Calgary and SW Alberta Daytrip

Sorry for the lack of updates 'round these parts... I'm planning to get more on top of updating this blog and catching up.  Last July was a busy month, and it started with going down to Calgary for the iconic Calgary Stampede for the first time.  Despite being only 3hrs away, I just never went to the Stampede like a lot of other Albertans have, so I figured, especially as someone with a penchant for street photography, I best fix that and see what all the fuss was about.

In a lot of ways, the Stampede is your typical summer expo fair with a rodeo element attached onto it.   A lot of the rides are the same as what you'll get here in Edmonton at K-Days and I'm pretty sure other Canadian summer expos, but the vibe is completely different.  The Stampede is louder, brasher, more crowded and, due to the Western/rodeo theme, more kitschy.  In short, it's more of an outrageous assault on the senses than K-Days has ever been in my lifetime. 

The Stampede also conjures up the caricacture of Calgary (nee Cowntown), and by extension, the caricature of Alberta.  Due to the marketing savvy of Calgarians, Calgary, its hinterlands, and by extension, the caricatures and stereotypes associated with this part of the province is used to describe a fairly large province on the whole.  I'm not suggesting Edmonton is totally culturally distinct from Calgary or Nanton or Banff; on the contrary, Edmonton and Calgary are probably the two most similar major cities in the country, but that doesn't mean there aren't still differences that can be overlooked at times.

Regardless, this trip south kind of encompassed a lot of that caricatured version of Alberta and what outsiders think of this place, complete with my daytrip southwest to the Turner Valley environs, which is right in the thick of picturesque ranching country.  The end of the route was Nanton, which Ruzz and I unfortunately got to too late as we were busy chasing hilly country roads during the day, although we were treated to a rather friendly bar once we got to Nanton. 

After taking eons to get out of a congested Stampede-time Calgary, we started at Big Rock in Okotoks, and gradually went towards Black Diamond and Turner Valley before heading by Bar U Ranch and then rolling through a coulee at sunset en route to Nanton.  It was decent and for someone used to the flatlands of parkland and prairie, the rolling hills were a mesmerizing change of pace.