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...a glimpse into life on Vancouver Island, needle felting, photography, food, gardening, etcetera...etcetera
"Happiness always looks small when you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and at once you learn how big and precious it is."
Maxim Gorky

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Recess!

O.K, enough hard work getting through this winter!
It's time for recess!
Since I haven't done much gallivanting lately I thought I would
send out some hot, summer vibes and revisit some of our road trip across Canada.
My last post was about those gorgeous, wide open Prairies.
Heading across the plateaus of Southern Saskatchewan, through Moose Jaw,
Swift Current and on into Alberta.
 Somewhere between Medicine Hat and Calgary there lies an ancient river valley.
Before you get there though, there's nothing but flatness.
Signs of the attraction are here and there along the way...
...and then nothing but a land lost in time for miles and miles.
There it is...a huge carved gash in the earth.
In fact it was 75 million years ago that this place was carved away by water 
leaving sand and mud deposits which make up the sculptured walls and hills...
Welcome to Dinosaur Provincial Park.
Here we have the worlds most complete record of the Cretaceous period
designating this place a UNESCO World Heritage Site. 
So just imagine...giant reptiles flying above, crocodiles patrolling the river banks,
lush forests of sycamore and magnolia filling the landscape.
Now, on a blistering hot day in September, things look much different...
Our feet gently climbed and crawled across the bone dry pathways,
our eyes scanned the rock as if studying fine art in a gallery...
...for that's what it is.
Art. 
Perfect colouring and shading.
Masterful carving and sculpting.
Mysterious and evocative. 
They call this place The Badlands and although the ancient mounds hold many untold stories,
there is a modern forest running along the valley bottom
only growing there because of prairie creeks and diverted waterways, man made...
We walked down into the green, cool bottomlands...
Cottonwood and willow trees giving us shade to sit on the river
and gaze upon signs of the beaver, coyote and mule deer who dwell here now...
 The river looks calm but it was moving at a steady, strong flow...
 
...it's muddy waters running deep...
 Parks staff must discourage the beavers appetite for big dam trees...
Some of these trees are 200 years old, young in comparison to 
their ancient surroundings...
Back up top we hiked along the fossil hunters trails.
 Bones locked in the earth, discovered and uncovered...
...some remain where they were found in a quarry in 1913...
 In the visitors centre there are more of these beasts, reconstructed...

 Given to a new chapter in their long history here on earth...
... depicted in skeletal, brown scenes unlike their real lives of yore...
  ...some left in the 'death pose' they were found in...
So we left this aged place of history...wondering about the world as it was.

"Landscape was here long before we were even dreamed.
It watched us arrive"

(from Robert MacFarlane's book 'The Wild Places)




3 comments:

Mairéad said...

Great photos of this amazing landscape. It must have been a real treat to see. And the glimpse of sunshine is most welcome this time of year.

Nancy Kay said...

Thanks for the tour of the Badlands. The sculptures left behind by wind and water are spectacular! You captured wonderfully interesting pictures of the rocks, hills, river, and the green valley. What a place it must have been when the dinosaurs were roaming around!

Lucinda Keller said...

Fantastic. Love those formations … how fun it would be to paint them. … of them, that is!