Day 1 – Banff to Medicine Hat

Started off quite late as we weren’t picking up our rideshares from Canmore until 10am. Had omlette and Avocado for breakfast, finished packing the car and received our deposit back from our landlord in full! Yippee!!

Collected 2 young German backpackers from The Bear Hostal in Canmore and headed towards Calgary. Chatted about our travels both in Canada and the rest of the world and listeden to music. Dropped them at Calgary airport and collected $20 for the ride. Sweet! Went to the nearest Wallmart where we grabbed a few supplies before heading off to the East.It was rather sad to see the Rockies disappearing into the distance as we drove away, we lived in the mountains so long we were used to having them around us like some sort of comfort blanket. Looking fowards into the distance, all we could see on all sides is flat, we had entered the Badlands.

Drumheller is a pretty cool little place. You don’t even know it’s there until you start going downhill into a huge Canyon of striped hills, it’s almost as if you are entering Bedrock from The Flinstones. They have discovered a lot of dinosaur remains there and have a world class dinosaur museaum, the worlds biggest dinosaur and various dino related hops and eateries. They have definately milked the theme but I think it adds to the charm of the place. We visited the Royal Tyrell Museam and were glad to get out of the car and into the cool airconditioned building to look and fossils, casts and vast displays of dinosaurs from all periods. It was quite interesting to learn how many almost full skeletons of lots of different species had been discouvered in BC and Alberta. The Museam was bigger than I expected so we got round in just under an hour. Carried on and stopped at the ‘Worlds biggest Dinosaur’ for a photo and to grab a few maps from the information centre before driving out to see The HooDoos. Diverted off the main road for a little way to a tiny ‘one horse’ town called Wayne. Went there because my Stepfathers name is Wayne as well as to see the old pub The Last Chance Saloon. The place reminded me a lot of Central Otago in NZ, all the rocky hills, mines everywhere and the old pud looked a bit like the Cardrona Hotel. Grabbed an ice cream and soaked up the atmosphere.Much like the ones in Banff the Hoo Doos are rock formations caused by years of erosion that have created mushroom like shapes in the rock. The HooDoos themselves are surrounded by a fence and viewing platforms but the surrounding areas can be walked/climbed on which is just what we did. It was 7:30 pm by this time and still hot and humid so we didn’t stay there too long.The drive to Medicine Hat was a bit boring, saw some cows, a few trees, a couple of ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ towns, some pylons and lots and lots of flat prairies. This was what was expected but I’m not looking forward to 8+ hours of this tomorrow!

Arrived in Med Had and found Anik, our couchsurfing host’s house and had a brief chat before going out to find food at 10pm. Had to settle for McDonalds as we were unable to find any restaurants open. Hit the sack about 11:30 after a big 1st day. 

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