Tour - 'THE BLUFFS & BEYOND'
Start time: Flexible
Location: Ferry Point (Parking area West of the bridge which crosses the Battle River at the Ferry Point Landing)
Highlights: Local history, geology, archeology, commanding views, precolonial history
Cost: $200 (Max. 4 participants, $75 per additional participant)
Moving away from the valley floor on Twp Rd 440, diverting left through the Bowie fraction, into the Hagen 80 and up the Mine valley with it’s slag heaps and collapses - remnants of an era when Ferry Point Landing and arriving homesteaders relied on its labours for survival.
Crossing the west leg over ”obsession bridge”, passing one more mine on the right and on the left Bank more mines above the grassy slope now covered with a good stand of Birch, we are now on the Albers 80, proceeding along the south leg that sources in the “Saltvold spring”, a mile south - the biggest in the district.
Hopscotch on grass tufts across the drainage, to a slope crisscrossed with cattle trails that lead to a huge plateau - a garden of prairie wool, ground-cedar and glacial debris.
A huge encampment, maybe 100 lodges overlooking the “Bluffs” and the 8 mile view Southeast, to where the Whislow mine operated until open cast mining at Forestburg displaced the last surviving shaft mines. This was always prime real estate!
Stop! Rest! Savour! The Ravens and the Red Tails, the Vulture pairs, and maybe, a squadron of soaring Pelicans above the distant Battle.
Dropping down to the school section centre pin, following the south fence line past the bluebird nest boxes, the buttes appear - products of a back eddy when the flood was at it peak.
There in the gap lie the exposed remains of a Hadrosaur, much still trapped under the eroding butte, slowly revealing its secrets to succeeding generations.
Meandering E-SE across low grassy ridges protecting early spring Prairie Crocus’ and later, fields of Wild Tiger Lillies on north slopes, we arrive at Range Road 184, with the “Bluffs” now towering above us.
Time to contemplate our next action - food!
This tour requires you be in a reasonable level of fitness as we hike a distance of 5km and scale two large hills. Bring sun protection, a water bottle, a light lunch, your binoculars and a camera/phone.