PUPs Go West – Day 5, Crowsnest Pass

From Grasslands National Park to Crowsnest Pass, Alberta. We head to Castle Provincial Park, Beaver Mines Lake campground. Another beautiful, sunny, prairie sky day for driving. We spent the morning on a trail walk in the Grasslands. I took my Canon camera because it has the zoom in case we saw bison (which we didn’t).

No one on the roads for about 300 kilometres. It felt like the zombie apocalypse. The advantage of taking the southern route. There is no cell coverage at Beaver Mine Lakes campground. I had to drove into Crowsnest to use Tim Horton’s wifi and get supplies. Driving music: With the bison, prairie dogs and chuck wagon races, I listened to country music on CHAT, 94.5 FM – Real Country “Everyone has a little dirt road in them”

One memory I will have to cherish are the prairie skies, especially at sunrise. Woke up at 4:30 to take this photo.

Grasslands has a Dark Sky Preserve. They minimize the light pollution in order to observe the stars. I woke up and 2 am to look at the stars. There was a moon shining so part of the sky was wash out. But I did see the Big Dipper and that whole part of the galaxy. Sat there in awe while sipping wine. Was not able to take a photo but got this sunrise one.

Sunset

A close up of what the grasslands look like. It is a mixture of grasses in a semi-arid climate. The park hosts the country’s only colonies of the black-tailed prairie dog.

After the morning hike, 2 pugs were tired out. I packed up the tent and gear while they slept on the grass. I think they were dreaming of joining a prairie dog colony.

I didn’t see any bison on the walk and was disappointed. But driving out of the park was one grazing by the road. The warning posted says to not get out of the car, slow down, don’t honk. I slowed and was able to take this shot.

We stopped in Medicine Hat for lunch. Pooty’s Poutine posted their location on their FB page and it was not hard to find. The special was Italian Poutine.

Eve and Raisin knew something special was coming – gooey Mozzarella cheese. I did a quick Google search and didn’t see any parks close by. So we found a shady, grassy area on the meridian between the parking lot and sidewalk

I wanted to check out more food trucks on this trip. It meant the pugs did not have to stay in the car while I went and got take out. They could walk with me to the food truck, hang out, take photos and eat.

I went in search of a camp office. There is no camp personnel at Beaver Mine Lake. There is a volunteer table but was “Off duty” on Wed and Thurs. We picked up a map but it did not have any trails marked. I realized this was going to be an isolated experience.

Beaver Mines Lake is the most isolated to date. Their was only one section that could be reserved and it was higher up the mountain. I didn’t mind the isolation. Plus, I wanted to be near a lake.

I got the blue half tent on the left as a quick setup shelter. It opens like an umbrella. The sun was really hot and there was no shade so this helped shade the pugs while I setup the campsite.

This was a real find. I bought it on sale at Mountain Equipment Co-op. It is a camp light with both a blue, moonlight setting and a white light. It also charges the phone. There is no electricity or cell coverage here so was able to recharge the phone. It had been a long drive. We went to bed at 8 and slept soundly.

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