Last Monday, Nico started his job with an introduction week, so he’s been bombed by lots of information and comes home with a fried brain each day 😉 I’m using this time for myself to update some websites, and here is the promised update on our trip to the Greenwater Lake Provincial Park, March 4th – 8th!
Even before we moved to Canada we said that we wanted to have the first month off and even wanted to get away for a week or so if possible. At first we were thinking Banff, but we knew we’d also have a lot of exploring to do in our “own” province Saskatchewan. After we moved here and bought the car, it turned out that insurance-wise we can’t leave the province with our car, because Nico still only has his Dutch driver’s licence. He will have to get the Canadian one within 3 months, which means doing a written test and a road test again 😉 Anyway, we chose the Fisherman’s Cove at the edge of the Greenwater Lake Provincial Park, about 3 hours north from here.
Tuesday, March 4
We left Regina around 2pm on a nice, sunny day. Snow was getting less, but the prairies were still mostly white and the wind was still blowing up quite a bit of snow, so the visibility would vary. We took the 10 to Fort Qu’Appelle, the 35 up north past Wadena, then east for a bit to Kelvington and again up north on the 38 for the last kms to the Greenwater Lake Provincial Park. When you leave Regina to the east, you’ll get a rolling scenery with some trees and bushes here and there – not exactly the barren wasteland people think of when they hear the word “prairie” 😉 The next person that dares to say that Saskatchewan is flat deserves a spanking, because it’s NOT! Esp. the slopes of a river valley can be pretty steep, the Qu’Appelle valley that you’ll see in our pictures is a great example of that. Ok, it’s not exactly a Rocky Mountain, but still impressive and gorgeous. I must say that most of these pictures have been taken from the car (photocamera or shots from the videofootage), so don’t expect any award winning artsy shots 😉 Close to the park, the scenery changed a bit, more hills, more trees.
We arrived at the Fisherman’s Cove little past 5, checked into the cabin (which was fairly basic, but ok) and went to the restaurant for a meal and a warmer entourage. They have a menu with burgers, sandwiches and breakfasts, but we usually got the supper special. No haute cuisine (not that we’d want that), but just a decent meal for a decent price. The cabin wasn’t decorated so much, but the lodge itself had all the beauty and warmth you’d expect from a real log home! We immediately knew we’d be spending quite some time here, for the meals, some (wireless) internet time and a drink or two in front of the fireplace. God, that fireplace rocked!
Wednesday, March 5
We woke up to a beautiful day with stunning blue skies and lots of immaculate white snow. After breakfast we wrapped ourselves in enough clothes, scarves and mits to be protected for the -25 C or something, and went for a walk to the Greenwater Lake. Minutes after we left we cabin, we already saw some white-tailed deer in the forest! So cute! We watched them for a while and filmed them (some shots from that footage are in the photogallery). The lake was only 5 or so minutes further away, it was awesome to walk onto a big, frozen lake like that! Very cold too! We walked along the lake a bit further, and around the area where the cabins of the provincial park are. Some of them were taken too and we saw a few snowmobiles there. Snowmobiling (something that we had never seen) is big up there! We watched some squirrels and saw the deer again on our way back. I can’t begin to express how awesome it was for us, coming from a country where there is hardly ever any snow and winter anymore, to experience some REAL winter! And sure it’s cold… but with enough clothing and sunny weather like this, it beats any gray, rainy day back in Holland, I can assure you that! We’d been looking forward to this so much, so we gratefully took in the crisp, cold air, and all the amazing views of a pure white snowworld.
Thursday, March 6
Uh-oh, sick…. I had a beginning cold when we left, but ok, how much does a cold really bother you normally? Nothing you can’t deal with with a paracetamol/tylenol every now and then. Well, either I got a flu on top of it, or (more likely) my body reacted heavily to the new germs taking over my body. Germs and viruses aren’t the same everywhere you know, so your body may have to start from scratch in getting anti-bodies against colds and flus when you move to another continent. Anyway, I felt pretty sick, had a bad night and stayed in the cabin for most of the day, in bed or on the couch (and every now and then just standing by the window enjoying the view). There was one tv channel to entertain me, and Nico went out for a walk on his own. In the afternoon he went to the lodge with the laptop to spend some time online, and for supper we both went to the lodge. It was good to get out for a bit, but my appetite wasn’t big and I didn’t want to stay long. Turned in early!
Friday, March 7
I still didn’t feel great, but just good enough to go out again. It was the last full day there, so I didn’t want to stay inside another day. We took the car and went for a drive. At first to Round Lake, we had heard we could see elk there. Over small roads we tried to get there, while it started to snow more heavily and the roads were hard to see sometimes. At one point we thought we had missed a turn and wanted to turn on the road. Nico drove to the right a bit… and a bit too much, because the right front wheel suddenly got off the road and buried itself in the snow. No way we could get out, or lift the car! Uh-oh… we hadn’t seen anybody in a while!! But after a few minutes a snowmobile appeared, he said he’d be back in about an hour and a half with more people, so he could pull us out if no one else did in the meantime. But while we were still talking to him, a few more snowmobilers came along, an RCMP (Royal Canadian Mounted Police) truck came from one side and two cars from the other… so within 5 minutes there were like 7 people helping us get the car back on the road! This is Canada…. everybody’s friendly and helpful as if it’s the most normal thing in the world! We felt like stupid tourists (and I didn’t dare to get the camera out to film it), but they said it happens to everybody, and it would happen again! Ok…. well at least we know now what kind of emergency equipment we need to get for the car (shovel, candle to stay warm, blanket) and I’m glad our first encounter with the RCMP was a positive one! 😉
We continued to the lake, but due to the snow there was no visibility at all, so we turned around (safely this time haha, with me getting out of the car to give directions) and went back to the main road… the snowfall was getting heavier so it started to feel a bit eerie to be out there by ourselves with a normal car, helpful Canadians or not. Once we were back on the 38, we decided to drive west, to Archerwill. From there we went north again, to Tisdale, where we stopped to stretch our legs at the Tisdale Mall and to have some lunch at Robin’s. Then we continued east and then south again, until we got back in the park and the cabins. By then I think we had satisfied our need to see real winter and big piles of snow hahaha! On this trip I mostly filmed, so most pics in the gallery of this day (except the 3 from the mall) are just shots taken from the video footage (lesser quality). After supper and some time at the fireplace, we turned in pretty early.
Saturday, March 8
Time to go home again. At first we wanted to stay for a week or so, but this cabin was only available until this Saturday. Instead of looking for another place for a couple of days more, we really wanted to go home, because boy, that day out hadn’t done me and my cold any good! I felt sick, seemed to have had a slight fever again during the night and just wanted to get home. In the car I filmed a lot of the scenery and several times we saw some deer and coyotes! I took some shots from that footage for the photo gallery again. Not as nice a quality, but hey better than nothing 😉
We can’t wait to see how things look up there in the summer, so I’m pretty sure we’ll be visiting the Fisherman’s Cove and their friendly crew again!