Hoodoo? We do

Tipis at Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park
Just spent my first night in a tipi at Blackfoot Crossing in the Canadian Badlands. We are in the Bow River Valley (an hour from Calgary), a stunning location. The mosquitos also like the location but that's another story. As we lay next to our wood burning stove in the night we watched the sparks fly out of the top of the tipi.

Our hotel room for the night.
Then there were the noises - coyotes, the wind in the trees, the cry of the nighthawk and train whistles in the distance. We're the only ones staying here and we feel out in the wilds. You can rent buffalo rugs (watch out for sparks from the stove), traditional blankets, sleeping bags and pillows and you are supplied with wood for the stove to light a fire for the night. My friend says my spirit animal is the mosquito based on the bites on my legs. My tipi video....

Hoodoos near Drumheller
One of the symbols of the Canadian Badlands in Alberta is the hoodoo - a rock formation which has eroded to look like a giant mushroom. So when we visited a site today near Drumheller it was curious to hear an elderly woman talking about how they used to be allowed to picnic on the rocks years ago. Now they are fenced off but you can get pretty close for photographs.

The hoodoo dog
A tea room in the countryside is manna from heaven for me so when we saw a sign for one in East Coulee School Museum we gave it a try. No scones and cream here but hoodoo dogs (see pic) and a very nice pot of tea (boiling water poured onto tea. well done). The museum recreates Victorian school values and when today's pupils come for a visit, as we witnessed, they get a bit of a shock. Miss Morrison is waiting for them. The ferocious teacher who gives the kids a dose of old-style discipline. Take off your hats, show some respect and if you are chewing gum take it out of your mouth and put it on your nose. 
Resident of East Coulee
The pupils looked as if they didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Later, we heard them singing God Save the King.  A school principal had visited yesterday and said if he employed Miss Morrison nowadays he would have to let her go as parents would complain. Dunces cap souvenirs were available with I survived Miss Morrison written on them. East Coulee is another town whose population plummeted with the closure of the local mine.

Passion Play site near Drumheller
Jesus is the only paid up member of a cast performing a Passion Play every July near Drumheller. The rest are volunteers. The site is a natural amphitheatre in the hills and it seats 3000. We visited the crosses on the hill where the crucifixion will take play every night. 
Typical Badlands vista at Horseshoe Canyon
Horseshoe Canyon is another classic view and when the helicopter stopped his tours we sat in silence in the sun looking down into the canyon and spotting a cedar waxwing. But the view of our home for the night, the tipis in the valley and the sun setting over the Badlands is one that will stay with me a long time.
Here's my article on sleeping in a tipi in The Australian newspaper.

Sunset at Blackfoot Crossing Historical Park
The bird that they named a dance after - see all the prairie chicken's moves here.

More Ghost town in Badlands.
More info: http://canadabadlands.com/


  1. What magnificent scenery. Think I'd have preferred the scone to the hoodoo dog though.


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