Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park

When we decided to go down the backroads after leaving Fort Saskatchewan we came across several small towns that were interesting as well as quite a few lakes. One place we decided to detour slightly to take a look at was Miquelon Lake Provincial Park. It turned out there really wasn’t much to see here, but we did see some birds and a rabbit.

The first bird we saw was a red-tailed hawk that was sitting on a pole. I managed to get a quick photo before he flew off. As we entered the park itself we saw a rabbit sitting at the side of the road, chillin’. As I said, the park itself wasn’t anything special, other than the lake. I’m sure it was probably busy over the holiday weekend, but today it was almost empty, just a couple of people camping in RV’s. We really only drove from one end to the other, then back again and left. As we were leaving we saw another red-tailed hawk and managed to get another couple of photos.

We continued driving south and stopped off for a bite to eat at Tim Horton’s in a place called Camrose. We don’t normally eat at Tim’s anymore as we have found better coffee shops in Calgary, but we didn’t want to drive around trying to find places. We stood for ages waiting to be served and the staff just kept ignoring us. When we were on the point of leaving, someone finally serves us, but really gruffly and not at all politely. Chris had a coffee and I had a hot chocolate and we both had muffins. Well, the drinks were okay, but the muffins were dry and stale. We did not finish them and left. Very poor service and food quality.

We carried on driving towards the general Calgary direction and knew that Calgary was having rain and storms today, whereas we were still experiencing pretty good weather. Before we left the hotel I had found a place called Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park which sounded interesting, so we made our way there.

As we drove to it, the landscape was bland and flat, pretty much like all of eastern Alberta. We drove to what looked like a pull in area and got out to walk to the end of a grassy section and stopped in our tracks. WOW! The view was something we just did not expect. The area we were standing on was the very top of a deep valley which was completely hidden until you got to the edge. A river ran through the bottom of the valley, obviously the cause of this landscape, and we were surrounded by stunning scenery.

We took some photos and then got back into the truck to explore further. The road led us round to another parking area, larger this time. There were several information boards and some benches, so off we went to explore this area, only to discover even better views.

The info boards explained how the valley was formed and explained that the valley is about 68 million years old and there are lots of fossils found here.

I found some really pretty orange flowers that I couldn’t resist taking some photos of.

Whilst I was engrossed in taking flower pics, I noticed a movement to my right and saw a little ground squirrel watching me. He wasn’t the least bit bothered by me, I suppose they are used to visitors here. He obliged by posing for photos for quite some time and even ran around my feet a few times.

As we explored this area we noticed there was another road which led to the valley floor and boat launch. It warned drivers not to use the road if it was raining as it was very steep and slippery. Although the skies were getting darker, it was not raining, so we went down. Oh boy, it was steep and windy, but once on the valley floor, it was easier to navigate. We ended up in a parking area where there was a boat launch area into the river, which was much wider and bigger than it looked from the top of the valley.

The view was still stunning from down here, and we also managed to spot a deer in the distance.

By the time we left and drove back up the steep drive, it was raining, so we are very glad we got there when we did before the heavens opened. We drove the remaining two hours home in torrential rain, dark skies and the odd thunder and lightening storm.