I wanted to book a week off work and as it was our wedding anniversary week, chose the last week in June. I’m not sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing, read on to see why. As my week off grew closer, the weather experts were forecasting high temperatures for BC and Alberta. We decided to hire a car for the week so that we could travel around and take advantage of the in-car air conditioning (we don’t have air-con in our apartment), This part turned out to be a very good decision, but the weather turned out to be much hotter than anyone could have foreseen. We also decided to travel down to the Pincher Creek and Crowsnest Pass areas of southern Alberta as we hadn’t been before. There are lots of small towns down there that looked really interesting.

We picked the car up on Monday morning and made the trek up to Crossiron Mill, a large mall that is not accessible by transit, so we have not been for a couple of years since deciding to get rid of our truck. It was really hot, 34C without the humidex taken into account. But we had our air-conditioned car (Hyundai Santa Fa) so off we went. We need to stock up on a few clothing items, and this mall has just about everything you could want, an added bonus, of course, is that it too was air-conditioned. We spent two or three hours there and had some lunch, then came back home with most of the items we wanted. I washed the clothes we had bought as we wanted to take some of them with us on our short trip.

On Tuesday we set off early to make our way down to the Pincher Creek area. The weather was so hot 36C but feels like 40C. We drove down highway 2 and stopped off at a couple of towns on the way, some we had been to before, others not. This is Nanton with its grain silos (there are lots of these in Alberta)!

We got to Pincher Creek and as it was still pretty easy, we travelled along the back rounds and came to Oldman River Dam.

The next stop was Lundbreck Falls Provincial Recreation Area. Lots of people were camping here and lots of people in the river and playing in the falls. As it was so hot, I really don’t blame them. There was a bridge with lots of Cliff Swallows building their nests. There were lots of them at various stages of completeness. I tried to get a close-up shot of one bird in the nest, but it’s a bit grainy as it was quite a long way off. We didn’t stay long because of the heat, but it was worth the visit. We stopped off in the town of Lundbreck too as it was an older-looking place and we managed to get some very nice ice cream from the local store, which was very welcome.

Next, we visited a collection of small towns that keep their own identity but are known collectively as Crowsnest Pass. If you follow to the end you end up in British Columbia, but thanks to Covid, we couldn’t cross the border. We went through Bellevue, Hillcrest, Frank, Blairmore and Coleman via the Heritage Driving Route. We stopped off at each town and wandered around taking photos and on occasion chatting to locals. It was very nice as all the towns had kept their original buildings and they looked great, perfect photo shots.

After driving around for many hours we made our way to the motel we would be staying overnight. It was just a cheap place that didn’t have any bells or whistles, but was perfectly adequate for what we needed. Also, it had air conditioning – are you seeing a theme here?

We didn’t do much that evening other than go to Boston Pizza for dinner. I had 7-cheese ravioli and Chris had lasagna, both were very nice. Whilst driving around earlier we had taken a wrong road which we thought might be good for wildlife, so after dinner, we drove down to see if we could spot anything. Luckily, we did! We spotted several deer, some marmots, gophers and two very large birds which we had not seen before, Sandhill Cranes.

As we drove back to the motel, we watched the sun go down over the mountains.

We chilled for the rest of the evening and had a good night’s sleep before setting off Wednesday morning. We had planned to venture down to Waterton Lakes National Park which is about 30 mins south of where we were staying, but the weather was forecast to be even hotter than the previous days. We really didn’t feel like it and so decide to travel back home and do something else the following day. So, we took a steady drive home and chilled out for the rest of the day. We did see some beautiful vistas on the way.

On Thursday, our last day with the car we thought it best to stay in the car to avoid the heat as much as possible. The previous evening we had planned a rough route to the east of Calgary to lots more small towns. We had no idea what they would be like and some were great and we got some nice photos of old buildings etc. Some were a loss and we drove on, but we did find some little gems. We also stumbled across a really nice restaurant called Ken’s Place in Carbon. From the outside, it advertised pizza and pasta etc, but when we went in and saw the menu it was mainly a Chinese restaurant with some Western food. We were hungry, so decided to have a proper meal, rather than the planned snack and we are glad we did as our meals of Chicken Chow Main and Chicken Foo Young were amazing. I would defiantly recommend this pace.

The rest of these photos are of the various towns we drove through. We got back early evening and had a fairly early night.