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North Central Alberta
Fort Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site
Fort Rocky Mountain House is a Canadian National Historic Site just 7.5 km (5 mi) West of the modern town of Rocky Mountain House. Natives lived in this area and other regions of Alberta for thousands of years prior to European settlers. The Cree, Peigan, Blackfoot, Blood, Stoney, Gros Ventre were native tribes with whom fur traders began dealing with. The Kootenai (Kootenay) tribe were said to have not traded furs or other items. Both the Hudson Bay Co. and the Northwest Co. each built a wooden fortress in 1799 at Rocky Mountain House. The Northwest Co. was also used as a base for exploration which explorer David Thompson used in 1807 during his map-making (cartography) expedition. The last fortress was abandoned by 1875. The present day reproduction fortress may appear small, however, on, average, people of long ago had poorer diets causing them to be much shorter and smaller bodied than we are today.

Mural - Fields of Dreams
The mural depicts the plans for old towne of Nordegg, now a ghost town.  The new townsite of Nordegg has many year round residents, a fine museum, a good restaurant, and is a popular vacation spot for year-round outdoor enthusiasts. 
Church of St. Therese
St. Therese was built 1935-36 as a Catholic Church.  St. Therese was known for her love and compassion for animals. 
Co-incidentally my wife Therese who also loves animals, was named for St Therese - over 20 years after her Mother moved from Nordegg when her Mother was still a very young pre-school child. Many years later, her Mother was far away in a distant church, when she came across the Saint Therese name a few years before Therese was born. We may not have learned this if not for this postcard venture.

David Thompson Highway 11 
This little known scenic well-paved road has spectacular scenery, wildlife and vast areas of wilderness that connects to Saskatchewan Crossing, North tip of Banff National Park and is close to Columbia Icefields glaciers. Little known historical fact: Former Premier Ralph Klein parental family lived in this area for several years, long before he began a career as a Calgary new reporter, then Mayor of Calgary, then Conservative Party leader and one of Alberta's most popular Premiers for many years.  

Crescent Falls

Previously named Bighorn Falls for the Bighorn River and Bighorn Sheep that once inhabited the area in large numbers. The first non-natives to see the falls was in 1892,  by the group accompanying geology professor  A.P.Coleman of the University of Toronto. Each waterfall drops about 30m. The upper falls is easily viewed near the parking area, or both can be seen with an easy 1.5 km hike to the river valley viewpoint.  Four smaller falls can be seen further along the Bighorn Canyon trail.

In 1971, the Alberta government reduced the White Goat & Siffleur Wilderness protected wildlife habitat areas by about 70 percent to enable logging, mining, and also encouraging trophy hunting of wildlife.  The Kootenay Plains “Wildlife Sanctuary” allows hunting.   White Mountain Goats and Elk are rarely seen today, and the vast herds of Big Horn Sheep have also disappeared.  It was not until very recently around 2014 that Alberta Govt began more scientific government restrictions on hunting permits.

Windy Point
During storms and season changes, the powerful winds of the Rocky Mountains are focused by surrounding mountains then gather speed across the vast expanse of man-made Abraham Lake, before blasting by Windy Point. Bighorn Sheep are often a familiar sight, so please drive slowly through the area. Thank you ! : )

The Rock
Just East of Windy Point is a huge rock sticking out of the Lake.  A shallow calm area around the rock enables swimming. Do not venture too far though as the whirlpool currents near here are strong. 

Mount Michener
Honourable Roland Michener was Governor General of Canada 1967-74.  Born in Lacombe, raised in Red Deer. Mt. Michener officially named 1979.  Lake Abraham color varies from deep Saphire blue to Mint green as seen here.   This depends on the angle of the sun as light reflects on silt "rock flour" carried in rivers from nearby Columbia Icefields.

AllStones Creek
This picturesque hiking and camping area has many stones along the streambed and the embankments have interesting large formations of serrated rock created by erosion. Flooding by the Bighorn Dam eliminated the Allstones Rapids, resulting in the Allstones Cove instead.  Cutthroat Trout and Dolly Varden Trout once traveled the stream but can only do so now when the reservoir is allowed to fill in the autumn.  Perhaps the reservoir should be kept 80 percent full during the spring and summer to allow natural cycles of fish spawning and easier water access for wildlife.

In 1971, the Alberta government reduced the White Goat Wilderness protected wildlife habitat area by about 70 percent to enable logging, mining, and also encouraging trophy hunting of wildlife.  The Kootenay Plains “Wildlife Sanctuary” allows hunting.   Elk & White Mountain Goats are rarely seen here today, and the large herds of Bighorn Sheep are also gone. It was not until very recently around 2014 that Alberta Govt began more scientific government restrictions on hunting permits.

Lake Abraham & Mount Abraham
Lake Abraham is a man-made lake, created by the Bighorn Dam in 1972 which flooded the rich winter grazing grounds of many wildlife and also covered the old ghost town.  At peak output, the hydroelectric dam can power 58,000 homes.  The lake is named for Silas Abraham (born 1871) who lived in the area with his Stoney First Nations family. Silas was a guide for explorers such as Martin Nordegg, Mary Schaeffer, and Elliott Barnes. In 1902, Silas and his family helped build the regions first log cabin for well known explorer Tom Wilson.  

Siffleur Falls
Siffleur is the native name for Marmot, a tri-colored member of the squirrel family that lives on rocky crevices and among the loose rock “scree” of mountain slopes.  

The Siffleur Falls plunge 15m, and were well known to natives.  First seen in 1858 by non-native explorer James Hector of the Palliser Expedition.  Hector travelled the Siffleur River from Pipestone Pass to Kootenay Plains, the earliest  route to Banff National Park. The rapids and steep canyon walls emphasize the courage of all who traveled by boat.   These falls are the nearest to the Kootenay Plains, an easy 4 km family walk on a very good trail. Caution must still be used as since 1980, people have died falling into the river after sliding off a slippery trail, trying to rescue an unleashed dog, and trying to take a picture of the falls. Two other falls are on a more difficult route with another 3 km hike.

In 1971, the Alberta government reduced the White Goat & Siffleur Wilderness protected wildlife habitat areas by about 70 percent to enable logging, mining, and also encouraging trophy hunting of wildlife.  The Kootenay Plains “Wildlife Sanctuary” allows hunting. White Mountain Goats and Elk are rarely seen around here today, and the former vast herds of Big Horn Sheep have also disappeared. It was not until very recently around 2014 that Alberta Govt began more scientific government restrictions on hunting permits.

South Central Alberta

For 12,000 years Blackfoot, Sarcee, and Stoney tribal natives hunted and traveled through this area. In 1873 the uncontrolled European & US buffalo hunters and whiskey traders motivated the North-West Mounted Police to built a fort here near the forests and rivers. Colonel James Macleod renamed Fort Brisebois to Fort Calgary, for his family's castle on the Isle of Mull at the North-West tip of Scotland. The word ‘Calgary' could be a combination of Gaeiic words ‘caladh' and ‘garaidh', which roughly translates as ‘the haven by the dyke'. Another possible Gaelic origin is ‘Cala ghearraidh' (‘beach of the meadow-pasture') of Old Norse or Scandinavian origin. Calgary could also be from an Old Scandinavian origin – ‘Kali’ and ‘geiri’, translating to ‘Kali’s triangular plot of land’. The Old Norse ‘kald’ and ‘gart’ (meaning ‘cold garden’) could have also referred to the chilly winters here that were usually endured in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland, way back when Norse and Scandinavian warriors occupied Scotland.

In 2016 Calgary had a population of 1,239,220 - largest in Alberta. Calgary is the home of Canada's Oil & Gas industries which helped create the modern skyline. In 2015, Calgary had the most millionaires per capita in Canada. Calgary is world famous for its huge rodeo, the Calgary Stampede & also for NHL hockey team the Calgary Flames. Calgary has also hosted the 1988 Winter Olympics, and has its share of Hollywood fame from movies (Cool Runnings, Superman, etc.) and is home to the Canadian Music Hall of Fame. Calgary has excellent Arts & Cultural facilities such as the Glenbow Museum, and various festivals throughout the year. Calgary is a key airport for visitors to Banff of the Canadian Rocky Mountain parks. Despite becoming an ultra-modern city, Calgary has managed to keep the friendly western hospitality that is typically found in small towns & farms across Western Canada.


A Hoodoo is also called a "tent rock", "fairy chimney", or "earth pyramid".

The Blackfoot and Cree natives lived and traveled here in Starland County used herbs, special medicines, and amulets (prepared by a tribal medicine man) to ward off evil spirits or to vanquish enemies. Natives here also worshipped their ancestors, and their legends say that these rocks are petrified giants that can come alive at night to protect the land around them by hurling stones at intruders.

We believe "Hoodoo" was derived from the word "Voodoo" which was brought to the French colony of Louisiana (USA) by the 1760's African slave trade. The African slaves religious beliefs were rooted in spirit and ancestor worship. Their knowledge of herbs, poisons, and the ritual creation of charms and amulets that were intended to protect oneself or harm enemies were key elements of Louisiana Voodoo, and were like the beliefs of local natives. This theory is supported by an old map, which shows east of the hoodoos was a place called Acadia Valley. Acadians were early French Settlers from Canada's Maritimes whom were expelled 1755-63 AD by the British militia to the French colony of Lousianna where they were known as Cajuns ( Canada -Injuns ).

Scientific research tells us that Hoodoos can take millions of years to form, and that these hoodoos are million of yeara old. The Hoodoos are sedimentary rock, the pillars are soft sandstone, that is capped by a harder stone that resists erosion. The ppillars erode faster than the cap stone. What starts out as a rock on soft sandstone hill gradually erodes away the hill by rain, wind and snow to create the Hoodos we see today. Mineral deposits cause varying colour shades and bands of colours. Hoodoo pillars are very fragile and can erode completely if their capstone is dislodged. PLEASE do not climb, cut or damage the Hoodoos and please always stay on walking paths.

Hoodoos are typically found in arid, desert climates at the bottom of drainage basins or badlands region. In the vast badlands of Starland County, it is rumoured there are other oddly shaped rock formations about 20 feet tall. In other places worldwide, Hoodoos are reported to be over 100 feet tall. Hoodoo formations are also found at the spectacular tall spires of Bryce Canyon (Utah, USA), Tent Rocks Monument (New Mexico, USA), Grand Staicase Escalante Monument (Utah, USA), Toadstool Geologic Park (Nebraska, USA), Göreme National Park (Cappadocia,Turkey) has ancient houses carved into some hoodoos, Đavolja Varoš "Devils Town" (Serbia) reports 202 weird rock formations 7-15 meters (15-48 feet) tall. "Queens Head" formation can be seen at Wanli (Taipei County, Taiwan), Putangirua Pinnacles (New Zealand).

East Coulee, Starland County
Scientific research tells us that about 85 million years ago, a huge inland sea covered the middle of North America, including this area. By about 70 million years ago, the inland sea had shrunk, leaving behind bentonite clays. The ancient sea shore gradually became a tropical river delta. River delta clay continued to deposit to the top of this valley, until the last ice began about one million years ago. Mineral deposits and trace elements cause varying bands of colours. About 14,000 years ago, the last ice age began warming worldwide. The massive, mile thick glaciers had tremendous volumes of meltwaters forming intense, raging rivers (now Red Deer river), which were at the top of this valley, then quickly carved through the soft river delta clays, all the way down to the present day valley bottom.
Atlas Coal Mine, East Coulee

The Blackfoot and Cree knew of the black rock that burned, but they didn't like to use it. Explorers reported coal in the area: Peter Fidler in 1792, James Hector of the Palliser Expedition in 1857, and Joseph Tyrrell in 1884. A few ranchers and homesteaders dug coal out of river banks and coulees to heat their homes. The first commercial coal mine did not open until Sam Drumheller started the local coal rush, when Sam bought land off a local rancher named Thomas Greentree. Sam then sold this land to Canadian National Railway, to develop a townsite. Sam also registered a coal mine, however, before his mine opened, Jesse Gouge and Garnet Coyle opened the Newcastle Mine. CN laid tracks into town, and the first load of coal was shipped out of Drumheller in 1911.

Once the railway was built, thousands of people came to dig coal, mostly from Eastern Europe, Britain, and Nova Scotia. By the end of 1912, there were 9 working coal mines, each with its own camp of workers: Newcastle, Drumheller, Midland, Rosedale, and Wayne. Later mines and camps sprang up: Nacmine, Cambria, Willow Creek, Lehigh, and East Coulee. Between 1911 and 1979, 139 mines were registered in the Drumheller valley. Some mines didn't last long, but 34 were productive for many years. Between 1912 and 1966, Drumheller produced 56,864,808 tons of coal, making it one of the major coal producing regions in Canada.

Coal mining was hard, dirty, dangerous work. Mining in the Drumheller Valley, however, was less hard, dirty, and dangerous than it was elsewhere. This was due to the geology of the Drumheller coal field which has flat laying seams that are much safer to mine than the steep angled seams of mountain mines. The coal at Drumheller is sub-bituminous, an "immature coal" which has not had time to build up a strong concentration of deadly Methane gas, the biggest killer in coal mines worldwide. By the time the Newcastle opened in 1911, the right to better working conditions had been won by many miners' unions in North America. Miners were provided with wash houses, better underground ventilation, and higher safety standards. When the Newcastle opened, there were laws in place to prohibit child labour, so boys under 14 were no longer allowed to work underground.

Despite the improvements, early mine camps around Drumheller were called "hell's hole" because miners lived in tents, or shacks, with little sanitation and little comfort. Alchohol, gambling, and watching fistfights common forms of recreation. As shacks gave way to little houses, and women joined the men and started families, life improved. Hockey, baseball, music, theatre, and visiting friends enriched peoples' lives. Going downtown Saturday night was a huge event, with crowded streets of people speaking almost every European language. Drumheller became "the wonder town of the west!" and "the fastest growing town in Canada, if not in North America!"

After the Leduc Oil Strike of 1948, natural gas became the fuel of choice in western Canada. People switched from messy coal stoves to clean gas furnaces as fast as they could. As the demand for coal dropped, mines closed, people moved away and communities shrank, others like Willow Creek, completely vanished. East Coulee, went from a boomtown of 3800 to a semi-ghost town of 180. The Atlas #4 Mine shipped its last load of coal in 1979, marking the end of coal mining in the Drumheller region.

Royal Tyrrell Museum

The museum has over 125,000 fossils of vertebrates, invertebrates, plants and other geologic specimens. The museum adds about 2,000 specimens annually. These collections are among the richest in the world. The Tyrrell Museum is also an active scientific research facility.

T-Rex dinosaur belongs to the family (biological Genus) of Theropod dinosaurs. The species T-Rex lived in Western North America, during the last three million years of the Cretaceous Period, about 65-68 million years ago. It was among the last non-avian (bird) dinosaurs to exist prior to the Cretaceous–Tertiary extinction period that wiped out most dinosaurs, except for todays birds which are descendants of dinosaurs.

Dinosaurs, crocodiles and lizards share a common ancestor, the Diapsids, which had two holes in their skulls to accomodate larger jaws and jaw muscles (humans have one hole, our ancestors according to science were of the family Synapsids). Diapsids developed two distinct sub-families: the Archosaurs, which retained the basic Diapsid skull, and from which arose a very diverse array of animals - the Crocodilians, Pterosaurs, Dinosaurs, Ichthyosaurs and Plesiosaurs. Any species belonging to the family Crocodylidae (aka Crocodylinae) are believed to be about 200 million years old, outsurviving dinosaurs. Modern day lizards (including the Komodo Dragon) arose from the second sub-family of Diapsids: the Lepidosaurs.

Tyrannosaurus was a carnivore with a massive skull counter-balanced by a long, heavy tail. The forelimbs were small, though very powerful for their size. T-Rex measured up to 12.8 m (42 ft) in length, up to 4 metres (13 ft) tall at the hips, weighing up to 6.8 metric tons (7.5 British tons = 15,000 pounds). To compensate, many bones were hollow, reducing its weight without significant loss of strength. The largest known T-Rex skulls measure up to 5 feet (1.5 m) in length, wide at the rear with a narrow snout, enabling unusually good binocular vision. The skull bones were massive, with nasal bones and some other bones fused together, preventing movement between them- many with a "honeycomb" of tiny air spaces which made the bones lighter and more flexible. The tip of the upper jaw was U-shaped (most non-tyrannosauroid carnivores had V-shaped upper jaws), which increased the amount of tissue and bone a tyrannosaur could rip out with one bite, although it also increased the stresses on the front teeth. These and other skull-strengthening features gave an increasingly powerful bite, which easily surpassed that of all non-tyrannosaurids. The premaxillary teeth at the front of the upper jaw were closely packed, D-shaped in cross-section, had reinforcing ridges on the rear surface, were incisiform (their tips were chisel-like blades) and curved backwards. The D-shaped cross-section, reinforcing ridges and backwards curve reduced the risk that the teeth would snap when Tyrannosaurus bit and pulled. The remaining teeth were robust, like "lethal bananas" rather than daggers; more widely spaced and also had reinforcing ridges. ] Those in the upper jaw were larger than those in all but the rear of the lower jaw. The largest found so far is estimated to have been 30 centimetres (12 in) long including the root when the animal was alive, making it the largest tooth of any carnivorous dinosaur. By far the largest carnivore in its environment, it was slightly smaller than some other Cretaceous carnivores, such as Spinosaurus and Giganotosaurus. T-Rex may have been an apex predator, preying upon Hadrosaurs and Ceratopsians, although some say it was primarily a scavenger. We think it was both predator-scavenger, an opportunist feeder that took what it needed and also assessed the lowest risk, lowest effort for easy feeding. A survivalist.

More than 30 specimens of Tyrannosaurus Rex have been identified, some are nearly complete skeletons. Soft tissue and proteins have been reported in at least one of these specimens. Some scientists consider the Tarbosaurus Bataar from Mongolia,Asia to represent a second species of Tyrannosaurus, others say it is a separate family (genus). There are also several other families of North American Tyrannosaurids.
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