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  • Writer's pictureKatherine Matiko

Foothills Excursion Seven: Searching for Spring on Coal Mine Road

Spring has been slow to arrive in the Alberta foothills this year. I set out on an excursion in late May to see if I could find it.

Coal Mine Road is close to my home in the Priddis area and a thirty-minute drive northwest of Millarville General Store. I find the intersection a few kilometres west of Priddis on Highway 22 on the way to Bragg Creek.


First stop is a beaver dam with a reflective pond at the side of the road. A peaceful sight as the sun slowly warms the sky.


I found evidence online of a coal mine operated near Priddis by Michael Connacher from 1921 to 1924, as well as the O.V. Coal Mine in the 1940s. If you are a history buff with more information, kindly fill in the blanks!

No telling what this structure might have been at one time. Today it leans tiredly at the entrance to Coal Mine Road. Perhaps it too was weary of winter.


Coal Mine Road is charmingly curvaceous and dramatically steep. This back country road is definitely fun to drive!


Lonely pines stand guard against a blustery spring sky waiting for a few breaks in the clouds.


Aha! The aspens along the road are doing their best to leaf out. Soon they will greet us in all their glory.


I hope it is permitted to hunt for good shots (photos, that is!) along this road. I am always careful not to trespass while on my excursions.


Weathered fence posts attest to the ranching history in this part of the world.


If one takes the time to look, it is easy to see wildlife along Coal Mine Road. Be assured that the wild animals always see you first. This white-tailed deer seems alarmed at my presence despite the distance between us.


And if I had any doubt remaining, the mountain bluebird of happiness kindly appeared to assure me that, yes, spring has arrived in the Alberta foothills.

Until next time,


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