Monday 15th June
The weather forecast was for a fine sunny day with a top temp of 17° which was certainly more encouraging than the 1° overnight temp of the location we went to today.
Today we went to…
No, let me start that again.
Have you ever heard of, drumroll please, Drumheller in the province of Alberta, Canada. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drumheller
No? Me neither! Well that is not entirely true. Donnis had told me that in her youth she had visited Drumheller and remembered it as a place where she saw dinosaur bones. Apart from that vague memory there was nothing more she could recall about the town.
She wanted to pay a return visit.
So we did.
Drumheller was once a city but is now a town!!! It is often referred to as Dinosaur Alley. Dinosaur remains and fossils are still being found here in the badlands. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Badlands
Alberta is a Province known to be flat and often featureless. In our drive that was the case but suddenly we found ourselves on a steep downhill section of road and the landscape we entered are unmistakable, badlands.
Basically the land is made of soft rock and wind, rain and animals create erosion. Then too does the Red Deer River which winds its way through the area create erosion.
First visit was the tourist information centre for a map and advice on places to see, a sort of top ten list. It was here we saw the worlds biggest dinosaur.
It is 25 metres tall and cost over CAN$1 million to build. This is by far the biggest anything I have ever seen. It certainly makes the big banana, big pineapple and big prawn in Australia look like youngsters by comparison.
First on our top ten list took us to The Royal Tyrell Museum http://www.tyrrellmuseum.com/
This is a magnificent building with displays of dinosaur bones and other fossils on display.
Much of the displays are of material pulled from the surrounding badlands.
Pretty impressive. On arrival in the carpark we were met by the official welcoming crew…thousands of Prairie Dogs skipping running, leaping, chasing each other and running up to tourists. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prairie_dog These cute, fearless little creatures are everywhere and I can imagine how they would be a nuisance. However they are protected and everybody just has to put up with their incessant burrowing.
After wandering through the museum, yes there is an entry fee, we watched a movie about how the badlands came to be and how oil was created. By the way, Alberta is also well known for its oil. Oil pumping stations and pipelines can be seen almost anywhere as you drive along the highway.
Number two must see was Horse Thief Canyon which shows the badlands stretching on for vast distances looking like a smaller version of the Grand Canyon.
The canyon is a popular hiking location although you would need to be a skilled map reader to know where you were. I tried to imagine standing on top of the bluff, overlooking the multitude of canyons with snow all around. It must be, umm err, awesome!
The story of how the canyon got its name was way back in the settler years when branded horses roamed the area. Some disappeared only to re-appear in another county with a different brand. It seems the thousands of canyons, gulches and even caves was a nightmare to navigate. Horse thieves knew the area better than anybody else.
The final location was the HooDoos http://www.canadiannaturephotographer.com/KenBell.html an area of greater erosion than elsewhere. The erosion here created weird shapes. Just like the 12 Apostles on the Great Ocean Road in Australia, the erosion is destroying the features while at the same time creating new features. We saw photos taken ten years ago and could identify some of the features with the present day. Others are missing but new features can be seen.
We then had the 90 minute drive back to Calgary to collect Tyler from the railway station.
Tuesday 16th June
Today was a sort of lay day as we had not planned anything. The sun was shining and too nice to be indoors. Soooo. We did what we should have done a month ago. We bought a Pre Paid Telus data card for the iPad. This will give us a measure of freedom in that we can use it as a GPS, we can send and receive emails, Facebook for Donnis, Skype to Skype and Skype to phone and finding places to stay and eat. Our plan is to hire a car and head to the south of the province to a remote National Park on the USA border. We will visit this area which according to the travel brochures is more spectacular than the Rockies. We do not know anybody who has taken this route before so it should prove interesting. From there we will shadow the US border all the way to Vancouver via mountain passes.
With a rare fine day we went to Nose Hill Park to photograph the Calgary cityscape.
While standing in the park we saw minute movement a long way in the distance against the skyline. The camera was used to zoom in and we saw it was a Deer. When on 48 times zoom the deer can be seen quite clearly.
Late in the afternoon a thunderstorm rolled in.
Wednesday 17th June
Woke to a gray overcast day. Days like this in Calgary can be depressing.
So too was the news from Oz. Queensland were beaten 26 -18 by New South Wales in game 2 of the State of Origin.
Hmmm! That should set the stage for the final game in Queensland in three weeks.
Thursday 18th June
Another lay day.
I will share a little with you.
Today we accompanied Alecia on a shopping excursion. She needed venetian blinds so went to Home Depot. Just walking into this store was sort of like walking into a Bunnings or a Masters in Australia only it has double sets of doors to keep out the rain the snow and the cold.
Tomorrow begins a new adventure.
I expect there will be lots of places visited, lots of information, so will post daily for the next 10 days or so…as and when I have access to a PC or laptop to download photos from the camera.