I've got to find some amber!

Trip Start Jul 30, 2008
Trip End Aug 28, 2008

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Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Monday, August 4, 2008

This morning, mum and dad had a breakfast buffet in the hotel while I vegged out in our suite. We made good time driving to Drumheller, arriving just before 12:00. Since we couldn't check in to our hotel yet, we continued on to the Royal Tyrrell Museum and the Badlands Interpretive Trail. Drumheller lies in the midst of a vast canyon that used to be filled with water and glaciers thousands of years ago. Now, it's completely dry and the river beds only flow with water during heavy rainfalls. The museum had many exhibits with authentic dinosaur fossils as well as replicas to create skeletons such as the T-Rex, whose hip bones were too heavy to safely mount. We followed the museum's path as it took us from the Precambrian Era all the way to the Quatrinary (I think?) Era with examples of the creatures who lived during each time. Of course, the Cretaceous period was the most interesting to me, and it was really neat to see the dinosaur skeletons put together as well as read about the actual fossils found right on sight in Drumheller. After touring the museum for a couple hours, we went outside and climbed to the lookout deck for a fantastic view of the Badlands. Only sage, grass and some other small plants grow in this area, and the huge rolling hills have eroded so that you can see the many layers of sand/silt/rock that have formed over the years...a great departure from the scenery at home! A 1km hike through the Badlands from the observation point provided plaques along the way describing the area and gave dad and I a chance to try taking videos with our cameras. A lot of people climbed off the trails. I was sorely tempted, but my ear infection is not completely healed, and I didn't trust my balance to come through when I needed it! Dad survived the hike even without a hat (although he seemed to think a pastic bag with some postcards and books in it would suffice). It felt great to walk for awhile outside after so much driving. When we returned to the museum, we watched a presentation about how paleontology has affected the portrayal of dinosaurs in movies since 1900. The speaker was very good. After that, we finally checked into our hotel and we figured out how to play back our Badlands videos. We decided to have a quick lunch (at 4:00) before heading out again to see other sights. We went to the Willow Creek hoodoos, which are rock formations that look man-made, but aren't. More solid pieces of rock sit on more easily eroded pillars of rock, in a numerous group. They will eventually disappear because the pillars will continue to erode quicker than their solid "hats". We walked across the Rosedale suspension bridge (it was like walking across bouncy chain mesh) and visited the Atlas coal mine (the last coal mine in the area) and the local school museum. By that time, it was closing in on 9:00, so we had supper at Boston Pizza and returned to our hotel. Another full, but memorable day! Tomorrow we're off to Banff. I think we're going to Lake Louise first. Good night!
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