We have based ourselves just northwest of Calgary which gives us flexibility in our sightseeing. Today we range about 130 kilometers to the northeast to learn about dinosaurs, mining, and the old Canadian West.
Yesterday I bought an app which gives us a tour of the area. We drive, we enjoy. We do not have to do anything. Our tour guide is synced with our GPS and just comes on with info when we need it. Seems to me my Trip-Tickle was supposed to work like this.
Here is what we are guided to –
Horseshoe Canyon. This is the type of banded rock we are going to see.
A typical rock full of inclusions
When we get to Drumheller we are directed to the Visitor’s Centre where we also see the world’s biggest dinosaur.
The world’s largest dinosaur evilly
stepping on someone’s pick-up truck
John and triceratops
From there we head out on the hoodoo trail. The places we go to either have s connection to mining or geology. Our first stop is at a suspension footbridge over the Red Deer River. This was used by miners who lived across the river from the mines.
Looking across the suspension bridge
View of the bridge from the side
Just like a Bryce Canyon NP there are hoodoos except that the colors tend to be the muted browns and cream of the surrounding countryside. We take a walk among the hoodoos.
Top of a hoodoo
OMG, an actual picture of me! (Unfortunately there is a big red blob over my face courtesy of the camera or the sun or something)
Then we drive along to the Atlas Coal Mine which is now a state historic site. It has a wooden tipple (coal sorter) and for $10 each we could go have a closer look but we decided we’ve seen enough coal mines during previous trips (which is why we know what a tipple is).
Banded hills as we ride along towards the Atlas Mine
Atlas Coal Mine
On the way back toward Drumheller we stop at the almost Ghost Town, Wayne. The only things in the town supposedly inhabited are the Rosedeer Hotel land the Last Chance Saloon. We walk through the saloon and the lobby of the hotel but find no ghosts so we continue on our way in search of lunch back in town.
Last Chance Saloon and Rosedeer Hotel in Wayne, Alberta
We understand that Tim Horton’s is the iconic lunch place in Canada. We’ve seen them everywhere. Much like poutine we have managed to avoid it so far but, seriously, it cannot be as bad as poutine (sounds). We thought it would be sort of like Denny’s but it is not. It is more like McDonald’s without hamburgers and fries. You order at a counter and pick up your food. I have a BLT on a untoasted French roll. John had a cold cut sandwich. The sandwiches are accompanied by soggy potato wedges. We won’t be going back.
Iconic Tim Horton’s
After lunch it is our plan to go to the Royal Tyrell Museum of Palaeontology. It seems half of Canada has the same plan so we decide to do the second half of our audio tour and come back later. This is the Dinosaur Loop but there was nothing about dinosaurs in the tour. First we went to Horsethief Canyon where, guess what, horse thieves used to hide their stolen horses, rebrand them, and then try to sell them. It is an overlook. We take some pictures.\
A view of Horsethief Canyon – I am standing on the edge here and the canyon is quite deep
View from the other side
Then we take a ferry (which the narrator keeps calling a fairy, annoyingly) that holds thirteen cars across the Red Deer River. The ferry is pulled across by a cable. It is named the Bleriot Ferry. The guy who it is named after is the brother of the more famous Bleriot who was the first person to fly solo across the English Channel. John remarked that he was wondering if they were related. I was more, “Bleriot, who?”
Our car getting on the ferry
Our car on the ferry. It was a very slow ride.
Our last stop is at the Orkney Viewpoint which is quite scenic and overlooks the canyon with the prairie stretching out beyond it.
Scenic look at the Red Deer River
Looking across the coulee to the prairie (the thin edge of yellow at the top of the picture)
We take another shot at the Tyrell Museum but there are no parking spaces. We give up and head back to the hotel where we watch some tennis and eat some dinner. Tomorrow we head to Banff. I am looking forward to terrain!
Our appetizer is drunken shrimp which is delicious. It is the best thing we have had here at the hotel restaurant
John has his old standby, Buffalo chicken wings and a salad
I have Chicken Tikka Masala with rice and naan (the naan is actually pita)