Ending mileage: 3552 Ending time: 4:00 pm
Travel mileage: 172 Travel time: 7:30
For once it is not raining or snowing in the morning and it is 45 degrees.
As we approached the Dinosaur Provincial Park, it was quite striking to see the flat prairie disappear into the deep canyon beyond. It felt like we could be like the scene in the movie Thelma and Louise where they drive straight into the Grand Canyon. Fortunately, we just took the steep road down to the bottom.
The park has been designated a "World Heritage Site" for having the greatest collection of dinosaur fossils in the world as well as the unique geology.
We went into the visitor center which has great exhibits about the geology, ecology and paleontology of the region. The fossils were discovered in the late 1800s and excavated by teams for the Canadian and U.S. museums. Unfortunately, there was a "dinosaur rush" during 1910-1915 when many people came in and removed fossils for private purposes.
There are a number of walking trails to view the striking geology, with layers of sandstone, ironstone and sillstone. It was fortunate that it had stopped raining as it would be very slippery otherwise - the sillstone is composed of bentonite clay which when it gets wet becomes more slippery than grease. Bentonite is used to seal cracks in swimming pools and has been used as a food additive to give it "mouth feel".
There are also two places where you can see unexcavated dinosaur fossils sticking up out of the rock.
We highly recommend the park - it has been the best part of our trip so far. We hadn't planned to come here but with the bad weather and busy holiday weekend, decided to stay in the Calgary area longer.
We traveled back to Calgary where we are staying in a Comfort Inn for the night.