Archive for Edmonton

Elk Island National Park & Edmonton

Posted in Alberta, Edmonton, Elk Island National Park, Travel with tags , , , on July 24, 2017 by Amanda

On the Victoria Day Long Weekend, I decided to take advantage of this year’s free national park pass and visit Elk Island National Park.  I’d driven past it a bunch of times but had never stopped.  My sign that I wasn’t the only with this idea was the several cars parked by the sign along Highway 16 and people taking pictures.  I finished two hiking trails: one was maybe 3 kilometres long and the other was 10 kilometres.  I started another but it was way too muddy for my liking.  I saw lots of bison but no elk!


A bison

Afterwards I headed to Edmonton where I spent two completely free nights at a very new hotel.  I really do love the Marriott Rewards Visa!  Of course, I shopped etc. while I was there.


Big news

Posted in Alberta, Christmas, Costa Rica, Edmonton, Elk Island National Park, Great Sandhills, Job offer, Moving, North Battleford, Ontario, Saskatchewan with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 3, 2017 by Amanda

I was going to write this post a bit earlier this evening but was interrupted by the fire alarm going off in my building.  It was nothing; some idiot probably pulled it.  Anyway, I have some big news: I will be starting a new job in Ontario on August 1.  I am definitely ready for this change as I’ve been in North Battleford, SK for nearly four and a half years.  I am not really looking forward to clearing out this apartment though!

I have (obviously) completed ignored this blog this year.  Until now, it has not been the most exciting year but a few things have happened.  I will really try to write posts to make up for this soon.  If not, here is a summary:

  • I was home for Christmas/New Years
  • I went on a trip to Costa Rica in March
  • On Victoria Day Weekend, I went to Elk Island National Park and Edmonton
  • I visited the Great Sandhills yesterday

Banff, Jasper etc.

Posted in Abandoned buildings, Alberta, Athabasca Glacier, Banff, Calgary, Camping, Canmore, Caving, Drumheller, Edmonton, Forest fires, Jasper, Lake Louise, Lloydminster, Pocahontas, Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Travel, Vacation, Vegreville with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2015 by Amanda

Last Saturday I picked up my sister from the Saskatoon airport and then we headed to Alberta. We stopped briefly in Drumheller and then spent a night in Calgary.

On Sunday we drove to Canmore (which I thought was a very nice town) and went caving. It was definitely different than other caves I’ve been in. Overall, I enjoyed the experience though I would have appreciated elbow pads in addition to knee pads and I truly thought I might never get out of the cave as it was very slippery and difficult to get out of. I left with quite a few bruises. I really liked the rappelling and it was nice to be in a cave that isn’t visited by that many people.

Entrance to the cave.

Entrance to the cave.

Later in the afternoon we headed to Banff. The campground was nice and quiet and had lots of elk. I especially enjoyed watching them lick water off of tents. We walked around the town and did a little bit of hiking.

Elk licking a tent.

Elk licking a tent.

We then headed to Lake Louise was completely insane. Parking was very frustrating. Eventually we ended up parking about a kilometre away in a parking lot for some trail. It would have been much quicker to do that in the first place. We took a trail to a lookout which was surprisingly quiet. I doubt more than one in a hundred people there took this trail but it had such an amazing view and the 1.8 kilometres walk which was pretty much all uphill was very much worth it and of course, the walk down took no time at all!

Lake  Louise from the viewpoint.

Lake Louise from the viewpoint.

We spent a night at a campground near the Athabasca Glacier. It only had pit toilets but I can’t really complain as it cost only $15.70. We got there around 3 o’clock and there were very few sites left so it was good that we didn’t arrive later. You can’t make reservations and it uses a self-registration system.

The next morning we took a tour and walked on the glacier for close to three hours. It was an interesting experience. It was astonishing to see how much of the glacier has melted since 1982 (there is a sign of where it was then). I think it would be interesting (and depressing) to visit in a decade or two to see how much change has occurred.

The Athabasca Glacier.

The Athabasca Glacier.

We stopped at a couple of waterfalls on the way to Jasper. I liked the town of Jasper better than Banff but was the campground was not good. There was so much traffic and noise there and we really didn’t sleep well; being sick of camping by then didn’t help either. We saw a bear but didn’t manage to get a picture of it. We did a bunch of hiking in the area.



On the way out of the park, we stopped briefly at an old mine called Pocahontas. It had some old ruins and informational signs. It was very interesting and we were the only ones there!

Sort of entering a building you aren't supposed to enter in Pocahontas.

Sort of entering a building you aren’t supposed to enter in Pocahontas.

We stopped for a night in Edmonton and then travelled back to North Battleford (with a stop in Vegreville as my sister needed a picture of the sign as she used to have a job where she had to send things to there all the time). On the drive, it became increasingly hazy. I eventually realized that it was smoke as it got stronger. The smoke seemed strongest around Lloydminster. It was still smoky when we reached here yesterday. I know that there are like a billion forest fires but was surprised that the smoke spread this far.

I showed my sister a bit of Saskatoon this afternoon and then dropped her off at the airport. I am a bit tired and not really looking forward to going back to work tomorrow.

This post is NOT about weather … even though, the weather was actually great!

Posted in Alberta, Driving, Edmonton, Shopping, South Edmonton Commons, Travel, Vegetarian, West Edmonton Mall with tags , , , , , , , on April 6, 2014 by Amanda

I actually have something to write about other than the weather for once! I decided to go shopping in Edmonton this weekend. I hadn’t been anywhere in forever; the last time I even went to Saskatoon was the first day of February! The drive went pretty smoothly both ways though I there a bit of a delay entering Edmonton due to construction. It always amazes me how much traffic ends up slowing down when two lanes unexpectedly have to merge into one!

I went to a really good vegetarian restaurant for lunch. I had a lentil loaf that was covered with cashew gravy. I’d never had cashew gravy before and I think I may actually prefer to mushroom gravy (and I love mushroom gravy!).


The entrance to the restaurant


Lentil loaf etc.

After that, I went over to West Edmonton Mall. By the time, I got there it was rather busy. I decided to park in the overflow parking across the street that had plenty of spots which I think was a good decision; it looked crazy in the regular parking area! I still have trouble believing that it used to be the world’s largest mall. It just doesn’t seem that big to me!

I was pleasantly surprised with my hotel room. It only cost $86.11 including all the taxes. has a 7.4 rating for this hotel which is not bad (I generally find that if a place is 7.0 or higher, it’s fine) but I was still a bit skeptical because the price was so low. It wasn’t a quiet as I’d like at first but by 11 it was very quiet and I slept well; so, I definitely can’t complain!

I headed to South Edmonton Commons this morning and I ended up purchasing a bit more than I thought I would but I got some good deals! Still, I probably should consider putting a moratorium on buying non-essential things for a month or two.

I attempted to have lunch at another vegetarian restaurant but I sat for fifteen minutes with the menu and my order still wasn’t taken and few people actually had any food. I thought it might take all afternoon to get anything to eat so I left and had another Harvey’s veggie burger. At least, this restaurant did not involve driving out of my way!

Before I left Edmonton, I bought a bunch of Indian sweets. I haven’t had them in ages. Hopefully, I’ll be able to eat them gradually but we’ll see.


Indian sweets

A long weekend visit to Edmonton

Posted in Alberta, Driving, Edmonton, High Level Bridge Streetcar, Old Strathcona, Shopping, South Edmonton Commons, Travel, Vegreville, West Edmonton Mall with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 20, 2013 by Amanda

This weekend I went to Edmonton.  It was an easy four hour drive each way (well, other than the drivers who decided to drive about 113 in the passing lane when the speed limit was 110!).  On the way there, I stopped in Vegreville to see the world’s largest Ukrainian Easter egg.


The world’s largest Ukrainian Easter Egg

I first visited West Edmonton Mall.  It is undoubtedly large but I didn’t find it overwhelming; perhaps because I visited Dubai Mall so much?  The mall certainly had a lot of non-shopping activities (eg. a waterpark) but I only went shopping.  I really liked Simons, a store I’d never even heard on before.  I also walked around downtown for a bit in the evening.


West Edmonton Mall


A view of downtown from my hotel room

Yesterday I visited the Royal Alberta Museum which was pretty interesting and half price in the morning!  Afterwards, I went on a free tour of Government House which is located next door; it wasn’t all that interesting.  I also went on the High Level Bridge Streetcar, which is a restored 1912 streetcar and travels on the aforementioned bridge over the North Saskatchewan River and I walked around Old Strathcona which was once a separate city.


The streetcar entering the “station”


Inside the streetcar


Old Strathcona

Today I went to South Edmonton Common because I wanted to go to Ikea but I also spent a couple of hours afterwards looking at some other stores.  It is apparently Canada’s largest retail power centre which seems to mean a bunch of adjacent plazas containing smaller stores (including some outlets) plus standalone big box stores.  I think I would prefer a large mall so I’d only have to park once instead of ten times!