Alien landscapes on Alberta's prairie [Photos] [Video]


Alien landscapes on Alberta's prairie [Photos] [Video]
  1. Alien landscapes on Alberta's prairie
                            
                                [Photos]
                            
                            
                                [Video]
    calgarysun.com
    I couldn't find the slough.I had saved it as a location on the maps app on my phone and I knew roughly where it was but I kept making wrong turns that pulled me first south and then west of where I was supposed to…
    Alberta

I couldn't find the slough. I had saved it as a location on the maps app on my phone and I knew roughly where it was but I kept making wrong turns that pulled me first south and then west of where I was supposed to be. I'd last been there just a couple of weeks before but now, as my pal Stu and I rattled down the gravel roads east of Granum, I just couldn't find it. We'd been on the road for a couple of hours by then, driving aimlessly between High River and Barons, me looking for sloughs to photograph while Stu kept a lookout for anything else interesting. The sky was overcast with a bit of smoke, adding a yellow tinge to the grey but we could see gaps in the clouds. By the time we hit Clear Lake Park east of Stavely, the sun was starting to peek through and blue was edging out grey in the sky overhead. When I'd last visited the slough by Granum, it had been bone dry. The surface was a shimmering white, a scattering of alkali that not only had precipitated out of the water as it evaporated and coated the exposed slough bed but had also grown into tiny crystals that glittered under the late-July sun. I'd flown my little copter over it then and taken photographs looking straight down on the surface and the resulting pictures made the place look like an alien world. Along the shore, there were streaks of red where iron-rich minerals had been sifted and separated by wave action when the slough was full and then left behind as the water receded. More toward the middle, damp depressions held decaying mats of blue-green algae that separated islands of alkali tinged pinkish by bacterial mats. At an angle, the place looked like it had been dusted with sugar that had been left to melt. It was all quite beautiful, though the heavy sulphur smell kinda knocked the beauty back a bit. On that particular day, though, I didn't have time to linger. I was after other things. But I planned to come back and as I drove on, I marked the location on my maps app. Not very accurately, as it turns out. Stu and I rolled back and forth among the corn, barley, wheat and hemp fields between Barons and Granum, passing old farm houses, combines sitting idle in the fields, dozens of hawks. Families of partridge scattered from the roadsides as we drove along until I finally gave up on the map and started looking for any landmarks I might recognize. At last, I saw a row of granaries and a stand of trees around a farm yard that looked familiar. Then I recognized the shape of a field that had been covered with sunflowers the year before and finally, a jumble of ripped-up trees and farm detritus by the edge of a pond. The dry slough was dead ahead. Except it wasn't. Well, yeah, the slough was there. But it wasn't dry. Sometime in the previous few days, it had rained and now the slough and all those glorious patterns were covered by a layer of water. It was still lovely with the clouds reflected in the mirror surface and it certainly smelled better. I put my little copter up for a higher angle and I could see the alkali and algae patterns just below the surface. But I certainly wasn't going to be able to get any more pictures of them. The rain was no doubt welcomed by the farmers but couldn't it have held off for just a couple more days? We rolled on over toward Barons to check out a few more sloughs that I remembered and then edged farther east. But few of the dried-up ponds held the same patterns as I'd seen on the Granum slough and the few that did have anything visually interesting were either too far from the road for my regular cameras or had livestock near them. And I don't like to fly my copter near livestock. So we headed east and north. It was drier over here, the rain obviously localized to the area west of Barons, and combines churned through stands of barley and peas. The sky was nearly clear now and a light breeze was picking up and turning the long blades of the wind turbines on a ridge close by. We headed toward them. And found another slough. There was still some water in this one but it had evaporated away from the shore and left behind streaks of minerals, algae and bacteria that striated the shoreline. Bisected by the road we were on, it was in a perfect spot. We stopped and I launched my copter. The breeze had stirred up the water and raised a layer of foam that looked like it had been skimmed from a glass of Guinness, a kind of creamy white that looked like a swirl of cloud from overhead. It was tinged pink along the edges where it met the blues and green of the drying algae along the shore. There were goose and shorebird tracks in the mud and…

  1. Two teens, infant dead in collision near Hanna

    Edmontonsun.com - Alberta
    08.17 / 05:15 www.edmontonsun.com
    Three children have died after a collision between a tractor trailer and a van at Highway 36 and Highway 570 near Hanna, Alberta.A spokesperson for EMS said an infant and two teens were pronounced dead at the scene.A 32-year-old female and a 44-year-old male were taken to hospital in stable, non-life-threatening condition, with the woman flown by…
  2. Family loses three children to highway crash near Hanna, parents hospitalized

    Calgary.ctvnews.ca - Alberta
    08.17 / 04:52 calgary.ctvnews.ca
    A late afternoon crash involving an SUV and a semi-tractor trailer unit near the intersection of Highway 36 and Highway 570 has claimed the lives of three…
  3. Man dies after collision in southwest Edmonton

    Edmonton.ctvnews.ca - Alberta
    08.17 / 04:13 edmonton.ctvnews.ca
    Edmonton police said a man has died, after a single vehicle crash in the city’s southwest that triggered a significant police presence in the a…
  4. Edmonton police investigate man’s death after officers respond to crash in west end

    Globalnews.ca - Alberta
    08.17 / 04:02 globalnews.ca
    Police confirmed on Wednesday night that a man found at the west Edmonton scene of a reported crash has died but said neither its major collisions investigation unit or its homicide unit are…
  5. Raspberry mousse cakes sold in multiple provinces recalled by CFIA for norovirus

    Cbc.ca - Alberta
    08.17 / 04:01 www.cbc.ca
    The Canadian Food Inspection Agency is recalling a number of raspberry mousse cakes due to…
  6. Highway crash south of Hanna claims infant, two teenagers

    Calgary.ctvnews.ca - Alberta
    08.17 / 03:31 calgary.ctvnews.ca
    A late afternoon crash involving a van and a semi-transport truck near the intersection of Highway 36 and Highway 570 has claimed the lives of three…
  7. 3 kids killed in crash northeast of Calgary, 3 others injured

    Cbc.ca - Alberta
    08.17 / 03:20 www.cbc.ca
    Three children are dead and three others are injured after a tractor trailer and a van collided near Highway 36 and Highway 570 Wednesday around 5:45…
  8. Gunter: Drunk driving law unconstitutional and ineffective

    Edmontonsun.com - Alberta
    08.17 / 03:16 www.edmontonsun.com
    On Wednesday, NDP Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley announced the provincial government will not appeal a May court decision that struck down part of Alberta’s drunk driving l…
  9. 3 children dead in crash near Hanna, Alta.

    Globalnews.ca - Alberta
    08.17 / 02:59 globalnews.ca
    Three children, including an infant, have died and several other people were injured after a crash in east-central Alberta, according to Alberta Health…
  10. Fentanyl crisis continuing to kill more than one Albertan per day

    Edmontonsun.com - Edmonton
    08.17 / 02:34 www.edmontonsun.com
    Fentanyl overdoses killed 119 more Albertans during the second quarter of the year as the province remained beset by a high rate of more than one death per day to the illicit narcotic, a new report shows.The latest toll, revealed Wednesday in health ministry’s new quarterly analysis of the opioid crisis, was significantly higher than the 85 fatal o…
  11. Former Spruce Grove bylaw officer charged with sexual assault

    Edmontonsun.com - Edmonton
    08.17 / 02:34 www.edmontonsun.com
    A 48-year-old man has been charged with sexual assault and sexual exploitation after a youth came forward with allegations that were said to have occurred in August, police said Wednesday.Thomas Ledrew, 48, of Spruce Grove, was arrested and charged on Aug. 9.Ledrew is expected to make his first appearance in Stony Plain provincial court on Sept.…
  12. Calgary family on the hook for inexplicable $2,500 ENMAX water bill

    Calgary.ctvnews.ca - Alberta
    08.17 / 02:29 calgary.ctvnews.ca
    A family in southwest Calgary was left flabbergasted after discovering the water portion of their monthly ENMAX bill had skyrocketed to more than 20 times the average family’s usage without e…
  13. Calgary filmmaker with MS to have movie shown at Toronto festival

    Calgarysun.com - Calgary
    08.17 / 02:14 www.calgarysun.com
    A Calgary-produced documentary that focuses on living with multiple sclerosis has been selected to be premiered at the prestigious Toronto International Film…
  14. Calgarians vow to challenge fascism after deadly Charlottesville rally

    Cbc.ca - Alberta
    08.17 / 01:56 www.cbc.ca
    Carrying signs that read "Love trumps hate" and "Silence is compliance," more than 100 people gathered at a vigil outside Calgary City Hall Wednesday night to stand in solidarity against…
  15. Fildebrandt steps down from UCP caucus, after news of hit and run charge

    Edmonton.ctvnews.ca - Alberta
    08.17 / 01:25 edmonton.ctvnews.ca
    After news of hit and run charges added to controversy faced by southern Alberta MLA Derek Fildebrandt, he announced his resignation from the United Conservative Party caucus – but the door for his return appears to be o…
  16. Family of girl abducted in west Edmonton badly shaken, police say

    Cbc.ca - Alberta
    08.17 / 01:13 www.cbc.ca
    The family of a five-year-old girl who was abducted Saturday night is still badly shaken by the incident, police…
  17. Fildebrandt steps down from UCP caucus, after news of hit and run charge came to light

    Edmonton.ctvnews.ca - Alberta
    08.17 / 01:05 edmonton.ctvnews.ca
    After news of hit and run charges added to controversy faced by southern Alberta MLA Derek Fildebrandt, he announced his resignation from the United Conservative Party caucus – but the door for his return appears to be o…
  18. Edmonton Fringe Festival kicks off Thursday night

    Cbc.ca - Alberta
    08.17 / 00:52 www.cbc.ca
    This year the fringe theme is "A Midsummer Night's Dream" with shows across 42…
  19. Edmonton police offer tips to keep children safe after five-year-old girl was nearly abducted

    Edmontonsun.com - Edmonton
    08.17 / 00:48 www.edmontonsun.com
    Edmonton police held a news conference Wednesday to urge parents to educate their children about what to say if someone tries to snatch them after a five-year-old girl narrowly escaped abduction by a stranger on Saturday.The five-year-old girl was riding her bike with her older brother near 157 Street and 99 Avenue when, at around 8:15 p.m., a…
  20. Strathmore-Brooks residents standing behind Fildebrant

    Calgarysun.com - Alberta
    08.17 / 00:48 www.calgarysun.com
    Constituents of embattled Strathmore-Brooks MLA Derek Fildebrandt say everyone makes mistakes and are sticking behind…