I needed to step away from the keyboard and Rolf wanted to attend the annual Three Hills Cruise Weekend, so we booked a motel and headed to the little town last Friday.
The Three Hills Cruise started in 1981. The event was organized by three locals for the first Saturday of June. That year, 35 cars showed up.
The event continues to be held on the first Saturday of June and also includes the Friday and Sunday.
Show ’n’ Shine
On Friday, there’s the Meet, Greet and Cruise. Saturday has the Show ’n’ Shine. Cars start lining Main Street at 8 o’clock in the morning. Later on Saturday, starting about 5 pm, the Three Hills Airport hosts the 1/8 mile bracket racing. And on Sunday, the racing continues.
This year marks the 37th year of the event. More than 1000 classic cars and trucks registered and Main Street filled with people, young and old. There were also classic motorcycles and I even saw one Tesla.
Local eateries fill up. Church groups and service organizations sell hot dogs, burgers, ribs and beans as well as soft drinks and ice cream. It’s like being at the fair.
Apparently, Mother Nature always cooperates and the day is hot and sunny. Many visitors bring folding chairs to sit in the shade.
Is this Margi’s Thunderbird?
The Town of Three Hills was incorporated as a Village in 1912. Now the town has a population of about 3300, numerous parks and walking trails, and many community events throughout the year. The Cruise is the biggest. At this event, money is raised and donated to worthwhile causes. Classic vehicles are showcased and appreciated. Visitors and locals kick back and enjoy a hot summer’s day.
Although I am not a car aficionado, I couldn’t help but get into the spirit and I’ve already decided I’ll be there next year.
When I went to elementary school, I learned that the Earth’s axis is slightly tilted in relation to its orbit around the Sun. I also learned that because the Earth orbits the Sun at a slant, we have seasons. And I learned that the seasons change on the 21st of March, June, September and December.
I have since learned that the 21st is close to the astronomical calculation, but the 21st is not always the first day of the new season.
Today, March 20th, is the astronomical first day of spring in the Northern Hemisphere. It is known as the spring equinox or the vernal equinox. If you imagine a line above the equator, the spring equinox occurs when the sun crosses that line from south to north. That is the astronomical definition of Spring.
In Calgary, with snowbanks everywhere, it still looks like winter even though yesterday was the last official day of winter.
Yesterday, we drove to the mountains to ski at Sunshine Village. It’s not spring there either, although the temperatures are warmer than they were in January. The snow, however, is perfect winter snow—not the slushy stuff that will come with spring skiing.
Here we are leaving the gondola station at 1,660 metres (5,450 feet) looking out the frosty Plexiglas of the gondola.
Leaving the gondola base
That’s the parking lot below, only half full at ten in the morning. It’s a weekday so it will only fill to the end of the parking lot. On weekends, the cars are backed down the road and shuttle buses take you to the gondola station.
We always ski on weekdays.
Here we are arriving at the top gondola station in the Village, at 2,159 metres or 7,082 feet.
Arriving at the Village
There is another station below this where you can get off for Goat’s Eye Mountain, but in the mornings, it’s always icy over there. So if we do ski Goat’s Eye, we wait until the afternoon. By then the sun has softened the snow and it’s nicer skiing.
Yesterday’s forecast was for a mix of sun and cloud and the morning started off sunny.
sunny at Sunshine in the morning
Closer to lunch, we headed to the top of Divide.
On the Divide Chair
Now we are on the Divide chair. To the left are the Teepee Town and Angel chairs.
For a short time, the Divide chair crosses from Alberta into British Columbia. I didn’t get my camera out fast enough so I missed the sign that says “Welcome to Beautiful British Columbia” but I did get the sign welcoming us back to Alberta.
Welcome Back to Sunny Alberta
The joke is that sometimes you are riding this chair in a whiteout when the “sunny Alberta” sign comes into view.
Now we are at the top of Divide at an elevation of 2,730 metres or 8,960 feet, and the clouds are moving in.
Top of Divide
The light was flat, so we only did one run here and then skied all the way back down to the Village. We did one more run on Standish (where the light was better) and then we went to the Sunshine Mountain Lounge and the Chimney Corner for lunch . . .
Sunshine Mountain Lodge
. . . where I get to take off my boots (ahhhhh)
. . . and fuel up on that great Canadian delicacy, poutine.
After lunch, the light was still iffy, and Goat’s Eye looked socked in, so we stayed at the Village, and skied the Wawa Bowl.
Tin Can Alley
One of my favourite runs is here, Tin Can Alley.
Now we are riding down. Those are my skis on the outside of the gondola.
going down on the gondola
The temperature rose to 4 degrees Celsius (39 Fahrenheit) in the Village, with no wind, so the air was spring-like. But the snow was winter-like and perfect. So that was our last official day of astronomical winter.
The other way of determining the seasons is called the Meteorological Method. In this case, meteorologists base the seasons on annual temperature cycles.
Spring is defined as March, April and May.
Summer is June, July and August
Fall is September, October and November.
And Winter is December, January and February.
Kind of makes more sense. But I still think back to my elementary school days—and the 21st.
What is spring for you? Is it the beginning of March? Or not until the 21st? Is it snow melting? Or tulips and daffodils pushing up through the soil? Do you like spring skiing? Or would you prefer to start a garden?
I finally got another profile picture. What do you think?
My last one was from 2011—taken by the University of Calgary people when I was enrolled in Spanish classes there. Now, five years and one grandson later, I am embracing my grey and silver and white and blonde hair. It’s like having natural highlights. Mother Nature has given me changing colour.
Besides the new ‘me’ you will notice a new layout for my website. I used to blog more often, and maybe I will again, but for the time being I am heavily involved with the Thurston Authors. I will tell you more about the project next week. Right now, I can let you know we are launching our first book on September 29th. My book is the ninth in the series and it will be released on November 24th. Here’s the cover:
My book is set in the month of September. That background image on the cover is of Larch Valley in Banff National Park, Canada. In autumn, the Larch turn golden and lose their needles.
Yes, these trees that look like evergreens lose their needles.
There are several ways of classifying trees. One is by hardwood or softwood. Another is by the leaves and seed production—in other words, the tree is deciduous or coniferous. Deciduous comes from the Latin ‘to fall’ and means the trees lose their leaves in the autumn and are bare during the winter. Usually we think of maples and oaks when we think of deciduous trees. Deciduous trees change colour in the autumn, turning red or yellow or orange.
A coniferous tree bears seeds in cones.
An evergreen keeps its leaves (needles) year round, and as such, it is the complete opposite of a deciduous tree. Pine, fir and spruce are evergreens. They are also conifers.
But not all conifers are evergreens. Some of them, like the Larch, are deciduous conifers. Mother Nature has created what looks like an evergreen and has let it change colour.
The Larch typically grow in the cool temperate zones and high in the mountains. Every year, a huge number of hikers head to Larch Valley to see the trees change colour.
Have you ever been to Larch Valley? Do you like watching the leaves change colour. Do you colour your hair?
Larch Valley image from bigstockphoto.com # 127344314
Quadra Mountain and Bident Mountain at the end of the lake
Yesterday Rolf and I hiked the five kilometre (3.2 mile) trail to Boom Lake in Banff National Park. There’s an elevation gain of about 175 metres (575 feet) and it’s nice, gradual climb.
We’ve had a wet summer this year, so the trail was muddy in places, but nothing serious.
The rain has provided lots of moisture for the vegetation.
We had lunch sitting beside the lake and looking up at Boom Mountain.
Here are Suzanne and Rolf. They play minor characters in my next book THE THURSTON HEIRLOOM which will be released on November 24th.
Boom Lake has clear cold water and good fishing.
Near its east end, the lake flows over an old moraine that barely touches the surface. The crescent-shaped moraine extends just beneath the water and catches the driftwood floating down the lake, thus creating what looks like a lumber boom. For this reason, the lake is called Boom Lake.
I love hiking, especially in the Rocky Mountains. I love the views and the quiet and the way the air smells. Hiking is one of the best ways I have found to relax, rejuvenate and reorganize my mind. Plus, it’s pretty good exercise.
On Wednesday, Rolf and I visited Calgary’s tallest building. “The Bow” is the headquarters for Encana Corporation and Cenovus Energy. Our D-I-L Liz works for Cenovus so she got us Visitor Passes and showed us around.
Suzanne and Liz
The building is named for the Bow River which runs through Calgary.
The Bow River as seen from the 54th floor of “The Bow”
Not only is the Bow the tallest building in Calgary at 237 metres ( about 779 feet), it’s the second tallest building in Canada. There are much taller buildings in the world. At the moment, the tallest is Burj Khalifa in Dubai, at 828 metres ( about 2,717 feet). This is the building that Tom Cruise scaled in Ghost Protocol.
You can watch the scene here:
But the Bow is the tallest building I have ever been inside. Three weeks ago, I was on the observation deck of the Calgary Tower with Debra Dixon. You see “The Bow” behind us here.
The first 24 floors are for Cenovus and above that are the offices for Encana. There are also three indoor gardens – each six storeys high. Cenovus has one at the 24th level, Encana has one at the 42nd level and there is a shared garden at level 54.
indoor gardens at The Bow
The building was completed in 2012. Its position and shape give it the maximum amount of sunshine. Solar heat is collected in the atrium and redistributed, making the building more energy efficient.
The crescent shape of the building deflects the prevailing winds, which allows for a lighter structure.
And what a view!
looking south to the Calgary Tower
looking west to the Rocky Mountains
In front of the building is a 12 metre (39 foot) sculpture officially called “Wonderland” but everyone refers to it as The Head.
A full-time security guard is on duty to keep people from climbing The Head, but it’s okay to go inside it.
inside “The Head”
Have you been up high lately? How was your view?
The Bow – full height from bigstockphoto # bigstockphoto.com #76038542