Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Burgess Shale is Expensive

I just got back from a long road trip which took me from San Diego as far north as Jasper National Park - and while I was in the Canadian Rockies, I would have been remiss not to see the Burgess Shale. Well then, I am remiss. Why? As a very, very important site, the Shale is highly protected - as in, motion detectors in the forest around it, and immediate response from conservation officers if they're set off. Plus it's a full-day hike (7 hrs) and CAN$55. Neither my schedule nor my budget allowed this. (I wish this had been in Wikitravel and Wikipedia. Thanks to my experience, it now is.)

However, if you look at the pictures below you'll see that the town of Fields is very pretty - quite reminiscent of a small Swiss town in fact - and they do have real shale specimens to see and touch. So the Canadian government is now enthusiastically a part of the whole Darwinist atheist conspiracy!



The Burgess Shale is about a 30 minute drive west (downhill) from Lake Louise in the Canadian Rockies, and is found in exposed rock like this.



Here is an actual specimen on display in the visitor center.



If we can't find fossil rabbits in the pre-Cambrian, how about fossil penguins in the Paleozoic? This is my travel companion Peter the Penguin who horned in on one of the shots, although I should be clear that he is not embedded in the Shale. He's quite sensitive about his age actually.



This is looking down the valley to the west. The milky blue-green water is characteristic of the areas, since most of the water was in a glacier 3 hours before. Even if you don't care about fossils, this area is worth a visit just for the hiking.



Looking up the valley to the east. The town features a small bridge over the mountain river much like many small Swiss towns.



Due to an overabundance of natural beauty, this beautiful little pond next to the visitor center doesn't even seem to be named.

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