Four days to cross Saskatchewan is not much but better than most people do. We took only a few stops along the way visiting friends and taking recommendations from others we had met.
Saskatchewan, like Manitoba is a Prairies provence. This makes it very flat. Most of the fields are filled with beautiful yellow canola oil, rape seed. As you drive along, especially in the sunshine this makes everything bright and colourful and awesome. It was as we entered Saskatchewan too that we saw our first ground squirrels or prairie dogs. So cute they are! We drove for the day through the east side of the provence enjoying the farmland and little towns along the way.
Saskatoon was our first and main destination, We took the day to cross from Manitoba to Saskatoon driving through the vast flat fields that make up the prairies. We arrived into Saskatoon in the middle of the afternoon, finding a Walmart where we could spend the night with about 15 other and then went to one of the many riverside parks to have dinner and enjoy the evening.
The next day we went exploring the centre city. Saskatoon is a really nice city, known as the Paris of the Prairies. Not that it is anything like paris itself in any way but that it has a special little charm and is a warm welcome back to civilisation after the nothingness that surrounds it.
We spent the day just wondering around the city, the low buildings and wide streets make for a lovely relaxed environment. There were street markets on over that weekend so the main street was closed. It is always fun walking up and down the road without fear of being hit by a car. The city also has the river running through it so we walked along the river front seeing many of the bridges there too.
With time to spare and no plan we even went to the movies in the afternoon a treat which we have not done in a long time. While we were getting our tickets we realised that somewhere along the way we had crossed over a timeline and had no idea about it.
That evening we went to one of the Boston Pizza chains, a classy sports bar/restaurant. They were showing the UFC 200 so we decided to go along and watch.
The next morning we were meeting up with a friend who we had met years back in NZ. Jordanna and her boyfriend. She is from Saskatoon and lives there again now. It is always fun catching up with old friends after so long. We went for breakfast out to The Berry Barn. This is a Saskatoon berry orchard which has a cafe too. Love places like that! It was a beautiful spot out of the city backing on to the river. The food has a big Ukrainian influence and they are famous for there waffles. We had a delicious breaky there and catch up before heading out on our way.
Battleford was our main attraction to visit for the day. Here you can find the historic site of fort Battleford. It is only a little spot but a great place to learn some Canadian history. We took a guided tour around the site learning of it’s role in history and a lot about the origins of the RCMP, originally the north-west mounted police. We enjoyed our afternoon there and found it very interesting.
From Battleford we continued on our way out to Manitou Lake. This was a place someone had recommended us to visit while we were still in Iceland. This Manitou Lake was right on the boarder to Alberta. It was a nice spot and hardly anyone else was there. With a honestly box campground overlooking the lake below and some for of hills surrounding we enjoyed the view.
There were a few other campers in the grounds too, which we got to know. They had been having a family reunion out there and these were the last few left.
That morning there was a huge storm. It started just as we were making up and instantly started flooding everywhere. We got caught out in it, having all of our stuff in the front of our car and us being in the back. I found a big plastic bag in the back and make that into my rain coat. Good fun 🙂 One of the people from the reunion invited us to come in and have some coffee and breakfast with them which was so kind and needed during that rain.
We spent some time under the shelter letting the rain pass and making new friends before heading out. It was at this point that someone pointed out to us that we were at the wrong Manitou Lake. Not that there was anything wrong with here but it is definitely not a touristy place and is quite far from anywhere. They said to us that we were probably recommended to go to the other Manitou Lake a little east of Saskatoon. After a little research (it didn’t take much) we agreed that we probably were.
The other Manitou Lake… Little Manitou Lake is a fairly famous and touristy place as it is an inland salt lake. Famous for it’s health properties and salt content. Similar to that of the dead sea. That would have been fun to visit too. Instead we had a very pure Canadian experience.
When the rain died down we continued on our way into Alberta for the next part of our journey.