Thursday, May 31, 2018

Back on the road again!

I think it’s been a while since I last updated the blog.  But then, who’s counting?

So …  Through lots of diligence, patience, and adequate amounts of sunshine, we finally managed to melt all the snow in the yard, and get the trees and grass greened up!

That usually means one thing. Time to hit the road somewhere again! 

But before that happened, the new UAV (drone) that arrived soon after I got home had to earn it’s keep.  One of the local Counties called me up and wanted to survey some ice jams and the river flooding situation.  Luckily, the ice jams had all disappeared, but there were was some overland flooding in some areas.

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Both campers were sitting there, and Hailey couldn’t decide which one she preferred!

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Eventually, after a fight, she agreed that the truck camper would be the best bet!

IMG_0099IMG_0095Hailey and I jumped in and headed east.  We hit a few of our favourite spots along the way, but the weather was not cooperating, so we didn’t really take any photos till we reached Saskatchewan.

There we were able to find a nice spot overlooking the North Saskatchewan to enjoy the scenery and the spring warmth.

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In the morning, large flocks of geese would rise up off the river and circle, climbing, before eventually continuing their journey on north to their preferred nesting grounds.  Mourning Doves and Common Nighthawks were also announcing their presence in the area, as well as some Mule Deer and the occasional coyote.

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At another camp spot on the edge of a lake, beavers were out for an evening swim, and were actively talking back and forth as they swam along!

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In Saskatchewan, this is one of the more common signs you will see.

I think they lost their ‘road repair’ manual or something?

Stick to the main roads, and it is a bit better, but I usually like to take the less-traveled ways.IMG_0141

After that, we continued on to the east, watching a large column of smoke get larger and larger as we approached.  It was the ‘Rally’ fire that had ignited just the day before a bit west of Prince Albert.  Within a day or two, it had jumped across the North Saskatchewan River at that point.

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We sat and watched from a distance as the bombers circled, lining up to drop retardant along the edge of the fire under the direction of the ‘bird dog’ aircraft.

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After short visits with friends and relatives in Prince Albert, we headed north into the bush to the National Park of the same name.  It turned out that there was also an ‘out of control’ fire burning in the south western portion of the park, but by continuing further north we were able to avoid camping in the smoke and ash falling from the sky.

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As usual, the bears were out on the roadside, taking advantage of the first things to green up.

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It was still prior to the long weekend, so the campgrounds had not started to charge, and better yet, we were the only ones in the campground!

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After a couple of years of closure due to construction and repairs, the road on the north side of Waskesiu Lake to Kingsmere Lake was open again, so we headed up there next.

There is a small narrow guage rail running along the river to assist small boats making the portage up to Kingsmere lake, and some shiny new bridges and staircases as well.

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Clearly, there was a ‘government’ beaver working on this tree.  I assume he/she had been sent away for ‘sensitivity training’, language training, or perhaps just on an extended coffee break.  I hope to see this tree down on my next visit!

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On a hiking trail closer to the townsite, we came face to face with a friendly Otter, but I was a bit too slow on the draw to get a usable photo.  Another bear was not so shy however, and tried to approach me on a raised walkway with railings, till I convinced him that would not be a good idea Winking smile.

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I found an old fire lookout tower in the park, but it had obviously been ‘re-purposed’ for some sort of communications role.

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Heading back south again, the smoke had cleared or at least the wind had changed directions, so another great little lake front campsite was again smoke-free.IMG_0229IMG_0230After returning home for a very few days, and to mow the grass, we were back on the road again.  Who would have guessed?  Back to Saskatchewan again!IMG_0264IMG_0266

But that will have to wait for another blog post – hopefully before August  Winking smile.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Home on the range.

Well, Hailey and I have been home for about two weeks now, and have survived, so far!

After a lot of driving around a lot, smashing the snow banks, and spreading dirt to make the snow melt faster, we eventually created a bit of space to park.

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IMG_99502_IMG_9939 (5)Inevitably, the weather reverted to winter and provided more to shovel! And fresh white snow does not melt very fast either!

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Lots of birds are back, with more arriving every day.  A pair of Mountain Bluebirds were checking out one of my bird houses. 

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Strangely, the bird feeders have gone pretty much untouched.  There were a couple of juncos for a day or two, but they must have moved on and no other birds have discovered the free food yet.

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First day out with the new UAV, and a skunk showed up, but was completely unconcerned with the thing flying 6 feet away!  Could be the same one I chased off with the garden hose last fall!

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Went for a short drive west one day and happened on a small band of wild horses along the road.

IMG_4625IMG_4626DJI_0033DJI_0032DJI_0028After a few more good days of melting snow, I was finally able to pull the 5th wheel into the yard for it’s summer break.

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The squirrels had apparently missed Hailey over the winter, and welcomed her back, risking their lives in the process.

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Local rivers have been flooding, and ice jams forming under bridges, etc., so one of the local counties hired me to monitor the situation with photos and aerial video.  For now, most of the hazard has passed, – until the heavy snowpack in the mountains begins to melt!

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The first bits of grass to green up are always in the sunny areas right around my house, and the deer take advantage of this every year.  Photos out the basement window!

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As soon as I can melt the big pile of ice and snow in front of the truck camper, I’ll likely put it on the truck to facilitate inevitable summer travels.  Till then we’ll likely be pretty close to home, unless Forestry calls again and wants me to watch for fires.