In Canada the whole family was very excited about our visit to the Tyrrell Dinosaur Museum. Alberta’s soil seem to host one of the greatest collections of fossils in the world making also this museum into one of the best dinosaurs museums. The variety was huge, you name your favorite fierce extinct dinosaur and they can provide the petrified baby dinosaur still in the egg to the gigantic skeletons. They not only had dinosaurs but also Mammoth, Saber toothed tiger and other more “recent” extinct cousins.
We then ended our Canadian visit with a very relaxed few days in Lethbridge. Here Emil knew a good friend Aaron (from an exchange in Australia) with family where we could stay. We enjoyed staying put for a few days after very long drives through the vast planes of Canada. Aaron worked at the national park Writing On Stone. It was a treat having our private guide through the closed off and most sacred places to the Black feet with ancient First Nation’s (native’s) carvings and petroglyphs. The landscape here was also breathtaking, and Emma loved running around through the hoodoos (sand formations).
Going south with summer temperatures of 25 – 30 C, we crossed the border to USA again. We left the vast agricultural planes behind and encountered the Rocky Mountains again. Once again we approached the wild West with it’s beautiful nature, high pointy mountains covered with evergreen and found nice places to set up camp. The temperatures dropped and it felt more like winter.
We had to miss out on Glacier National Park which closed for the year the day before we arrived and continued to Yellowstone. Yellowstone is the grand mother of all world’s national parks. It’s not only the first preserve in the world of it’s kind reinstated in 1872. It also holds one of the most diverse variety from wild life to volcanic activity and of course has the most extreme of everything. The earth’s crust is no thinner at any other place, here is more geysers and volcanic activity than the rest of the world combined, the world highest geyser shooting up some 100 m even if it does so only every 8 years or so, but then they of course have the most famous geyser Old Faithful with 50 m which goes off on a schedule every 90 minutes.
We found a very nice cabin which the girls called home and enjoyed exploring the enormous (100 x 100 km) Yellowstone for almost five days. Midway it began to snow transforming the scenery and the temperatures during the day clung to 0 C. We have brought quite good four season gear but we realized that proper gloves was one thing we missed and even if we bought some for the girls they were a bit cold. Except for all geysers, hot pools, mud pools and other volcanic activity we enjoyed the scenery and beautiful nature from an arid and barren landscape to a lush evergreen forest spotted with fiery yellow patches of fall colored deciduous trees. In this setting we were very lucky to spot much of the generous wild life from the shy wolf, bear, coyote, bald eagle to the masses of bison, elk and deer.
We now escaped Yellowstone heading south through Grand Teton National Park. Further south and at lower altitudes we will tomorrow leave winter behind and be back with summer.