Saturday, August 29, 2009

Badlands road trip

“Too often I would hear men boast of the miles covered that day, rarely of what they had seen.”
- Louis L'Amour

During my husband’s first full summer in Alberta, I was adamant about taking him camping in the Canadian Badlands. He, on the other hand, wasn’t so keen on the idea.

Camping in the desert? Been there, done that. And I got shot at, too.

Drumheller, Alberta, is a far cry from the Middle East, but my husband still wasn’t thrilled to be camping there for a weekend. Lucky (?) for him, he got sick prior to our anticipated departure date, so the trip was postponed until “next summer.”

Three more summers came and went without us having made the trek to Drumheller, and I finally put my foot down and proclaimed that I wasn’t going to let a fourth summer pass without embarking on the Badlands.

So, at long last, we finally reached our destination yesterday morning.

(That’s my husband above, basking in Alberta’s desert-like setting. Take note that no one is shooting at him.)

I’m pleased to report that we had an absolutely remarkable day. Although our work schedules prevented us from camping overnight, we still managed to visit many of the sites with military precision.

And given that I’m a little obsessed with a big fan of Joshua Jackson, our first stop was to pose with the World’s Largest Dinosaur, just like Pacey Joshua did in the movie One Week.

(Can you see my husband? Look way down at the bottom, just before the date stamp.)

This photo op was followed by visits to: the Royal Tyrrell Museum, the Little Church, Horse Thief Canyon, the Hoodoos, Rosedale Suspension Bridge, and Horseshoe Canyon.

Plus, I even befriended a firefighter from Rosebud prior to stopping for lunch at WHIFS, the cutest little roadside diner. Score!

But my favourite of all these sites was by far Horse Thief Canyon.

(If only our photos actually did some justice to this site!)

The top portion of the sign in the photo above reads as follows:

“This area of the Red Deer River valley earned its name during the early settler years when ranching was the main industry. Thousands of horses ranged from here to beyond the “Hand Hills” to the east. Legend has it that horses would disappear into these canyons of the Red Deer River valley, later to reappear carrying a different brand. Hence the name 'Horse Thief Canyon'.”

It sounds like it came straight out of a Louis L’Amour novel. I love it.

So, overall, we had a really terrific day, and we're glad everything worked out so perfectly. And in case you're wondering, yes, my husband totally fell in love with the scenery and is already planning to bring his students here for a weekend field trip at some point.

And to think he once claimed to have no further interest in camping in the desert.

Added bonus: Although the World's Largest Dinosaur didn't make it into the trailer for One Week, it's still worth checking out below. Be sure to watch for the scene where Joshua overlooks the canyon.

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