From the mountains to the plains

Today we say farewell to the Rockies as we make the 137km ride to our next campground on the eastern side of Calgary. I couldn’t help looking back over my shoulder just in case it was the last glimpse of those wonderful snow capped peaks.

This was not your normal Sunday ride, for any Bendigonians reading this. We got off to a frosty start this morning from Banff, but we soon forgot the cold and numb fingers as the sun was shining, high mountains either side of us and always the prospect of seeing a bear or two. It was blissful to ride the first 15km on a new bike trail from Banff to Canmore but after that it was on the busy and noisy Trans Canada 1 as weekenders return home. The video below is a short section of the cycle path to give you a better feel for what it was like.
We did see a beaver (I was too slow for a photo), and also a bear which had the misfortune of coming off second best after playing with a truck the night before.

Anyway, I guess you are all sick of the Rocky Mountain and Lake photos so it will be good to give you something new in the coming days. There is still a couple of mountain photos and a bit of video to share today just because it will be the last time we get to show off this magic part of the world.

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It doesn’t take long to get out of the Rockies and quite surprisingly we maintained an altitude of around 1,200m. The Indian Reserve at the foothills were relatively flat and not that productive but we soon started climbing again (to as high as 1,410m) and the temperature dropped significantly. The country leading up to Calgary reminded me of the New England Tablelands in Australia (or was it just the cold?), but I suspect the soil is probably better. The freshly worked up ground we saw was a beautiful dark brown colour like you would see in the spud growing area north of Ballarat.

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We had a pretty hairy trip through Calgary. We stayed on the Trans Canada 1 the whole way through but there is very little to no verge for cyclists. We wondered if we were even allowed on this part of the highway but we pushed on knowing it was the shortest route. If we knew of or could find a cycle path we would have gladly taken it. Interestingly the Campground is called Mountain View Farms but we haven’t quite worked out where the mountain is.

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3 thoughts on “From the mountains to the plains

  1. Al and John
    Great to see the vid. I would like to be there, but Oz beckons.keep up the great work and photos. Masterful GoPro vid.
    Trev

  2. There are some tremendous bike paths through Calgary. Sorry we should have given you details. Hopefully you will spend some time exploring the city. Margaret

  3. For J&A, in quieter times, and others following, I can recommend the book about the railway.
    Berton, P. (2001) Anchor, Canada.
    The Last Spike: The Great Railway, 1881-1885
    ISBN: 978-0-385-65841-6 (0-385-65841-9) Paperback
    In the four years between 1881 and 1885, Canada was forged into one nation by the building of the Canadian Pacific Railway. The Last Spike reconstructs the incredible story of how some 2,000 miles of steel crossed the continent in just five years — exactly half the time stipulated in the contract. Pierre Berton recreates the adventures that were part of this vast undertaking: the railway on the brink of bankruptcy, with one hour between it and ruin; the extraordinary land boom of Winnipeg in 1881–1882; and the epic tale of how William Van Horne rushed 3,000 soldiers over a half-finished railway to quell the Riel Rebellion.
    “No novel could surpass The Last Spike for plot; no western for wildness. This is a great book.”
    —Vancouver Sun
    Pierre Berton, Canada’s most widely read historian, was born in the Yukon and educated at UBC. Author of forty-seven books, he has received three Governor General’s awards for nonfiction, two Nellies for broadcasting, two National Newspaper awards, the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour, and the National History Society’s first award for “distinguished achievement in popularizing Canadian history.”

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