Drumheller & Beyond

Trip Start Jun 18, 2008
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Trip End Jun 02, 2008


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Flag of Canada  , Alberta,
Friday, June 20, 2008

Today is June 20th, the first day of summer and it feels that way in Alberta.  After breakfast we traveled east from Drumheller...badlands that were home to dinosaurs and coal mines...which are both extinct and no longer viable in the region.  We stopped in the tiny town of Wayne with a population of 27. Getting to Wayne required that we travel along a winding road over 11 bridges of which 10 were one-lane wooden-plank bridges.  One good thing is that we only met a car or two on the trip to Wayne and back.  Back in the mining days there were nearly 2500 people living in the boomtown. 

Now with the exception of the Atlas Mine,  the only evidence of the 138 coal mines are roadside markers with a small paragraph indicating the place where hundreds of people worked and lived.  In the small village of Rosedale we walked across the Red Deer River on a suspension bridge, one of the remaining relics the mining company left behind.  In the same territory that coal was found, there are unusual landforms called hoodoos that were sculpted by the wind and rain.  Unfortunately, humans have not been able to just look at them, but insist on standing on the fragile structures.  At an accessable site near the highway, a guard is provided by the Tyrrell Museum to try to control the visitors. 

Close by is the Atlas Mine, Canada's last remaining wooden tipple mine, where we rode in a coal car, heard stories of coal miners and visited remains of homes, mine offices, and climbed the tipple.   Thankfully, the old mine that closed in 1979 is being restored by a local historical society.   Following the Atlas tour, we drove to  Brooks, the home of Dinosaur Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  That is an all day event planned for tomorrow.  However, we did see a unique aquaduct project that was built in the early 1900s to bring water to the arid prairie for agriculture by the Canadian Pacific Railroad.  The largest concrete aqueduct in the world was really an overhead river.
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