Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Trip to Southern Alberta 2008 – Writing on Stone

On the 31st day of August, 2008 we woke to this….


and decided it was time to move on!  Here we were in the very south western corner of Alberta and our next stop would be another of our very favourite place, Writing on Stone Provincial Park, about 3/4’s of the way to the Alberta/Saskatchewan border.

We first headed out highway 5 to Cardston where we stopped for some groceries, then headed, first south, and then east on highway 501.  We had taken this route before on our previous trip, which had been in mid-June and had found that not only was the highway virtually deserted, but that there were all kinds of birds and wildlife along it so we were stopping constantly to take pictures…not so this trip….it poured the entire route and I didn’t take a single picture! 

Writing on Stone is located in one of the most arid areas of Alberta – we’ve been there twice – and each time it has been raining when we arrived!  I don’t know what that says about us!!!  The campsite was pretty much deserted when we got there so we were able to get one of the powered sites.

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The next day, the weather wasn’t much better, but we went for a walk around the campsite….this is looking at the Milk River ….

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and this is one of the campsites which is located where it backs onto the river.  This is a park that is absolutely alive with birds and wildlife….including rattlesnakes….

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this view is from the plains above, the campground is situated down in the gully where the trees are….because it was still such a dull wet day, we decided to go for a bit of a drive….

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headed east on #501 and then turned north on #879…..this gives a pretty good indication of the type of country we were traveling through – pretty flat….by the way, those were Yellow headed Blackbirds sitting on the fence.


we had also spotted some Gray Partridge in this harvested wheat field…


a ‘lifer’ as I’d never seen this species before…


this soaking wet coyote pretty much rounded out the subject matter.

Back to the campground where it was still raining…but the rock formations and hoodoos are the main reason for coming to this park.  There is a wonderful hiking path from the campground….so we bundled up and set out.  At least I wasn’t worried about rattlesnakes this time!

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and here is just a sampling of the wonderful rock formations…

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when we were here in the spring, there were Rock Wrens nesting in holes in these sand stone formations…


the only birds visible this day were this pair of soaking wet Rock Doves….

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This is from one of the higher vantage points….you can just make out the Milk River down there in the right hand corner…

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sort of a surreal landscape in the rain.

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That Liatris was in flower here too – in fact, in the spring, the wildflowers here are equally spectacular to the amount of birdlife.

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a few touches showing that fall was right around the corner….

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here is a view along the rock face, looking westwards along the Milk River…you can see the rain drops on the lens of the camera – no wonder I manage to kill off so many cameras!

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Back up on top, looking down into the canyon..

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Shantz loves all these wonderful rock formations….here she is posing very nicely on top of one – and don’t worry….she is on a leash…

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back in the campground….you’ll notice the deer to the left of the picture….this campground abounds in deer and cottontail rabbits…..

tomorrow we’ll awake to better weather….

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