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A drive this afternoon into Crowsnest Pass that links Alberta to British Columbia.

I didn't get very far. The first thing that caught my attention was this extraordinary dead tree, the Burris Tree, that marked the eastern end of the pass. This tree, that had stood alive for seven centuries, died in the 1970s. Such was its historical and geographical significance that the dead wood was preserved and ressurected as you see here.

A couple more bends in the road and I found myself in the midst of this extraordinary rock field. I pulled into a lay-by and read the historical marker. This was the Frank Slide, a massive and catastophic landslide that fell in 1903 onto the mining town of Frank. Where did it come from?

From here – Turtle Mountain.30 million cubic metres (82 million tonnes) of limestone fell away at 4:10 am on April 29, 1903, destroying a good part of the town, killing 70 people and burying a group of miners underground. Only by tunneling through a seam of coal were the miners able to dig themselves out, one to discover that his family had been crushed to death by the landslide.

Ironically, Turtle Mountain was called the Mountain That Moves by the local native Americans who would never camp near its base. As is often the case, such knowledge was dismissed by the European settlers, much to their cost.

I was planning to go further into Crowsnest Pass but somehow this mountain and those massive strewn rocks with those poor mining families still buried beneath them held me. As good a reminder as any of the impartial, monstrous, power of nature.

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