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Reminder of the olden days | by annkelliott
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Reminder of the olden days

On 29 September 2014, I finally drove out to an area that lies NE of Calgary that I had longed to go to for so many years. It must have been 30+ years ago that I first saw one particular area of the Badlands of Alberta (The Hoodoo Trail). A few times, I had been fairly close when I went on several botany trips out that way, but when you are carpooling, you can't just go wherever you want. So, my youngest daughter and I decided that we both wanted to make this trip. All summer, we had been waiting for a day on which she didn't have to work and where the weather forecast was for no rain on the day or there had been no rain the previous day. The Bentonite Clay in the area becomes treacherously slippery when wet. The forecast for 29 September was for a mainly sunny day - at last, we were going!


I think this was the longest day of driving I had ever done, especially to, and in, an area that I'd never driven to before. For anyone who doesn't know me, I have battled a driving phobia for decades, plus I have no sense of direction, lol! Thankfully, my daughter has an amazing sense of direction, so I knew we wouldn't be stuck out on the prairies in the middle of nowhere. A typical question at too many intersections went as follows: me - "Do we go left?"; my daughter - "No, we go right", lol!


I met my daughter at 8:00 am. and I got home shortly before 9:00 pm. Much of that time was spent driving; the rest was spent wandering round three main areas - The Hoodoo Trail, Dorothy and Rowley, in different directions from Drumheller (which is known for its remarkable dinosaur findings).


The forecast was far from accurate on our drive out to the Badlands and I began to wonder if we'd made a mistake going on this trip on that particular day. However, knowing that snow would be returning very soon ("returning" because we had two snowstorms on 9 and 10 September), I was beginning to feel rather desperate and really didn't want to risk not getting out there this year. The afternoon was less cloudy and we did have some sun.


One of our destinations was the tiny, almost-ghost-town of Dorothy. I had longed, for a long time, to see the two small, old churches there as well as the old grain elevator. Both churches were restored in 2006, which is good in some ways but not photographically. A few people do still live there. This old, abandoned 1964 Plymouth Valiant looked like it had been at a standstill for many years, alongside this old, wooden building.


After that, we went to Rowley to see the old grain elevators and to wander round this very small, historical place. There are actually three elevators, with two being right next to each other and the other slightly apart from them. Dorothy felt and looked almost deserted, whereas Rowley was beautifully kept.


From Rowley, we made our way back across the prairies to Calgary. I had planned on getting back before it got dark as I no longer like night driving and very rarely do it, but we didn't quite make it. On the return drive, the last sighting was a Great Horned Owl that was perched part way up a power pole. Well done, Rachel, spotting this welcome bird! Not easy to see in the dark. By the time I got home, I was so tired and my arms were so painful from driving, but, what a great day we had!!


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Taken on September 29, 2014