We’ve biked for six days straight now and, since we are now in the middle of nowhere, central Alberta, we won’t be stopping for a few more days either.
The week has shown us huge changes in the countryside we have been riding through. We started with, mountains, bears, elk, mountain goats and endless trees and have ended this stretch with cows, canola and corn fields (although not many of those).Oh, and there are people now. Hinton and Edson were pretty big places, but the countryside around them seemed virtually empty. Since Thursday we have come back to population, Tim Hortons, and, it seems, no end of gravel trucks. There are farmsteads, houses, and fields to look at and the roads have really levelled out.
When we hit the village of Donalda, we may have already been glazing over a bit with the endless fields. Donalda is not quite on the road, and while it boasted a museum, we decided not to put in the distance to find it. We rolled away, down a hill, on brand new pavement, when, there it was, the Badlands. We were suddenly transported to a whole new, unexpected landscape. The flat land disappears and a valley filled with unusually shaped mounds (huge mounds) appears. It’s a landscape that should be in a fantasy novel, not in Alberta.
After a couple of kilometers we climb back out, thinking we have seen and done the Badlands, but, ten kilometers further on, it happens again, we go down, and then back up, hard and slow, fearing at at the top of he hill we would find Donalda, with us stuck in some sort of twilight zone. Fortunately, the village wasn’t there.
We finished the day in a race against the rain to Forestburg. We lost.