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    Sunday, June 05, 2005

    Fairmont Hot Springs 2005

    Stardate 4049.0

    Fairmont Vacation 2005

    Well we packed up, picked Mom, the Aunt and Uncle, and away we went, in two cars, on friday the 27th. We idn't leave until about 2 PM so I had time enough to mow Mom's lawn and tangle up the cord in her weed eater :( It was a beautiful sunny day and perfect for a lovely drive. I got to be passenger all the way, so I had my finger perpetually on the camera button. I think overall, I took about 250 pictures, many of which are a bit blurry or didn't turn out like I hoped (from the window of a speeding automobile) but I did upload a bunch to the Fairmont Photo album.

    Banff National Park Gates

    After leaving Innisfail with both cars, we headed south on a busy Highway 2 (now titled the "Queen Elizabeth II Highway" in honor of the Queen's recent visit) and inorder to avoid what would be a nasty drive through rush hour Calgary, we headed out to Highway 22 all the way to Cochrane. It was still beautiful out, and the entire drive there was great! From Cochrane, we jumped onto the Trans-Canada Highway and went through the Banff National Park Gates and on.

    The Rugged Canadian Rocky Mountains

    The Rockies are beautiful mountains, and easily more impressive than some of the ranges further into British Columbia. Their rugged beauty is awe inspiring, and it is always a great drive heading through the mountains. The Rockies are not as old as some of the next ranges, like the Purcell mountains, so they are not rounded off on top so much. There are some awesome looking faces to climb, that would likely make even Captain Kirk quiver with anticipation. I was even somewhat creative with some of my photography... After driving through Radium Hot Springs and seeing the Mountain Goats on the side of the highway, we continued South on Highway 93/95. We arrived at Fairmont around 8:00 PM and were surprised at how beautiful the entire place is. Painstakingly cared for lawns everywhere, each with timed sprinklers, and super nice homes with Mediterranian style Rooves made up the small Resort community, and the Villas themselves were very nice and had almost all of the amenities you could imagine.

    After settling into our Villa with it's gas fireplace, two televisions, seperate bedroom, deck, BBQ, whirlpool bathtub and kitchen stuff, we ate a late supper and looked forward to a day of exploration on Saturday!

    Hillside Villas at Fairmont Hot Springs

    We were woken up very early by the birds that lived outside our Villa. It was rather hot all night and even with the ceiling fans on, we had the windows open. It seemed the only thing that was missing from the fully equipped rooms was air-conditioning :D We decided to sign up for a guided walk around the Fairmont meadows, so after Bradley went to the outdoor pool to swim, the rest of us left to see what we might see. It was just over an hour walk, but we met many other guests, mostly from Calgary. It was quite nice, and the views of the mountains (both the Rockies on the West and the Purcell range on the East) were awesome!

    Bradley must have spent 6 hours swimming in the outdoor pool, and had already made some friends there. He had quite a tan now, after only one day :D

    B-J's friends drove up from Fernie and showed up in time to see me heading down the waterslide :D We had a bunch of fun, and left Bradley with Grandma at the Villa while the four of us went for some snacks, pool and a great drive. It was funny, because we really wanted to get down to the Lake by Invermere, but no matter how close we got, and how many times we turned towards it, it didn't seem to get any closer. We drove down big hills, and looked and the lake seemed to have also gone down a big hill :( Finally, we arrived at a small private beach for boats and we threw some rocks and relaxed for a bit. Even had a visit from a friendly black dog that wouldn't go home for a while... Made him jump in the lake after a stick though ;)

    In the evening, we were having Ice Cream on the balcony of the Villa with Mom and everyone, as we saw a deer going through the parking lot in the front of the Villas. Donning my Boots of Elvenkind, I snuck out the front, and got fairly close to him for a picture, and was amazed to find it was really a Cyborg Deer! He was scared off after though, as the Boots didn't mask my vile body odor from being out in the sunshine and heat all day!

    The BIG Sign at Fairmont

    There was a LOT to do there, and many things were actual organised events. We spent time swimming in the outdoor pool (with a waterslide even) as well as the indoor pool, steam rooms and fitness room. It was great to be able to catch the odd Ball game on television too. We played one game that was very fun called "Frolf". Basically, you through a frisbee at designated baskets on posts, and keep track of the number of throws. It was a lot of fun, and in the final match, Bradley and I had to throw a 3 hole tie-breaker before he finally beat me :) The next day, we played some Kickball. This is a hybrid game of baseball and soccer, where you run the bases like in ball, but kick the soccer ball from home base. Even Mom and my Aunt played, and everyone had a lot of fun at it. We got the Rec guy to snap the picture of all of us in front of the GIANT Fairmont Resort sign.

    We piled in a car and went down to see the Hoodoos afterwards. They are really quite neat (though a bit different from Drumheller Hoodoos). Not a great place to stop on the Highway however, so I only got a few pics.

    Clouds Over the Rockies

    I think it was wednesday when the clouds started moving in. It wasn't too bad though, as it had been so hot before that the rain and cool weather was more than welcome. It just meant no more out door pool swimming :) We rented some mountain bikes that day, and had a nice little spin around for a while. It was really fun,and I think I must buy a bike now to help stay in shape! I used the exercise room a lot, and after biking on the machine for a while, I did some other weights (and quickly realised I overdid it...). It was very nice having the bike, and I set it for a hilly course, so it was fun trying to beat my distance each day. I went from 3 miles in 15 minutes to almost 4.5 by the last day.

    Beautiful Flowers

    On the last day before going, B-J and I took my Mom and Aunt for a walk and we saw some beautiful birds, bugs, flowers and collected many nice rocks. I even played with my Macro a little though I don't have a big tripod, so they are not perfect! The picture above was taken by a house that had all of the blueish flowers all arounf their property. Every once in a while, a red poppy stood out. Very pretty :D

    We even went and played Bingo in the Rec center for an hour or so the one day. Nobody won, but it was fun anyways :)

    Leaving Radium Hot Springs

    Packing up to leave was a hectic scene. We had to be out by 10 am so getting Mom and the Aunt and Uncle finished was right down to the wire. So close in fact, that after we had left and drove for an hour or two, they realised they had left a cupboard full of canned food!

    At any rate, it was somewhat cloudy so we headed out loaded and refreshed from the holiday. We stopped at the huge valley by Radium for some pictures, and continued on through the rocky cliffs...

    Black Bear

    The bear was on the side of the highway happily munching away, even with half a dozen vehicles pulled over and faces gawking from half open windows. I was relieved to see that no one was foolish enough to leave their vehicles or try to coax the bear over, as many people don't realise just how dangerous these animals are.

    The RODENT Who Posed For Me

    Further down the Highway, at the Wilderness Barrier, this little squirrel was so brave that I crept to about 3 feet from him, and he patiently waited fo rme to set my Macro, place my camera and set the timer even! We stopped for a break further along, and I snapped an excellent picture of my Mom with the Rockies behind her...

    A Sign of Sunshine

    It really began to drizzle most of the way from there. This sign showing the turn off for the Sunshine Resort was comical considering the window is wet and it looked as though we wouldn't see any sun for hours... We got to Canmore in Alberta for a picnic lunch and beheld the beautiful scenery there for a while. The Three Sisters are impressive, and I recommend Canmore to anyone wanting to get away for a day or a week even. It is one of the most beautiful places in Alberta.

    Alberta Thunderstom at 100km/h

    Once we got out of the mountains, the inevitable happened, and we were hit hard by a thunderstorm at full force. The picture really describes it better than I could, though it doesn't convey the sound of the rain hitting you windshield, nor the frantic strokes of the wipers which can barely cope. They never last long, but they are sure torrential in nature!!!

    Once the weather cleared up a little, we had a view of what was more familiar... The good old Alberta Prairies! We got home around supper time, and realised that it was, in fact, Blackfalds Days, so we stayed up and watched the fireworks that night!

    It was a super holiday, and I am sure I missed out on a ton of stuff, and I have a ton of pictures that aren't here, but you get the general idea, and you can see how beautiful some parts of Canada are!

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