frank slide

two hikes around the frank slide in alberta

In the fall of 2006, I was in southern Alberta.  Looking at a map, I realized that I was pretty close to the Frank Slide, which is something I learned about in geography school. 

I was excited to visit this infamous area of geographical havoc.  When I returned, I was surprised to see how similar one of my pictures looked to a photo on the Wikipedia Frank Slide page.

The photo is apparently in the public domain, so I have included it here.


pile of sugar beets in taber, alberta



My travel took me through the infamous town of Taber, Alberta.  At the main intersection there, I saw a strange pile of what appeared at first to be large potatoes.  They were in fact sugar beets for the nearby Rogers Sugar factory.  I spoke to a local resident, who told me that this was just the start of the sugar beet harvest season, and that this pile would eventually grow to be several acres in size. 





 frank slide interpretive centre trail

I travel a lot for work, but I am usually too busy to take in any of the scenery.  In fact, I am usually so busy I don't even have time to get enough sleep or exercise, which makes me grumpy and dissatisfied.

This time however, I finished my responsibilities with almost an entire day to spare.  Taking advantage of this, I decided to visit the nearby Frank Slide. 

The slide is pretty neat, but not quite as impressive as I thought it would be.  The trail that leads through the slide is interesting, but (predictably) not a very challenging hike.

One definitely does gain an appreciation for the sizes of the rocks though.

It is particularly eerie to think that humans have been entombed in these rocks.  Destined to become fossils.

Here's a good shot of the slide and Turtle Mountain (from whence the slide slid). 






 a hike up a hill to get a better view of the frank slide

I was looking for a more challenging hike, so I got in my car and randomly drove up the roads behind the Centre.  It is not clear to me if this is private land or not...I did drive over a texas gate, but there were not any signs or red dots indicating private land.

There were a lot of cows in this area.  Mountain cows. 





I drove up the road to a point where the road became rutted and a tree blocked part of the road.  I figured this was good spot to stop and start to walk--the road was becoming somewhat steep. 

From there, I walked up the road and then followed an ATV trail up the hill, which eventually turned into a easy to follow footpath.  I obviously was not the first person to come this way.

The walk up the hill was steep, and I had to catch my breath a couple of times.  Once I gained the ridge, there were some great views of the foothills to the east (in addition to the views of the Frank Slide.

To the north, there was a very interesting-looking ridge line.  If I had more time, it would be fun to walk along it to the unvegetated peak in the distance.  According to the website, this ridge is part of the Livingstone Range.

I've crudely drawn my route on the atlas's digital topo (to the right). 

I think the elevation of this hike topped out at the 6400' contour.  


 At the one of the "sub-summits", there was a strange station.  I'm not sure if this station measured seismic activity.  Maybe it was a

The area has a significant amount of monitoring and research--people are concerned that more instability could occur on Turtle Mountain.

 Also on this sub-summit was a jeep and a man counting raptors as they migrated south.  He had driven up using a different route than me.




 I then continued on to the 6400' contour.  There was some neat exposed rock and scraggly trees here.










 I spent a minute trying to be Ansel Adams.










 I then continued down using a different way.  From this ridge, I had good views of the community of Bellevue.









 I wasn't sure how long it would take me to drive to Calgary, so I hurried back to my car.  I drove back using Highway 22, which is a stunning and unpopulated stretch of road.  On the way out, I could see the hill I had climbed.  It looked pretty insubstantial from the road!








nose hill park, calgary, alberta

It didn't take me nearly as long as I thought it would to drive to Calgary, so I had time to go to the omnipresent Nose Hill in Calgary.  This was my third trip to Calgary.  The other two times, I had planned to hike through this area, but work commitments had resulted in 16 hour days and no time for exercise.  This time, I had at least two hours to spend before I had to leave for the airport (I had the last available flight for that day).

Nose Hill is a neat area.  Despite a heritage of cattle grazing and aggregate extraction, its vegetation reminds one of authentic prairie grasslands and offers stunning views of the city.  As the city continues to grow around it, I'm sure it will come to be Calgary's version of Central Park (but perhaps with a more ecology-based approach to landscape design.