Prince Albert

Trip Start May 14, 2012
Trip End Nov 06, 2012

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Prince Albert National Park

Flag of Canada  , Saskatchewan,
Tuesday, June 12, 2012


As we drove into Saskatchewan we were expecting vast expanses of flat prairie however it was not as flat as we expected. We learned that there are 2 Trans Canada Highways and we were traveling on the northerly route. 

After an eight hour drive we arrived at the Red Deer campground in Prince Albert National Park around five o'clock. The park is about an hour drive from Prince Albert, the third largest city in Saskatchewan.   It was hot and sunny – great!  This park was developed around the same time as Riding Mountain and has a similar configuration with the campgrounds near a town site that has small shops, the visitors’ center and other services.  When we arrive we suss out what’s on the go by going to the visitors’ center to get trail maps and any other info we need.  We are finding that it is not getting dark until after 10:30 and at times we have 'set’ before the sun!

We did a few walks in this park.  Like Riding Mountain you can really see how the glaciers have molded the landscape.  The landscape is not rugged but undulating as you walk up and down the glacial moraines.  The forest is a mixed with bogs and prairie meadows and there are loads of wildflowers in bloom.  We were able to get the kayak out for a spin and are getting the assembly time down each time we go out.  While the boat is not as smooth as our sea kayaks it is nice to get out on the water and explore from that perspective. 

Grey Owl spent most of his time with the Canadian parks system here in Prince Albert Park and people can hike or canoe to his cabin.  We did not visit his cabin here as it is an overnight hike or canoe trip. Instead we watched the movie "Grey Owl" starring Piers Brosnan!  Let’s say it wouldn’t reach the top ten.  In fact it was a little hokey!  When you read a little about Grey Owl and get past the Grey Owl persona the man Archibald Belaney left a lot to be desired. 

Now don’t think we are all about hiking and biking and paddling. We do spend time loafing about (when Garland allows!) reading, listening to music, drinking wine, sampling the local brews, and cooking.  And I usually find a place that makes good coffee.

One great thing about the park has been the abundance of wildlife.  There have been lots of elk on the side of the road and one on the bike path! We’ve seen deer, beaver, fox, herons, different kinds of ducks and birds, a white pelican and lots of geese with their young.  I did not know that pelicans lived in Canada.  We have the white pelican and you see the brown pelicans in Florida and southern US. 

We decided to visit Batoche National Historic Park on a day when rain was in the forecast,  and boy did it ever rain. We had all the rain gear you would need – back at the trailer!! I think we were the only visitors at the site that day and as you really needed to walk around to see the site we got drenched. The staff must have taken pity on us as they gave us their golf cart to travel around the site.  Oh well – we made the best of it and learned a lot.  The stop at Tim’s on the way home was sweet!  Batoche was the site of a battle between Canada and the Métis led by Louis Riel.  The Métis were resisting the way the Canadian government allocated land as they moved forward with the railway and the expansion into the west.  As usual the federal government proceeded without any discussion with the people who were there first.  To the federal government Louis Riel was a rebel but to the Métis he was seen as someone who helped them protect their way of life.

On the morning of our travel day we were woken at 5am by low flying aircraft.  This was the spruce budworm control program and they were spraying the park before people were up and about.  What about the animals! Well we were all up and about in short order and were able to hit the road for Elk Island National Park in Alberta earlier than planned.
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