Saskatchewan....land of marvellous welcomes
Fort Qu'appelle, Saskatchewan
After it cleared up in Dinosaur Provincial Park we went on a very cool guided hike to a centrosaurus bone bed. We hiked 3km to a beautiful spot where hundreds of dinosaurs have been found. New fossils were exposed when we were there due to the heavy rains the days before so it was exciting for all of us to make new discoveries. Our knowledge of the creteceous period has all been enhanced! We also decided to upgrade from our tent to "comfort camping" after a few very cold nights and days. Comfort camping is a big wall tent with 2 beds, table, chairs, fridge, coffee maker and heater. It was a relief to spread out for a few nights and be able to read and write in our own space (as opposed to the park laundromat and concession building!). The second night we were joined by a few mice which the girls enjoyed...reminded them of their gerbils back home.
We then crossed the Saskatchewan border on a traffic free secondary highway, and just minutes later couldn't have had a better introduction to the province. We stayed on the family farm of friends Craig and Freya, that we hadn't seen in 13 years (Steve and Craig went to school together in Nova Scotia). The Solie's farm durum wheat, spring wheat and green peas and Amélie and Léa were so lucky to take their first combine ride and harvest a durum wheat sample....and Steve was very happy to put his go pro camera in the field and take a video of the combine running over it! The kids also "adopted" two farm kittens, and even though we were greatly encouraged to take them with us we decided to leave them with their mom and other cat friends. We were blown away by the hospitality from Craig's parents and very thankful to stay at their house and chat farming, travel, politics at the kitchen table while sharing a few drinks late into the evening.
We made our way south the next day to Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, and drove up the hills into the lodgepole pine forest were we set up camp. I saw snow on the ground for the first time...scary thing is it was from the day before and hadn't melted!! We found out there was a presentation at the observatory at the park, which is also a night sky preserve. It was worth staying up later then planned to sit in a warm building, and listen to a great presentation followed by a tour of the night sky after. The -2 temp drove us back to our tent and many layers of clothes, sleeping bags and blankets. In the morning we drove back down into the rolling prairies and east to. Swift Current were we visited with Ex-Yellowknifers Steve and Stephanie and their kids who used to go to the same school as ours. it was lovely to reconnect and again. I also got to fulfil my desire to cycle in Saskatchewan, the only province I hadn't cycled in, and I can tell you that it's not flat....perfect rolling hills!
After a swim at Amélie's first ever 50m pool we hit the eastbound trans-Canada for Regina. We wandered over to the legislature and were able to join a tour that had just started. Fantastic building and super informative. And then another ex-Yellowknifer reunion with Jodi, John and kids. They also welcomed us with open arms into their home. The Saskatchewan hospitality has been wonderful...especially given that we are getting I touch with friends a day or two before we pass through as we never know exactly where we will be the next night! Before leaving Regina today we visited the nature and First Nations museum then biked along the excellent riverside pathways. We were pretty tired so decided on a short drive and are camped in the Qu'appelle valley. The girls finally got to sleep early and it's warm enough to type.....summer camping is back! Tomorrow we cross the border to Manitoba where we look forward to seeing more ex-Yellowknife friends!