Posts Tagged Alberta

Urban Trails – Red Deer- August 8th

Just a few days late with tracking what’s happening to the progression of summer here in Red Deer –  what with picking Saskatoons,  traipsing off to Drumheller,  putting some effort into Hebrew and keeping down the dust in the house and so forth.

Didn’t initially think a lot was happening when I headed out Sunday afternoon, but there’s always room for a few surprises.

One was that  Sow Thistles  had taken the stage in a big way- all of a sudden their lanky height was everywhere topped with bright yellow blossoms. Some Thistles were over my head.

Reaching for the big blue yonder

Some were making a cooperative effort to outgrow young Trembling Aspen Poplars.

If enough of us do this together!

Another was going for the floral arrangement effect against a pine.

Upper Class Urban

And what’s wrong with the beauty of this blossom?

Mouse click on me, and then again for the close-up effect

Even it’s seed head reminds one of a white kitten.

White kitten fur

There, you see.  Sow thistle is taking over.  The rest of August 8th will have to go into the next blog.

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And the victim is: Cow Parsnip

Ah, is it or isn’t it Giant Hogweed?   Today I took different woodland trail here in Red Deer and found many, many Cow Parsnip plants beheaded and broken.  At least I suspect that they were Cow Parsnip because I couldn’t see any red, much less purple in their stems.  Of course it could be that someone had decided to  specialize in dry flower arrangements this fall, but somehow I doubt it.

I did find a plant on one walk  back in late July that I too wondered about:

Is that purple enough for Hogweed?

Certainly towered over my head

Flowers fitting the general description

However I wasn’t sure at all that it wasn’t just healthy Cow Parsnip. I let it be beautiful.  I have a feeling though, that whether it was Giant Hogweed, or just our own native Parsnip- someone has axed it by now.

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Drumheller- Bleriot Ferry

Crossing the River

With a pretty view

A pleasant moment on our day trip last Thursday was a ride on The Bleriot Ferry. Definitely a land-lubber’s ideal. Established in 1913  this  is the last of thirteen ferries that once served  the Red Deer River.  It undoubtedly continues to survive because tourists to the area find it a charming extra incentive to take the Dinosaur Trail out of Drumheller.

A few years ago one such visitor accurately blogged,

” Bleriot Ferry is a cable-guided barge over the Red Deer River a few miles upstream from the town. The 1978 boat is registered “Bleriot : Port Of Edmonton” Its length is 1/3rd of the Red Deer River’s width at that point. Had they commissioned two more hulls, with a bit of welding, they’d have a bridge.”

Next to the crossing  there’s a  little campground nearby that might be worth setting up a tent in. Their site has attractive pictures of the camp, ferry and surrounding badlands.

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Flowers in Drumheller

In the Badlands

After visiting the Royal Tyrrell  Museum our most urgent desire was for a picnic table in the shade to eat lunch at.  And we found one near the abandoned coal mine.  Just past mid-day in what comes about as close to a desert environment as Alberta allows, it didn’t seem like a likely time or place in which to photograph wild-flowers.

It wasn’t, but a few things grew.

Yellow

White

Silver and Gold

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Bony Giants in Alberta – Royal Tyrrell Museum

Entering the world of the past

The main focus of our trip into the Drumheller Badlands was to see the Royal Tyrrell Museum. My brother said he had never seen it and it doesn’t seem to be a place to miss.  It is indeed awe inspiring to stand and look up at those massive beasts of years past. With its many finds of dinosaur bones Alberta is a natural place for paeleontologists to gather and thrive and the museum is  impressive.

Fewer actual specimens on display than I remember from previous visits, but more attractively and imaginatively laid out. You can tour through in a couple of hours or spend a couple of days.

Black Beauty- a mighty Tyrannosuarus Rex

Skeletons, with painted diaoramas enfleshing the reptiles in artists representations is a nice balance.

Bones plus enfleshment

Surrounded by all that was dead, I was also drawn to what lived.  A real living, working Paleontologist behind glass,

At work

I was also interested in these being accorded a place.   Apparently our friends, the cockroaches, not only secured a pair of berths on the ark but generously left many many of their relatives behind in fossil beds.

The Biggest of them all

I confess my usual approach to cockroaches is a tin of Boric Acid powder in one hand, a can of Raid in the other.  After seeing these I was glad the ones of my acquaintance don’t grow any bigger.  The sign on the exhibit is wonderful for its judicious wording.

They do use the word "pest"

Somehow King Nebuchadnezzar’s presumption  does come to mind. The museum has somewhat of a “is not this a great Babylon that we have discovered” attitude.  Not so much as a nod to God and his creative genius. Perhaps that is why I can walk through and marvel but leave feeling an emptiness.

Man, well, Woman, and Mastodon

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Flowers at Coyote Creek

Classy Glass

Went out to the Chapel at Coyote Creek and spent the day washing walls and playing with kids who needed someone to play with and looking with eyes widened.  Didn’t take any pictures.  But in the late afternoon I walked across to the meadow area in front.  There the flowers grew in profusion- so different from hunting them one by one in the urbanized woods of Red Deer.  I took a bit of refuge from processing the day to just marvel at beauty.  I’ve just included a selection of the flowers.  My friend told me she had counted twenty-seven different flowering plants there.

Vista and meadow

Three-Toothed Cinquefoil

Strict Blue-eyed Grass

Varileaf Cinquefoil

Yellow Avens

Indian Paintbrush

Fireweed

Fireweed

Grass going to seed

So much we just can't see unaided

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Also consider the Giant Hogweed

In my roaming, and snapping of pictures I not only met a caterpillar I hadn’t intended to take a picture of, but some showy blossoms that resembled Queen Anne’s Lace in flower but not leaf.  Shortly after a cousin sent me photos of wild parsnip, a search for more information showed a foot with a nasty raised blister,  and the Google search started me looking further. So are we being invaded by Giant Hogweed or is it merely  Cow Parsnip? The latter gets better press, its a native cousin, but it can also cause similar light triggered reactions. I did find a nice chart of look-a-likes to consult.  I guess I need to go for another walk and look again.

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