Cypress Hills

Medicine Hat is one of the hottest, driest areas of Alberta, yet just half an hour south-east is the beautiful resort town of Elkwater.  Elkwater is in the Cypress Hills which rise out of the prairie to the same elevation as Banff, and are the highest point between the Rockies and Labrador. The town has lakes, a beach, good places to eat, camp or hotel. Close by are other, even less crowed lakes to kayak, canoe or fish. The ditches are full of wildflowers and butterflies and there are lots of pines and spruce trees. It was a toasty 36 degrees Celsius while we visited, though it cooled off at night.  It has all the beauty of mountain lakes without the crowds…

Cypress Hills is an interprovincial park – part in Alberta, part in Saskatchewan.

This is from a high point overlooking Horseshoe Canyon.  The hills were some of the only land in western Canada to be untouched by glaciation. Glaciers carved out the land below, but the hills were little “islands” surrounded by a sea of ice.

From Horseshoe Canyon viewpoint.

Cougars are the “comeback kids” of the Cypress Hills.  They moved back into the area a few years ago, after being absent for some time.

The next few photos are from Reesor Lake. Beautiful for fishing or canoeing/kayaking.

 

The pelicans below were swimming in Spruce Coulee Reservoir.

Below is the boardwalk long Elkwater Lake. Lots of power boats in this one, and a nice beach at the beginning of the trail. I didn’t take any photos of the town for some reason…

We saw these turkey vultures on the back road to Fort Walsh. Cool birds!

Here is the Saskatchewan border on the backroad from Reesor Lake to Fort Walsh. A far cry from the TransCanada Highway!  I enjoyed the drive. Only met one other vehicle the whole way there.

Walking down the road to Fort Walsh. They have a shuttle to take people from the parking lot to the fort, but most people chose to walk.

Metis cabin and trading post.

Red River Cart

Fort wall and wagon wheels.

The court house. The NWMP (Northwest Mounted Police) were formed as a response to the Cypress Hills Massacre.

 

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