Chinook

There’s really nothing more invigorating than a prairie Chinook. After weeks of brutal, frigid cold, and snow storm after snow storm, a Chinook arrives with a blast of warm air. It’s now forecasted to be above freezing for the rest of the week (where it was -27 C recently).

So I took advantage of this by heading to my local park, beautiful Police Point Park, rented snowshoes for the day ($4!) and took in the clear blue sky, sun and snow. After a long, stressful and busy work week, it was the perfect activity to clear the mind.

One of my New Year’s resolutions is to be more positive about the city in which I live. It’s small, and sometimes culturally dismall, but there are things offered here that are surprising. Recently, the city’s tourism board is asking residents to discuss what is “definitively Medicine Hat?” and the answers are quite uniform. Police Point Park is constantly mentioned, along with the other natural parks and recreation facilities in and around the city. I live close to awe-inspiring venues:

Police Point Park (3 minute drive), on the outskirts of the city, barren landscape of dying cottonwood trees, clay hills, cacti, rabbits, deer, and the South Saskatchewan River. Featured in my blog’s banner.

 

Echo Dale Regional Park (15 min. Drive), a man-made beach complete with stunning red cliffs and rattlesnakes.

Elkwater Townsite, Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park (40 min drive), along the Alberta-Saskatchewan border, features the highest elevation between the Rockies and the Maritimes, but appears in the middle of the prairies because the area missed the ice age. Driving through flat farm fields and seeing the evergreens-filled hills rising above the prairie horizon is breath-taking.

Dinosaur Provincial Park (approx. 2 hr. drive), where you can touch unexcavated dinosaur bones in one of the largest archeological sites in North America. The hoodoos of the badlands stretch along the sunken Red Deer River. Scorching hot desert conditions. Pictures don’t do it justice.

Waterton Lakes National Park (approx. 3 ½ hr. drive), or Waterton-Glacier International Peace Park (shared with Montana’s Glacier Park), a true wilderness park of Alberta at the foot of the Canadian Rockies. Unspoiled and stunning. The mountains rise out of the prairies south of Lethbridge. See bears and deer walking through town.

Writing-On-Stone Provincial Park (approx. 1 hr drive), a site of First Nations petroglyphs (carvings) & pictographs (paintings) in the sandstone. Plus, the Milk River and rattlesnakes.

All photos by Leigh Cunningham.

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