Friday, April 19th, 1985 (Log Day 2)

At 9:30 AM, nine of us gathered in the Lobby. Most of the group had had breakfast in the Palm Court. Three members of our party decided to go their own separate ways for the morning, in order to find the Mountain Shop and Eddie Bauer, the local outfitting stores. They also wanted to visit the newly-built West Edmonton Mall, the world's largest indoor shopping plaza.

At 10:00 AM the sightseers left in two vans for the Provincial Museum of Alberta. Here we visited the Habitat gallery where the wildlife of Alberta are displayed in their natural setting. Since the northern part of the province of Alberta extends into the boreal forest, some of the exhibits showed animals and birds that are found in the Subarctic and Arctic regions. We also toured the Natural History gallery with its exhibits of fossils, dinosaurs and geological specimens. The area around Drumheller, Alberta has produced some major dinosaur finds over the years. Our last stop in the Museum, apart from the bookstore, was the Anthropology gallery which portrays the culture and history of the native people of Alberta, the Amerindians. We arrived at the Space Sciences Center about 11:30 AM, which allowed us about half an hour to tour. There were no shows taking place that morning, so we strolled through the Universe Gallery where, among other things, we saw Landsat photographs of various places in the Arctic.

At noon we returned to the Westin Hotel for lunch at the Palm court where we were joined by the three who had spent the morning shopping. About 1:30 PM eleven of us took to the vans again and headed out to Polar Park (formerly Al Oeming's Game Farm), about 14 miles east of downtown Edmonton. While we waited for Mrs. Oeming to tour us through the park, we photographed and watched the four Polar bears that were spending a lazy afternoon in their cement-walled compound, no doubt enjoying the cold temperatures and the brisk wind that had replaced yesterday's unseasonably warm weather. Almost everyone had 35 mm cameras, and Tom and Pat Largen also had a video-camera complete with sheepskin case to prevent it from freezing up in the cold weather which we would encounter in the north.

At the park we saw a number of animals indigenous to the North American Arctic. In addition to the white bears, there were musk oxen, Barrenground caribou, Arctic fox still in their winter pelage, and Arctic hare. Knowing that they would likely see Arctic wolves at Eureka on northern Ellesmere Island, members of the group spent some time looking at the dozen or so Timber wolves. Also, of interest were the various rare species of cold climate mammals from around the globe, and the Siberian tigers that had dogs in their cages as playmates. We arrived back in Edmonton about 4:00 PM, stopping at the liquor store on the way to the hotel, where the North Pole champagne was purchased. Upon returning to the hotel, plans for our morning departure to Resolute Bay were detailed, and then a number of people headed down the block to the Edmonton Center for shopping; on Fridays, the larger stores are open until 9:00 PM.

Ten of us met for dinner in the hotel's main dining room, The Carvery, at 7:00 PM Van joined us about 8:30 PM; William had decided to retire early. There was good conversation and excellent food at the dinner table, but the service was very slow. Art Wolfe and Charles Bergman, on assignment with National Geographic, arrived at the hotel about 9:00 PM and joined us. We were served coffee and liqueurs about 10:30 PM, after which people scurried off to their rooms anticipating that 4:45 AM wakeup call. The weather in Edmonton was considerably colder today with a temperature of 5 degrees Celsius (41 degrees Fahrenheit), and the forecast was for snow overnight.

copyright (c) 1985 Patricia Sutherland

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