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Friday, June 24, 2011

Tangle Creek Waterfalls


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bighorn Sheep at Altitude


Sunday, June 19, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

The Tram

Believe it or not, I had never seen a real mountain before.  Not in my adult memory anyway.  For those of you who don't know, I was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.  Winnipeg, and the area immediately surrounding it, I have always envisaged as quite possibly the flattest place in the entire world.  I could be wrong.

This was certainly one of the reasons I was so excited to take a trip out west.  I have burned into my memory my first glimpse of the snows, and glaciers of my first mountain through the low hanging clouds.  "What is that up in the sky?", I said out loud.  "That shouldn't be there!"  "That's a freaking mountain!"  "That is freaking earth!"  "That stuff isn't supposed to be UP THERE!"  (Edited for language, and space).  At that moment, I felt a little like Jim Carrey in the Truman Show.  "Are mountains even real?"

Ok, it was a little tongue in cheek, even on my own part, but the essential "vibe" was there.


One of the highlights of the trip was the ride up the tram, part-way up Whistler's Mountain, and just as enjoyable, the climb the rest of the way to the summit.

  
The cables used for the tram.

Gripper and Sheave Assemblies



It was quite a ride to the top.  On the way up the flight attendant gave us some points of interest and cracked a few jokes.  Another passenger and I noticed an elk grazing right in the cleared path of the gondola.


The views from the upper terminal were amazing, but the trail up to the peak was too appealing to us.  We had to take the walk.

Upper Tram Terminal



Jasper

Inuksuks 

After the long walk up, and after I fell waist deep into a snow filled crevice, we made it to the top.  The views were basically the same, except it was about a 360ยบ view.  Nothing much up there, except some more inuksuk and a hand full of chipmunks.  Inuksuks seem to dot the park all over the place.  Particularly in places of extreme beauty.  Quickly becoming one of my favorite memes.




Monday, June 13, 2011

Drumhellar

Our first major stop in Alberta was Drumhellar.

"Located in the heart of the Badlands, Drumheller Valley has an interesting history which spans back some 70  million years to a time when the area was very different looking than it is today. The land was flat and the climate was tropic, providing the needed habitat for plants and animals alike to flourish. These vast plains crossed by many rivers originating in the Rocky Mountains and spilling into the Bear Paw Sea, were the home of what we today know as the Dinosaur.

The arrival of the Ice Age covered the region with thick layers of ice. As glaciers as think as one kilometer melted, lakes and valleys were formed leaving us with what is know today as the Red Deer River Valley.

At the end of the ice age this newly formed Valley became home to new inhabitants. First came animals and plants, and then the Native people. Living in both the Valley and prairie that surrounds it, they made for themselves a quiet, serene existence. Buffalo jumps, ceremonial sites and campsites mark their existence in the area. They stayed for many years, with the land and river providing for them." Source:http://www.dinosaurvalley.com/history

We arrived by car early in the afternoon, and checked out the pedestrian suspension bridge.  It was a little nerve racking.  It sways and resonates with the steps of all on board.  However, if I have learned anything  from Myth-buster, it is that an accident of such a nature is very unlikely.

The views from the other side of the bridge were quite nice, for those who put a little effort into the short hike up the hills.


As we made our way back to the car, and took a final snapshot of the area, some of the friendly locals shot us back a wave from a boat on the river below (pun not intended).


Before we found a spot for our tent, we had the opportunity to see the Royal Tyrrell Museum which was probably the single most fascinating museum I have seen to date.  We were immediately greeted with some very realistic looking life size models of dinosaurs, complete with vocal simulations.  Who knows how accurate it all is, but it certainly makes the imagination kick into high gear right off the bat.





The museum houses casts of real fossils, assembled, and held in place by metal supports, in life-like poses.


The museum also holds real fossils.



I'll leave some pleasant surprises for you, but the last thing I'll mention was this reproduction of Charles  Darwin's first notebook on transmutation.  He, and other early pioneers of the genetic theory of evolution, were truly giants of intellect, weather or not you in-fact believe their theories to be true. 



In addition to that, they have many actual fossils.  Some are on display, others are on semi-display in the "preparation lab" where you can see many fossils artifacts as works in progress.  I wonder what they are working on now???  For our visit, we did not actually see anyone working on the specimens.




We also found Reptile World, which is a zoo filled to the brim with interesting, live animals, that share our modern lifetimes, but hint a lot at the types of animals portrayed in the Royal Tyrrell Museum Special thanks to one of the zoo keepers who let us actually handle Brittany, a common boa constrictor who was born at the zoo.



Then there's this little guy...


He oversees a nice little water park, where kids can cool down, and parents can take a break.  If you pay the fee, you can go up into his mouth and have a look around.


More to come...

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Road Trip 2011

I am back from Road Trip 2011, and I have some images that I am really proud of. I look forward to posting some of my favorites over the next few days.


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Friday, June 3, 2011