Day 88 – September 2 – Medicine Hat, AB to Three Hills, AB

My final blog for this trip is nothing but dirt with a bit of water thrown in for variation.

We left Medicine Hat and headed west far enough to connect to the road north to Dinosaur Discovery Provincial Park, a United Nations World Heritage site near Patricia.

This area in the Alberta Badlands is an incredibly rich fossil site.

Before we descended into the valley to the Vistors Center we walked along the ridge at the viewpoint at the top of the hill.

The distant meandering water source is Sandhill Creek.

The road to the valley floor was very steep and winding and the roadside was posted with many signs saying No Stopping on the Hill. Too much risk of being hit by a car coming around a corner if you decide to stop and take a photo.

We stopped at the Visitors Center briefly. They had a large dinosaur display but we gave it a pass. They sell 2 hour bus tours with a few different themes and also provided guided hikes. There are warnings at the trail heads to beware of rattlesnakes, black widow spiders, northern scorpions and cactus.

The scenic drive was only three kilometers long but there were still lots of different dirt piles to photograph.

There were two special fossil sites along the road. In each a collection of fossilized bones was protected by a plexi-glass walled shed.

Aided by the drawings above and below you could look at the bones and see which ones belonged where.

The second fossil site was a repiicated section of a large bone bed that was discovered here.

There were two theories about how so many bones ended up in such a muddled pile (the paleantologists think about 300 animals). One was a flash flood and the other was a disaster caused by so many large animals crossing a deep river at once and having many of them jostled off their feet and swept away. The majority of the bones belong to Centrosaurus, but there are also teeth from a flesh-eating dinosaur that broke off when they were feeding on the drowned ones. Many of the bones of the Centrosaurus show tooth marks and breaks.

Once we had driven the loop road we had lunch at the cafe and then drove to the Bassano Irrigation Dam.

2013 was a bad flood year and they had a couple of poster boards showing the dam during that time.

Every gate wide open and the water is covering the lower level and up past the fence on the side.

The trees in the center and right of this photo are the same ones with the water up to the lower branches in the photo above this.

We stopped for a few minutes so I could pick some grass for these horses. The Appaloosa and the foal would not come near me, the bay took one handful, and the sorrel happily ate all the rest.

Driving north towards Three Hills took us through Drumheller country where the famous Tyrell Dinosaur Museum is located. We have been there a couple of times so did not stop, but the scenery is very similar to that in Dinosaur Park about two hours drive southwest.

So, that’s a wrap folks. My final blog of this wonderful trip. We begin visiting Alberta relatives tomorrow and then will drive south to enter BC through the Crowsnest Pass and drive near the US border over to the bottom of the Okanagan Valley so I can visit my stepmother in Osoyoos on the way home. It has been a great journey. Thanks for coming along. Hopefully it won’t be two years before we can do another one.

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