Upper Kananaskis Lake. We are going to hike the Upper Kananaskis Lake...on the Interlakes Trail, a 6.74 km/4 mile hike along the edge of the lake. Charlene will drive to the other end of the trail and park in that day-use area and relax with a book and wait for us. At the start of the trail we were warned that a Grizzly with cubs and a Black Bear had been spotted on the trail. Great! Not only had Ken forgot his knee brace in their car, but also his Bear Banger, and there's no cell service here to contact Charlene. So we decided to cautiously carry on making lots of noise as we went, keeping our eyes peeled on the trail ahead!
The trail is described (on All Trails) as a great easy hike along the shore of Upper Kananaskis Lake with views that are stunning every second of the way....and they weren't wrong! The views are absolutely stunning! We kept getting bear warnings from others as we passed by.😟😟😟(Steve)

Of course, we had to get a selfie with a backdrop like that!
We went for about a 20 minute stretch where we didn't see a soul on the trail, hmmm...



Almost there!

The day-use area where we have to find Charlene...
There is a trail that loops around the lake, and if I recall correctly it's about 10 km/6.2 miles long...
We had no trouble finding Charlene and the car, and we even found a nearby picnic table in the shade!
What an absolutely fabulous hike! Ken was a real trooper and never complained about his knee, but we're sure some pain was involved.

Time to head home...


As Steve was taking this picture (he was in the front passenger seat), I looked over to the left to see a herd of Rocky Mountain Sheep at the intersection...
See the kids?

Further along the road, there was another herd on the right...this fellow ventured out onto the road. Not in the least concerned about the traffic...






These sheep ran in front of the motorcyclist!
Ghost Lake...which is really a widening of the Bow River. A very popular spot on a hot Sunday afternoon...
After such a big day yesterday, Monday (July 17) was a pretty relaxing day. The weather wasn't nearly as nice as yesterday...more cloudy and there was a chance of a thunderstorm later in the afternoon. 

After the fog had lifted Steve launched his drone for a 2:23 minute video tour of the area...

Ken took Steve and I out for a tour of Cochrane and the area...absolutely amazing how much it has grown, and continues to grow. Definitely a 'bedroom community' of Calgary.

After our drive, we stopped back at the house to relax for a bit before going out for lunch...to the Cochrane Taphouse Bar and Grill. While having our lunch, the wind and dark clouds came in...and then thunder, lightning and heavy, heavy rain. There was one flash of lightning that immediately cut the power to the building.  Thank goodness we already had our lunch! It absolutely poured out. We watched from our window table as the wind lashed the rain sideways. Too bad we didn't think to take any pictures...sheesh!

Unfortunately, with the power out, we were unable to use debit/credit to pay. Since Steve and I were treating Ken and Charlene, we managed to scrape together enough cash for most of the bill but they had to chip in. Sorry about that, guys!

By the time we left, the storm had basically moved on but holy cats! the puddles everywhere were crazy! The owner/manager of the restaurant even told us to leave from a different door because the entrance door was totally flooded!

As we drove home, we found other areas without power, but later found out that the reason for that had been a car accident.

Tomorrow we are leaving Ken and Charlene's and heading west...next stop West Kelowna!


Thursday, July 13 to Friday, July 14, 2023 (Gull Lake, AB)

Well, our time with Dave and Leslie has come to an end...we will be continuing south, today, Thursday (July 13). Our next stop is at Dave and Cheryl's place at Sandy Point Resort and RV Park on Gull Lake, AB, about an hour and a half south of here. 

The smoke from the wildfires has really moved in this morning...

We had a relaxing start to the day and then before packing up the car, Steve took his drone out for a (2:49 minute) video tour of the Roche Estate. Unfortunately the camera gimbal went a little squirely at one point. Steve πŸ˜Ÿ 
Before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye to Dave and Leslie. Thanks so very much for your hospitality, we had a blast! We always seem to have great fun when we get together, don't we? Sorry you hadn't sold your acreage before we got here but on the other hand, we were really happy to be able to see it...you have a beautiful piece of property! Good luck on the sale next Spring!

We made our way over to highway 2 that heads south towards Calgary...there are acres and acres of Canola fields. Absolutely beautiful!
At Lacombe, AB, we turned west onto highway 12 and less than a half hour later, we were pulling into Sandy Point Resort and RV Park...
We didn't expect to see a lighthouse...
Dave had given us directions to the Resort where they have purchased a lot and have a modular home. Dave and Cheryl are RV friends that we first met at Lone Rock Beach Campground on Lake Powell in Utah back in November 2017. Dave had been following our blog and when we got home from one of our outings with Ray and Deb, he came over and introduced himself.

After big hugs, we got settled in their spare bedroom and then sat outside chatting. Dave took us for a walk around the resort...and then it was cocktail time! Cheers, guys!

They have a beautiful yard with a propane firepit...
Dave smoked brisket for dinner...yum!
Ta Da!!
After a delicious dinner we did shots... Peanut Butter Whiskey and Nanaimo Bar Cream!
 
Cheers! Sorry we didn't text teaser photos Dave R. and Jim N! 😁😁 (Steve)
We were hoping to get out on Dave and Cheryl's pontoon boat Friday (July 14), but it was just too windy and smokey with quite a chop on the lake, so Dave suggested we go to Rocky Mountain House, a town about an hour west of here. There is a National Historic Site that would be interesting to check out too.
 
On our way out, they showed us the day-use area here at Sandy Point. You can't even see the shoreline on the other side of the lake...
Rather than taking the direct route to Rocky Mountain House, Dave took us a little further south and went through the town of Sylvan Lake...
Sylvan Lake is one of the most popular recreational areas in Alberta, with over 1.5 million visitors per year. Water based recreational activities include boating, dragon boat racing, swimming, windsurfing, water skiing in summer and ice fishing, skating and snowmobiling during the winter months.
We drove through Rocky Mountain House...
Today, Rocky Mountain House is well known as the place of "Where Adventure Began" with the story of the Rocky Mountain House trading fort and David Thompson. The highway dedicated in his name passes through some of the most beautiful scenery in Western Canada and still is the place of “Where Adventure Begins!”
...crossed the North Saskatchewan River...
Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site is a fine example of the fur trade in the west. Discover a historic trading post along the North Saskatchewan River and immerse yourself in stories of Indigenous Peoples and legendary explorers.

Location of the most recent Hudson's Bay Fort 1868-1875
Steve here...Unfortunately nothing remains of the forts other than the chimneys and flag markers showing the location of various buildings... 


Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site of Canada is an archaeological site that contains the remains of several early 19th-century fur trade forts known as Rocky Mountain House. It is located on the North Saskatchewan River at Brierly Rapids, which was historically an obstacle to navigation. The designation refers to the remains of trading establishments built and occupied between 1799 and 1875 on the west bank of the North Saskatchewan River above its confluence with the Clearwater River together with an associated burying ground.

Blacksmith display...

Some of the items a Blacksmith would have made back in the day...
We continued along the trail above the North Saskatchewan River to various listening stations that described the life and history of the area and it's people...



MΓ©tis Camp...
But before checking it out we...
...watched this family float by...
Some MΓ©tis clothing and beading...
Dave was very good at guessing most of these pelts...
Stylish hats!
York Boat...
Inside the left Tipis...
Inside the kids Play Fort... 


Before leaving we returned to the Visitor Centre to check out the displays and enjoy their AC...



After wandering around the site for a couple of hours, we were hungry! So on our way back through Rocky Mountain House, we stopped at Griller's Steakhouse for lunch. Geez...no picture again!
Dave took a more scenic route back to Gull Lake...such beautiful yellow canola fields! But unfortunately, so much smoke...
Instead of going straight back to the resort, we went on a little tour of the Village of Gull Lake...
Named after the large population of gulls found near the lake, Gull Lake is a large shallow lake with a catchment area of 206 sq. km, located west of the City of Lacombe in the counties of Ponoka and Lacombe. 
Gull Lake is a popular recreational lake with sandy beaches. Aspen Beach Provincial Park is located on the southwest shore of Gull Lake.
The oldest Summer Village in Alberta, the Summer Village of Gull Lake is located on its south shore. The water level of the Lake is maintained (if declines) by pumping water from Blindman River through a pipeline and canal.


After dinner, we braved the smoke for a little while and sat outside at the propane firepit. Dave had recently finished it...great job, Dave!
What a great day...so nice seeing areas that we have never been to!