I was looking forward to a decent sleep but alas this did not eventuate due to a combination of inconsiderate room mates and unexplained ‘things that go bump in the night’. So it was back into it fairly early in the morning. I planned to leave Calgary later that day but not before fitting in a group tour over to Drumheller.
The main theme of the day was the area’s dinosaur history. We stopped by viewing points of more badlands terrain, similar to where I visited a few days before.
Our longest stop was at the excellent Royal Tyrrell Museum of Palaeontology. The large complex is built in complementary fashion to its surroundings.
Dinosaurs of course feature heavily and this chap is a bit of a star attraction.
In the town of Drumheller they embrace their prehistoric heritage. That’s me waving from the mouth of T-Rex, apparently the world’s largest dinosaur…
The tour bus (actually just a peoplemover on account of the small group) dropped me off at the bus terminal and a few hours later I was on the tedious 1300km journey to Winnipeg. Through the prairies of Saskatchewan and Manitoba you soon run out of interesting things to look at.
I initially had just a quick overnight stop in Winnipeg and would return for a few more days later to visit a friend. But the immediate priority was to take the train to the subarctic north. I was off to see polar bears!
I duly collected my beige box-on-wheels from Calgary and found the highway. The 110km speed limit helped the first leg of my Alberta Odyssey to pass quickly.
Brooks was my stop for the night in the relative luxury of a motel. However, it was not the city that I was there for. The next morning it was an early start for the half hour drive to the Dinosaur Provincial Park. This is a World Heritage Site, a status earned through its badlands terrain and wealth of dinosaur fossils.
At the entry to the park you can stop and walk over to see the huge open valley of badlands. It was amazing, the photo simply doesn’t do it justice.
From there it was a drive down the hill to park the car. I was again visiting somewhere that was winding down for the season and no tours were running. I picked up a map from the visitor centre, put on some more layers and set off walking. It was a very cold day with cloud cover and dull light.
All around there were so many different layers and shades and shapes and textures.
One of the fascinating features was this surface called popcorn rock.
Elsewhere the terrain becomes grasslands and mule deer with funny big ears roam around.
Cottonwood trees line the banks of the Red Deer River that winds through the park.
There are a couple of places where dinosaur fossils have been left in situ, visible to visitors through windows of the shelters placed over top. At least 39 species of dinosaur and 300 complete skeletons have been found, so it is quite the paleontological treasure trove.
After my walkabout it was time to get moving again, south to Lethbridge. The next day I was visiting an historic buffalo kill site.