Day 9 – June 15 – Dawson Creek, BC to Grande Prairie, AB

We didn’t leave our friend’s place until after 11. It is only a one and a half hour drive from Dawson to Grande Prairie but there were quite a few geocaches along the roadside that we planned to try find.

We are in the northern prairie now with the long straight roads.

After a week and a day we finally entered the next province. Lots of people would do the same distance in a day or a day and a half.

The landscape is now all farmland and flatland.

We pulled into a small park and campground to find a geocache. There was a motorcyclist who had stopped to eat his lunch and he asked if we had seen the big plaque on the rock. The park name was the Sudeten and that was where his grandmother was from.

The Sudetenland is the historical German name for the northern, southern, and western areas of former Chzechoslovakia which were inhabited primarily by Sudeten Germans. The plaque told the story of how the park came to be and why it had that name. It is a little hard to read, but if you zoom in to see smaller sections better you should be able to read it. It is a pretty amazing story.

The community of Hythe needed a new fire hall. The projected budget was $1.2 million. Neither the town or the fire department had access to that amount of money so they drew up their own plans and began to build it themselves with volunteer supplies and firefighters, as well as many community members doing the work. It took a year to complete and came in at 1/3 the cost. There was a geocache hidden in one of the old fire hydrants they had lining the driveway. Apropos for a long-time volunteer firefighter to find.

The community of Beaver Lodge has a large beaver at the entrance to town. John had pulled over to the side of the road to look back and take a picture of it. He also captured the one below, which surprisingly is all in focus with two moving vehicles.

Large grain elevators of different types are near every town and many large farms.

The description of a geocache up ahead along the highway said it was near a new dinosaur museum. I had seen nothing about a museum in my guide books so we decided to go see some more fossils.

First discovered in 1974 by a local high school teacher along the Pipestone Creek, the finding of this horned dinosaur, Pachyrhinosaurus Lakustai, was so significant it led to the creation of the musuem, which opened in 2015 near the community of Wembley. The Pipestone Creek bonebed is one of the densest mass fossil sites in the world. The size of a football field, hundreds of dinosaurs were frozen in time here. With the sheer size and scale of fossils the creek was nicknamed the River of Death.

The Philip J. Currie Museum is named for a renowned Canadian paleontologist.

A model showing what a section of the bonebed looks like.

It is a good thing some of these animals had big bodies because their heads were huge!

This skull shows all the parts the scientists have glued together to make it complete.

There were two sand pits like this where kids (or adults) could use the brushes to expose the fossils. In reality the paleontologists use jackhammers, rock picks, and hammers and chisels to remove the bones.

We had not intended to see more dinosaurs but it was interesting. I don’t think I will go to another museum for awhile. As I said, I am not a huge dinosaur person, but we had the time today, so why not?

We got to Grande Prairie at 5 and moved into Mountain Time again so our clocks are an hour ahead. We called our friend Ryan and arranged to meet him for dinner at a nearby restaurant where we had a great visit until 9. Tomorrow we continue east to Slave Lake, about 3 1/2 hours away.

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