A Travellerspoint blog

June 29, 30, July 1. Grasslands National Park, Canada Day

HIking, Canada Day in a National Park,

sunny 30 °C

June 29:

After getting up-to-date with our laundry in Assinaboia, and having lunch at the Cruz-in Restaurant we headed on our way for Frenchmen Valley Camp ground in the west block of Grasslands National Park. The laudromat was part of a auto glass repair place...strange.

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We took the route in through Mankata, which is also our last chance to get gas before heading into the park. Gassed up, at 90 cents a litre, it took almost another full hour to go 70 kilometers to the campground.
The last 20 k was on gravel roads, through the Ecotour section of the Park. Buffalo, and black-tailed prairie dogs abound along this section.

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We had booked site 20 online from Assinaboia, and it was a good thing we had, otherwise we would have been in the unserviced overflow for the night. The park is small, with just 20 electric sites in all, plus 4 Otentniks. This camp ground is very similar to one in the South Dakota Badlands, where we met up with our travel buddies, George and Karmen Reid, back in 2014. We got a cute shot of our shadows on TaJ.

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We partially set-up camp, as tomorrow we move to site 3, which we had previously booked for 3 nights, beginning on the 30th. A beautiful sunlight day, with mild temperatures.

The staff here are great, with Emma being our favourites. This photo is from Canada Day Our first evening was a quiet, as road weariness set in after a couple of beers and supper.

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We met Clarence and Susan Hoote, from Chilliwack, on their own journey. They are headed East to Labrador as part of their travels and we hooked them up with out 2013 blog of our adventures on that amazing stretch of road. We hope they have as much fun as we did up there.

June 30:

We awoke to a sparkling morning, full sunshine. After breakfast, we did the Tipi Ridge trail hike immediately beside the camp ground while we impatiently waited for the people in site 3 to get out and get going, so we could move TaJ and set up for the full weekend. The Canadian government puts red chairs at various points in the National Parks and we took a picture of Jenny in the ones here. While the Tipi Ridge trail says it is 2 k long, we ended up doing almost 3.5 k after getting lost and wandering a bit in the grasslands.

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In the afternoon we took a drive around the 70 kilometer long Back Country Loop, looking for wildlife and scenic views. While the drive was great, the roads were single land dirt roads. If it rains, these roads are impassible. There are several still active ranches along this route. Both of us were tired, not to mention hot as the temperatures soared into the high 20's and we crashed for an afternoon nap.

In the evening we took in a presentation on archaeology in Grasslands. This are has been inhabited by the Indigenous peoples for thousands of years. Their life here was based on following the massive herds of buffalo back and forth across the plains. There are about 12,000 Teepee rings in this general area. The natives used local stones to hold down the sides of their teepees, and simply rolled them off when ready to depart for their next location, leaving rings all over the place to re-use when they returned.

June Summary:

We have finished our first month on the road. Just 5 more to go to complete this journey. We travelled 6,750 kilometers and our average gas mileage was 16L/100 K, or about 14 miles per US gallon. Both the car and the R-pod have performed well, on some really crappy roads. The worst road by far on this trip was the 125 kilometer stretch from Miramichi to Plaster Rock, in New Brunswick. The highways of Saskatchewan are much better than the stretch of road in NB that we travelled on day 1. Even the gravel roads around Grasslands National Park, and the gravel roads near Castle Butte were better.

July will see us heading onto Wood Buffalo National Park, near Hay River, NWT, and then on to the Yukon and Alaska. The next segment of our journey should test both vehicle and trailer. We look forward to the adventure ahead.

July 1

Canada Day. We wore our Canada T-shirts. We hiked the 70 mile Butte trail, a 5 kilometer, to the top of 70 mile Butte. It can be seen from a long way off and was used as a guide for people travelling back in the days before roads. This was a killer hike, virtually all up hill until we reached the top. Spectacular views in all directions.

Unfortunately, we were alone up there so we had to take individual pictures to post in the blog.

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After the hike we went into Val Marie, oddly enough home of NHL great Brian Trottier, one of the top 10 players in league history. In the winter he skated on the Frenchman River. We had an ice cream cone at the local hotel, and a shower a the Val Marie Town Campground.

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On our way we came upon an abandoned farm house and took a couple of pictures. The furniture was still inside this place.

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There was a section of fence, where each post had a cowboy boot on it. Quaint.

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We took the rest of the afternoon off, but did an evening hike with one of the staff on the walk above the camp ground.

Tomorrow, July 2, is going to be hot, with highs in the 30's, so after a morning hike near the campground we plan to lay low and take a day of rest from doing very much at all. We are on to Moose Jaw, and a planned three day stay to get our car and trailer cleaned up, get the car serviced, and add mud flaps for our upcoming time in Wood Buffalo National Park.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 19:55 Archived in Canada Tagged buffalo canada_day prairie_dogs

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All it did was rain,thunder and lightning after the fireworks. Now 28 and hot rest of the week

by Steve Banks

Grasslands looks beautiful! If you don't mind, I think I will copy your idea of summarizing the current and upcoming month at the end of each month. it is a nice summary and gives readers an idea of your next plans. We are so pleased - we just were accepted to another housesit - this one in Singapore --- so we will have 2 assignments while in SE Asia.

by Karmen Reid

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