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Things to do: To the South

Frank Slide

At 4:10am on April 29th, 1903 Turtle Mountain fell apart, and millions of tons of rock fell on the sleeping town of Frank, AB.  Three quarters of the town was destroyed, 76 people were buried alive, and a mile of the Canadian Pacific railroad was swept away.

More than a century later, the site looks eerily as though the disaster happened just last week.  The railroad has been repaired, and highway 3 winds its way through the rock-piles, but what is left of the mountain remains menacingly close as a reminder of that fateful night.

Allow at least a couple of hours to visit the excellent interpretive centre and marvel at the hidden power in those majestic mountains.

About 2 hours south through the scenic foothills and mountains.

www3.sympatico.ca/goweezer/canada/frank.htm and www.frankslide.com

Head Smashed-in Buffalo Jump

Is this a real place?  Sure is!  The Blackfoot First Nation depended heavily on the buffalo or Plains Bison for their survival.  They would round up a herd of the animals and drive them off a cliff (a "buffalo jump") then harvest almost every part of the dead animals for food, clothing and tools.

This UNESCO World Heritage site will fascinate you, providing an insight not just into the buffalo jump itself, but the Blackfoot culture in general.  The outstanding interpretive centre, staffed largely by the Blackfoot, is a "must-see" if you are in the area.

About 1 hour 50 minutes south on highway 2.


Bar-U Ranch

Once the heart of Alberta's cattle industry, a small part of this huge ranch has been preserved as a National Historic Site of Canada.  Make your way down to the exhibits on a wagon drawn by Percheron draft horses (ask the driver about the crucial role that Bar-U played in the survival of this breed) and sit on a tree stump to sip complimentary cowboy coffee as the coffee pot simmers over the camp fire.

On the way home, stop off in the village of Longview and visit The Navajo Mug coffee shop, originally owned by country singer Ian Tyson, and cleverly named after his sixties hit "Navajo Rug".  Tyson still lives on a ranch 5 minutes east of Longview.  Longview is a good place to buy souvenirs with a distinctly local flavour.

About 20 minutes straight south on highway 22


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