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June 27, 28 - Bengough and the Big Muddy

Bengough R/V park, Big Muddy Badlands,, Castle Butte, St Victor Petroglyphs

semi-overcast 15 °C

June 27:

We left Boissevain around 11:00am and headed west. Our destination is the Town of Bengough, Saskatchewan, population 325, which happens to have a 30 site R/V park operated by the town. We thought it would be a good spot to stay while explored the Big Muddy.

On the way we stopped for lunch next to this retired grain elevator in Gainsborough, SK. Sad, but very impressive looking.

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We also came upon the big banana, in Bienfait, near Estevan.

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It was a long drive, over less than perfect roads much of the time, but we arrived safe and sound at 6:00pm, where we discovered a completely empty camp ground. Open, but empty. Cool, we have the place to ourselves. We won't be here very much anyway and we will have just one day to see the Big Muddy Badlands.

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A local fellow, named Dick, dropped by in the evening to welcome us to town. It was a bit like talking to our neighbour Milt back in Nova Scotia. Dick is 80 years old, just stopped raising his own calves and now shares the duties with his grandson. He was born 12 miles from Bengough, and he and his wife just moved the last 5 miles into the edge of town this year. He talked our ear off, but gave us lots of interesting information to consider for our day long tour. He told us to expect to get dusty, as it is all gravel road in the Big Muddy, and dry so far this year.

We are excited about tomorrow's adventure.

June 28:

We headed out early, with just 24 kilometers to get to Castle Butte, the largest feature in the Big Muddy Badlands. Impressive from a distance, even more so up close.

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We continued on a further 45 kilometers on gravel roads towards Willow Bunch. Along the way we came across many ranch signs like this one. Almost all ranches have their cattle brand as part of the picture and this one, for Paradise Ranch is at the top corner of the sign. It looks like a 7 with an upside down Y.

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We also ran into the Saskatchewan equivalent of a construction zone, at least on gravel roads through ranch land. Once mom was done feeding her baby they strolled off to the side and let us pass.

We saw this really cool cloud formation on the road in front of us. Although most of the day threatened rain, we really got very little.

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Another 45 kilometers of gravel road and we were at St. Victor Petroglyphs Provincial Park. Indigenous people have been carving drawings along the cliff tops here for centuries. We discovered that the best time for viewing is at dawn or late in the day, when the sun shadows the difficult to see carvings.

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We stopped for lunch in Rockglen, over near the East block of Grasslands National Park. We wanted to see what the roads were like over there, as tomorrow we plan to head there for one night before moving on for three nights at the West block. The local librarian was a font of knowledge on the local road and we decided that yes, we will travel to the East block tomorrow, June 29.

Back at our campsite, after almost 300 kilometers of travel today, through sparsely inhabited South West Saskatchewan. The people here are delightful the scenery amazing. We are truly glad we made the trek to the Big Muddy Badlands.

June 29 Update:

We are going to have to forego the Grasslands East Block. As we were getting ready to depart south, we discovered that the province is chip sealing the roads south of Bengough today. Chip sealing involves pouring hot tar on the road, and then covering it with fresh gravel. A creates a gross and disgusting mess for the next several days, until the tar and gravel meld into a pavement of sorts. Since this process always involves flying stones from vehicles going the other way at 100 kph, we have decided to move on to Grasslands West Block instead. Stone chips and gross tar all over our tow vehicle and TaJ is not going to happen.

As this is written we are in Assinaboia, SK, doing laundry and using the internet. We will be spending 4 days out at Grasslands.

Posted by Rooseboom-Scott 09:55 Archived in Canada Tagged castle butte big lands badlands cattle muddy bengough Comments (2)

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