Sunday, August 07, 2016

GTT Days 5-7

August 6 - Grasslands National Park East Block, SK.
Our 3rd province! Most of the trip today was on Saskatchewan country roads including a goodly section of dusty gravel in the National Park. We decided to head first for the section overlooking the badlands:
We were pretty tired from the long drive so we didn't walk quite as far as we should have to get the whole effect but it was spectacular anyway. The lady in the Visitors Centre gave us a hard time about not getting to the Red Chairs! After lunch we drove back to the Visitors Centre and were one of only 3 campers in the tiny terraced campground. It was hot and sunny but a pleasant breeze kept it bearable.
Wildlife viewed:  deer, pronghorns, killdeers, night hawks and a ferruginous hawk landing awkwardly right in front of us as the littler birds chased it.
August 6 - Moose Mountain Provincial Park, SK.
We hadn't originally planned to stay at this park but it seemed to mesh better with the distances we had to travel. It was a Saturday so we barely managed to grab the last reservation that was left the day before using the wifi in the visitors centre in Grasslands. Don't tell Saskatechewan but that's not much of a mountain! More of a bump on the prairie. Heh. And it was quite the busy place with two fishing lakes, boats and other floating devices coming and going, a huge campground and pickup trucks driving everywhere. Walk? Not.
We found it kind of hard to walk ourselves. Saskatchewan parks think that a trail is a mowed swath:
This trail was really a cross-country ski trail and did not go through to the main road so we had to back track. I got a zillion new mosquito bites for my trouble too. At least we got a very quiet walk. Nobody else was dumb enough to attempt it! They were all fishing for walleye and perch.
There were nice hot showers at the campground but the peace was marred by many smoky campfires and some idiot with leftover Halloween firecrackers. I thought we were out to enjoy nature? Anyway, it was a rest stop on the road to Newfoundland.   Wildlife: cows and horses don't count!
August 7 - Birds Hill Provincial Park, MB. Province number 4! And crossing into the Central time zone, 2 hours ahead of our Pacific time. We're still getting up at the crack of dawn though. It's amazing to me how we just keep going to bed earlier and getting up earlier every morning. It's light at 5am local time anyway.     Another long morning driving straight across the prairies. We didn't take the Transcanada but Manitoba Highway 2 is even more direct and we can only push the old bus up to 100kph anyhow so the speed limit is perfect and the traffic much lighter on the lesser roads. We skirted Winnipeg to the south and east stopping for gas, ice and our first groceries since we left Vancouver. Up to now we've been eating from the provisions I brought with us from home.
We've been to Birds Hill before and really like it. Even though it's very close to the city and has a huge campground, it seems very quiet and has all the amenities one would want. Even wifi from our campsite! Yay. Oh, did I say it was quiet? Not down by the lake:
This is obviously Winnipeg's favourite beach! There were volley ball games, frisbee, floaters, sand castles, ice cream, hot dogs, bikinis and beach umbrellas. Totally reminded me of a smaller version of Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver. A good time was being had by all as we walked past everyone sunning themselves. Pay no attention to the signs that say don't swallow the water and wash your hands in fresh water before eating. I do like the fountains in the middle though.
Lest you think the wildlife is suffering there is another wilder lake nearby with fish and frogs and water birds. Others we saw today were 3 ducks crossing the highway that Thom had to avoid while remembering to make a right turn at the same time. Oh and several kinds of butterflies and cedar waxwings. They're so pretty!
Collecting: a whole constellation of mosquito bites. New ones daily.

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