Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Parks and recreation: Saskatchewan.

but first: send someone to fetch us!

"Established in 1875 Fort Walsh would quickly become the most important, largest and most heavily armed fort the North West Mounted Police garrisoned during their early years in the West." More on this historic site here.

We intended to breeze through the exhibits but instead, decided to enjoy the free guided tour thanks to our Parks Canada Discovery Passes.  Lots of interesting history we certainly didn't learn about in school...

buildings rebuilt...

...to perfectly resemble life in the late 1800s...

... and Patrick got to play Chief Sitting Bull in a treaty negotiation re-enactment

Next was Grasslands National Park for two nights of gorgeous big sky, open prairies, free roaming bison, prairie dogs, crazy birds that sound like R2D2 and boomerangs... and lots of mossies and ticks. 

Grasslands is a fairly new park and the only prairie national park in Canada.  While we probably won't go out of our way to visit again, we were definitely glad to experience this stark contrast to the jagged Rockies.  Hiking was definitely a different experience here - flat and vast, a whole new kind of beautiful.  

70 mile loop - at 923m the highest point in the park

prairie "hiking"

the mayor of prairie dog town

Once again, our experience on the bison ranch helped us enjoy the herds here even more.  These were free roaming bison that had been reintroduced to the park to help the population bounce back.

(bison also wandered within 150m of our tent Thursday morning)

spring on the prairie

big sky sunset

big sky sunrise

Friday's stop was St. Victor's Petroglyphs Provincial Historic Park.  Not a place we recommend going out of your way to visit, but one of only four vertical petroglyphs in Canada.  So pretty neat.

spot the face?

A quick stopover at Moose Mountain Provincial Park...

home of the fish fly
but it was warm and dry

And then to Manitoba!  Not sure about the "slowly" thing, but we're getting the hang of this "global" thing for sure.

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