Monday, July 19, 2010

A Little "Toot"

Yesterday afternoon Jim and I took what my dear Sis refers to as a "little toot"--a tiny little trip, this one just an afternoon's jaunt. We left after the morning church service and drove to Dry Island Buffalo Jump Provincial Park. The day was beautiful, with sunshine and puffy white clouds.

Alberta is looking so lush this summer, the result of plenty of rain. The canola fields are in the prime of their bloom, and huge patches of the countryside are a glowing, greeny-yellow. Theyellow is not so evident in this top photo, as the sun was partially behind the clouds.

Canola is a very popular, healthy oil. The name is a shortened form of "Canadian Oil," because Canadian scientists figured out a way to make the oil derived from rapeseed edible. It contains an acid (I think it's called euruchic acid) that is poisonous in its natural form. This oil was used as lubrication for vehicles during the second World War.

The second photo shows the view from the top of the cliff overlooking the Red Deer River Valley. It's about 45 meters (close to 150 ft.) above the valley floor. It's not really a cliff at all, but the level of the prairie above the floor of the valley the river has carved over the centuries.

Here we are descending into the river valley.
The cliff you see to the left is a gradual one, compared with the cliff used for the buffalo jump.

Now it was not the buffalo's idea to jump. This was the way the old time Indians used to slaughter a herd of buffalo, on which they depended for most of their needs. There are several buffalo jumps in the west, one of the best to visit is west of Fort Macleod in southern Alberta. There is a very interesting Visitor Centre at Smashed in Head Buffalo Jump Provincial Park, depicting the whole process. You can even buy a "buffalo" burger at the canteen there. (And, yes, I know the proper name is Bison!)

Since we were not going to be near any restaurants I had packed a very simple picnic lunch: 5 slices of bread (3 with mustard, 2 with butter), a can of spam, some pickles, two helpings of marinated bean salad, 2 apples, and 2 cans of Orange Crush, which we enjoyed at the small picnic grounds.

From the park we cut across country on gravel roads to the highway that runs east from Trochu, stopping to have a look at the small campsite by Tolman Bridge.

Turning south, we visited the tiny, decaying town of Rumsey. The only new building we saw there belongs to Trident, which I believe is an oil/gas exploration company. At the south end of town we came upon a great crowd of people, sporting shorts and tank tops, clutching cans of pop or beer, spectators at one of two ball games going on at the grandly named "Agriplex." We're sure there was at least ten times the usual population present. Just never know what you'll find on a little "toot."

Arriving in Drumheller about 4p.m. we were ready for a cold milk shake, which we found at the Dairy Queen. (You're allowed to treat yourself on a little "toot.") We were surprised to see a couple we know from our hometown in the same Dairy Queen.

From there it was on to Rosebud, where we attended a performance of the play "Woza, Alberta" about the time of Apartheid in South Africa. As with all performances in Rosebud, in both the Opera House and the Studio Stage, this was exceedingly well done, a powerful presentation that made you quiet with thought.

And then we turned toward home again, noticing how those puffy white clouds had multiplied and darkened over the course of the day. This gives a little idea of how they thickened. As we drove I wanted to stop and take a short movie pan of the massing storms, but thought I could do it from our yard. Too bad--the trees and shrubs spoiled the view, as the clouds were mostly in the north and east. We thought we might be up during the night with thunderstorms, but to our happy surprise it was a quiet night, and we both slept well until almost 6:30 this morning.


  1. we used to go for Sunday afternoon toots. I wonder now where my dad got the energy for this as he travelled the Maritimes as a travelling salesman. We would pack a picnic lunch for the 8 of us and headed out to find somewhere we could run, laugh and have a great time. Dad sometimes found a shady spot and had a little snooze ... great memories!!
    BTW it is "Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump"
    thanks for letting me think of my family times ... it is wonderful how another's adventure conjures up memories that are so pleasant ... enjoy your week

  2. Thanks for the correction! I knew that, just said it wrong. I reread what I've written but sometimes miss something that needs correction. Thanks for your help!

    Glad it reminded you of good times in the past.