Monday, August 30, 2010

Dinosaurs & Icecream: Alberta Badlands

On a breathtaking, refreshing road trip, just days after landing from my Californian adventure, I have the chance to marvel at Alberta's mountains and scenic
wonders. Kristin arrived from Germany late Thursday night and after a couple days of power shopping the famous West Edmonton Mall and South Edmonton Common's outlets, Sean, Kristin and I took off on our Alberta Road Trip.

Drumheller was our first stop, 3.5 hours south east of Edmonton and home of the World's Largest Dinosaur and a renowned archeaological dig site, it stands alone
between miles and miles of road, empty space, farmers' fields and barbed wire fences. Unlike the country's other flat prairie landscapes, the badlands of Alberta are rolling hills and winding paths, dusty air and sandy mountains. Reminiscent of our second grade days, Sean and I played tour guide for Kristin, showing her ourfavorite dinosaur, the Stegarous Rex and old-fashioned western paraphenialia. The Royal Tyrell is fascinating to visit as an adult, to marvel at the intricate work of uplifting a fossil from its rocky shell. Check out the baby myosaurous!

Surprisingly, this small Alberta town offers more than just dinosaurs, run-down hotels and Western stores - we actually had an excellent meal at O'Shea's Irish Pub.
$4 highballs, $10 meals and $4 specialty coffees were a hit. Mmm, frangelico!

En route to Banff, we took in the plentiful scenery on Highway 1 and Route 56 , a section of small town Canada which none of us had seen. It is enveloped tranquility
that makes me wonder how a person from such a peaceful place would react if they met with my hectic lifestyle! Sean and Kristin also stopped at Pete's Drive-in, thefamous burger, fries and milkshake joint that boasts real ingredients and gigantic portions for less than the price of DQ.

*Facebook Users - CLICK HERE or you won't be able to see the spectacular Banff slideshow pictures from my new DSLR! Click right hand corner of black box to adjust speed.

Banff's Sulpher Mountain was the perfect way to earn our dinner at the Keg Tuesday night, A grueling 2 hour hike up a winding, rocky road, we were saved only byProtein Plus bars in Sean's bag and our 3 litres of water. (Thanks to my trainer, protein bars are a bit of a faux pas on the diet list this week - we're almost there, 8 more pounds!) Also, my pillowy soft Saloman boots (can you believe hiking books are comfortable?) were an added bonus. Arriving at the top, we were met with words of congratulations from an American lady who, alarmed at our feat, exclaimed, "Not my style".

Shivering, we took a few pictures at the observatory before climbing the final kilometer of stairs to various viewpoints. View the slideshow of some fabulous poses
Kristin, Sean and I took in a natural paradise. Starbucks at the bottom (the advertisements LIE - there is no Starbucks at the summit!) was a welcome relief. Hazelnut lattes and ice wine maple leaf chocolates never tasted so good!

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