ROAD TRIP: Winter In the Badlands

The Cochrane Camera Club helps me get in touch with the hobby side of my photography (because Events & Weddings are never enough!)  Thanks to a Chinook our ‘Winter in the Badlands’ tour didn’t quite meet up to hopes of pristine snowy landscapes interspersed with magnificent snowy owls (I can dream).  Not all was lost – overcast skies made colours in the geological formations pop.  Ice jams radiated blues and, despite a bit of a biting wind, many photo ops were found.

First stop was the ever beautiful Horseshoe Canyon with it’s craggy layers emphasized by years of erosion.  A new interpretive centre is in progress, providing stairs down into the canyon for those without screaming knees!

Several ‘klinkers’ (amalgamations of ash and solid residues bound together by combustion from burning coal) line the parking area, and can be found throughout the Badlands thanks to a once robust coal mining industry.2017_02_Feb-0033The hamlet of Dorothy provided our next stop – a ghost town containing the original United & Catholic churches, several abandoned buildings, and an old grain elevator that has seen better days.  The roof blew off in a windstorm less than two weeks after I photographed it intact in 2013!  Most of the structures are wooden, providing interesting textures, while showing off some of the workmanship of old.  (The dovetailing in the elevator is incredible.)

The United Church (1932 – 1961)

Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church (1944 – 1967)

In and around the rest of Dorothy…

A Valiant effort being made to avoid mother nature’s encroachment…

So many beautiful textures…

Two cars full of photographers grateful for deserted roads so they can make unexpected stops without endangering the public to shoot things like cool ice jams!  (Unfortunately the really blue ones were at a bad part of the road and shut off by a fence & gate from the other end. ☹)

That did, however, lead to an impromptu stop at the Atlas Coal Mine – the last of the 139 coal mines that operated in the Drumheller Valley.  (Photographers need signage on their cars stating, ‘Caution: Photographer on Board. Vehicle Makes Unexpected Stops’.)  This mine was featured on the Amazing Race Canada in 2013.  Guided tours are offered, but we just snapped a few from the perimeter.


Following the switchbacks up to Wayne we partook in a feast at the Last Chance Saloon (a blog unto itself).  One final foray into the valley had us checking out the 117 m long Star Mine Suspension Bridge in Rosedale.   Yes, it’s one of those bouncy pedestrian bridges not for the faint at heart – especially given the ‘breeze’ whistling through there at the time of our arrival.  I was quite happy to find patches of colour on the near side!

Blog compliments of Suzan McEvoy, an award winning professional event & wedding photographer.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s