Road trips have become my most favourite way to travel. I love getting to the destination but exploring on the way is part of the fun for me. I never used to be this way. I preferred to get there in a hurry, so I didn’t waste any vacation days. I never saw the trip as part of the vacation. Now I do, and some of my most memorable adventures happened unplanned and by accident. That is how I saw Vimy Ridge, we tripped over it, so we went to see it. It was the single most amazing place I have ever visited. All because we accidentally drove by.
Having never been to this part of the province, I was eager to see new things. To the south of us, we saw a massive rock. I assumed it was a mountain but it was not anywhere near the Rocky Mountain Range. We were perplexed. Turns out it was a butte in Montana. MONTANA! It was 100km away from where we were. I had no idea you could see that far in the distance. I often joked we could see dolphins jumping in the Gulf of Mexico because it was so flat, but knew it wasn’t possible. I saw Montana from the vantage point of Taber Alberta. Cool.
Rolling into Lethbridge we went to the Nikka Yuko Japanese Garden. Closed for the season but I peeked over the fence.
While looking through the fence, I thought about my Grandfather. During World War II he was here guarding prisoners of war, Japanese, Germans and Italians. I thought about the internment camps located here and in Medicine Hat. I didn’t research to see if there was anything left, but I did find this information when I came home. I am surprised to see the stories my grandfather told me are in line with what I read. If you knew my Grandpa’s gift for storytelling, you would also be surprised they match!
We left the gardens and made our way to Indian War Park at Fort Woop-Up. It has been years since I have heard First Nations People be referred to Indians. It left me feeling cold.
However, the park is wonderful! It is located in the coulees on the shores of Oldman River. The Lethbridge Viaduct was built by Canadian Pacific Railway. The CPR steel trestle is 5,331 ft. (1,624 m) long; 314′ (95.7 m) high; 12 trains a day still cross it.
After leaving Indian War Park I had a little time left to visit Popson Park. It is a beautiful spot along the coulees and Oldman River located to the south of Lethbridge.
Sunset over the prairies at 4:00 pm in the middle of January. We saw a Pheasant and his hens take off across from these two beauties:
They watched us carefully and didn’t move. We stared at each other for a few minutes before I moved on.
The prairies are a beautiful place for a short visit. I recommend taking the time to stop and look before you drive on through to your destination.