Saturday, August 20, 2011


We enjoyed a nice afternoon canoeing on Vermillion Lakes, which lie just to the west of Banff. The lake was shallow and relatively warm, and Elise didn't seem too intimidated. In fact, she kept exclaiming "I'm not scared of this lake. I can see the bottom!" The weather was beautiful and Elise enjoyed netting small trout fry afterward.

A few days later we made a major drive to Drumheller to visit the Royal Tyrrell Museum, an activity Elise had been asking about. It was about 2.5 hours from Canmore, so we got up at 6:00 am and made the journey. Although the forecast was for rain, we got very lucky and threaded our activities between the showers.

Elise getting ready for our first activity - the fossil hunting expedition!

This was Owen, our guide. Elise and he are sharing a laugh over something.

Hiking out into the Badlands. It was a beautiful landscape that reminded me of parts of the BC Interior.

Prickly Pear!

Once at the site, Owen told us how to identify the fossils from the various rocks, and we all set to work. The kids were given a screen into which they could gather their finds and show them to Owen for identification.

Elise found a piece of dinosaur bone! Owen said it was from the toe knuckle of a duckbill dinosaur, which are very common in the area.

After the fossil hunt, we moved locations and Owen showed us a spot where they had uncovered a dinosaur skeleton. It's barely visible as shards of white rock poking out of the dirt, but it was clearly a skeleton and it had not been disturbed.

After we got back from the hike, I took Elise to a fossil casting workshop where she made a plaster impression of a raptor claw. She had lots of fun.

Finally, we toured the museum. We spent about three hours inside and it was INCREDIBLE. Words can't describe the enormity of the skeletons and the elaborate displays. Suffice to say it was well worth the drive and we all left tired but impressed.

Elise posing by a leg for scale.


Elise hamming it up beside a Tyrannosaurus skull.

The T-Rex skeleton. It was huge!

The museum also contained many other kinds of fossils and displays, including this series of skulls showing the evolution of man.

Black Beauty. This incredible T-Rex skeleton was discovered by a couple of high school students canoeing in Alberta. It's black because of the minerals in the ground, which stained the bones as they hardened to stone. This was our favourite skeleton.

We have just over one more week left then we head back to Squamish. Pam works for two days then we are going to Vancouver Island for the Labour Day weekend to climb and beach comb. The next weekend we are going back to the Olympic National Park in Washington to do the Sandpoint Trail hike at Lake Ozette. We have a reservation to camp at the beach and hope the weather cooperates.

Finally, we've made bookings to fly to Finale Ligure on the Mediterranean coast in Italy for Christmas. It's a beautiful area and will hopefully be warm enough at this time of year to hike, explore and climb (of course)!

Marc, Pam and Elise...

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