Instead of trekking out to the mountains, my hubby and I took an afternoon roadtrip to the Badlands a couple of weeks ago. We didn’t do much hiking on this go, opting instead to take in the jaw-dropping scenery (it never gets old, no matter how many times you’ve been there), cross a ridiculously terrifying suspension footbridge, picnic with garter snakes on the banks of the river, and linger over drinks and grub at the Last Chance Saloon. An absolutely perfect day!
Horsethief Canyon, Drumheller
It seems so appropriate that there was a turkey vulture and a couple of large crows feasting on a gopher carcass on the highway as we drove towards Horsethief Canyon. It’s not difficult to imagine that, way back when, unsavoury characters hid stolen horses in this place – the canyon seems to stretch on forever.
The 117 metre (384 foot) long Star Mine Suspension Bridge in Rosedale may be an easy crossing for some, but as many of you may recall, I have an insane phobia of heights. The bridge was originally built in 1931 for mine workers to use to commute to work (the mine was located in the hillside that you can see behind the bridge upright). Of course, the bridge had a wooden deck at that time, which is far more anxiety-inducing than the metal construction the Alberta government replaced it with in 1958.
The hamlet of Wayne is in the Guiness Book of World Records because in order to get to it, you have to cross the “most bridges in the shortest distance.” In the 6 kilometres (3.73 miles) between Rosedale and Wayne, you encounter 11 bridges (most of them one lane only). We stopped to eat at the empty municipal campground, and while my hubby was photographing a couple of wandering garter snakes (Thamnophis elegans) we found in a nearby hole, I was busy gawking wildly around and coiling the ol’ reflexes so I could drop my pasta salad and spring up onto the nearest bench as soon as those snakes (or any others) decided to make a slithering bid for my feet.
In the few milliseconds I was not on snake watch, I enjoyed the view of the lazy, muddy Red Deer River.
The Last Chance Saloon in Wayne is a famous landmark, having appeared in several films and commercials. The interior is stuffed to the rafters with fascinating antiques and artefacts of historical significance to the area, as well as souvenirs from visitors from all over the world. The adjacent Rosedeer Hotel, which we didn’t go into, is purportedly haunted – apparently, the third floor has been completely sealed off for decades, with much speculation as to why.
Fantastic photography of the badlands
Thank you! It’s an amazing place!
Wow! What a landscape. I have yet to see anything like it.
It’s a wonderful place to explore!
What a nice day! Those badlands are beautiful. Better lunch with garters snakes than encounters with ghosts!
I completely agree! 🙂
Those lands do look bad! And the idea of what might be on the top floor of the hotel is sort of creepy . . .
It really is curious….
Thanks for the virtual journey. I felt like I was along for the tour. Even harmless snakes are startling, aren’t they? Now I’m dying to know what’s on that third floor. It’s probably been sealed to draw in speculative tourists, with nothing but dust bunnies inhabiting the place. I’ll go read your link to see what’s been said.
It’s a gorgeous place, Sheryl.
I bet you’re right about those dust bunnies…. 🙂
Good grief, what a story. I wouldn’t want to stay on the third floor either, if only for the bad juju of all that violence.
Those mining towns were pretty rough way back when….
Sheryl, I have not been to the Badlands in 20 yrs, but tell everyone it was one of my favorite places that I traveled to out west. This post makes me happy, and I love your photos (even though I scrolled past the snake pretty quickly)
I’m so glad you enjoyed your trip when you were here and that the photos brought back good memories! (Except for the snake, perhaps). 😉 It’s a pretty special place.
Wonderful photos of stunning scenery! What a fascinating story about the Last Chance Saloon and Rosedeer Hotel. Creepy!
It’s quite the tale….
It’s an amazing place!