Friday, September 22, 2017

Abandoned Summer

Summer is over, today is the first day of Autumn. Which means the SNOW we had yesterday actually happened in the summer. Luckily it looks like we are back to regularly scheduled fall programming with warmer temperatures and sun returning on Sunday.

Here are a few photos of abandoned homes that I took this summer. I love the character in these places and the stories they must be keeping.

I took hundreds of photos this summer in Alberta (and a few in Saskatchewan). This is a good way to remember where I was. Plus this way I don't have to post them individually and think of clever things to say each time. So onward we go!

Near Innisfree

Near Vegreville

Near Viking

Near Benalto

Near Spruceview
Near Caroline

Near Sylvan Lake

Near Pine Lake

Near Carbon

Near Hesketh

Near Hesketh

Near Carbon

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend, without snow. It is much too early for snow.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

St. Helen's Anglican Church

I found this gem (that colour!) while on the way to Lloydminster, AB last week. It is located SE of Mannville on a quiet road. It's a tiny site, the church and a couple dozen graves surrounded by trees, blink and you might miss it.

When the railroad came through the area in 1904, group settlement was encouraged, this particular area attracted a lot of English settlers. The area, named Stellaville, quickly established a store, post office and school. As nearby Mannville was along the rail line, it became the larger centre. Stellaville remained a tiny hamlet with a distinct English character, as can be seen in the design of St. Helen's Anglican church. The church was built in the summer of 1912, with the first service being a Thanksgiving service held in October of 1912. One wealthy member of the church, commissioned a stained glass window all the way from Italy. It was said to be the most beautiful stained glass window in the whole Edmonton Diocese. I couldn't find any sign of anything else that was part of the Stellaville community.

The last burial was in 1969 and the last services were held at St. Helen's in the Summer of 1976. The original stained glass window was moved St. Saviours Anglican Church in Vermilion in 1980. I'd like to stop by there to see it in person next time I am up that way.

I don't ever expect to find unlocked doors but the church was open and a guest book was inside, maybe because it is a Historic Site? In any case, I love being able to see inside these places. According to the guest book, it has regular visitors. Before us, the last visitor wrote a note praying for a good harvest.

The church is kept up and looked after thanks to the Stellaville Historical Society. Thanks Stellaville Historical Society!

A registered Alberta Historic Site in 2000.

I would love to have seen the original stained glass window.

References: HeRMIS; Handwritten history inside the church and on the plaque

Monday, September 18, 2017

Roadside Attractions

Roadside attractions aren't everyone's cup of tea, but I like oddities, and who doesn't giggle a bit at the thought of a giant sausage. Just me and 7 year old kids? OK...moving on. Whether they are the 'Worlds Largest' or just something quirky, they are usually they are good places to stop and stretch on a road trip.

Here are a few I have seen on my travels. 7 year old sometimes used for scale:

Worlds Largest Bunnock. Macklin, SK

Big Sausage. Mundare, AB
Classic. Not to scale. 

Worlds Largest Pysanka. Vegreville, AB

The egg rotates...

Lighthouse. Sylvan Lake, AB

Beaver. Beaverlodge, AB

Worlds Largest Oil Lamp, Donalda, AB

Cream Can, Markerville, AB

Giant Corn in Taber, AB 

Taken many years ago in Vulcan, AB.
We are dressed in black on the way to a funeral.

Do you live near a cool roadside attraction? Or Worlds Largest something or other? 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Troll Falls

Troll Falls, September 9, 2017.

Something I didn't do enough of this summer was visit the mountains. On clear days I can see them waaaay off to the west from my house. I am lucky that I have always lived close enough to head there for a day trip.

A friend of mine wanted to do a road trip last weekend, so we joined her and her daughter. Destination: Troll Falls, Kananaskis Country, AB.

It was a beautiful day, not too hot and a bit of very light rain on and off. The walk to the first falls was under 2km and was mostly flat. Up to a certain point, you could easily bring strollers or bikes. People of all ages were on the well groomed path. After the first falls though, you have to climb to the 2nd and 3rd falls. There is still a defined path but it's a tougher to navigate than the first portion. The 2 kids did awesome! No fear in my 7 year old, he was climbing like it was his job and I had to keep telling him to wait! and don't run! I'm such a MOM. He told me he is extreme now and I am not letting him be extreme.

Let's Go!


This is the Trolls Nose
The 2nd falls were nice, tucked into a little canyon and emptying into what looked like a nice refreshing pool for a dip if you like freezing mountain water, it would be an extreme bathing experience.

The 3rd and best falls, in my opinion, was stunning! We hung out here for a bit, dipped our toes in the water and just enjoyed the moment. We were told there are more falls if you keep going but that will have to be an adventure for another day. We also want to come back here in the winter when the falls are frozen.

When you could see through the trees there were incredible views of the Rocky Mountains. I've seen these views many times and it still takes my breath away. 
View from the middle

A bit smoky but still phenomenal!
The return trip always seems to go much quicker and in no time were back at the trail head. After a quick stop into Kananaskis Village to grab coffee and snacks we were on the road. We planned a quick stop at Barrier Lake, it is along the highway and is another beautiful spot. No shortage of those here.

Barrier Lake is actually a man-made lake created by a hydro electric dam. There are picnic areas, a boat launch and hiking trails here. A return trip to stand-up paddle board here was mentioned for next summer.

Very low water levels

Selfie! Thankful for good friends and a good day!

My son seems to have the hiking bug so will be back in the mountains soon. Can't stay away from them for too long anyway. Do you have a favourite place to hike or visit?

Tuesday, September 12, 2017