Day 7 – Calgary, AB to Grande Prairie, AB

Miles today: 465

Total Miles: 2,545 (includes driving around Calgary yesterday)

OK, did a really crappy job of taking pictures today, but, here are a couple.  The first is a barn/house/? just outside of Red Deer, AB.  The second is one of many beautiful railroad trestle bridges across Canada.  This one is made entirely of wood!

As for the drive, Calgary is in the middle of plains and farming country.  As you get into Edmonton, you start to get into what is technically a boreal forest environment.  Not mountainous, just lots and lots of trees and massive rivers.  I crossed the Red Deer river at Red Deer; the North Saskatchewan River in Edmonton; the Athabasca River (which was huge and originates from the Rockies and feeds the Great Slave Lake) at Whitecourt; and, finally the Peace River just before getting into Grande Prairie.  I really wish I could have gotten pictures but there was a lot of large truck traffic and it simply wasn’t safe to pull over.

From Edmonton, I drove Alberta Highway 43 which is also called “Moose Row” for the apparently large number of moose that are seen/killed along the highway every year.  Almost the entire stretch is poplar/spruce forest with marshes and bogs everywhere.  Unfortunately (maybe fortunately), no moose were to be seen today.  The only wildlife I saw was a mule deer doe and numerous ravens and magpies.

Grande Prairie is to the west of the Peace River Valley and is farming/ranching country again.  Surprisingly, I saw a herd of cross-bred cattle with horns.  Not the Shorthorn breed, but plain old cross-bred cattle of all colors.  This is unusual because almost every rancher here has a favorite breed/color and that is all they have.  Grande Prairie is also a booming oil town and the smell of sulphur oil is pervasive.  Population is about 70,000 due to the oil activity.

Weather is same as Calgary – lows in the lower 50’s and highs in the lower 80’s.

Tomorrow, I’m on to Dawson Creek and the start of the official Alaska Highway and I’ll be spending the night in Muncho Lake, British Columbia (BC) at mile 462 of the Alaska Highway.