Hiking to the Burgess Shale: On top of the world, under an ancient sea; Lauren Krugel; Canadian Press

Canada – Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks

FIELD, B.C. – It’s hard to believe that this spot — a rocky ledge well above the tree line — was under water half a billion years ago.

Equally hard to believe is that the slab of shale in my hands has etched on it — in strikingly sharp detail — the remains of one of Earth’s earliest creatures.

I beckon to our Parks Canada guide. She steps over the loose rock and kneels beside me to have a look at my find.

She confirms it’s a trilobite, one of the more common Cambrian-era insect-like critters, whose squishy bodies enabled them to be incredibly well preserved as fossils.

The last time I felt so excited, so filled with awe, was when I was a child.

The Burgess Shale in Yoho National Park was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.

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