Saturday, 29 June 2013

Canada Hols - Badlands & Dinosaurs

Wednesday heralded an early start out to Drumheller to see the dinosaurs. On the way was flat green rolling farmland with cattle and crops, and Pumping-Jacks (oil & gas pumping) in the middle of the paddocks! A large windfarm was off in the distance. The roads were nice and wide roads, plenty of room to pull over for photos or for breakdowns, if they occur. We stopped at Horseshoe Canyon. You would not even know it was there, except for the signs, as it was gouged down into the landscape. It was too muddy, due to heavy rain the previous night, for us to walk down into it. A local firm does helicopter tours, and has a fossil booth at the top. This was our first encounter with cute little gophers. Drumheller boasts the World's largest Dinosaur statue at the Information Centre, and they gave us an update on road closures. We turned south along the Hoodoo Trail to visit 'The Hoodoos'. These are spectacular formations caused by erosion of the sandstone when there is more resistant stone on top. Back towards Drumheller we stopped for lunch at Rosedale where there was a suspension bridge, rebuilt from the earlier coal mining era. I missed the turnoff the other side of the river, so we went the "scenic route", and joined the trail from Munson, checking out another spectacular canyon – Horsethief Canyon. These canyons were formed when the glaciers melted at the end of the ice-age, and released huge volumes of water which scoured out the rock layers. We passed the 'Little Church' and then turned into the 'Royal Tyrell Museum', the largest collection in the world of dinosaurs and fossils. It was built in this area as there are so many fossils in this area. The photo of the model of the white worm-like creature is our oldest known ancestor. After seeing this you would not ever need to go into another dinosaur museum, it had everything. Outside we walked the interpretive trail, before driving back to Calgary for the night.

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