This post is originally from July 22, 2016
The older I get the more I realize how much I took my home for granted. What I mean is that when I used to travel and people would ask about where I live, I used to say that Edmonton (the city that I am from) is a hole. Even though it may not have beautiful beaches, or warm weather all year round I can now say that this statement is the furthest from the truth. Edmonton definitely has some beautiful parts to it, but it also is a great place to live because it is so close to the Rocky Mountains. The province of Alberta is home to some amazing places and this summer a few of my friends and I decided to take a mini road trip for a long weekend and discover more of what my province has to offer.
So this morning my friend Renee picked me up bright and early and we headed for the highway to escape the city. About 3 hours southeast of Edmonton is home to a dinosaur extravaganza – Drumheller, Alberta. In all my thirty something years I have never been. I have heard of the Royal Tyrell Museum and the Badlands of Alberta, but never have I experienced this place for myself. So we decided to take a detour en route to Calgary and check out what this place has to offer.
I have to say that driving through Alberta in the summer is quite spectacular. Although most of the drive is relatively flat it sure doesn’t lack in colour. Canola fields extend for miles and miles. The bright yellow fields contrast against the vivid blue sky, making it truly picture perfect!
As we got closer to Drumheller the topography slowly changed. From flat prairies it was suddenly very rocky. You could actually see the layers of sediments in the rocks. The Canadian Badlands of Alberta is known for its unique coulee landscapes and hoodoo rock formations. The region is famous for its rich deposits of fossils, including dinosaur bones that have been unearthed at the UNESCO World Heritage Site’s Dinosaur Provincial Park. It truly is like stepping into a different world!
As we drove into the town of Drumheller we were greeted by the world’s biggest dinosaur standing 86 feet high. On every corner was a dinosaur statue. Some sat eating an ice cream on a bench, others looking quite ferocious; never the less we were definitely in Dinosaur Country.
Totally hungry by the time we reached town our first goal was to find a place to have a quick bite. We didn’t want to spend too much time eating so we opted for a quaint sandwich shop … America’s staple…Subway. After downing our foot longs we made our way to Hoodoos.
Driving up to the Hoodoos I felt like it was familiar landscape but on a much smaller scale to that of Cappadocia, Turkey. The hoodoos are definitely one of nature’s odd creations. Their interesting mushroom like shapes have been formed over thousands of years by erosion caused by water, wind and the freeze/thaw cycles. There were metal walkways around the base of the rocks but people were climbing the formations so when in Rome… The view from the top was spectacular but we soon realized that our slippery shoes were probably not conducive to an easy decline through gravel and shards of rock. Renee being the spry young one that she is was a good ten paces ahead of me, but I mean who wouldn’t be when granny over hear is crawling down on all fours. I felt like Spiderman, but less agile and a tad afraid for my life. By the time I got down to solid ground I was covered in dust and my legs were cramping. Oh the joys of being terribly out of shape! This I was definitely going to feel for days to come.
We decided that we would be stupid to visit Drumheller and not visit the famous Royal Tyrell Museum. As we made our way to the museum there was a sign for the Suspension Bridge. We turned off and went to see what it was all about. It would have been super cool to have run across the bridge had there not been enough people to make up a small city also walking across it. You couldn’t even get a proper picture because there were just too many people. Suspension bridge = Fail!
And finally we made our way to the museum. If you are a dinosaur buff this is the place for you. It truly is a great museum with so much information and real fossils. It is crazy that these animals lived here millions of years ago. Some skeletons looking so much like animals today.
But I have to admit that I am not much of a dino enthusiast so my attention span probably wasn’t the best. Renee and I walked through at a pretty good pace and to tell you the truth I was far more impressed with the walking paths that surrounded the museum itself. The land is so unique and different than anything else in Alberta. It is a very cool place to visit.
Onward and upward, we got in the car and headed to Calgary. Puker McGee (that’s me) came to life once again. What the hell is happening to me in my old age? I get motion sick at the drop of a hat! We were literally entering Calgary’s city limits but still on the major highway when the old H-Bomb grabs for a plastic bag and begins retching (if you are wondering, that would be me). Let’s just say that Renee is not a fan of puking so she had her hand next to her face so that she could block me out. She pulled off on the side of the highway so I could spare her but I felt like my life was flashing before my eyes because when the cars sped past you could feel the car shake.
Eventually we made our way downtown where we met up with our friend Karey. Karey has been working in Calgary so much that her employer has a two bedroom hotel rented for her right in the heart of downtown Calgary. Lucky enough for us, we were able to stay with her which was so convenient because we could walk to so many trendy places. It took me a while to turn from a shade of green back to my normal colour, but once I was feeling human again we went out and grabbed a bite.