Diane MacDonald


(posted on 14 Aug 2022)

Maybe I should start with trivia by saying that the gas price dropped to $1.39/litre in Medicine Hat but has risen since to $1.79 where we are in Manitoba today.

The past week found us travelling from Fernie in the Rockies to Morden in southern Manitoba.  The vast prairie horizon is interrupted by gun-metal grey silos and ‘lost and lonely’ occasional farmhouses; it feels like a hard and lonely existence.  But there is great beauty.

One of our first prairie stops left an indelible impression.  Writing on Stone Provincial Park in Southern Alberta is a gem, and a surprise as the road drops suddenly, winding through strangely shaped mushroom-topped hoodoos to the tree-lined Milk River and campsite below.  The drama and power of the hoodoos is a stark contrast to the endless prairie horizon, though the impact of both is amplified by the lovely blue prairie skies.

From Writing on Stone we travelled to Cypress Hills, a park that straddles Alberta and Saskatchewan, another variation in the otherwise mostly flat landscape.  The views and the shade are welcome. 

We’ve stayed off the main highways, choosing instead secondary roads with almost no traffic.  Those routes are not always smooth (!), but we found that we could make steady progress without the hassle of multi-lane highways. 

We did see and hear a “hailstorm” of grasshoppers hitting the grill, and at night we found large moths that somehow found their way indoors and gravitated to our lights.  Many of these photos have been taken through bug-covered windows as we travel at 90km.

Local, regional, and provincial parks are plentiful some offer lakeside camping - we loved Thompson River Provincial Park in Saskatchewan.

The skies are not always blue!  Night before last a prairie storm - thunder, wind, lightening, rain and hail.  We had noticed cows “bunched” closely together - as close as they could be - and wondered about their sanity given the intense heat and humidity.  A local farmer told us that cows bunch for two reasons; one to help them deal with the bugs, and the second when a change in weather is about to occur.  Sure enough the skies opened.  Bovine wisdom.