Friday, February 17, 2017

Atlas Coal Mine: Goin' Up Up Up

I wouldn't say the Badlands are beautiful but they are unique, interesting and striking. A stark contrast to the prairies. The Badlands cover a large portion of the SE corner of Alberta and are full of dramatic landscapes, coulees and amazing rock formations. A trip through this area is always captivating.

It was a scorching hot July day (this area is known for high summer temperatures) when we decided to head out to visit to the Tyrell Museum in Drumheller. It's about a 2 hours drive SE of where we live. I have been here many times in my life (my childhood dream to be palaeontologist did not pan out) and my son has a couple trips under his belt already. Once we toured the museum and fought our way through the gift shop (conveniently located between the end of the museum and the exit), we wondered what else we could do. So, to see something different, we headed SE of Drumheller to the East Coulee area and the Atlas Coal Mine (if you keep going down the highway you'll get to Dorothy, see last my last post).

This region was home to 27 different coal operations by 1921. This one is the Atlas No. 3 Coal Mine. What's left today is a mostly complete operation that contains the last wooden coal tipple in Canada. It is an Alberta Provincial Historic Resource as well as a National Historic Site of Canada. There are several different tour options, we chose the Tunnel Tour which took us on a long climb through the inclined conveyor tunnel, through the hillside (it was delightfully chilly in there) and back outside
to the mine entrance. Our guide was a salty old miner who was great! He had excellent stories and made the tour even more riveting. Hearing tales from a real coal miner definitely adds to the experience. If we'd had the time I would have like to explore more and take the other tours. I will have to plan better next time, because you know what they say....if you fail to plan, plan to fail. Ah well, it's worked so far.

It's hot out
Minor miner
The tipple and conveyor tunnel that we climbed up
View from the blacksmith shop after climbing the conveyor.  See the tipple bottom left. 
To take a page from my friend BWBandy, here is a fitting Friday Night Music Post:

Happy Friday everyone.