In the summer of 1997, Hubby and I took our three boys to Drumheller, to see the badlands and explore the Royal Tyrrell Museum. (I blogged about the trip here) As much as we loved the experience, we’ve never been back, until this summer, when my oldest son and I returned with his family.
There were still gophers galore, and when I told my grandsons how much their uncle had wanted to take one home for a pet, they offered to catch one for him. Wouldn’t have that been fun? Not.
We strolled the Badlands Interpretive Trail before the day got too warm.
I don’t recall this trail from our first visit. Perhaps it hadn’t been developed yet, back then. It was interesting to see all the little hoodoos in the making.
Cactus grew all over the place, surprising, given the climate in Alberta.
When we finally entered the museum, we were greeted by these bad boys. For a brief moment, my little grandsons were unsure whether to feel apprehensive or excited. Excitement soon won out.
Fascinating story behind this T-Rex find. In 1980, two high school students were fishing in the Crowsnest Pass when they spotted what they thought was petrified wood. Closer inspection revealed a dinosaur in prime condition. Such a remarkable discovery and I can just imagine their excitement!
Much of the museum didn’t seem familiar to me, no doubt having evolved greatly over the nearly twenty years since I’d first been there. But some of the exhibits were recognizable, and it was cool to take photos of my son and his sons where I’d once taken photos of my three boys.
We spent an incredible few hours, allowing our imaginations to wander back to another time where these amazing creatures roamed our earth.
Stegosaurus (my younger grandson’s personal favourite)
Plesiobaena, a primitive turtle
Champsosaurs. Although these reptiles look like primitive crocodiles, but they actually predate Crocodilians.
The mighty T-Rex. I remember this impressive guy from my first visit.
Sabre-tooth cats & Mastodon
Seeing the Hoodoos, back in 1997, stands out clearly in my memory, and I was happy that these delicate and beautiful formations were still standing for all to enjoy.
Back when we first visited, we were able to go right up to them, but they are now (wisely) protected behind a fence.
Photo from 1997 (Notice how the choice of T-shirt hasn’t changed over the years)
The same hoodoo now
Although the small group of hoodoos are off-bounds, the rest of the area is open for exploring, which the boys very much enjoyed doing.
Because of my vertigo (it’s much easier going up than coming back down), I chose not to climb too high. Instead I stayed below to take in the beauty surrounding me. Stark, harsh, and infinitely interesting.
My reason for going to Alberta was to celebrate my oldest grandson’s birthday. I was only there for a few days, but we managed to cram in as much fun as we could. Besides the trip to Drumheller, we spent a day playing in the Elbow River. A different section of this river flows directly behind my old high school and it’s been nearly forty years since I’d last waded in it.
We also went to the beautiful Prince’s Island Park.
In some ways, the park reminded me of parts of Stanley Park in Vancouver, with the Bow River flowing nearby instead of Burrard Inlet and English Bay. The park even had the requisite geese and black squirrels.
We wandered beyond the park to the Peace Bridge and across the Bow River.
As a special treat (especially for me!), I took everyone to a Stampeders’ football game. Growing up, back in the day, I used to save my babysitting money to go to their games. It was a beautiful night, and the home team didn’t disappoint.
Another day, full of nostalgia, took us to Bowness Park. That park reminds me so much of my dearly missed dad. He used to take us there when we were kids, and it was touching to share that special place with my own son and his family. The nearby Bow River is a good spot to find the perfect rock to throw in the water.
We walked the trails, eventually crossing the river using the pedestrian bridge under Stoney Trail. After a little more rock skipping, we made our way back into the park and, eventually, home.
All too soon, I was winging my way back to my own home, filled with enough wonderful memories to carry me through to the next visit.