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 Post subject: Dinosaur River
PostPosted: January 19th, 2006, 8:29 pm 
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Joined: October 16th, 2004, 11:11 am
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Location: Wakefield, Quebec
Dinosaur River

The Red Deer becomes one long bone bed of dinosaurs
but I remember this river for the Cottonwoods and Jim.

These groves of Cottonwood trees are the only respite from the heat
in southern Alberta. The clumped flat leaves clatter against each other in the prairie winds, I can smell that heavy sweetness, especially pungent in June.
The grass is thick and soft under these trees,
camping paradise.

Jim is Blackfoot.
He went through a ‘Bad Indian’ phase when he took to wearing
the black Stetson, black fringed leather jacket and the heels of tooled black cowboy boots pushed his already tall stature into mythic proportions.
He achieved the desired effect; one scarey-lookin’ Big Injun-
then he took a Masters in Philosophy and got all quiet.
He is Captain’s best and only friend.
They hung around pool halls together in High School,
geeky wise guys in short sleeved madras, white socks and loafers,
de riguer in Medicine Hat, swilling back pepsi loaded with peanuts,
they jibbed and jabbed each other and everyone else, sniggering teen boyz.
Something happens when these two meet. Jim phoned at Christmas and
they came up with an 11th commandment:
“Thou shalt not keep Chickens in the house”.
Captain sniggering.

Jim joined us on our weekend trip down the Red Deer
from Emerson Bridge to Dinosaur Provincial Park.
He brought a canoe of unknown repute and our son was his bowman.
The lankey limbs, unaccustomed to the finesse of embarkation,
landed him in the muck. Our well behaved kids tried not to laugh
at his embarrassed expletive: f f f . . . k!
We had not promised him any action of white water
just a languorous river picnic.

The Red Deer from Drumheller, unlike the crystal mountain waters to the north west is now muddy and brown with silt, looping and swooping through
a kind of Valley of the Dead.
The grassy embankments of the prairie give way to the strange hoodooed
landforms where dinosaurs once walked and drowned apparently.
The mud of ancient waterscapes has hard baked into Badlands.
Rain and wind scratch and carve the fluted fins down the steep dry slopes.
For the children, the terrain is a veritable playground of climbing castles,
each point of exploration has them clambering up the knolls,
agile primates reign triumphant, descending less skillfully, skidding and sliding over aggregates of unknown origins.

The stranded body of a Hereford, bloated on a sand bar in the middle of the river sobers our passing, a big dead thing with it’s legs up in the air . . .
the children’s reaction; temporary horrified amazement
and the banter resumes, heckling each other, boat to boat.
Aaron is trying to keep a straight course with Uncle Jim’s unpracticed J-stroke.

Once we reach the border of Dinosaur Provincial Park, the tension of mystery is heightened, we are all of course expecting to come across
the boney carcass of a T-Rex . . . or something.
The signage announces entrance and large letters spell out:
THIS IS DINOSAUR COUNTRY.
DO NOT REMOVE ANY BONES.
Violators will be prosecuted.

The late sun burns the afternoon.
We have been on the water too long, it is getting late, too hot.
We head for another steep bank of badlands, one last break before we reach camp for the night.

Well there must be some around here everyone says,
I look down at my sneakers, I am standing in a bone bed, I pick up 3 pieces.
I will write a ‘report’, complete with sketches and the topo map locations
to Dr. Curry at the Museum in Drumheller.
The children are mute, holding the fragments in their hands, turning them over,
questions, questions . . . looking down on the ground for more,
more pieces of the Hadrasaur and a crocodile.

We find the grove of cottonwoods.
The tents are pitched, the kids are busy finding bits and twigs of firewood
while I turn the foiled potatoes and grill the steaks, red wine is poured.
The air on this June evening by the river is warm and soft,
the cottonwood’s sweet scent, the children scamper back, supper’s ready.
Jim is stretched out on the grass, He talks to our daughter:
“Mariah . . . it doesn’t get any better than this”.


Siren, exiled in the East.
:(
8)

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Last edited by siren1 on January 21st, 2006, 12:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 20th, 2006, 9:40 am 
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Joined: June 25th, 2004, 9:42 pm
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Location: Calgary, AB or wherever life takes me
Siren,
It has been 25 years since I paddled the section of the Red Deer from Emerson Bridge to Dino Park. It is truly amazing the ammount of life teeming around the river in contrast to the bald prarie above. The cotton woods hold a multitude of life forms, one image I distictly remember was a heron rookery with about 20-30 nests just above the park. It was early spring, so no leaves on the trees, with the nests having a stauesque look about them.

Got me thinkin' now, time to go back. None of my family has done this trip.

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"Paddle faster, I hear banjos!"


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 Post subject: Sigh . . .
PostPosted: January 21st, 2006, 12:37 am 
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Joined: October 16th, 2004, 11:11 am
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Location: Wakefield, Quebec
a Dunkin' Jim????
Quote:
It has been 25 years since . . .

That's a little too close to the time line Pawd-ner
:wink:
Howdy!
Quote:
one image I distinctly remember was a heron rookery with about 20-30 nests just above the park.

and WOW :o
Quote:
Got me thinkin' now, time to go back. None of my family has done this trip.

a must then in 2006!
:D
Siren, all envious :-?
8)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 21st, 2006, 9:56 am 
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Joined: December 29th, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Bancroft, Ontario Canada
That's some amazing country, and canyon country extends south into the states where populations still remain low and scenic value is high.

When I was at the park, there were the dinosaur exhibits and also birds at the river... whenever I saw a bird walking along on the ground, it was a dinosaur transformed by millions of years of evolution... smaller, feathered for mobility and adapted to the changing world that dinosaurs were forced into.

Even though we're exiled in the east there are still the gaggles of dinosaurs walking along river banks, they're simply called birds, like Canada geese, because humans need to give a name to those more evolved dinosaurs...

:wink:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 21st, 2006, 10:04 am 
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Joined: June 25th, 2004, 9:42 pm
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Location: Calgary, AB or wherever life takes me
frozentripper, that is a great use of imagination, it is usually little children thinking like that. It is good to see that some of our minds refuse to grow old. :wink:

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 21st, 2006, 10:08 am 
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Joined: December 29th, 2002, 7:00 pm
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Location: Bancroft, Ontario Canada
Thanks, Dunkin'.

And I did it all without drugs, too...

8)

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 21st, 2006, 11:29 am 
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Joined: November 12th, 2001, 7:00 pm
Posts: 366
Location: Lethbridge, Alberta Canada
frozentripper wrote:
That's some amazing country, and canyon country extends south into the states where populations still remain low and scenic value is high.

:wink:


Hi Tripper

The Red Deer actually flows into the S Sask R and then north. Is it the Milk R that you're thinking of that flows into the states? - Not that it really matters, they're both fascinating areas..


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: January 21st, 2006, 2:19 pm 
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Location: Bancroft, Ontario Canada
Hi, Mark,

I didn't see the Milk river, I did drive through some parts of the states with similar dry land and eroded canyons. The Dakotas and Nebraska have canyons with fossil-bearing eroded canyons eg. Badlands NP. There are large areas of the American west where much of the land is federal land, Nevada Utah, Wyoming, Colorado, etc, and there isn't much population out there. Some of the emptiest and mostly desolate land I have ever seen when driving through was in that area.

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