Alberta Trip Day 2
Leaving Christina Lake, our journey continued eastward through the beautiful Rocky mountains straddling both BC and Alberta. Once over the other side, the first thing we noticed was the wideness of the rolling almost treeless hills and the wideness of the huge sky above. The expression “big sky country” came to mind, and memories of growing up on the prairies rushed in.
When we first saw a windmill, we were struck by its beauty, and again memories arose, this time of the windmills we saw in Denmark some years ago. When we came upon some gentle hills that had a row of dozens of these tall graceful modernist looking structures, we could not help but stop and drive along the gravel road to get closer to this “farm” – yes, they are called windmill farms!
Alberta, an oil rich but hydroelectric-poor province has led Canada in increasingly investing in this clean and efficient renewable resource. At home we learned that this “farm”, which had a sign “Cowley North” is part of the Cowley Ridge Windplant, the first commercial windplant in Canada. It was completed in two phases in 1993 and 1994. Fascinating! Why isn’t BC investing in these on our windy westcoast? So much better than nuclear energy anywhere!
Our destination, Lethbridge sits on the edge of a coulee overlooking the Oldman River. Our hotel was next to this, so we enjoyed an evening walk along the lovely nature trail here as we watched the sun lowering in the sky behind the High Level Bridge. Across on the other side, straddling the slopes of the coulee, is the unique University of Lethbridge building designed by Arthur Erickson.
The next day would be the highlight of the whole trip….
UPDATE June 15th: Don’t miss Roger’s comments on a historical site in Lethbridge (which we visited long ago) – Fort Whoop-up.
UPDATE 2, June 15th: Exciting news – BC is developing a windfarm! My husband has been doing a lot of research on wind energy for personal interest as well as a potential project at work, all inspired by this trip. Tonight he came across the Nai Kun Project. The proposed Nai Kun wind farm is to be situated in Hecate Strait between Haida Gwaii (Queen Charlotte Islands) and Prince Rupert off the coast of BC. The wind farm will be built during the calm periods of the year, over a three or four-year period. Construction is expected to be complete by 2010. It’s a very interesting and informative website with some videos to view, including this project.