Dinosaur park to Banff

Day 6
Thursday July 21st

Breakfast at one large farming table this morning with a pair of other guests and the farmer, lots of pancakes with lashings of maple syrup and a choice of a dozen different teas, though I still chose English Breakfast tea. Talked a lot about farming, land is sold by the 1/2 mile square with our farmer owning 4 lots. It's very poor ground though as each square mile only supports about 50 head of cattle. What with the baking summers, hordes of mosquitoes and 6 feet of snow in the winter Alberta is not a hospitable place.

Centosaurus Bone Bed hike

Back to the dinosaur park this morning as we have a walking tour organised, the Centosaurus Bone Bed hike. It's an early start before the weather heats up too much. Even so it was already in the 20's before we set off.

This is a 2 hour hike so with a stop off at the end and a couple of breathers on the way it can't be more than 2-3 miles in total. Still in this heat even that is enough.

There was a lot more greenery on this trip compared to last night so it should have been cooler, not that it felt it.

1st water stop

The guide more or less gave the same instructions and information as last night's tour but once at the destination we were simply allowed to wander freely around.

It's about 2" across

View over cliff from that big lump

Can we go back now

This was a probably a river crossing where hundreds of centosauruses were drowned in one fell swoop. Bones were lying all around waiting to be found. With over 300 skeletons no attempt was made to preserve the vast majority so they were left sticking out of rocks for us to find.

Centosaurus Bone Bed

I found this (no not the hat)

With the heat dust and flies we were glad to make it back to the cafe and ice creams, but I wouldn't have missed the hike for anything, the freedom and trust they give you would be unheard of in this country.

Refeshed we headed off west away from the Alberta plains down the main transcanada highway as we had to be in Banff in the Rockies that evening.


At Calgary we stopped on the north side of the river for a coffee and lunch then walked into town across the bridge. After strolling through the park by the river we ended up in the business district, not particularly exciting but there was an interesting closed in walkway for pedestrians 15 feet above the road. This was designed for use in winter and wormed its way through most of the buildings with frequent coffee shops and stairs down to the street. Its an ingenious idea as it keeps cars away from pedestrians and allows people easy movement even in heavy snowfalls. Apparently any new building has to incorporate an extension of the "Plus 15" system as a condition of planning permission.

It was rush hour before we made our way back to the car and the streets were packed. We'd parked on the side of the road in a bay but all the cars around us had now left, this gave me a nagging feeling that something was wrong. Examing the parking signs it transpired that at 4.00pm the roads became thoroughfares, no parking was allowed and it turned into a tow away zone. I ran up the street hoping that the car was still there. Fortunately it was and was causing chaos as traffic piled up behind it. Jude was due to drive the next section but getting to the car first I jumped right in and started it up hurrying everybody else along as fast as I could. I didn't fancy seeing a traffic warden at that point.

As soon as we were in I simply drove trying to guess my way until Jude located our position on a city map and neatly routed us back to the through road.

Once out of the main part of town I stopped for petrol and was astonished to have someone come out to serve me, how quaint I thought but then found that the petrol was several cents more expensive at that pump. I had to move the car to an unattended pump to get the advertised price.


Tram and pedestrian bridge

Why the arch in the middle of nowhere ?

Rockies here we come

We took the old road from Calgary to Banff as it was more scenic and pleasent to drive. It passed several lakes and towns but was slower than the dual carriageway.

Unlike England we had to pay to get into the national parks and as we are here for a week it worked out cheaper to buy a yearly pass, that way we can also pass it on to Catherine when we leave. Once again we had to phone ahead to say we would be late, how B&Bs expect people to arrive by 5.00pm beats me if you are doing any sightseeing on your holiday.

Blue Lodge B&B is far more of a commercial enterprise than the other places even Taste the Past. It's located only a hundred yards from the main high street which is very convenient but the rooms are pokey, crammed in on top of one another, the standard of fittings and decorations not nearly as high as other places and the guest lounge / breakfast room shuts at 9.00 pm ! Even so it is the most expensive so far; that's what you get for staying in Banff, still the location has a lot going for it as we'll not need the car. At 4.30 the landlady puts out a plate of homemade cookies and fortunately there were still a couple left for the kids when we arrived sometime past 6.00pm.

Hunger forced us almost srtaight out, after a quick wander up part of the main street we settled for a pizzaria. Banff is a very touristy full of grockle shops and nowhere for residents to buy anything.


©2005 Rob Hayward