Back-country Hiking at Writing-on-Stone

I ended my previous post thinking the spirits in this sacred place were telling me to slow down. Well, perhaps I misunderstood that message, because the hike I went on the next day seemed spectacular.

First thing, I signed in with the visitor’s center for back-country hiking, then I joined Tracy in fording the Milk River, which was higher and faster than the previous day when I took this picture. Really, I swear.

I tied my shoes to my backpack, put my camera in there in a ziplock bag, and followed Tracy’s strides until the water was at my waist. At which point I yelled over the current, “WAIT UP!” I got a little scared, but there was nothing else to do but keep walking forward slowly, wrestling my hiking pole in and out of the current before I took each small step.

So totally worth it, for as soon as we put our hiking gear back to rights and walked up the coulee (small valley), we hit a slot canyon.

Not as dramatic as the ones we’ve hiked in places like Borrego Springs, CA, but lovely because it was so unexpected.

Above the canyon, we walked along the prairie, admiring the views of southern Alberta’s sweeping geology.

We hiked back down a different coulee, scaring mule deer as they were resting in the shade of cliffs.

I barely know how to turn my new camera on, much less produce landscape shots that show the huge distances and beauty here. You’ll have to imagine how far the eye can see, especially when there’s no haze from wildfires.

As we were hiking back to the river to ford it again, we saw our campground neighbors: a family with small children who were also on my guided hike yesterday all about the petroglyphs here. The girls waved wildly at me and called out. They were perched on huge rocks eating Cheeze-its like any regular day.

Of course, they’d forded the river as well, the dad carrying each child on his back for a couple of trips and the mom carrying their picnic lunch. I felt a bit deflated.

There’s a saying I see a lot on social media:

Just to rub it in, our camp host then ran by us holding water bottles in each hand. He’s a retired ultra-marathoner, but still, he’s clearly older than we are. And he was running.

I am nevertheless pleased with myself!

2 thoughts to “Back-country Hiking at Writing-on-Stone”

    1. My goodness, yes! The current was fast, too! I probably already said that, but I’ll say it again.