I first heard about Elk Island National park only a couple of years ago (I think it was just a little blurb in Canadian Geographic). They claim to have the highest concentration of hoofed mammals outside of Africa. So needless to say it’s been very high on my list of places to visit. Unfortunately it’s just far enough away that you don’t really want to go there and back in one day (and if you’re going to stay the weekend it’s hard to resist the allure of Jasper and the Rocky Mountains).
After being utterly disappointed by the bison in Waterton, I decided I would have to make the trip to Elk Island if only to get one decent bison picture.
Since I always seem to neglect the prairies in favour of the nearby mountains, I figured I would bypass Highway #2 and take the long way through farmlands and badlands to shoot some pictures on the way (I’ve been trying to get a shot of a fox for years, and still have had no luck finding any, but I thought if I headed out early enough this might be a good chance (it wasn’t)). I headed out towards Drumheller planning to shoot sunrise at Horseshoe Canyon, but I was a half hour early, the sky was looking particularly boring, there was a construction crew tearing up the parking lot, and it was cold and windy out. I only lasted about 30 seconds out of the car, and didn’t manage to take a single shot. I thought I’d try Horse Thief Canyon a little further up the road, but managed to miss it (or I was on the wrong road, I’m not sure which).
After that I did a lot of driving, and although there was some decent scenery, the roads were mostly narrow and shoulder-less with very few places to pull over for photos.
At one point I spotted something moving far off in a field and shot some pictures but it was so far away I couldn’t even tell what it was until I got home and zoomed in on my computer, It was an antelope which really surprised me, I didn’t expect them that far north, especially at this time of the year.
Eventually I came upon Driedmeat Lake (really stupid name), and stopped at the outflow to shoot way too many pictures of a flock of gulls and some Lesser Yellowlegs that were hanging out at the bottom of a fishway (whatever a fishway is). I was there probably a half hour taking picture before I actually looked down into the water and noticed that the entire bottom of the creek was covered so thickly with some sort of shrimp like creature that you couldn’t even see the rocks. It was pretty gross, but I guess it explains why the gulls were there.
I stopped for lunch at Miquelon Lake Provincial Park which has a really nice sand beach, but not worth shooting on a cold windy morning. There was a lot of Plovers running up and down the shoreline, but I had left my long lens back at the car and was too lazy to go get it (I parked on the complete wrong side of the lot as far from the lake as possible).
Overall it was a nice day for a drive, but not very productive at all.