Big Hills Spring Provincial Park
Paradise - Cut out of Limestone
Early this morning, I drove through typical Alberta countryside - cows and horses, crops in various stages of harvest, pumpjacks, and, of course, the unending folds of foothills. It is these foothills, further carved by runoff and spring waters, that frame the steep-sided valley that leads to this small but gorgeous provincial park.
The dull roar of the falls can be heard from the parking lot, and calls you to follow the cascading spring water higher and higher into the hills. At first, my attention was hijacked by the water tumbling down an seemingly endless series falls, and the crystal clear pools and streams between.
But then I began to notice the rock formations that framed the spring. Calcite from the falling water reacts with carbon dioxide to build tufa, porous rock formations that give these already beautiful falls an extra dose of character and energy.
After I passed the main falls, I turned to follow along the top of a natural tufa "dam", where the buildup has grown so significant that it has actually diverted the water that formed it. The water was churning fifteen feet below me and the path was very uneven, so I found myself watching my footing very, very carefully, and was delighted to find countless microcosms tucked into the nooks and crannies of the tufa under my feet. Needless to say, I've been inspired to learn how to use the macro setting on my camera!
Whether you are examining the details of the rock formations, admiring the majestic mixed forest or following the waterfalls, I promise that the Big Hills Spring Provincial Park will inspire you!
Goolge Maps - Starting Point: Big Hills Spring Provincial Park