Saskatchewan

July 25, 2014, Trip: Across Canada
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We made an interesting little stop outside the town of Hafford, where the “Crooked Bush” is located.  It’s a small grove of aspen trees that have “genetically mutated” to be all crooked and bent.

That night we slept in Prince Albert – home of John Diefenbaker.   Even here in Saskatchewan, gas is not much more than in Alberta.

Monday we braved the horrific number of mosquitoes in Prince Albert National Park and did two hikes.  We wore long sleeves and pants and made use of our mosquito head nets.  Thank goodness!  Fran brought along a pair of gloves, knowing she’d be using her camera and gave one to Doug to wear so we each kept one hand in our pockets!  It was incredible how many there were.  Even Alaska in July 2012 was not that bad.  We hiked through a bog area and along Mud Creek; only wildlife we saw was a tiny frog!  We saw signs of beavers but they apparently were not up yet.

As we drove south we stopped in Saskatoon for a short stop enroute to “Canada’s answer to the Dead Sea” – Little Manitou Lake – supposedly 3x saltier than the ocean (Dead Sea is 8x).  We parked near the beach and enjoyed floating in the water before moving on for the night in Moose Jaw.

Our next stop was Grasslands National Park in southern Saskatchewan right along the US border.

The drive there was quite colourful with fields of green:

  • the young wheat plants;
  • yellow: the canola plants and
  • purple: the flax plants.

The latter two were more numerous than the first to our surprise.  It seems canola is a better cash crop than wheat now unlike last time we drove through SK.   The land varies from rolling hills to flat prairie depending where you are.  As most of the land is farmland, towns are small, the population is sparse and traffic is pretty much nonexistent – just the way we like it.

This national park has a west block and an east block and they are not connected.  You enter the west block on the west side and can only drive about a third of the way east and then you exit and drive all the way around to the east side of the east block to see a tiny portion of that block – about 180 km between the visitor centres!  We did do both though and did two hikes in the west block.  The views across the prairies were quite beautiful and never ending.  The east block has some badlands which while not as awesome as Drumheller or Badlands NP, were better than Horsethief Canyon.  We parked at a view point and spent the night there.

Wednesday we had a fun stop in Rouleau, Saskatchewan – the place where they filmed the CTV sit com “Corner Gas”.  We had read that most signs of the series were no longer there but we wanted to stop by anyway.  To our surprise, they had just finished the filming of “Corner Gas – the Movie” so the signs were all back up!  It was cool to see the gas station and diner where most of the show is filmed; neither are operational though.  We saw the cop car, Brent’s car, Hank’s truck and the Dog River silo as well as the infamous Corner Gas sign.

As our next stop was in Manitoba we drove north east through Regina and said farewell to Saskatchewan that day.

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