Friday, May 13, 2011

Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump

Our first night staying at a casino was pleasant.  Unlike most casinos we’re familiar with, this one closes about midnight and doesn’t open until 9 AM.  It was pretty quiet around here all night.  We’re not gamblers so really didn’t have an interest in the casino.  Gene went in to see if they had a good dinner special.  They were offering meatloaf for $10.  We like meatloaf, but it causes Gene a lot of gastric distress, so we ate our own chicken instead.  They have a breakfast special for $5, but we didn’t want to hang around until 9 to get it.

From Lethbridge we turned west and followed Highway 3 to Crowsnest Pass.  Along the way we made a slight detour to visit Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump--a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  The site is dedicated to the preservation of the ancient hunting ground of the Plains Indians.  This may be the largest and best preserved of all such sites.  Archeologists estimate this site had been used as a buffalo jump for 9,000 years.  They credit its preservation to its remoteness so it was never mined for the bones.

Legend Paintings

The Interpretative Center is very well done.  The building consists of six levels, built at an angle mostly inside the sloping cliff.  We started our tour by watching the film which was excellent.  Then we went up to the 6th level, exited the building, and walked the short trail to the top of the cliff.  This was the point where the buffalo were stampeded off.  We could look over the edge to the kill sight.

Cliff where the buffalo fell off

Back in the Interpretative Center we started at the top and worked our way down examining the displays on each level as we made our way back to the ground level.  The displays explained the lifestyle of the northern Plains Indians and the role of the buffalo in that lifestyle.

View of the cliff from the upper level

When we finished inside we again went outside to walk the trail at the base of the cliff.

The whole thing was very well done and we felt it well worth the $10 each admission and the three hours we spent there.  After a quick lunch in the parking lot, we made our way back to Highway 3 and headed west to Crowsnest Pass.  Crowsnest Pass is the border between Alberta and British Columbia.  We are parked for the night at the rest area just inside B.C.

GAS REPORT:  Hold onto your hat for this one.  This was our first fill up inside Canada.  At Crowsnest Trail Outpost we paid 1.24.9 per liter.  That’s $4.73 per US gallon and an increase of almost a dollar per gallon from our last fill up in Montana.  Not only that, but it was three cents cheaper per liter than at the other stations we saw. Oh, Canada!

Critter Count:  We didn’t see any wildlife until we got near Crowsnest Pass. Once in the mountains we saw several deer.  At Crowsnest Pass we rounded the curve and there were six mountain sheep almost in the road.  It happened so fast I couldn’t get a picture.  At the rest area there is a pair of Richardson ground squirrels.

This is our third boondocking night in a row so tomorrow we’re heading to Fort Steele and full hook-ups.  It’ll be a short drive of only about 100 miles.

That’s all I have for today.  Thanks for tagging along.

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