Saturday, June 14, 2014

Dinosaur Provincial Park

We have procrastinated coming to this incredible park for some time...

Mostly because it is about three hours drive from Calgary.  But is well worth the effort to come here.

Our first glance over the edge from the top at the entrance to the park was breath taking.

We were blessed with a sunny day and a sky decorated with fluffy clouds.

If I could stitch these first five photos together it would be a 270 degree panorama.

A smal creek flows thru the bottom land.

At first I wondered how much of this park we would be allowed to explore.

This sign at the entrance to the park explained that we could take several self guided walking tours.  The majority of the park is not open to visitors... as this is an important historical archaeological site. But there is more to see and explore than most of us can endure.

I could see that I would not have any problem getting in my 10,000 steps today... if I went on all of these different trails.

It looked like we would get to see some actual fossils right in the ground.

There were more trails and opportunities to explore than either Shirley we would have the energy to do.

I won't bore you with all the plaques along the Prairie Interpretative Trail... but they explained how the Badlands were born... how erosion over millions of years exposed the fossils.

Most of the Dinosaur Park follows the Red Deer River for 27 km... and covers 84 square kilometres.

Much of the land surrounding the park is still the original native prairie grass.

But occasionally prickly pear cactus can be found.  I suspect that this one was transplanted here... along with the dandelions.

Like little kids both Shirley and laid down on the ground to shoot the sky and clouds thru the grass.

Frequently we were reminded to not leave the main path.

But occasionally we had to go over the edge to get a photo.

No end of photo opportunities.

There is a small visitor centre with gift shop...

To see a grand display of these creatures one must go the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller.

We next took our second trail hike... the Coulee Viewpoint Trail.  This was my favourite of the trails we did.

This looks like a sizeable rock... until a magpie landed on the top and helped to bring things into perspective.

In several places some posts and chains helped to keep people on the trail.

Looks like this should be called Pyramid Rock.

There are endless rills, caused mostly by heavy rain.

As the erosion in the hills occur the sediment accumulates in the valley... the valley floor raises.

These hoodoos I'm sure have been the subject of many paintings by professional and amateur artists.

Here is a painting done by Doris McCarthy... an inspiration to us to see what we can do once we get home.

After a little rest sitting down we were ready for the third trail... the Badlands Trail, which took us about an hour.

Getting up close to a couple of Hoodoos.

On this trail we saw lots of popcorn rock... like on the lower right.

They tell us when it rains the minerals swell up to 10 times their dry volume... becoming slimy and slippery.

This is popcorn rock up close.

With Shirley in the picture you get a better feeling of the scale of formations.

There is obviously horizontal layers at different levels... and then with the vertical rills it gives an interesting effect.

The walking trails and stairs make getting around in Dinosaur Park pretty easy.  But after doing three of these hikes, Shirley and I looked at each other and agreed we had seen enough.  The mind cannot absorb more than the legs can endure... and we were both dragging our tail feathers.

A little bit of colour in these badlands is most welcome.

It has been a few years since we have seen ant Buffalo Beans.

What a delightful day... but one must be in reasonable shape to do the hikes thru the badlands.

Knowledge Network is my favourite source videos on the Great Canadian Parks... and if you go to this link

You can scan thru some of the best videos.  There are 65 programs on the parks in Canada... and there is one on the Dinosaur Provincial Park now showing.

It is my goal to view all of these videos.  I tape one very day since they come on at 4:30 every morning.  I have become an ambassador for Knowledge Network... my favourite cable TV source.

Some other of my favourites are Canada's Rivers and Canada Over the Edge.  Check it out.

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