Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Saskatchewan road trip - Prince Albert National Park

 After almost a week hiking and biking around in the Drumheller, Alberta area, it was time to move on.  We decided to head east, for a visit to Saskatchewan.  Stopped at the rural home of a college buddy, and solved a few world problems by a fire that night.  In the morning, all of a sudden, there were footsteps on the roof of the camper!
Hailey was a bit concerned!

I slowly and quietly opened the door and stuck my phone up to have a look on the roof of the camper, where this Canada Goose was perhaps looking for a nice place for a nest!

My 2008 GMC Sierra is still purring along fine after 14 years, with 509,000km (316k miles), hauling my 1999 camper around (all summer), and the Duramax has never used a drop of oil!  And I love the 4 doors it has - way better than all the newer trucks with standard doors.  It is so handy to move things from the front to the rear and vice versa, and when the camper is not on, the rear door folds back flat along the box.  My e-bike folds in half, and easily fits in the back seat, where it is kept clean, dry, and secure.

We ended up in Prince Albert National Park for most of our Saskatchewan visit, enjoying the views and scenery around Waskesiu Lake, and Kingsmere Lake.  I hiked about 7km up the side of Kingsmere, then repeated the trip the next day on my bike - in about half the time.  We could have gone further, but it seems that is as far as the trail crew had cleared the trail this year, and past that point were numerous deadfall blocking the trail.
We also spent some time around The Narrows - a favourite childhood haunt.
The weather was pretty decent, but constant strong winds limited some of the activities.
Sometimes, it was just better to stay inside and nap!
Other times, some hunting was in order.

Biking out on the old breakwater guarding the main beach.

 Since camping in the park is relatively expensive, and most of the sites are deep in the trees with little in the way of views, we opted to look for places to overnight outside the park.  Here is one 'nice' gravel pit we found!
Hailey enjoyed climbing the gravel mountains!
Then, we found this much better spot nearby.

Some of the trails we visited in the park had extensive boardwalks.

A decent overnight spot with lots of waterfowl - on our way home.

Meanwhile, back home, our crop of dandelions was looking good.
While we mow some areas, we leave lots for the bees to enjoy.

Pouring rain at home now, for an estimated 3 days, so good chance to update the blog.  But, as soon as it's nice, we'll be back on the road - somewhere!


Friday, June 03, 2022

Spring tours continue!

We wanted to go 'somewhere', but it took a long time to decide where to go.  All lakes still too cold to swim, still snow on all the mountain trails, fuel prices at an all time high ...

Finally, we decided to head east!  To the Drumheller, Alberta area.

It is a very scenic and interesting area of badlands, along the Red Deer river.  It has become famous for the large number of dinosaur fossils that are discovered there, with more eroding out of the hills every year.

The city was originally based around the abundant coal deposits and mines in the area, but now have pretty much adopted the dinosaur as their mascot, and there are dinosaurs on almost every street corner all over town.  There are lots of good biking options around, so I was putting some miles on the e-bike.

At one point, I felt like I was being watched, or followed? Likely it was nothing!

One spot I like to camp is right on the river, a few miles upstream from town.

Directly across the river is a Bald Eagle nest, that seems to get used every year, and this year was no exception.
There was always one parent guarding the nest, while the other was out hunting, or enjoying some soaring time away from the kids.  At feeding times, I could see three little heads come up, looking for a morsel torn from the latest hunt.

The sun had to be just right to see it, but there was also a dinosaur hiding in the bushes just across the river!

The spot is also a popular launch point for some canoe and kayak tours ...

"Wait, where's my kayak?"

Orkney viewpoint is another place that I have occasionally overnighted in the past. Then, last year it sprouted a 'no camping' sign :-(  This year the sign was gone, but I don't know whether it was vandalized or intentionally removed?
 Like many places, and much to my chagrin, signs are posted, but clearly (or not so clearly) are meant to be ignored!  Like - this sign on the wide-open entrance gate!
Even the pit toilets on site had their instructional signs.
Last time I'll go fishing there, I guess :-)


I also spent some enjoyable time hiking in and around Horseshoe Canyon, just a few miles out of town.

Before leaving the area, it is 'mandatory' to cross the river on the free Bleriot ferry!
It's such a short crossing that if the ferry was a little longer, they could just call it a floating bridge!

Where to from here?  North? South? East? or West?

Tune in next time to see where we end up!