Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Alberta Tour Part 2

Drumheller was like nirvana for Logan - he was riding a wave of excitement or a prehistoric amphibian in this case.

The night before we checked out the area in Drumheller. Just as we started out we came upon this tiny church. It is actually used but only seats 6.

It was open so we went in and listened intently as Logan gave his Daily Dino Devotional.

More terrain - this is called Horse Thief Canyon.

This picture captures the typical weather of the west. It changes frequently and it has not been too warm - high teens with rain littered through most days. This shot was taken at 9:50pm - it stays light out for a long time.
Next morning, though, we got to the business at hand - the Royal Tyrell Museum. This museum is unreal - the fossils are incredible. Given that the actual weight of the bones are incredibly heavy fossils are usually mixed with casts of the original so they can be safely mounted. This picture is a T. Rex.

A real fossil of a Triceratops skull.

They had these sessions called Science Break and this particular session was called "What is a Dino?". It was a discussion about the link between dinosaurs and birds. The presenter pretty much had her presentation narrated by Logan as he guessed most of the time what she was going to say next! People around were amazed at his knowledge. We would pass by these same people later on and they would say "hey there's the dino expert" - Logan was in his element!

A Lambeosaurus full skeleton.

This is a full skeleton of an Elasmosaurus. The size of this thing was amazing. The Loch Ness Monster is thought to be an Elasmosaurus.

I narrowly missed getting my melon chomped by this dunkleosteus!

Here's a view of the museum from above.

 Sara, Logan and I after an exciting first day.

The next morning saw sunshine and warmer temperatures - we loved it. We had a couple of programs on the schedule - Dinosite (looking for fossils) and Fossil Casting (learning how to make casts of fossils).

Looking for fossils was right up Logan's alley. Our guide, Clare, was actually from Hamilton and was working at the museum for the summer.

Logan stuck to her like glue and he never stopped talking dinos - Clare and all the staff were great with him and actually enjoyed it cause they did not have to create discussion.

His new friend.

Here's Logan at the Fossil Casting session. He's preparing the mold.

Once poured in we let it sit and after 10 minutes....

Voila! An exact fossil replica.

After Fossil Casting we ventured through the museum one last time and saw this real fossil of a T. Rex skull - check out those teeth! We had an blast at the museum and I think we'll be back.
The next morning before leaving for Calgary we stopped by the "World's Largest Dinosaur". The structure is 86 feet tall and there are stairs inside that head up to the mouth where you see out over Drumheller.

The view was cool and Logan thought it was cool being in the dino's mouth....

Me? Not so much! I think I shat in my pantaloons! After we made our way out of Drumheller to the next stop on our tour - Calgary.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Alberta Tour Part 1

Sara, Logan and I are doing a tour of Alberta before I have to work a urology conference in Banff on the 22nd. After our flight and subsequent white-knuckled choppy landing we arrived at the baggage carousal to see the above - we knew we were in the land of dinos!

After getting a cooler and supplies we headed out of Calgary a couple of hours to the Badlands and Dinosaur Provincial Park where we would explore for a couple of days. The weather was iffy but, as we learned here out west, it changes quickly as you'll see in other pictures.

The long hill down into the Badlands where the visitor center is located.

I've got my dino gameface on. Like father..........

...........like son. The visitors center had some amazing fossils that were all found in this area. There's a triceratops behind Logan.

It stills boggles my mind that these things once roamed the earth.

Sara was reluctant to participate in the pictoral part of the story at first.

She then recovered. We decided to do some exploring and headed out on one of the many trails here.

Here I am getting my hoodoo on! Hoodoos are formations that have this tabletop-like appearance that's caused by water eroding the softer sediment underneath the more compact top rock - they were all over the Badlands.

Also the soft mudstone was quite smooth in places. As you can see in the background the weather was back to sunny skies.

A cactus flower.

I like this shot as it shows the nice landscape. It reminds of pictures I've seen of the Grand Canyon.

If we had the energy we would have hiked all day. We also would have seen LOTS of dinosaur bones as we would soon learn - we didn't know at this point what to look for.

They had an enclosed digsite on display - this one displays a triceratops bone bed. To properly excavate a skeleton takes many months, sometimes several summers depending on the size of the find.

Here's Sara overlooking the great expanse.

Since I had been up since 4:00am and been on the go since the next logical step would be to have a beer! I chose the O'Shea Dark Ale which, ironically, is brewed in Guelph at Sleemans.

After dinner it was time for some cool hotel aquatics

The waterslide was insanely fast and Logan and I went down at least 15 times (no joke) - we had a blast.

Mommy enjoyed her quiet hot tub time as the boys got their slide on.

The next morning in Brooks I awoke to a beautiful sunny day. While Sara and Logan slowly woke up I went for a run. I found an awesome lakeside loop that was about 3k long. Here's the sun rising over the lake.

View of the lake from the other side - it had a small lighthouse as well.

Feeling refreshed we went back to Dinosaur Provinical Park for our Fossil Safari Tour. Logan's got his walking stick and paleo-hat - he was all set.

We hiked into the Badlands with our guide Katrina and Amanda (not pictured). They were awesome with information and taught us how to find fossils - they were everywhere!

I tried on the hat. Check it out - Dino Dork!

Here's Logan with a Gorgosaurus bone (just below his cheek). Gorgosaurus was a relative of the T. Rex - a meat eating piece of terror!

Logan next to the leg bone of a hadrosaur. Hadrosaurs were big plant eaters and were considered the cows of the Creataceous Era.

A Gorgosaurus claw.

I captured film as well on the iPad which I hope to upload as it does the area justice over my cheap camera. From there we drove another two hours to see Logan's future employer - the Royal Tyrell Museum in Drumheller.

Logan was now in his ultimate happy place.......stay tuned.