What a great day !! Today we headed off to the foothills of the Rockies, directly West of Red Deer - to Seven Mile Flats, for a picnic.
The weather was fantastic, the journey out there was fantastic too - a small brown bear ran across the road with the elegance of, well, me running across the road !! (not one of nature's best designed runners) - cute nevertheless (not me running, the bear !!). We stopped at the town of Caroline for last minute supplies - "Caroline Supplies - Rifles, Ammunition, Groceries" - whilst the girls picked up bottles of pop Joe and I examined the racks of rifles, crossbows and admired the numerous Deer Head Trophies stuck on the wall - if you hadn't guessed we're in hunting country now. Onwards to the beginning of the logging trail and up Corkscrew Mountain. I wish it wasn't called that.... the road did exactly what it says on the tin - corkscrewed up and down across the mountain - a loose shale/gravel logging road in 4WD with steep climbs, descents and tight corners with long drops down one side. (Mum will remember this trip I guess !!). Eventually we arrived at Seven Mile Flats - a wide plain caused by the Clearwater River - with picnic sites and campgrounds all around. We unloaded at a picnic area (fantastically well organised plots in the woods with picnic tables, campfire, grill, wood etc) and David transformed into the outdoor woodsman par excellence - chopping wood - building a campfire - cooking the buffalo burgers - it was hard work standing by to watch (with a beer in hand). We had a great picnic (I think Clara still had her spidey-senses turned up high looking out for bears!!) - we all loved the Buffalo meat. Off for a short walk after lunch along the Clearwater river, which was apparently not in the same place as last time the Plumtree's visited - well it was but it kind of diverts across the plains and was still flowing heavily a short distance away. The river was great, the sun was beating down, the scenery was fantastic - a great spot (Mum - we can understand why it's one of your favourite places). After checking the campfire was well doused we headed back to Red Deer. This time via Rocky Mountain House - a surprisingly large town in the middle of nowhere - a town built on a trading, logging and oil. Tim Horton (a cheaper version of Starbucks, just as prolific in Canada, but no wireless) provided us with coffee, tea, chocolate and David's treat "Timbits" - the holes from ring doughnuts. And so back to Red Deer, past the "Nodding Donkeys" that are scattered across Alberta - this the name for the many small Oil Pumps feeding the Alberta Oil Industry. A tiring day for all - which meant a visit to Joey's for Fish and Chips for supper before turning in. David and Bet have been fantastic hosts, giving us full reign of their beautiful house, it must be an exhausting experience !! (I think the whisky and paracetemol will come in useful) ...Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
For us (David and Bet deserve the rest !!) tomorrow is West Edmonton Mall - the 5th Largest Shopping Mall in the world - it has it's own beach so I'm anticipating taking my book and lazing around whilst the girls shop (I'm sure it won't work out quite like that)..... Hope you are all well, and those of you who have returned from holiday we hope you had a great time - we look forward to seeing you all soon. Thanks for bearing with us through the last few weeks of drivel - at the very least it will be a great record of this journey for us (for those that didn't know this site we are using prints the blog, comments and photos as a book once you are ready for a smallish fee, other than that' it's free, in my opinion the site's been great to use from our side). Anywayt we're not finished yet, a couple of days to go, keep checking out the latest photos and videos and keep those comments coming !!