Travel Log: Horsetheif Canyon, AB.


Tags: travel Canada

I was enticed into taking an unprepared hike through Alberta's Horsethief Canyon. I didn't have water or hiking boots, but I did have my phone. As a result I ended up exhausted, but have some nice picture to show for it.

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I have been lucky enough to start a new job recently at Roaring Penguin Software which has given me the opportunity to do a bit of travel for various conventions and other events. The first of these trips was to Calgary, Alberta and having never been further than 50 or so kilometers from the Ontario border, I decided to make a real trip out of it.

The conference ended in the late afternoon on a Thursday at which time I walked to the rental place a few blocks away. The reason that I have so few picture from the trip was a consequence of the fact that I didn't rent a car, I rented a motorcycle and gear. The effort to get off the bike, take off my helmet and fish my camera (my cellphone) out of my bag to take pictures that I'm sure are already available on the web wasn't terribly appealing. That said, the whole drive was extremely pleasant, from the sprawling fields of the prairie to the long, curving climbs through the mountains.

I took the time on the trip to ride East a short way into Saskatechwan, then run back across Alberta via Red Deer, and up into the Rockies as far as Invermere, British Columbia before heading back to Calgary. The most photogenic place that I chose to stop along the way was Horestheif Canyon just outside of Drumheller, Alberta

The following gallery represents the best of my ability to capture the grandeur and beauty of the place. Then I'll ramble on with the remaining details of the trip.

Having taken a motorcycle I was only able to pack a backpack-worth of gear for the duration of the trip, including the conference. This was an interesting challenge because after my suit, shoes and laptop, I only really had room for a basic wardrobe and only one water bottle at a time. I didn't have room for food or snacks and didn't bother bringing a bathing suit or a book. It was an interesting exercise in what I really NEED to enjoy a vacation. Turns out, it is mostly just eyeballs

The evening after the conference was dedicated to getting myself to Drumheller. By the time I got to the hotel it was dark, I was hungry and the clock was running 2 hours slow, so I just ate and went to bed. As a result, I was up before the crack of dawn and decided to get a bit of an adventure in before breakfast. This took me East down scenic Highway 10 which supposedly has the best view of the Hoodoos and other geographic weirdness.

These run for several kilometers and after about 20 minutes I decided to turn back. On the way back through I took a detour down 11 Bridges Rd. which is the home to various historic landmarks and reminders of the Old West. As the name suggests, the road features a series of iron and wood brides not much wider than a single lane as it winds over the Rosebud river. The road eventually turned to gravel and so I again turned back and headed back into town.

It was an interesting experiencing riding past old, wooden buildings, coal mines and dismantled buggies while riding a modern motorcycle and listening to Reply All, a podcast about the internet.

While I wish I could have stopped more frequently on my way across the entire province, my hotel for the next night was in Rocky Mountain House, AB, so I rode straight through. Only stopping in Red Deer for lunch and then walking around the town when I arrived. The scenery is gorgeous, but my the time I was there I realized that I was getting more value out of just putting my phone away and enjoying it. Likewise, as I continued through the mountains, to Lake Louise, just at the border and then to Radium Hot Springs, BC and finally Invermere, BC, I realized that a million better photographers than I have made a similar journey, so I kept the phone away. You should certainly make the trip if you can, or seek out other photography of the area.

Many years back, my dad had spent a summer in Invermere helping a distant relative. I visited some of the places that he had talked about for a day and just hung our by the water. Having only ever lived near farming communities, or cities where wildlife has been thoroughly pushed out, I was pleased by a few deer hanging out in a local park, so here are a few pictures of that I did take to show the cozy spot in the valley and my new friends.

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