Family Time around Cochrane

Starting on day 13, Monday, September 21, we had 3 full days to spend with my daughter and grand-daughters from our base at the Bow Rivers Edge Campground in Cochrane, which is our new “best-ever” commercial campground.

Figuring out everyone’s work and school schedules was a bit daunting, but the first day, I wanted to show Cathy the prettiest park I’d found in the area, and then spend some photography time with Andrea.

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park is just a couple of kilometers off the direct route between our campground and Andrea’s home – the blue sign pointing to it can be seen in this photo of Big Hill Springs Road (Hwy 567).

Big Hill Springs Road (Hwy 567), Alberta
The series of little waterfalls are the main feature in the park for me, but there are also some wonderful tufa formations along the creek. This would be a superb park on a hot day, but apparently it gets very crowded on hot weekends, whereas we only saw 2 other people.

Waterfall at Big Hill Springs Provincial Park, Alberta

Waterfall at Big Hill Springs Provincial Park, Alberta
Even a short walk at the park is excellent, but walking the entire circuit, 2.3 km, is even better, and climbing the 20-meter hill is a good way to start the day.

Big Hill Springs Provincial Park, Alberta
A few minutes after noon, Cathy took the dogs back to the RV, while Andrea and I headed south in her car. This view is looking down to Cochrane on Hwy 22.

Cochrane, Alberta
A few minutes south of Cochrane, we went by this building under construction. An odd hotel? No, Andrea said that this is a single-family home, and when we got back to the RV Park, I found that it Googled well. This mansion, set on 80 acres, is 11,000 square feet with a 9-car garage. Comments about it online (including mine) are not complimentary. Being built right beside a major highway instead of in a secluded spot on the acreage, this is simply a monument to narcissism. It’s even being built on the cheap, if the stated value of $3,159,594 is correct.

Mansion being built south of Cochrane, Alberta
Highway 22 gets very pretty as you get into Kananaskis country.

Highway 22 in Kananaskis country, Alberta
It was Elbow Falls Provincial Recreation Area that Andrea wanted me to see. The very popular picnic area was largely destroyed by a flood in June 2013, to the point that it’s not going to be rebuilt. Some 17,000 cubic meters of land above the viewpoint was washed away. High River, Canmore, and Calgary suffered extensive damage in the same series of floods. The first photo shows one of the destroyed picnic tables that still stick out of the gravel above the falls.

Elbow Falls Provincial Recreation Area, Alberta
The viewpoint and walking trails over the waterfall were’t damaged by the floods, and it’s still a popular place to come even without picnic facilities.

Elbow Falls Provincial Recreation Area, Alberta
The main waterfall.

Elbow Falls Provincial Recreation Area, Alberta
Below the falls, some large caves have been eroded into the banks.

Elbow Falls Provincial Recreation Area, Alberta
The amount of damage is quite impressive, with several paved trails now ending in high banks. Looking through photos in Google images, it’s a very different place than it used to be.

Elbow Falls Provincial Recreation Area, Alberta
As we left Elbow Falls, I asked Andrea what was further up the highway. She hadn’t been that way before, and just a mile or so away, we found an excellent series of beaver dams with an interpretive trail. It’s off the main river and hadn’t been damaged by the flood.

Beaver pond west of Bragg Creek, Alberta
The beavers are very busy, with very active “logging haul trails” down the slopes above the ponds, and a new dam being built right across the trail.

Beaver dam west of Bragg Creek, Alberta
The next day was much calmer, filled with quality dog and family time. The leash-free park along the Bow River was so perfect for us.

Leash-free dog park along the Bow River at Cochrane, Alberta
Our site at the RV park was a wonderful place to just chill.

Bow Rivers Edge Campground in Cochrane, Alberta
I got to take part in a surprise event, helping Andrea buy a new car in Airdrie. My part was largely telling her that she really needed to buy a car that she loved, not that she was just making do with 🙂 (as well as watching over the negotiations). This photo was taken a couple of days later as she was taking delivery of her new Honda Civic.

Taking delivery of a 2015 Honda Civic
Back to Cochrane, the RV was also a wonderful place to host a 15th-birthday barbecue for my twin grand-daughters Kaitlyn and Kylie!

Birthday barbecue at Bow Rivers Edge Campground in Cochrane, Alberta
“Surely you’re not going to eat all of that birthday cake by yourself!” 🙂

Bella and 2 of her sisters at the leash-free park along the Bow River in Cochrane, Alberta
For many weeks we’d been looking forward to meeting another part of Bella’s family. She was one of a litter of 6 puppies that was rescued from Morley by the dedicated folks at Rocky Mountain Animal Rescue, and we keep in touch with the families of other of those puppies, including Kim, who adopted 2 of the girls. On Wednesday morning, Kim and her Mom came to Cochrane and we had 2 hours of play with the 3 girls, and Monty took part in the fun occasionally.

Bella and 2 of her sisters at the leash-free park along the Bow River in Cochrane, Alberta
This is Luna with Bella – Luna is the only one of the litter with that colouring, but seeing them like this makes it easier to believe that they’re sisters.

Bella and 2 of her sisters at the leash-free park along the Bow River in Cochrane, Alberta
Koda play-bowing with Bella and Monty. This was the first time we’d been downriver far enough to find this beach, which is beautiful!

Bella and 2 of her sisters at the leash-free park along the Bow River in Cochrane, Alberta
Our official portrait of the day – Bella, me, Luna, Kim, and Koda.

Bella and 2 of her sisters at the leash-free park along the Bow River in Cochrane, Alberta
This is the photo that best shows the fun we all had. I am so looking forward to being able to do it again some day, maybe even with more of the pups from the litter.

Bella and 2 of her sisters at the leash-free park along the Bow River in Cochrane, Alberta
Kaitlyn asked us to stay an extra night so we could watch her play volleyball. It was good fun to watch – I love being in Grampa mode 🙂

Girls volleyball in Airdrie, Alberta

On Thursday, September 24th, we’d start the 2-day drive to West Kelowna to see my Dad.



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