Friday, January 05, 2024

Hiking in Alberta's Writing on Stone Provincial Park

 The snow threatens, but we were granted yet another dry, clear, snowless day and we used it to great advantage to hike in the Writing on Stone Provincial Park in southern Alberta in the shadow of the Sweetgrass Hills.

This is a place sacred to the Blackfoot Indians,  a place of remarkable hoodoos, and sandstone canyons along the Milk River, and it is an International UNESCO World Heritage Site.

An off-season tour conducted by a park naturalist took us into a restricted part of the park across the Milk River from the main Hoodoo Trail into the Police Creek Canyon where we followed game trails along a ridgeline and then down into the valley.

Then we toured a section of the Hoodoo Trail where we viewed petroglyphs and pictographs hundreds and maybe thousands of years old.  They depict animals, humans, hunting tools and spiritual symbols.

In many places the walls have been vandalized by Canadian Mounties who were stationed there to stop whisky trade and regulate the area Indigenous People, and patrol the nearby U.S.-Canadian boundary.

The park, created in 1957, is 150 miles from Great Falls just east of Milk River and north of the boundary at Coutts, Alberta.

It was my second time to this place and I was even more struck this visit by its awesome beauty, wild nature, and its spiritual and historic significance.

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