The Star Mine Suspension Bridge spans Red Deer River east of Drumheller, Alberta, Canada.
The 117 m (384 ft) Star Mine Suspension Bridge over the Red Deer River is accessed from the clearly signed turnoff at Rosedale along East Coulee Road east of Drumheller, Alberta, Canada. Originally, in early 20th century, an aerial cable transported buckets of coal from the east side of the Red Deer River to the tipple in the town on the west side. When the railroad established line directly into the mine site, the aerial cable was converted to a suspension bridge that allowed miners to walk from town to the mine. After the mine finally shut down in 1957, the suspension bridge became an increasingly popular tourist attraction. Parking at the small park on the Rosedale side of the bridge provides the opportunity for very interesting and seasonally, scenic hiking on the hills above the east side of the Red Deer River. Some of the sturdy head frames from old mining operations are still standing in the elevated distance to provide interesting photographic subjects and backgrounds.
On this cool February day, the bridge spans the Red Deer River over broken but relatively stable ice which creates artistic mosaics. The wet, clay-like soil in the badlands is still slippery and treacherous so there is no reasonable opportunity to hike but the air is fresh and the badlands scenery uniquely memorable. The hill hikes in this area are definitely worthwhile in dry conditions.
On the other side of the junction with Highway 10X, East Coulee Highway 56 at Rosedale is the clearly signed access to the historic community of Wayne and the infamous Rosedeer Hotel hosting the Last Chance Saloon. History is rich here even though the copious and bustling mining operations have been shut down for many decades. Access to Wayne is achieved on well-maintained gravel road through a series of scenic and predominantly one-way bridges over the Rosebud River passing through spectacular mountainous terrain towering above the Rosebud River Valley bottom.
The drive travels through the small community past the small Wayne Community Campground and the 11th bridge to begin the climb past the historical marker for the Jupiter Mine and beyond to lofty and incredibly views across the Rosebud River Valley surrounded by flat, virtually endless and rolling prairie grassland.
Near the center of Wayne at valley bottom is the historical marker #11 for the Rosedeer Mine accompanied by a laminated historical map of the copious mining operations when the Rosebud River Valley was a vibrant industrial mining town. There is also a stone monument hosting the brass plaque with the names of citizens (mainly miners and young children) who lost their lives during the period when the mines were active between 1918 and 1943. The original cemetery, which is fully overgrown, resides on a grass plain above the valley and is no longer accessible.
Many of the interred were exhumed and relocated to a specific section of the Drumheller Municipal Cemetery.
Following a busy day of hiking and touring Horseshoe Canyon, the East Coulee School Museum, the Badland Interpretive Trail, the Star Mine Suspension Bridge and the historical mining Community of Wayne, the return drive across prairie to Calgary is through light rain.
All that remains is a well-deserved dinner at Moxie's close to the Hilton Garden Inn Calgary Airport Hotel where the day began in the hotel dining room with the largest and most decadent breakfast ever consumed.
The Lettuce Burger
At Moxie's Barlow and McKnight Restaurant the nutritious lettuce burger is chosen out of curiosity as reasonable penance for recent past breakfast sins. Along with a hearty bowl of cheese and broccoli soup, the lettuce burger arrives with a large lettuce leaf covering the burger, I assume, to keep the bun warm. It seems unusual the lettuce burger is resting on the paper tray cover instead of being served on a plate. The lettuce leaf is skewered and secured with a fancy stick to keep the lettuce leaf in place. After completing the excellent and heart bowl of soup, the toothpick on steroids is removed from the lettuce leaf in anticipation of the healthy burger concealed beneath.
There is no bun. The meat patty is supplemented with large onion rings and tomato slices wedged between two inch thick slabs sliced from a head of lettuce. The lettuce configuration is not stable and the initial effort to dissect and consume the precarious structure is a comedic tragedy of monumentally disastrous proportion. I am not dressed properly and the rain gear is in the car.
Apparently, I am not the first person to order or attempt consumption of a lettuce burger because the waiter arrives soon to inquire if an alternate selection might be preferable. My son, by this time, is consumed with raucous laughter which is attracting the attention of other patrons. The waiter offers a tempting alternate meal selection but it seems wimpish to give up quite so easily so a plate, a steak knife and fork are requested and promptly delivered. Carefully re-securing the lettuce with the stick increases lateral stability before carefully transferring the slabs of letter onto the plate with the burger centered between them. The surgical exercise has drawn quite a bit of attention from other restaurant patrons but the serious and detailed attention required to consume a lettuce burger requires focused attention which prevents participation in the surrounding revelry.
For patrons who follow, ask for an extra stick because a two stick configuration will undoubtedly increase rotational stability. The steak knife and fork is substantially more effective at dissecting the burger in some remotely dignified manner. The plate is important to stabilize the location of the lettuce burger within a strategic operational radius.
To say the least, the lettuce burger is a bit of an adventure and it is possible the restaurant needed to assemble a team to clean up the debris field beneath the table.
The humble lettuce burger turned out to be one of the great adventures of the day as well as an indelible memory. First rule of the wilderness: maintain a sense of humor at all times.
The Lettuce Burger at Moxie's Grill and Bar in Calgary
Dare to live on the edge. Go to Moxie's and order a lettuce burger. Life is short.
Photographs for these visits to the historic Star Mine Suspension Bridge over the Red Deer River, and Wayne, are captured in the Badlands east of Drumheller, Alberta, Canada on Saturday, February 18, 2017.