Our trip is planned as follows:
8:15 am meet at the West Hills Shopping Centre parking lot outside of Winners. Look for Cindy with her white BMW X3.
We will convene here to carpool and complete our trip check-in including showing proof of full vaccination to the trip leader for anyone who has not provided it in advance.
8:30 am - we will leave for Eden Valley, (93 km each way)
We will head south on the ring road (AB201) to 22X where we turn right onto 22x.
South on Hwy 22 to Longview and then right on Ab 541 past Green Ford sign and left onto the bridge entrance to Eden Valley Indian Reserve.
Park on the near side of the bridge and wait for Keith to take us into the reserve and guide us to his ranch.
Once we arrive, we will gather inside his heated tipi, sitting on chairs or blankets/hides to participate in introductions with Keith followed by some of his stories about his family and reserve history as well as a sacred smudge ceremony. There will be opportunity for questions and the presentation of any traditional gifts participants may choose to bring such as tobacco, sweet grass, food, blankets, etc. (These are some of the traditional gifts one might bring to an Indigenous gathering of this sort - they are optional and you can speak with trip advisor, Cindy, for more information).
Around noon we will eat our self-supplied bag lunches as desired and head out on a 5 km snowshoe outing around the foothill located on reserve. Great views of the valley should be evident (assuming clear skies) and Keith or another member of his family will join us to point out other items of interest (plants, landmarks, etc.) If Keith leads the way for us, he will need to be on horseback due to a bad knee. Following our return from the hike Keith's wife Jamie will serve us home-made Indian Tacos and Keith will likely show us a few of his family heirlooms - traditional regalia in his tipi, although we don't want to get anything wet or dirty from our outdoor activity, so this may be quite selective.
At approximately 4 pm we will head back to Calgary. If your experience is anything like my past two have been, you will head back to Calgary with a huge sense of gratitude for having experienced this special day and having had the opportunity to connect with this warm-hearted Indigenous family on the land they inhabit.