Donalda day trip

Every time we travel Highway 53 on our way to Red Deer, Calgary or other points to the south, we dip down into Meeting Creek Coulee, the northern most point of the Canadian Badlands. As we climb back out, we pass the access road to the tiny village of Donalda. With its population of about 260 people, it perches on a bluff overlooking the vast valley below. Over the years, we’ve often thought that this would be a great area to go hiking and apparently, we weren’t the only ones. A few years back, the community developed and advertised a hiking trail. When we discovered that geocachers had hidden some caches both in town and along the trail, our interest grew and finally, yesterday was the day. We packed a picnic lunch and off we went! IMG_5318Donalda’s greatest claim to fame is the world’s largest lamp, a replica of the oil lamps that once lit the homes of early settlers across this land. Standing 42 feet tall at the end of the town’s quaint main street and just across the corner from a museum that houses the world’s largest collection of oil lamps, it was lit for the first time on July 1, 2000. All night, every night, its light shines out over the valley below. Inside its base, visitors enjoy a series of paintings depicting the town in its earlier days. Our first cache was hidden just outside. IMG_5327 IMG_5323  IMG_5322 IMG_5321 IMG_5316 After picnicking close to the lamp and the restored railway station nearby, we searched out the other two caches that are hidden in town and then set off along the hiking trail. We expected to find ourselves walking along the rim of the coulee, but instead, we followed a woodland trail that eventually led us out onto an open bluff overlooking the valley below. Seldom ones to stay on the beaten track, after stopping to rest at a picnic table with a spectacular view, we set off to follow an animal trail down into the valley. IMG_5351 I hiked down to the flat valley floor while Richard explored the interesting formations on another close by bluff. IMG_5344 IMG_5345 IMG_5346 The valley is far vaster than we ever realized from the highway and my photos hardly do it justice, but it was great to finally trek through a very small part of it. There are so many interesting places close to home if one but takes the time to explore them! IMG_5334 IMG_5335 IMG_5336


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