Saturday, October 21, 2017

The Badlands October 21, 2017

Waiting for the sun to rise at Lake Louise last Saturday was so enjoyable that I wanted a repeat of some sort for this Saturday.   It was my daily focus all week outside of the usual life happenings.  When the idea of hitting Drumheller in The Badlands came to me, I weather-watched and waited for the day.  While waiting for the day a more detailed plan evolved to include hiking in Horsethief Canyon which I have never done before.  This then would just be another addition to this year's theme of venturing to new places to me.  All necessary conditions were ideally forecast so at an ungodly hour of the morning I began to execute the plan.  
My eyes were peeled as I drove those back-prairie roads in pitch dark watching for wildlife that may spring out at me.  But what to my wondering eyes did appear?  Something shot across my windshield startling me, it was gone before I could even comprehend that it must have been a shooting star.  A little while later there was another one and then late yet another one.  I pulled off in a pull-out turned off the car lights and just sat and gazed.  A few more shot across.  I totally forgot all about seeing all that until I saw an article in the news when I got home and googled more about it.  This is what I witnessed, the Orionid Meteor Shower!

A little bit later than planned I arrived in East Coulee at The Hoodoos.  
The sun was coming up over the badlands landscape casting a beautiful color onto the formations. 
background backlight
full sunrise
On the way to The Hoodoos I drove past the road to the Suspension Bridge so after taking care of the sunrise business at The Hoodoos I dropped in to check out the view from the Bridge.  The early morning was still enough to offer up this pretty reflection in the Red Deer River.
It was a quick and easy drive to Horsethief Canyon.  
It was early enough that the first morning light was still obvious.  
I took a few minutes to look over the lay of the land from the overlook.
Then it was time to head on down into the Canyon.  I made sure to keep looking back to where I came from.  One could get disoriented down in here.  I went most of the way down but not to the floor.  I need to go back but not alone the next time and take more time to explore throughout the bottom and over to the Red Deer River.
I spied this point off in the distance and aimed for it.
There is a way up everything.
some of the views
It was time to head back on up to the top of the Canyon.  That took a little while as I kept getting distracted by the amazing scenery.  When I made it to the rim, I took a look back to where I ventured.  There is so much territory to trek through and I only covered a portion.
It was time to dine but before doing that, I visited The Little Church.
My sins are only little so I just needed a small church and a minute.
my snack spot with a view
While at Horsethief Canyon I saw another road across the way above the Red Deer River that looked like it might be worth having a look along.  It was the South Badlands Trail which I followed for numerous kilometers.  I could look across to Horsethief Canyon and down to the winding Red Deer River from Orkney Viewpoint.
I had no intentions of visiting Horseshoe Canyon on this trip but hey what the heck why not.  It was on my way home but just outside and above Drumheller.  The new stairs to the bottom were closed and under construction.  I worked my way down on a trail off in the opposite direction.  That trail down landed me here.
I meandered along.....
....then up and down and up again to where I captured these spectacular views.
On my way back to head up out of Horseshoe Canyon, I eyed this formation then realized I could get a summit shot up on that.  Yes there is a way up everything and I found my way up to that white top.
an on the top shot
It was so beautiful up on that spot that I spent some time just relaxing and admiring what was around me.  I didn't want to leave but I was feeling tired and I still had to drive home probably in loads of traffic.   I finally reached the top of the Canyon and looked down to where I was.  My shadow followed me all day.

This was an incredible day filled with much more than I had in my plan to attack.  It's good just to go with the flow and at times unexpectedly you end up in the right place at the right time. Every second of this day was the right second in the right place.  

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