The Narrows

Our summer travels started early in May with a short trip in northern Saskatchewan to the Narrows campground located in the Prince Albert National Park. This has always been one of our favourite campgrounds however, as canoeists we are finding the tubers and boarders are taking over the Narrows. This makes for a lot of over-the-shoulder checks and rough water for fishing.  So going early in the year the campground (no online registration) is first come and a lot of spots are available or mid to late August through September. What use to be our quiet go-to spot that attracted fishermen and those not requiring power and hook-ups now is attracting a new kind of camper.  During the peak season the boats from 20-40 hp now have to share the lake with those 150 hp and greater. Camper outfits are getting bigger and requiring more power meaning more generator use.

The Narrows campground
A little cool but a great start to the new camping season. Parked for a quick get-away in case of fire that was just brought under control (we hoped) in the area.

It was on this trip we were late in May due to a threat of forest fires nearby, the park and the campground was closed. We arrived to meet the fire fighters coming out of the area and stopped one of the vans asking if it was safe to use the campground, they could not provide us with any information. Luckily as we were sitting at the junction to the 18 kms gravel road to the campground a Parks maintenance truck drove up and we were able to find out the campground had just been declared open. It was a rainy cool day so we proceeded with caution finding when we got there we were all on our own. This would not have been a problem under normal circumstances, but with the smell of smoke heavy in the air we were a little concerned. We found a site we could get out of in case of a hurried evacuation.

The weekend remained very cool and rainy, but it was good to be back in the north and the pines. Not long after arriving we spotted another camper which stayed in a different loop in the large campground. Why this made us feel a little more secure…I do not know, now there would be two of us trying to get out in case of a flare-up.

It was on this trip we noticed the Park had gone through and cleared the campsites removing under brush and making two sites into one larger site to accommodate the trend of  40 ft. plus rigs and trailers along with huge boat trailers. The charm we found has not totally disappeared in the campground, but we can see the change is on to take the overflow from the main campsite at Waskesiu.  This I suppose is a positive change for the Park and the new breed of campers and larger boats to enjoy the Narrows. However for us the quiet and the sounds of the loons which used to be the call of the north is disappearing. It’s time for us to find a new place, perhaps further north, where we can find more undisturbed beauty and quiet where the loons are free to nest.

Don’t get me wrong, Prince Albert National Park is a beautiful park offering people miles of hiking trails, canoe routes, town site, remote camping,  luxury camping, hotels, food and shopping. The location is less than 100 kms north of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan making this park very accessible.  We are fortunate to have this park in our province. We will still get our fix of the Narrows each year, probably our first camping trip and last trip of the year when it’s not as busy…..and that’s just our idiosyncrasy. Check out the photos and hope to see you “Down the Road.”

Kingsmere River
The beautiful Kingsmere River runs into the northwest end of the Narrows.
Hiking trail
Hiking trail overlooking the Narrows inside the campground
Marina at the Narrows in Prince Albert National Park.
The Marina at the Narrows offers boat rentals.
The Pelicans share the Narrows along with many varieties of birds and the beautiful Northern Loon.
Wildlife within the Park.
If you’re lucky you get to have a visitor, beware though they are not domesticated.
The sunsets at the Narrows never fail to impress me and we have 100’s of photographs of them.
Stunning sunset overlooking the Narrows campground.
Another stunning sunset.

You can check out the National Park at

Travels from 2018 finally posted

It’s not a New Year’s resolution but it’s time to stop procrastinating. I now have the time as we enjoy life at our small cabin to reflect on a great summer of travel in our RV. We had a great three-month trip through northern Manitoba combined with many short stays at Nipawin Regional Park, the Narrows in Prince Albert National Park, and Spruce River in Great Blue Heron Provincial Park and Zeden Lake campground in Narrow Hills Provincial Park all in northern Saskatchewan. This included a trip to La Ronge to pick up another new-to-us canoe.

Not sure how many days in total we were on the road, as we had no plans when we left except we had a photo assignment to complete in Nipawin. Our plan to possibly head to Dawson City in the Northwest Territories went by the wayside. We were close to Manitoba and I wanted to show Charlotte Flin Flon, heading to Dawson City after was still in the plans at that time. That was until we experienced the Canadian Shield area of northern Manitoba around Flin Flon. This countryside, sparse in people, heavy in spruce forests, lakes with great fishing and canoeing everywhere in between the rock formations, was everything we could ask for. We did not leave for approximately 90 days.

The beauty of northern Manitoba rivals that of British Columbia without the grand prix course through the mountains and people everywhere. I almost hate sharing the beauty we found in case it becomes a Jasper or Banff and the simple natural beauty untouched by man will remain. A close friend of mine Keith agrees with Charlotte and myself, there is just something about the northern forest and the naturalness that calms the soul and is almost a spiritual feeling.

Now I have started I guess I owe it to the readers of Down the Road to share the beauty we found in the upcoming series of articles to be posted.

The greatest feeling of all was the feeling of total freedom, we had no destination, no time frame, no place we needed to be or anything we had to do but to enjoy the people we met and the beauty. For us this was possible, as we are definitely not wealthy, if you consider money as a measure of wealth, but for our desire for a simple life free of a lot of things to tie us down. We love the RV lifestyle, it has taught us to be aware of our surroundings, and conservation of our resources. Many times we are without shore power, and water. As a society we think nothing of leaving on lights, running water endlessly and heating massive areas we do not even use in our homes.

Our truck camper is a luxury we enjoy. In that small space we have everything we need, shower, toilet, oven, stove, big fridge and freezer, a useless TV, queen size bed and even the kitchen table and sink. The freedom of a small unit with 4 wheel drive allows us to go just about anywhere we want and enjoy areas many cannot. Our solar power, two six volt batteries and with some conservation we can do without hookups for weeks. We are totally self-contained and able to park almost anywhere. We have had from a 38 foot fifth wheel to pull behinds and are back to a truck camper.  We have had several and find smaller is better. Perhaps that is why the van campers are becoming very popular.

The beauty of camping off grid is most campgrounds that offer power and services are now taking bookings on line. As regular travelers who may want the option of staying for a week or more in an area we like, we got tired of being booted out on Thursday to make room for a booking on that spot for someone who wants it Friday night and Saturday. Many times the campground is booked solid and you have to move on. It happens all the time in all provincial parks that take on line bookings so we avoid these parks as much as we can because we do not enjoy relocating every 3-4 days. Yes we could book online like everyone else…that is if we knew where we would be, had access to the internet, and even at that, the first thing in spring most popular campgrounds are booked every weekend before May, even if the site, in many cases, is not used. Personally I prefer the old way which we never had any problems with, first come first serve, or at least enforced if you have booked it you use it. We have found too many times it’s just a nice place to store your camper until you may want to use it…..sometimes we just have too much money to spend.

Where I was going with this is, it’s not money that we make that allows us to live this lifestyle but the money we get to keep. We have found freedom with the less we have that we really do not need. Our small cabin is comfortable and everything we need, yes there are times we think we want more, but don’t need it. The money we do not send for taxes, power, heating, insurance and upkeep every month we get to keep while doing without anything. We do not drive exotic vehicles; we find the vintage ones we’ve got that are paid for, get us where we want to go. To sum this up, the more you have the more you need, it’s nice to have a big fire….but it requires a lot of wood to keep it going. At the end of the day were you any warmer than close to a smaller one and enjoyed sitting around that fire rather than constantly cutting wood.

This year we may spend close to 200 days plus on the road, and the above comments may answer the question we get a lot, wow must be nice, how do you do it?

Looking forward to see you “Down the Road”.

A short winter camping trip

Short Winter Camping header

We love our wee cabin at the lake! But we do have cabin fever and who can blame us, 175 days of below zero temperatures. This time last year our lake was wide open and a neighbour’s boat in and we were having morning coffee on the deck.

The few good days we had allowed me to complete the modifications to our truck camper. A new enclosed front generator and modified rear storage allows us to haul our 16 ft. Sea Eagle kayak behind the passenger seat of our truck. Not that we have need for it now…but just in case winter decides to give up this year.

A funeral for a dear friend in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan was all we needed to get motivated. As long as we were heading north to our favourite part of the province we would take the Northern Lite and continue north for some winter camping. Yes even Charlotte was ready! I had spent some time in our camper this winter at Agribition so knew the four-season camper could handle the low temps. We would have to rely on our solar panel and two six volt batteries for all our power. The camper and stock solar panel and batteries came through with flying colours, our batteries never dropping below 12.2 volts.

Unfortunately our favourite northern campsites did not come through as well. If we thought we had lots of snow back here at Pike Lake, it was nothing compared to Anglin Lake, Waskesiu Lake and north.

Spruce RiverThe roads were great and plowed out in Great Herron Provincial Park as were the roads in Prince Albert National Park. We could get to the campground entrances but the campgrounds still had two to three feet of snow throughout. We stopped at Spruce River, Anglin Lake and then north to the Narrows north of Waskesiu townsite in Prince Albert National Park. We had hoped to see the otters playing, obviously they also were not in the playing mood.

Welcome to Waskesiu

Downtown Waskesiu
Still loads of snow line the streets and sidewalks of Waskesiu townsite

The townsite usually very busy with people was quiet and snow piled everywhere. The main beach house had a five to six foot drift blocking the entrance, we sure need some warmer weather for the May long weekend.

Canada Geese
Ok I know we are early…but I did find you a pretty spot for a dip.

We did however find open water on the Waskesiu River. Here we watched some confused Canada Geese arguing over whose fault it was they arrived back to this. Our journey north ended at the Hanging Heart Lakes where the marina road remained unplowed.

Narrows road
Winter or summer the 18 km drive into the Narrows is beautiful with always lots of wildlife including bears.

Narrows map
Our favorite camping and canoeing spot in Prince Albert National Park

Narrows Marina
Business is just a little slow right now.

Otter Sign at Narrows marina
Sorry we missed seeing these playful little northern creatures.

Elk Ridge Sign
Elk Ridge resort – A must stop on any trip just off the Waskesiu Hwy.

Elk Ridge Lodge 2
It may be a few more weeks before conferences are replaced by golfers.

We totally enjoyed our province’s north again seeing a different beauty one does not experience in the summer months. The north is a great place to snowshoe, cross country ski and hike and enjoy the beauty of the green spruce against the stark white snow. As beautiful as it is it’s time winter to get lost and allow us a short but beautiful summer.

Short on campgrounds we were lucky enough to be able to camp at my cousin’s place at Northside, Sk. on Hwy. 2. June runs a great go-to-destination antique store, Northside Antiques and Collectibles, which also is home to the Black Spruce Art Gallery. Check the menu for more on this in a future article and photos.

Back at the cabin and another snowfall….perhaps this will be the last! For us our travels are starting again and we hope to see you “Down the Road”

We hope you subscribe and come back often….Charlotte and Gerry

Rowan’s Ravine Provincial Park

Rowans Ravine headerIn June of 2017 Charlotte and I had the opportunity to camp at Rowan’s Ravine Provincial Park. We were on a photography job for a client that would have us travel from Weyburn, Saskatchewan through the south of the province west to near the Alberta border. The job required close to 18 locations to be photographed, so we loaded the camper leaving a few days early to camp on the shores of Last Mountain Lake. We have travelled extensively through Saskatchewan doing photography jobs, rodeo events, and with our western magazine Pure Country always camping. For some reason we never got to camp on one of southern Saskatchewan’s longest lakes. We decided on Rowan’s Ravine Provincial campground as it was on the eastern side of the lake near where our work week would start.

The road to the campground left a lot to be desired Hwy. 322 and 220 approximately 25 kms of gravel and a little washboard to say the least. But once getting to the campground we were quite impressed. We love either the very north with the tall spruce trees or the very south with the rolling hills and grasslands and not much for wide open prairie. Rowan’s Ravine was established as a provincial park in 1960 and the trees in this well treed park were hand planted to create an oasis on the open prairie of mostly farm land.

7 Bird preserve at Rowan's Ravine
Canada’s first bird preserve established at the north end of the lake.

The lake itself is a few kms short of 100 kms long and 3 kms wide at its widest point. The area was chosen partly because of a large sandy peninsula, now one of southern Saskatchewan’s largest natural sand beaches. Because of the location the beach is usually always sheltered from the wind.

1 Rowans Ravine park entrance
From the Park entrance everything is well maintained and groomed.

2 Pretty drive Rowan's Ravine
A pretty drive into the campsites.

The campgrounds were very well kept, clean and some very private areas along with more open and group camping areas. Most important all the facilities were very clean and maintained, large modern washrooms and hot showers, laundry facilities etc. Free firewood which is becoming rare, picnic tables, firepits, electric 30 amp service and dump stations to mention a few. The campground has 300 sites, including pull thru and tent sites. We stayed two nights and cost was $30/night with power. Not sure what the provincial park entry was as in Saskatchewan residents who are 65 or older get free passes, and we qualify….Yes!!! Just looked it up a provincial yearly pass is now $65 for all Saskatchewan provincial parks.

3 Rowan's Ravine campground
Large clean well maintained campsites, 300 of them.

4 Trees hand planted
All of the trees in the park were hand planted turning prairie into a green oasis.

5 Well sheltered marina
A well sheltered marina, boat launch and marine fuel.

I think this may be the only Provincial Park I can walk the whole length of the park along a shoreline. If you enjoy hiking, just plain walking, boating and water related activities this park fits the bill. Being as we left our canoe at home (we were on a job) we did an amazing amount of walking. Lots of picnic and day use areas, large modern marina with marine fuel, did I mention great fishing and a neat restaurant featuring its own dock. We are not the norm and choose not to be tied down by pets but for those who do it’s a pet friendly park as well.

8 Rowan Ravine marina
Wide view of the marina featuring all the gear you need for fishing.

6 Rowan's Ravine boat launch
A very busy boat launch during peak summer times.

This Lake I discovered played a huge roll in settling farmers into the area. In the early years for the Cree Indians it was a land of abundance providing all their necessities. Bison by the thousands roamed freely on the shores and plains, other wildlife, birds and fish provided food, clothing and shelter. I’m told that it is estimated 60 million bison roamed North America. In 1869, Issac Crowie, a clerk with the Hudson Bay Co. passed through one of the last remaining herds at the north end of Last Mountain Lake. He wrote they blackened the whole country and they travelled amongst them for several days. By 1879 the great herds were gone from Saskatchewan and by 1884 only a few remained.

In 1887 the Canadian government was urged to protect the large bird populations of nesting and migratory birds. Then it was part of the North West Territories and a bird sanctuary was created at the north end of the lake. With the dwindling fur trade in those days the railway wanted to make sure it put down tracks in settled areas for financial viability. The goal of the railway was to connect the east with British Columbia. Settlers started noticing the area was very fertile for agriculture and the government of Saskatchewan  in the 1890s and 1920s created the homestead act which granted immigrants 160 acres of land if they farmed it for 3 years. This increased the population to nearly a million by 1920.

When the European settlers arrived a small town called Watertown was established near the north end of the lake sometimes referred to as Long Lake. Before the railways it was steamboats that brought supplies and people to the land. The Peterson Land Company ran a steam boat the SS QuAppelle on  Last Mountain Lake to help bring settlers into the area. These boats played a big role for a number of years. Watertown was their northern port and Port Hyman was established at the south end of the lake.

A railway was eventually built and settlers took over the land. Today walking in the fields one can still find stone rings and cairns from native campsites, a reminder of the tremendous changes that have taken place in the last century. Now large farms spread out over the countryside, and a number of recreational areas developed along the shorelines. On the west side Regina Beach and Lumsden  Beach were established and to the north Sunset Cove and Sundale Resort.

It’s hard to imagine as one looks out over the lake not too long ago paddle wheeler steamships provided the main transportation and supply link for the people in the area to the railhead located in Regina to the south. The boats are smaller, faster and now simply provide recreation for the 1000’s enjoying the park.

This is a great park, not our favourite but worth visiting. Remember when camping please leave the site the way you would like to find it…..happy camping and we hope to see you “down the road”.

Christmas wish

merry Christmas take 2
Charlotte and Gerry

From our little cabin at Pike Lake to your home, we wish you and your loved ones a very Merry Christmas!

Winter, time to keep the home fire burning.

For most of us Canadian RV folks it’s planning time for next summer’s travels. That is unless you are enjoying a trip south of the 49 to visit our American friends. Quartzsite, Arizona is still a must on our bucket list but not this winter. I have put up enough wood at the cabin so we should be cozy and warm and enjoy our stick and stone home a little. After having spent most of the summer travelling in our truck camper we found it hard to just park it, but look forward to trying some winter trips. Yes in Saskatchewan, Canada! Believe it or not we are going to test out our Northern Lite to the extreme. As I write this it’s only -23c outside. With the right mindset winter can be beautiful not only for photography but sledding, snowshoeing, skiing and skating. A crackling wood fire is even more inviting on a frosty day.

Pike Lake, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Crackling fire
A crackling fire is warmer in frosty weather.

We have been pleased to get our online Magazine/Blog finally up and we look forward to having fun with it. I will finally be able to share my millions of photos we take of places and events visited instead of hiding the photos on a drive never to be found again. We have to remember when we choose a destination to try and give ourselves enough time as we should enjoy the journey.

Wishing you all the best of health and happiness in 2018. We pray that peace and love may prevail in this changing world and we hope to see you “Down the Road”.

Be careful where you walk, others may be following in your tracks.

Elk Island National Park

“We will return to canoe and visit the bison”

I cannot count the number of times Charlotte and I passed by the sign Elk Island National Park commenting we should stop in sometime. Having just returned from our son’s wedding and a week of camping in Calgary, Alberta, we were ready for a northern camping trip.

Continue reading Elk Island National Park

Spruce River Campground

“The haunting echo of the Northern Loon keeps us coming back”.

Charlotte and I discovered this small campground several years ago and have been back a number of times. Spruce River campground is located in the Great Blue Heron Provincial Park 60 kms north of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada on the beautiful Anglin Lake. Continue reading Spruce River Campground

Facts to know about full time RVing in Canada

Our Canadian weather is only one factor that makes it a little tougher to be a “full timer” versus a “snowbird”.  But having said that, when there is a will there is a way and the freedom and lifestyle of living full time on the road, if that’s your desire, is worth doing it and the sooner the better while health allows. When we had made our decision we wanted off the ant hill and the cost of maintaining a large home we started downsizing, which I will deal with in another article. It was one garage sale after another.

Continue reading Facts to know about full time RVing in Canada

Memories of an Agribition past and present

It’s been a number of years since I lasted attended Agribition which is held each year in Regina, Saskatchewan. Canadian Western Agribition is the largest livestock show in Canada now in its 47th year and just keeps getting bigger and better. Agribition is truly an international showcase for agricultural products and all types of livestock showcasing to the world the “best of our livestock and agricultural products”. Continue reading Memories of an Agribition past and present

For the love of rodeo

I had the privilege of getting to sit in on an annual rodeo school last May in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan and witnessed the passion many have for the sport of rodeo. Many past rodeo stars, contractors and pick up men spent their weekend helping young cowgirls and cowboys get a safe instruction in a rough sport of rodeo, saddle bronc and bareback riding. Continue reading For the love of rodeo