Ranches or Sheep Stations


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North America » Canada » Alberta
August 29th 2019
Published: August 30th 2019
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We set off from Banff on a three hour drive to the town of Lethbridge, which is about 200 kms south of Calgary, and is where Emma and Michael have recently moved to.

We’ve noticed that virtually a hundred percent of the trees in the forests in the Rockies seem to be the same species of pine, and neither of us think that we’ve ever seen forests anywhere else where there’s such a tree mono-culture. Canadian pine trees must be a really mean bunch if they’re that determined to keep outsiders out. Maybe they could get a job on The Donald’s staff.

We stop for lunch at the quaintly named town of Moose Mountain. The shops here all look like they belong in Main Street on the set of a western movie, and the only music we can get on the radio is country and western which is just serving to add to the mood. The road we’re on runs through the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, so we’ve got mountains on one side of us and seemingly endless prairie on the other. The scenery is excellent.

Based on the sample of people we’ve met so far Canadians all seem to be very polite, friendly and easy going, and not all that dissimilar to most people back home. Now that I’ve written this gross generalisation I’m sure the next Canadian we meet will be a rude, aggressive, uptight a**hole, but at least that’ll prove they’re human. They also speak English in a sort of a fashion, but we can’t help but notice some of the differences in terminology. They have sidewalks, we have footpaths; they have restrooms, we have bathrooms; they have truckers, we have truck drivers; they have corporate limits, we have town boundaries; they have prairies, we have bits of land that are a tad on the flat side; they have trucks, we have utes; they have dumps, we have tips; they have ranches, we have sheep stations; and so on it goes. Despite all this we don’t seem to have had too much trouble making ourselves understood so far, or at least as far as we’re aware. One other very noticeable things here is that they all seem to drive really big vehicles; every second one we see is an RV the size of a house. Our Dodge hire car is by far the biggest car I’ve ever driven, but it looks like a Mini Minor compared to some of the other machines that have torn past us on the highway today.

We arrive in Lethbridge, which we read has a population of just under a hundred thousand and is Alberta’s third biggest city after Calgary and Edmonton. We’re taken on the grand tour of Emma and Michael’s basement apartment. Most Canadian houses apparently have basements, even out in the middle of nowhere where there’s lots of land. I’m not entirely sure I understand the logic for this. I would have thought it would just add to the cost if you’ve got to dig a big hole as well as build the rooms. I think I might be missing something here. Their apartment is very cute. The windows are just above ground level, so light can still get in at this time of the year, and it might also get in in winter as long as the snow doesn’t get too deep. We meet Michael’s parents LeeAnne and Steve for the first time. They’ve made the three hour drive down here to meet us from the small prairie town of Hanna where they run a beef cattle farm. The six of us enjoy a very pleasant meal.

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