Dinosaurs!

Patricia Travel Blog

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view of dinosaur prov park

From medicine Hat I headed for The Dinosaur Provincial park, I exited the highway and soon found myself zigzagging past endless fields, the flatness of which totally expounded the gigantic rift of the park landscape, sunken below the prairie. There was only one word I could say when I reached the view point overlooking the Badlands in which the provincial park is situated: WOW!

The stoic flatness of the prairies is immediately interrupted by a labyrinth of valleys leading down from the plain, a 100 or so metres deep. The landscape is awe-inspiring by being incredibly alienesque, barren and beautiful all at the same time.

I took my time at the view point and then coasted down to the campsite in the valley below. The sun shone strongly so I found a place by the river in the shade of some cottonwood trees.

fossilised remains in the tyrell museum
Cottonwood trees are great, but these ones were shedding their spores, so the whole campground was covered in a fine layer of snowy-white whisps. 

That evening was the highly coveted sausage and macaroni night at Chez-Andy (I can only cool raw meat for so long in the cooler, so I tend to only do a fresh-meat meal maybe once a week) so I set up the kitchen in the mosi-dome, and cooked up a fine supper. While the mosquitoes clung hungrily to the outside of the screening, I stuffed my face tauntingly from the inside. They had their revenge on me the following day though, when I trekked around the local trails.

The next day I got up and headed for the showers, then after breakfast on to the Royal Tyrell museum's field station located in the park, walking distance from the campsite.

A hadrosaur being attacked from all sides by smaller creatures. I feel for you buddy.
The musuem is small but quite good, with bags of audio-visual exhibits and a few hands-on ones too. I had a look at their ceratops and hadrosaur skeletons, the hadrosaur is dramatically posed with small raptors biting at its skeletal jowls.

Back to the tent for lunch and then I headed out in the heat of the day  to go and hike the badlands trail. The trail itself was amazing and I got a stupid number of photos of the dramatic geological formations which appeared in every direction. All the while I was being set upon by the mosquitoes. I don't think I have a single 6-square inch area of flesh that hasn't been feasted upon. Even the unmentionable areas have still been targeted, which is a downright personal violation in my opinion.

The blazing heat and the mosies got the better of me, and to top that my hayfever was attempting to kill me through an affliction similar to that of head trauma (where you sneeze so much you get punch-drunk and fall over).

A ceratops
This leads me to introduce two major factors in my current camping lifestyle: MMTB (mean time to bite) and MMTS (mean time to sneeze). MMTB and MMTS were both head to head at about 20 seconds each. I retreated to the car, put the A/C on and drugged myself up with every available antihistamine product I had at my disposal.  

I gradually regained consciousness after a short dream involving rhinos with wings competing against hummingbirds for the attention of Zooey Deschanel shaped flowers . I wanted to see the other features in park before sunset, but being the weakling that I am I put myself to shame and drove. To make things worse my route kept taking me past a seasoned walker, a lady in her later years possibly a professional grumbler. She grumbled at me each time I passed her, with the panache that only a well practised grumbler can.

the badlands

In awe of her grumbling abilities, the kind of which I can only aspire to, I rolled on and saw the two fossil sites out in the badlands and headed back for dinner.

I had earlier caught the kind and curious attentions of a neighbouring family, they invited me over for second dinner (thanks M, G and S!). I lapped up two burgers and plenty of spinach (I think that might be the first greens I've eaten in over a week!). A few beers and a plethora of regaled stories later, S and I went for a night hike. We brought S's dog Kairos along to scare any local wildlife away. After a brief struggle telling an errant Stop sign what for I discovered that really Kairos was just a big softie and we'd probably have to defend her in the event of any wildlife altercation. A strange grumbling noise from the bushes lead me to think we might be about to run into a certain seasoned walker, S and K's heckles were both up so rather than stick around we beat a hasty retreat back to the camp ground.

a rocky bit

The following morning my friends gave me a fine breakfast and sent me on my way to Calgary (thanks again guys, you're the best!)

Next: Calgary and onwards to the mountains!

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view of dinosaur prov park
view of dinosaur prov park
fossilised remains in the tyrell m…
fossilised remains in the tyrell …
A hadrosaur being attacked from al…
A hadrosaur being attacked from a…
A ceratops
A ceratops
the badlands
the badlands
a rocky bit
a rocky bit
a kind of spikey bit
a kind of spikey bit
a different spikey bit
a different spikey bit
a dear on a slopey bit
a dear on a slopey bit
more fossilised remains at a shelt…
more fossilised remains at a shel…
Patricia
photo by: marg_eric