Travelling east, dandelions carpeted the slopes along the all too familiar Crowsnest Highway #3. Anxious to leave the familiar, just past Fort MacLeod, Alberta we headed north. The smell of cow manure permeated the air. We had entered feedlot country.
In Brooks, Alberta we were in for a surprise. Today, it is jobs at one of Canada’s largest meatpacking plants that bring migrants from all corners of the globe. One hundred years ago it was the promise of water that lured immigrants to the land.
The Brooks Aqueduct was built between 1912 and 1914 as part of an irrigation system to provide water to the arid farmlands of southeastern Alberta. It is an enormous engineered concrete structure, 20 meters high.
What did the pioneers think when they arrived given the spareness of this land?
To the northeast Dinosaur Provincial Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site protects the largest section of badlands in Canada.
It was here we came to understand the word ‘coulee’ – a derivative from the French verb ‘couler’ which means ‘to flow.’ Often dry, coulees are the products of intense erosion by water. These Badlands continue to be sculpted by wind and water revealing color, texture, form and fossils.
We had crossed the Oldman and Bow rivers over the course of this day. It would be to the banks of the Red Deer River that we would now travel.