Monday, June 7, 2010

Just an aside from home first! Columbus Metropolitan Library was named Library Journal's Library of the Year, and it was announced to the staff this morning. I had already planned to wear my SRC t-shirt today for the first Monday of SRC, but it was extra exciting to be able to support my peeps today!

The Royal Tyrell Museum is amazing! It was full to the brim of dinosaur and other great prehistoric fossils. The exhibits were put together very well, and the museum was laid out so that you followed a logical path through the whole thing, following evolutionary history.

There was a viewing area where you could watch the scientists working on uncovering and preparing fossil finds, too. I always wonder if they feel like they're in a zoo or something, but it was very interesting to watch them. Each one of them had an air vaccuum tube that took all the dust and debris away as they created it. Very cool!

It was doubly cool being there and seeing that so many of the specimens were obtained at Dinosaur Provincial Park, which we visited yesterday!

There is also a viewing deck outside. This is Mike and Si up on the deck. There were a lot of steps to get up there, and no handrail, so I stayed below.

We spent about 4-5 hours there. Simon was still bouncing when we left, even though he was nearly as tired as we were.

After a good rest, we went out to see the Hoodoos. These are stone towers where the stantion is eroded away but the top is solid enough to have preserved a tower-like structure. They are commonly felt to be one of the symbols of this area. Around here, you can find Hoodoo jewelry and candy as well as all the dino trinkets.

We also drove out to a pull-off called Horse Thief Canyon. It was charming, and strikingly beautiful. Mike has been in his element taking pictures! I'm only posting my own work on this blog, though, so he can do his up right when we get home.

Along the overlook there seemed to be a whole colony of ground squirrels. Simon was able to get up close and personal with them. They even came out and sniffed him, and one of them even nibbled his finger a little (skin didn't break). Aren't they adorable? These look different from the ones we saw in Moose Jaw, so we're thinking they are a different species. More research is needed to confirm.

We had dinner at a local diner in operation since 1917, Yavis. Yummy Alberta Beef! We think it might be one of the best meals we've had so far, and it was less money than several others we've had. Go figure.

Best thing about the trip? Seeing my 15-yr-old smile like this. Alot.

I feel so blessed to be here with Mike and Simon, to have them both and have the ability to take this trip together. It's been good for my soul, you know? The beautiful nature, the incredible history and science . . . and the family time are all such gifts. I'm feeling really thankful.
I wanted to add a few more comments about yesterday before we move on. Since Si is still sleeping and Mike is in the shower, I have a few stolen moments. Drumheller is in a long narrow valley of the badlands. Just like in Appalachia, there are side valleys (hollers down in our hills, coulees up here). It was really neat going down the coulee last night to the Last Chance Saloon. The road we were on was also known as The 11 Bridges Road. The Saloon was between bridges 9 and 10.

The history of the saloon says that when this was a mining town, the only access they had was by the train!

Drumheller seems to be capitolizing on the Dino theme. There are cheezy dinosaur statues in varying states of authenticity all over town. One, billed as "The largest Dinosaur on earth" is at the tourist information center. We pulled in there after dinner and had a bit of fun. I love posing with statues!
Mike likes being silly, too.

Simon declined to be silly, but he did pose with a claw so you can see how big this dino is! It's even got an observation deck inside. Don't be surprised if we go back when it's open!