25-Aug-2010 -- Alan and I were in this area of Alberta to look for the homesteads that my Grandfather, his brother and their parents (my Great Grandparents) were granted under the Western Land Grants (1870 - 1930) a hundred years ago when they decided to move west from their farm in eastern Canada.
The temperature was 30°C and there was a light breeze. The sun was shining brightly. There is not much civilization in this area of Alberta. The main industries are natural gas and ranching. Ranch homes are few and far between. We saw many cows and much evidence of the natural gas available under this land. It was thanks to these industries that we found trails off the beaten track that lead us to within 110 meters of this confluence. We could have driven right to the spot but chose to park by the side of the trail and walk the last portion.
We crossed the field with ground cover consisting of grasses, wild flowers, cow pies and Spear Grass. We did not notice the Spear Grass until we got back to our vehicle and noticed that Symon, our Welsh Terrier, was covered with the sharp needle ended grass "spears". We spent time pulling each blade from his coat and skin so he could be more comfortable on the return ride to Brooks, Alberta where we were staying.
From the confluence nothing but prairie grassland and a few low bushes could be seen in any direction. We were basically in the middle of nowhere. All that could be heard were some birds singing and planes flying far overhead.
Millions of years ago this vast area was near the Bearpaw Sea. For 160 million years dinosaurs lived on the shores around this sea and prehistoric fish swam in its waters. Huge bird-like creatures soared overhead. Turtles and Crocodiles lived in the streams and rivers. 65 million years ago the dinosaurs suddenly died, leaving their fossilized bones to be found in areas near here. Because of the vast collection of dinosaur bones from some 40 species of dinosaurs as well as 450 fossil organisms collected in the badlands of Dinosaur Provincial Park it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We visited the park and did some hiking as part of our day's activities.
East of this confluence we found the homestead land that had been granted to my Great Grandparents, my Grandfather and his brother under the Dominion Lands Act. It was on my Grandfather's homestead that my mother was born in 1919. Now there is nothing but wild grass on this land where they once had high hopes of farming. Drought ended their dreams. After ten years, they abandoned the area to move on to other pursuits in Alberta. Now this land is used to graze cattle by one of the vast ranches found in these parts. Natural gas has since been found in this area as evidenced by the pipeline warning signs and the gas industry buildings and facilities we noticed everywhere.