That morning we sadly waved goodbye to Banff and set out again on the open road, towards the prairies.
Before long, the landscape flattened and emptied. Fields and fields and fields of crops reached out to the horizon. The road lay out before us in one long straight line.
And then suddenly, something strange appeared in the distance, a rupture in the monotony. The road began to slope downwards and the van trundled into an old canyon.
Welcome to Dinosaur Provincial Park.
I hadn't ever heard of Dinosaur PP before but it just so happens to be a UNESCO world heritage sight and it's pretty easy to see why.
Way back in the mists of time, the area used to be a swampland and has always supported a large and varied ecosystem, the evidence of which can still be found (if you're a paleontologist at least).
Now the swamps have all dried out, leaving this alien landscape entirely exposed.
After the cool mountain air in the national parks, the badlands were a sweltering surprise.
So hot in fact that I had to steal someone's hat because my white scalp began to burn within minutes. I decided to leave the legs out; as you can see, they needed some colour that wasn't bruise or mosquito bite (it didn't work).
(Also note Michele's superior photo quality. So happy he now leaves his Canon 5D at mine, mwahahaha)
Meg and Clare recreating that scene from the Lion King...
So why is it called Dinosaur Provincial Park?
Well, over the years, a helluva lot of dinosaur remains have been found there. Some of them are still there for us to see too!
It was pretty cool seeing the remains in the same place they were discovered. I've only ever seen dinosaur bones and fossils in museums in the middle of cities so seeing them out there in the middle of the badlands in the very spot they fell to the ground for the last time all those years before... it was amazing.
We took some last photos from the top of the canyon before hopping back in the van for a day of driving.
At the end of the drive was a wifi hotspot so you can imagine how we spent the evening...
Meanwhile, I was in the shower block putting hot pink hair dye on the ends of my hair...