In all our travels in Canada I have two areas I have always enjoyed. The first is the far northern areas of Canada in the forests and rocky country filled with thousands of little lakes and rivers. The second area is the southern Grasslands of Saskatchewan in the rolling hills around Mankota, Wood Mountain and Big Muddy area. Here you can look for miles across rolling hills and see no sign of civilization, it gives one the feeling just how small we really are in the whole make-up of the universe.
On a cattle drive several years back I had the chance to experience the beauty of the Grasslands up close and personal. Riding through the hills gathering cattle from the ravines and heading them home was in itself peaceful as one could only hear the sounds of the wind. Cresting a rise on one of the trusty ranch horses, I could see as far as my eyesight allowed, natures beauty the way it was intended, lay before me. I was just a little speck sitting astride the horse, realizing just how small we really are. Just a beautiful reminder not to get too caught up in how big of a role we actually play on earth, definitely humbling.
My first love however is the northern, untouched forest areas of northern Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. We have travelled fairly extensively in Saskatchewan and northern Manitoba, with Manitoba having a special place in my heart just because of the unspoiled beauty of the rock, lakes, rivers and forest areas. Like the south this area is sparsely inhabited. One would start to think I am a recluse and that would be partly true as I do not require an audience but I really do love people and enjoy visiting. The lack of people means we have not altered the beauty of nature the way it was intended to suit our commercial needs. It has not been knocked down, flattened out and paved, but remains a beauty the creator has given us to learn from nature if we take the time.
So as one can imagine growing up in central Saskatchewan in the middle of farming country a tree was a cursed thing as one would have to take the time to swing the big seeder around. A bush meant a few bushels of grain less to market. I could never get it when people would cut down a beautiful six foot spruce tree to hang decorations on for a few weeks when I could look for miles and hardly spot a tree. I get it and we are lucky to have hard working farmers that risk it all, year after year, to feed the world, but sometimes that need to draw every dollar out of the land, plowing every available inch, backfires as nature has the final say. But as our populations grow and we start paving further and further into the countryside, our farmland shrinks, so I can see now how perhaps every inch will count to produce food at the price of changing nature to our needs.
This is perhaps why Charlotte and I love to get away to where we can find nature unaltered by us humans. It amazes me to know that for thousands of years the beauty God created grows, dies and regrows to continue the cycle of life ever beautiful and productive. A beauty that is home to all sorts of life forms and animals all existing quite fine, all without the help of mankind. It amuses me to see people come to get away from the towns and cities to camp in areas they know bears, wolves and lynx roam and expect the parks to chase these animals away from their home and hunting grounds so they can feel safe. The only times we have problems with wildlife is when we do not respect their space, no different than the trouble you’re going to get if you try and shoo me off my place. We can all exist together just all that is required is a little respect one for another and that goes for wild life as well.
Getting into the backcountry and exploring the rivers fur traders, explorers and the native Indians used for travel in our canoe is exhilarating. Exploring bays and rivers in the peace and quiet of nature we imagine, not since the fur traders or natives, we are the only ones that have been in this exact spot. Not! Looking into the water we see a beer can and a little further on shore an oil can. That dream over, we paddle on to a historic canoe portage, unload and are shocked to see the litter everywhere in the trees and left at campsites. Yes human animals have been here and like some animals have marked their territory by leaving their garbage for others to enjoy. Obviously they were out there for a reason, was it to enjoy nature as we were, or did they simply go a long distance to party up, or did they make the trip to dispose of their garbage. I know God created man equal but sometimes my belief in humans is shaken. We sometimes just have to mess up a good thing. Please there is nothing historic about your garbage being left, it’s just a sorry statement on humankind. Luckily not everyone is like this, but a few will ruin it for many. We have to journey further and further away to find areas now untouched by man and still pristine without garbage and that is what keeps us going that extra mile, because it’s less crowded there.
Love all of you who take the time to read this rambling. Covid has definitely cut down our adventures as we try and limit our chance of spreading this virus. If we could just all do our part for each other…but then that is like the privileged few who leave their garbage for others. I really do love people just sometimes have a hard time understanding what we are doing to our planet in the name of progress. Lots of us care, but it’s the ones that don’t that kinda get under my skin.
Sharing with you some of the northern beauty of one of my favorite provinces Manitoba Canada, enjoy and we hope to meet you down the road. Please subscribe, until next week.