Day 7 – June 13 – Tumbler Ridge, BC to Dawson Creek, BC

There was a Closed sign on the hotel restaurant but we could see people sitting at tables so we went in to ask if they were open thinking they may have forgotton to turn the sign.

They were only open to hotel guests and any outside orders would have be take out as half of the power was off in the building. We had breakfast and checked-out. The receptionist had just pulled our receipt from the printer when the all power went off again.

We got a bit worried that the Dinosaur Discovery Gallery that we could not visit yesterday due to the town-wide power outage would be closed again, but they must be on a diffferent grid and were still open.

I do not have a deep interest in dinosaurs and cannot tell one millenia from another, nor recognize any of the different ‘aurs’ or ‘opods’, but I do find it interesting to see the things that have been unearthed. And, since the discovery of the dinosaur tracks by the two boys in 2000 coincided with the closure of the largest coal mine and the departure of half the population; thus in a large part saving Tumbler Ridge from becoming a ghost town I was keen to see what they had collected.

Many of the items are replicas or molds for a couple of reasons. Some of them are huge and weigh several tons and some of them are still out in the mountains embedded in the rock.

The Dinosaur Discovery Gallery is housed in a former Elementary School . When the mine closed and so many people left there were not enough children for two elementary schools so they were amalgamated into one and the other was used for the Dinosaur Gallery. Not being a purpose-built museum to display so many heavy or large artifacts they keep most of them in a large shed on the property and make casts of others.

As usual with me in any musuem I take a ton of photos of the items that interest me and the information about them. I have trimmed my selections down a lot here but there are still quite a few fossils and bones and such. Feel free to scroll down and bypass it all. I won’t mind.

There was a brand new case with several fossils of 350 to 500 million-year old fossilized coral. These were just discovered recently and they have not had time to make up the labels. Discoveries are literally being made every day in this area and one of the most exciting things for the paleontologist is that the Tumbler Ridge area has fossils and bones, etc. from at least three different prehistoric eras. The world-famous museum at Drumheller, Alberta has bones, and tracks from one era only.

Ankylosaur

They have replicas of each of the three species of dinosaurs whose tracks were found along Flatbed Creek.

Ornithopod
Theropod

I was quite impressed to see such detailed fossil impressions of fish. This whole area was once a massive inland sea stretching the full length of North and South America.

Large adult Therapod track.
Hadrosaur footprints. 73 million years ago. The first complete skeleton of a hadrosaur has been found here.
Bones from the skeleton of the Hadrosaur

After we left the Dinosaur Discovery Gallery we headed out of Tumbler Ridge on the road to Dawson Creek. We have friends there that we have not seen in 32 years and are going to stay with them for a couple of nights while we see the local sights.

We made one stop on the way and hiked into Quality Falls which was a little waterfall that drops in a narrow canyon. The trail was 2.5 km round trip and there was quite a few steep downward sections but overall it was a pretty good and I huffed and puffed and limped my way there and back.

The Tumbler Ridge is home to a large windfarm owned by the Meikle Corp.

The Dawson Creek area is farming country. Many, many tons of grain are grown up here every year. Dawson is also the official Mile 0 of the Alaska Highway built by over 11,000 American soldiers and 16,000 Canadian and American civilians in 1942 when it was believed there could be an invasion by the Japanese into North America through Alaska. We will be learning more about that as we tour around Dawson.

When we arrived in Dawson Creek we found the Walter Wright Pioneer Village and spent an couple of hours wandering through all the old buildings and looking at the artifacts and displays.

Several of the buildings are original and have been moved to the site. Most are replicas and quite a few of them were construction projects for the local highs school woodwork classes.

St. Paul’s Anglican Church. Built and financed by community volunteers. the building is still sturdy after being moved three times.

We finished touring the Heritage building at 4:30 and drove over to our friend Marilyn’s house where we met her husband Brian, had dinner and then visited with three of Marilyn’s (now-adult) kids and spouses and a granddaughter. It was a really nice evening catching up on each other.s doings over that past three decades.

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