So I have learnt that the badlands are aptly named as ‘the land is bad’! But more importantly I learnt that we have some in NZ, with Hoo Doos! 😲 They are called the Putangirua in Wellington area. Who knew!! Funny that we had to come all the way to Alberta, Canada to learn that 😁
We drove to Drumheller on a very secondary route which took 3.5 hours – more barns, wide open picturesque prairies and oil pumps. It is such a vast open view, that really is more sky than land. We have again been blessed with the most amazing weather, and although it is cold in the mornings, it does get to a balmy 14 during the day 😊 As the sun sets, there is this incredible colour in the sky that just makes everything look warm! and the land basks in an incredible ‘orange glow’. I am in love with Alberta, and would come here again in a heart-beat 💓
This was the view from our room, and there is ice floating down this river!!! We can see the worlds largest dinosaur from here as well. You can climb up to the top for $6CAD, but we never quite fitted that in. We could see [him] from the Travelodge where we stayed, and he looked quite cool as the sun set on him.
We were recommended to visit the Royal Tyrell Dinosaur museum (thanks Mira x), so headed out there on a chilly, but sunny morning. We spent 5 hours here learning about dinosaurs and the different ‘ages’ the planet has gone through. We are merely a blip in this universe … “species come and species go, the only constant in life is change”. 95% of all species that have existed are now extinct 😲
We all know about dinosaurs, and understand that they roamed this great planet a long time ago, but when you visit this area and you are saturated in everything ‘dinosaur’, it somehow makes it a bit more real. People have ‘dinosaurs’ in their gardens, and some of the streets are named after dinosaurs. How cool to be living on Tyrannosaurus Rex Drive 😁
The Badlands, Drumheller has been so fascinating that we stayed an extra night. The valley in the prairies has so much to offer and we wanted to do as much as possible. Again, because of the timing of this visit, some places were closed but we still managed to see and do a lot of things!
We decided to drive the dinosaur trail which took us to some historic sites, including the worlds smallest church – seats six! What a cute church, that is never locked and seemingly never vandalised. Colin shared a few words – I think they were about love and being married 30 years, but I could be mistaken – he did ramble a bit 😂. As you can see we had the most glorious weather. I wonder if they need an Event Co-ordinator?
We decided to do the small hike through Horse Thief Canyon. You can just image the rustlers herding the horses and hiding them in here. The landscape is like a mini ‘Grand Canyon’, although not as vast or as deep. The mud [degraded volcanic ash] when it is dry is sort of like popcorn in flat sheets, and we have been told when it is wet it is slippery and greasy. You can smell the sulphurs from the volcanic makeup of the place. Even though it was dry, it was still slippy underfoot from the shale sitting on the surface.
While we didn’t see any horses here, we did see a wee prairie dog. They are really quite cute, and this wee guy actually let me get quite close before he disappeared into a burrow. There were burrows everywhere, leaving holes on the ground that you could break a leg in if you weren’t watching where you were going.
We carried on the dinosaur trail, and took the ferry across the Bow River (we had been to Bow Lake / River in the Rockies – it has come a long way). This ferry trip took two minutes to load the car, three minutes to cross the river and 15 minutes of chatting the the ‘ ferry captain’, he did everything at his pace and was absolutely in charge of how long he thought you should take 😆. The ferry is closed over winter as the river freezes. It already had ice in it while we were there.
We picked up the trail on the other side and headed towards the Hoo Doos, stopping in town for lunch on the way. The supermarkets here have the most amazing range of ready made food [and usually somewhere to sit]. At the moment there are pumpkins everywhere – I love all this madness with Halloween 🎃 [hmmmm, not so sure about the door-knocking though!]
All along the way, for as far as you can see are fields of gold … with old barns and oil wells! Spot Colin taking a closer look 👀 😂
We visited the suspension bridge across the Bow River – this historic crossing took miners across to the coal mine in years gone by. The actually crossing was in a basket type arrangement, but they recreated it so people could enjoy the crossing and go hiking to the mine on the other side [closed for the season!]. And best of all it was free!! As we crossed the bridge a chilly wind blew and IT WAS FREEZING ❄️
We carried on to visit the Hoo Doos – I just love these ‘structures’ that the environs create – wind, rain, snow and sun over long periods of time. I really want to be here where the sun comes up, or the sun sets BUT with a fabulous camera. [And even more so now that we stayed in a motel last night that had wicked large pictures on the wall]. And now I will have to put Wellington on my to do list, and see the Hoo Doos at home.
Next on the historic trail was a visit to Wayne, over 11 bridges – they were fairly unremarkable, but hey it was a nice 6km drive through the valley. You might notice in some of the photos that the sky isn’t blue! It depends on where you are and whether or not the harvest is close – the dust [from the harvest] gives the photos an overcast look.
So as we left Drumheller, we headed across the Prairies towards Calgary. It is only 1.5 drive, so reasonably close. We passed many more fields with gorgeous falling down barns [there are very nice new barns everywhere – mostly a brown/red colour with white trim], cattle grazing on the harvested fields and of course more oil pumps. We also drove through the ‘Wheatlands’. These fields were just so beautiful – ever colour of honey you can imagine. From the ‘clover coloured fields’ [cut and dried] to the rich golden amber fields that are still to be harvested. The farmers all working like mad well into each evening to get it all done. They are a bit behind as they had a early snowfall a few weeks ago, and needed everything to dry out.
As the sun sets on this part of our trip [the moon was incredible, but alas this is as good as the phone will take!], we leave here hoping to return. For now we are flying to Quebec City, before picking up our cruise to Fort Lauderdale (14 days). Another amazing adventure awaits, and we shall be sure to share it with you as soon as we can.
Ps: We visited Gasoline Alley in Calgary [only thing we did!], and took the latest photos for Petrolhead! (All the pictures for Gasoline Alley are on Facebook, because well, they just are!!). This was a fabulous collection of historic gas pumps and restored cars/trucks.
pps: so I wrote this yesterday while travelling, and edited it this morning before posting – I know along the way that there have been some spelling errors [sometimes because I had a ‘lag’ between the mobile [pictures] and the tablet uploading or crappy internet?!?], and they drive me nuts!!! But it drives me more nuts that Colin reads it before I post to check for spelling mistakes!!! You just can’t get good help!! 😂 😝
[I did see that Nadia Lim’s new cookbook has a fly in it …. that is much worse 😜]