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My Great Canadian Experience: On the trail of First Nations

Hoodoos at Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park, Alberta

by Monke from Germany


Here we go again! It is October and time for a new blogpost about a nice experience during this month. Pumpkins, colorful leaves and Halloween are typical signs for this time of the year but today I want to invite you to an Outdoor Education trip to Alberta!

First, Outdoor Education is an “out-of-the-timetable” course at my high school in Sparwood. That means we are doing our trips after school or over the whole school day, meetings take place during lunch and we have to engage for fundraising. This course is interesting for all students who like nature, animals, leadership, teamwork and so much more.

Let’s go!
We wrote the 5th of October 2022, exactly 7 am. I stand in the hallway of my school and saw all the kids slowly arriving. It was early in the morning and we were all very tired and cold. Around 7.15 am we were heading with the bus to Alberta, our destination: Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park Alberta. To be honest, it was an awful bus drive: even a short stop at Tim Hortons and a beautiful sunrise, were not able to make a four-hour way to your aim more enjoyable.

We arrived at around 11.30 am in the provincial park at the visitor center. From there we drove down in the valley. On our way down, we had a beautiful view over the main part of the national park. The valley is characterized by sand stones and one river which meander through the steppe. After 10 minutes, we reached a spot where we saw a woman weaving at us. The woman introduced herself to us as park ranger and our todays guide, from now one we spent one hour with her and so we got the chance to see a part of the park where you are only allowed to go when a guide leads you. She showed us incredible rock carvings and paintings from the first nations such as the Blackfoot which used these as communication. In addition, the guide explained a lot of the paintings what they show and mean. It was very interesting, especially, to have the opportunity to be as near at the carvings as we were. 

After the little tour, we all got in the bus again and the bus driver drove us to the campground of the park. There we had one-hour free time before we were heading back to Sparwood. I used the time with a few friends to climb the hoodoos (see picture)! It was so much fun and, in the end, very exhausting. We were standing at the top of such a special mountain and had a beautiful view over the whole area! We used this spot to eat our lunch and got enough energy for the four-hour bus drive home. The way back felt the same as the way to the park, around 7 pm we finally reached the school where my host mum was waiting for me! 

My lemon of the trip was totally the long bus drive in comparison with the short stay in the park (8h bus, 3h park) but my cherry is even more important: it was a different view of Canada! When I thought about this country before, I have only imaged the great, impressive Rocky Mountains and never thought about such different nature.

 

Blog post and photo submitted by Monke from Germany. Monke is a grade 12 student at Sparwood Secondary School. 

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