Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hoodoos and Petroglyphs, Sept 29, 2010


Today we were walking the Hoodoo Trail.

IMG_2202 Soon we were in the hoodoos, nice hike through the hoodoo formations. 

IMG_2204  This petroglyph of a buffalo was on a sandstone panel about 12’ up.  Not easy to spot, we did have a drawing of what petroglyphs were on the wall, but not where.


The views were endless.  It was also so quiet, we could only hear an occasional bird singing to us.


The shrubs added some fall color to our hoodoo views.


The next grouping of pictographs could not be located by us.  They were painted on with a reddish mixture from the iron ore. 

But then we came to this last one on the trail called the ‘Battle Scene’.  This panel had over 250 characters.  They believe the drawing was carved in the late 1800’s and depicts an actual battle of “Retreat up the Hill” fought somewhere along the Milk River in 1866.

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They were very hard to photograph, but these are the two horses that are at the top right (as you are looking at it) of the panel. The lower horse is pulling a travois.


This panel is very well protected behind a fence about 15’ away.  All the petroglyphs were on the light colored area.



Our hike ended up near the visitor center, it is now closed Monday through Thursday.  Now there are more petroglyphs to be seen but you can only see them on a special guided tour and the next one won’t be until this Friday, bummer. 



Bob caught me in the act of snitching another empty campsite’s leftover fire wood.  Wouldn’t you think he could of helped me carry my treasure!



I washed our windshield one more time, wish I had kept count how many times I have done this since mid May when we crossing the border into Canada. 


 IMG_4518Here is Bob, the great white hunter, tonight we had flies, 20+ at a time, on our front door screen trying to get in, and quite a few of them did.

The next photo is kind of interesting.  The green blur is the fly swatter in pursuit of one of the dastardly flies.  In the mirror is Bob swinging and me taking the photograph.  Looks like a green ghost.

IMG_4519  A thistle with two bees!


Tomorrow (Thursday) we are headed out into the “Outside”, crossing at Coutts.  We will be staying at Shelby, Montana tomorrow night, so only have about an hour and half drive with a border crossing in-between.  Then to Missoula to get some repairs done (steps and slide adjustment).  Oh, the windshield star now has two lines heading about 3” out from it, so it is no longer quarter size, so it will need to be replaced as well.

Lethbridge to East of Milk River, AB (Writing on Stone PP), 81 miles, Sept 28, 2010

In case you were wondering,  PP stands for Provincial Park, equal to our state parks.

This was our home for the last two nights in Lethbridge.  Nice trees, but…they block our satellite internet. 

IMG_2186  When we arrived in Lethbridge, we were running on fumes. We were not  sure how much diesel we had left, the gauge was really leaning toward the E.  One place I suggested we get fuel, big wide open station, the one that had the saguaro cactus sculpture, Bob had turned down, saying we still have about 1/2 tank.  As the miles clicked off, so did the fuel tank.  One station we did stop at, pulled up to the pump and then saw they had the handle covered with a bag.  For some reason they were not pumping diesel.  So on we went to Lethbridge and did arrive at the RV park okay.  So yesterday afternoon we scouted out where we could get diesel, and that is what we did first off this morning.  Bob did not fill the tank as we are not too far from the US and are hoping for cheaper prices, we paid .92/liter which equals $3.49 CND (right now with no internet I can’t go and see what the US conversion rate is to tell exactly what it cost in US dollars, when I can I will update this).

Today’s drive was pretty much the same, farm fields as far as one can see.  Here is a ranch or co-op where the grain is stored in the old and the new storage facilities.IMG_4470

Soon we were close to our destination.  If it weren’t for a young lady at a junction in the park that just pointed to where the campground was, I think we would still be wondering around, we sure didn’t see any signs pointing to the campground.  I was very grateful she could read our minds, wondering which direction do we go?  


We were lucky to get one of their seven electric sites with their winter rate in effect of $19  instead of $27.

IMG_4474 Now you can’t see the tree that is blocking our satellite, but, believe me, it is there, so no internet for the next two days.  Today the temps got up in the 80’s, so I did some sunning on my white arms and legs.


In Drumheller we had bought a large bag of the English cucumbers with 8 cucs in it.  If we only ate two of them, it was a cost savings as the bag cost was $5.49 and each one cost $2.60.  And I do love cucumbers. Now with us crossing the US border soon, like day after tomorrow-Thursday, I ended up making a 1/2 gallon full of fresh bread-and-butter pickles with three of them.  I used to make them before fulltiming, but had no recipe (my recipe is back at the stick and brick location), and no internet, so…I just made up a recipe.  Let us hope they taste as good as they look!


I just finished up reading this book.  Back in June, Bob and I flew from Juneau to the Taku Lodge for a great salmon bake.  I had also been at the Taku Lodge in 2000 with my sister for the salmon bake,  as well.  We were on an Alaskan Inside Passage Cruise.  This is same place Mary Joyce started her trip by dogteam to Fairbanks, 1,000 miles.  Amazing story!  (Sis, guess what you are getting for Christmas?)

Believe it or not, but a fire felt good tonight, even though it was 86 degrees in the coach this afternoon. 


Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump, near Lethbridge, AB, Sept 27, 2010

We were headed out this morning to visit Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump, it was about 50 miles west of where we are staying in Lethbridge.   The Visitor Center is well camouflaged into the hillside.  The name of this park was not named for the buffalos meeting their death here, but legend has it for a young brave wanted to watch the buffalo tumble over the cliff.  So he stood under the cliff and watched the great beasts fall.  The hunt was unusually good that day and the bodies piled up and trapped him between the dead buffalo and the cliffs. When his people came to do the butchering, they found him with his skull crushed by the weight of the buffalo carcasses.  Thus the name “Head-Smashed-In”.

IMG_2151 First we watched their introductory film, then walked out to see where the buffalo were channeled down to the cliff edge.  They estimate hundred of thousands of buffalo charged over the cliff to their demise.  But their demise meant survival to the First Peoples who butchered them for their sustenance.   Below is the cliff edge where the buffalo were driven over, either they died on impact or were killed shortly after as the First Peoples believed that if any escaped, they would go tell the others and the next years hunt would be unsuccessful.

IMG_2141 Here is the cliff as seen from below.  In the center you can see a person standing where I took the above photo.

IMG_2150“Under your feet are dozens of layers of buffalo bones mixed with artifacts, dirt and rock rubble representing thousands of years of use of this jump.   In some places the deposits are more than 10 (abt 30 feet) meters deep.  Radiocarbon dating of bone from the oldest deepest layers reveals that the jump was used to kill buffalo more than 5,600 years ago.  At that time the drop from the cliff would have been much higher and more fatal.  The jump may have been used hundreds of time up until the middle of the last century.  As soil, rock and artifacts built up over time, the drop would have been shorter and less fatal.  The thousands of arrowheads found in the upper layers attests to the need to kill crippled animals.”

IMG_4413 On display was a moccasin made from buffalo hide, the fur was turned to the inside, talk about fur lined slippers.

IMG_4423 This bone was found with an arrowhead still embedded.  Hopefully you can read the enlarged field notes.

Page 1…


Page 2…


This is the first time I have ever seed a Winter Count Robe.IMG_4418 This Indian Winter Count covers the time period from 1764 to 1879 and is one of the longest Winter Counts on record.  


We were lucky to get a photo of this Canadian Pacific Railway High Level Bridge train trestle in Lethbridge with a train crossing it.   This  5,327’ long 314’ feet high bridge was built in 1908 and 1909 for a cost of over 1.3 million dollars.  Some claims state that it is the highest and longest trestle bridge in the world.


Tomorrow we are headed to Writing on Stone Provincial Park about two hours away, after our visit there,  then back into the States. 

Drumheller to Lethbridge, AB, 227 miles, Sept 26, 2010

We decided to stay one more day in Drumheller because we did not want to arrive in Lethbridge on a Saturday afternoon looking for an RV site.   Our logic worked out well, no problem getting a site today when we arrived at the Henderson Lake Campground, electric only site for $34.00 CND.

IMG_2127 Here Bob is unhooking this morning and see that white bag sitting next to another site’s fire ring.  That white bag had some firewood left in it, and it was free.   Well, believe it or not, I did not snitch the partial bag of fire wood.  We had just last night burned up all our scraps of wood we had been carrying all summer.

IMG_4384 Here is Bob sweeping this morning.  He just swept the slide toppers, we are hoping the leaves on top just blow off as we travel down the road.


It was bound to happen, a pickup passed us going really fast and then we heard the loud “wap” sound, and now we sport this quarter size star on the drivers side of the windshield.  Don’t know if a star that size is repairable?  Time will tell.

IMG_4393 Saguaro cactus in Alberta?  Looks like it…but it was out of pipe.

IMG_4388 Today we drove by huge farm fields, as far as one could see.  Now this is big sky country too!

Friday, September 24, 2010

More exploring around Drumheller, AB, Sept 24, 2010

Just a few miles northwest of the RV Park is an overlook of Horsethief Canyon.


From this overlook you could follow a social trail down into the badlands, guess where we went!  I went down to explore.

IMG_2107 Bob also went down, then he went up on top to see what he could see.

IMG_4353 This area was once the bottom on an ancient sea and yes we did find fossilized shells.

IMG_2108 Right in the center is a fossilized bone fragment and around the bone are pieces of fossilized shell and shell still in the matrix. 


Once the road climbed up out of the valley, oil wells sprouted.




Soon we descended back down into the valley to a river crossing, on the Bleriot Ferry, one of the seven remaining cable ferries in Alberta.




See the farm across the valley.  Lots of canola oil is produced from these fields.  I would love to see the fields in full yellow canola bloom.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Exploring around Drumheller AB, Sept 23, 2010

Here is a church that is advertised on the local radio of seating 10,000, six at a time. 

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As you can see, it is built on a small scale 7’x11’, but they are correct, it does only seat six!

Our next stop was to see the suspension bridge in Rosedale, a few miles east of Drumheller.  This bridge was once used by miners from the Star Mine.

IMG_4333  Yes, it was a LONG walk over open grate with a river flowing below, but at least Bob was not on it making it bounce.


We also drove to the Atlas Coal Mine.  Even though there were tours offered, no one was around to give them as they were busy with two bus loads full of noisy kids.  In 1979 this mine shipped its last load of coal.  There were 139 coal mines in the Drumheller area from 1911 to 1979.


The HooDoo area is not far from the Atlas Mine.



We stopped at a local grocery store and found these baby cucumbers, they are my favorite! (Grown in Canada)IMG_4346


Also found a place to get a haircut.  Last one was the end of June in Dawson City, YT. 

I am trying to let my hair get a little longer, time will tell if I succeed.

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