Thursday, June 21, 2018

Rivers. Badlands, old Mines.

I was home a total of 4 days before the urge to travel hit us again.  It was just enough time to do laundry, cut the grass, and stock up on supplies.  This time, we had a general goal in mind – the Cypress Hills on the Saskatchewan/Alberta boundary, not far north of the US border.  But there were some sights to be seen along the way.  First, we headed almost due east to the badlands area near Drumheller.  Conveniently, one of the roads running alongside the Red Deer river was closed to through traffic because of a mud slide.  The lack of traffic meant that our first camp right beside the river and the road was a lot quieter than it normally would have been.


As with most places I go, I like to test the data speeds of the local cell service.  I was pleased and surprised to get a download speed of 149 Mbps, roughly double my previous record speed.  And that was down in the valley bottom by the river too!DJI_0009

In the morning, a large group of Cadets showed up to start on a guided paddle down the river in canoes and kayaks.  Before long, they were off down the river and calm returned to the river bank.


After picking up a few things in the town of Drumheller, we set out upstream on the other side of the river, checking out some of the old coal mining interpretive trails in the provincial park.

At Horsethief Canyon viewpoint, conditions were good to get some scenic aerial video and photos.


After that, we took the extremely short ferry ride across the Red Deer river, and headed back downstream.


IMG_0299IMG_0300IMG_0304At the Orkney viewpoint, I could see where some trash had been thrown over the edge, laying hundreds of feet below.  The UAV was sent down for a look, and found a computer monitor and a scooter that I could offer you a good deal on!


IMG_0325After a quick visit in town for a dump, fill, and re-provision, we headed off further downstream to the Hoodoos.


Further on, near East Coulee, was the old Atlas Coal Mining complex, and a historic wood trestle railroad bridge.  The bridge is long closed and condemned, but it is still an impressive structure and feat of engineering from around the turn of the century.

While there I saw an interesting bit of natural life and death.  Some sort of very small Kestrel or Sparrow Hawk was hunting swallows around the bridge.  It would fly up about 30-40 feet, then dive down at the swallow, who would change course at the last instant.  This went on 10 or 15 times after the same swallow, who did not seem to be concerned.  I guess he thought the little hawk was just a lousy driver! Eventually, a second hawk joined the hunt by flying close by.  After a few more tries, perhaps distracted by the second hunter, the little hawk was successful and there was one less swallow.


Some of the mine buildings are fairly well preserved and there are daily tours available in the summer.


While driving down the country roads of Alberta, windows down, tires crunching on the gravel road, it always amazes me that the sound of a Meadowlark cuts through all that and you would swear it was in the vehicle with you.


We eventually found ourselves down in the Cypress Hills area.


Trying to determine if this store is open, or closed?


I guess we’ll put this on the sign twice, in case someone misses it the first time?  IMG_0341Sneaking into Saskatchewan the back way!


A very scenic camp spot, till the fog rolled in!IMG_0346

Quite a few antelope in that area of the country …


It’s been a long time getting this blog post finally online.  Could have had it done a couple weeks ago, but all the photos I had taken from video had disappeared!  So I had to do that all over again, and well, there’s fun to be had that doesn’t necessarily involve sitting at a computer!  That’s it for this time.