exploring dinosaur country

September 11, 2016

storm clouds roll

"...derived from the French 'terres mauvais à traverser', meaning 'land hard to cross', the badlands of the Red River valley are barren, scoured and eroded by water; etched by weathering and wind-driven sand and rain, their dramatic landforms developing an intricate network of deeply incised, narrow, winding gullies and occasional fantastically shaped rocks..."
-- Ian Campbell, The Canadian Encyclopedia

badlands + hoodoosgeological recordsgrand hoodoohorseshoe canyonwild asters portrait

"...likely named from the voodoo in which magical powers can be associated with natural features, the First Nations believed the unusual, taller or lower hard-capped sandstone formations, Hoodoos, were the protectors of the bison and ancient animal spirits. Certainly they conjure up images of strange events..."
-- Andrew Kobos, Zwoje Scrolls

wild asters landscapedinosaur provincial parkcracked mud texturehoodoo blockred river canyon

Wide rolling prairies of scrub grassland, endless oceans of arable farmland, roadways that head straight into the horizon with few kinks or bends, vast open skies of rolling cloud and a relentless wind that blows without pause, all give unexpected way to a sudden opening in the ground and the Red River canyon network.

It is a landscape of raw exposure, without privacy or respite from the elements. The only features as such being the odd lone homestead, barn, pump-jack or solitary tree. One can feel very alone out here.

Drawn by the riches beneath the surface determination overcomes the conditions of what quickly feels like a choice of two settings: heat and dust or quagmire and mud.

And yet. And yet, this landscape is awe-inspiring. It has been decades since my last trip into this landscape, the last being before we moved out here and away from the constrictions of European density. And though maybe my emotional experience of this has softened and shifted to being less of an impact on my spirit, there is still a certain peace I feel in this place that can only be compared to that which I feel when taking in the vastness of the star-filled night sky or looking out over an ocean.

It is that sense of smallness against the scale of the universe, and yet a connectedness and expansion that settle my spirit in peace and knowing that this is it.

:: BEKA ::

// further reading //
The Canadian Encyclopedia
The Zwoje Scrolls
Travel Drumheller

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