Spring and Summer 2009 travel blog

Only guided groups are allowed to visit the Burgess Shale.

Guide Kristi provides background info.

No fossils up these sleeves!

Walcott Quarry is over that ridge.

Misty Mountains

Kristi pulls some larger fossils out of the "locked box".

Trilobites

Mount Stephen Fog

Field in the Yoho Valley

Arriving at the fossil beds

Kristi at the fossil beds

Ann and Pam

You can't take any fossils out but you can take images of...

...the final product

Another Trilobite

More Trilobites

Ann and Kristi check out a fossil

The Kicking Horse River

Heading back down.

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On Mount Stephen


This year is the 100 year anniversary of the discovery of the Burgess Shale Fossil beds. The shale contains the fossils of Trilobites and other soft bodied animals that lived during the Cambrian period (over 500 million years ago) when there was a warm sea covering Western Canada. The fossil beds are protected and the only way to visit them is by taking a guided tour. There are 2 different sites, the Walcott Quarry and the Mt. Stephen fossil beds. Dale had volunteered to help the guide on the Walcott Quarry hike earlier in the summer so he wasn't interested in going again. Ann was still visiting, so Pam and Ann drove out to Field BC and had a great dinner at the Truffle Pig restaurant in the Kicking Horse Lodge the night before the hike. We chose to do the Mt. Stephen hike which is a relatively short but steep hike from Field (about 760m of elevation gain over 3km). We arrived at the Info Centre where we met our guide Kristi and 4 other hikers. The weather forecast had been really poor (10C and raining) but soon after we started out the rain stopped and while it was cloudy most of the day, it was a good temperature for hiking. Kristi led us up to the fossil beds and gave us some background on the geology and history of the Burgess Shale along the way. The fossil beds themselves were amazing! Pretty much every rock you turned over had a Trilobite in it. We had lunch at the top and then hung out for over an hour exploring for fossils and learning more about them. It is strictly forbidden to remove any fossils from the site but photos and sketch/rubs are definitely allowed. It isn't often that you get to combine a good hike with a visit to a World Heritage Site! A great experience!

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