Boondocking camp kitchen

Keeping it simple
Keeping it simple and multi purpose boondocking table.

Boondocking usually comes with its own challenges, you pay nothing to stay you get no services in return, simple and fair. We have spent time boondocking in both winter and summer; in the summer the area we were in had nothing and in the winter the area had picnic tables under three feet of snow. Sometimes the tables are rather debatable if you want to go near them let alone cook on them.

works great in the winter when picnic tables are buried in the snow
Kitchen works great in the winter when picnic tables are buried in the snow or boondocking.
Great cooking surface
Great cooking surface for a quick stop or when no table is available.

If you have been following our blog you know I like to think of myself as a photographer. Well I have a camera which is always with me, a monopod and also a tripod, so I guess I might look like a photographer. Having said that, these images are really bad as I took them in a hurry just to get the job done and I do not retouch photographs after I take them.

One of the downsides to a truck camper is the lack of storage so everything we take should either be used a lot or have multiple purposes and take as little room as possible. We tend to be like most people and need a lot of “stuff” in our lives so always pack more than we need. We cook outside of our camper as much as possible either over an open fire or with our portable stove. Packing a fold up table took extra room and weight, I needed a flat table top and came up with an idea to hook it to the camper back step and utilize my tripod or monopod (which is always with us) to add the support needed. Using the camera quick connect/disconnect attachments made the job easy and storage easy.

Mono pod or tripod quick release system
Monopod or tripod quick release system.
Quick release available at most photography stores
Quick release available at most photography stores.
More then one use monopod
More than one use of the monopod.

The connection to the camper back step can be done several ways. I had some gate latch clips lying around, these I attached to the truck and used two corner brackets fastened under the table to fit into the brackets. this made the setup very stable. When you live in the country you use what you have or it’s a drive to the city.

Hook on the back step
Hook on the back step.
Hooks to the back step of the Northern lite landingg
Hooks to the back step of the Northern Lite landing.
Hook brackets on table
Hook brackets on table one on each side.
Very secure table top even more secure when using my tripod
Very secure table top even more secure when using my tripod.

This is a very quick set up for boondocking either in a pull off parking lot or way off the grid in the bush and packs away easy.

Tray storage
Tray storage in the Northern Lite.

Although the set up off the back step is partially under the rear awning, it was necessary occasionally to move under our side awning in the rain or to get out of the wind or sun. I added the second quick release plate to the other bottom of my table top so I could use the monopod and tripod as legs to make it self standing and stable.

With the mono pod and tripod the top can be free standing and adjusted to any height
With the monopod and tripod the top can be free standing and adjusted to any height.
Quick release for storage and the tripod and mono pod can be used for what they were designed for...photography
Quick release for storage and the tripod and monopod can be used for what they were designed for…photography.

The nice thing about this is it can be adjusted easily for height depending on what you are using it for, cooking or eating at or just to put “stuff” on. Boondocking sites do not come with coffee tables or side tables and sometimes its nice to have something we can set a coffee on. Using my tripod and another quick release plate (yes I have lots of them as we used to have a studio) I made a small side table that works great and stores flat out of the way. Checkers anyone?

My side table/game table
My side table/game table works well utilizing my under utilized tripod.
A great very sturdy coffee table
A great, very sturdy, coffee table.

Being a professional photographer I know the weekend hobby photographer has way more photo equipment than I do, most people may have at least one of these stored in the RV so why not make it multi purpose. The top was shelving from Home Depot with a little wood burning.

I have had comments on my suitcase kitchen so I will share what I have done to make life simpler. I’m told that most inventors were very lazy people now I do not think I am the first to come up with this idea, but as one gets older one becomes smarter (or lazy as you please) and steps do matter.

Basic cooking supplies, stove and tools
Basic cooking supplies, stove and tools.
Has saved many trips into the Northern Lite camper
Has saved many trips up and down the steps into the Northern Lite camper.

As mentioned before we like to cook outside a lot and as anyone who lives in a truck camper or just camping, those back steps can get to you if you make a lot of trips up and down. I made this case to include the many things I found myself needing to acquire from the camper while cooking. It includes my Jetboil stove, canister of propane, tinfoil, oven gloves, tablecloth, paper towel, grill brush, cast iron pan, cooking oil and favorite spices. Also the utensils commonly used while cooking, knives etc. This set up can be put on a picnic table or just about anywhere and has saved me many steps in and out of the camper. Especially in winter with boots full of snow and cold air every time one opened the door.

Making less steps into the camper
Making less steps into the camper.
Compact camp kitchen
Compact camp kitchen.
Ready to store behind the passenger seat
Ready to store behind the passenger seat.

It’s easy to pack away and tucked away behind the passenger seat in the truck cab and as we spend a lot of time in bear country this eliminates the invitation for them to join us by sitting out broadcasting food smells. In other areas it’s out of sight from two legged bears.

Hope my poor images explain this better than I did and perhaps inspires some thought on how you can make storage space and life in the outdoor kitchen a little easier and enjoyable. My idea was taken from the old cowboy chuckwagon cooks.

As always glad to have you to share ideas and travels with, I have left my personal face book page as well as Instagram as they were getting too political and opinionated…so you will not find political comments on this blog. We’re going to concentrate on the beauty of nature, the RV lifestyle, truck camping and just enjoying making life simpler and more enjoyable. Politics….well them political types will just have to figure it out on their own.

Since then I started another Facebook account that allows me to follow truck camping and RV groups only as I learn a lot from these groups. All my posts will now be on this blog and not Facebook so when I post those subscribers who are interested will be notified by email of the post and I will not bother those not interested with unwanted posts.

Thanks for all the new subscribers who joined on last week, it makes one want to keep telling stories and taking photographs. Some day we hope to meet you and hear your stories if you truck camp or RV, you must have a few. As always I appreciate your comments and questions.

I’m going to have to hit the road here pretty darn soon as I’m not sure what my next blog may be…. I’m not selling anything so don’t be afraid to subscribe it will only notify you when there is a new post, like, share whatever and we hope to “see you down the road”.

Baldy Lake: Narrow Hills Revisited

This time we took our camping trailer and 17 foot Grumman canoe
This time we took our camping trailer and 17 foot Grumman canoe.
The beautiful Baldy lake taken by Studio West
The still calm Baldy Lake in the Narrow Hills.

Baldy Lake, in the Narrow Hills Provincial Park, just had to be revisited once again. A very small campground with only six sites along the shoreline is a very popular campground for a reason. When we arrived we really assumed it was a first come self register site, not so as it turns out. With another truck camper and a Class C the only occupants, we chose a site and set up camp for the evening. Quiet and beautiful. The next morning sitting around the fire with our coffee we got to meet the neighbour’s dog (cannot remember its name) anyway that lead to a conversation with his master in the truck camper next to us. We were informed that the self registration we could not find did not exist at Baldy Lake and it was on line only.

This was great as we had no cell coverage so it would mean a approximately a 20 kms drive each way to register. They also informed us when they registered only one campsite was left at Baldy Lake and that was not the one we were in, it was at the far end. We were happy the ghosts of campsite number two did not mind us sharing their spot and stayed quiet and out of site. Actually the four days we were there we never did see them to thank them.

Ideal campsites along the lake
You cannot get much better campsites along the lake than these, this was campground number two.

Now although the Baldy Lake campground was occupied by only our neighbours and ourselves as the class C had left because the site was booked for the next day, we were alone but afraid everyone was going to show up and we would be out of a spot, so we headed as fast as we could 20 kms down the gravel road to the Provincial Park Office. Yep the neighbour was right we did share a spot last night the park attendant told us and only site six was left…we took it for 3 days as it was booked after that.

Site six for 3 days
Site six for 3 days.

We were extremely happy as we had to share the campground for the next three days with only our truck camping neigbours and a nice older gentleman with his pull behind trailer. We saw no sign of a packed campground. I am sure others would have enjoyed it if the government site did not say they were all booked. Please people if you book and cannot make it please unbook so others can enjoy our government owned parks….such a waste of beauty.

The ghost is photographing  our campsite good thing its r egistered
The ghost is photographing our campsite good thing it’s registered .

We struggle with pulling a trailer with our canoe or just pack our Sea Eagle kayak. We really prefer the canoe and we can take extra “stuff” in the trailer. With the Sea Eagle behind the driver’s seat and my travel box on the back hitch we can travel much more freely and better fuel economy. Do we need the extra “stuff”, not really we got it so we pack it. It’s all about the canoe. Over the years we have definitely decided less and the more simplistic the better. So when we head out for our year travel it will be without the trailer.

Its great to be able to leave the canoe on the shore in your campsite
Its great to be able to leave the canoe on the shore in your campsite.
Charlotte in the Grumman canoe
Life is better in a canoe.

Our cabin is on a small lake so we voted the canoe remains there when travelling any distance. I showed Charlotte the roads and lakes I had visited during my first visit (well almost some I did not want to attempt with the trailer). The trailer followed with no problem, but it’s just another thing to look after, more tires on the ground and fuel is not cheap.

I think the Gem Lakes require we bring our canoe for one trip early in the spring they are beautiful. These lakes are probably our favorite in the Narrow Hills, but there is no RV camping, backpacking tent sites only which is perfect in the beautiful quiet setting of the lakes…no generators. Made for tents but something my partner says she is past that.

The beauty and color of the Gem Lakes
The beauty and colour of the Gem Lakes.
Another view of Jade Lake
Another view of Jade Lake.
The Gem Lakes hike very worthwhile anytime of the year
The Gem Lakes hike is very worthwhile anytime of the year.
All variety of mushroom's
All variety of mushrooms.

We did some hiking at Baldy Lake but really enjoyed our time in the canoe and watching the sunrise and sunsets all from our campsite around the fire and visiting with some great neighbours and “dog”. I will share some images of our memories and time there, hope you enjoy.

The beauty of Northern Saskatchewan
The beauty of northern Saskatchewan even if the road is a little washboard.
Northern sunsets while camping at Baldy Lake in the Narrow Hills
Northern sunset while camping at Baldy Lake in the Narrow Hills.
The beauty of the setting sun
The beauty of the setting sun produces the most vivid colours.
An evening of fishing in the beautiful north
Our neighbours and fellow truck campers spending a quiet evening fishing.
Picture perfect
Picture perfect no complaints here except the fish were not biting.
That canoe is getting to close got to leave
That canoe is getting too close, got to leave.
This Eagle felt we were too close for his comfort
This Eagle felt we were too close for his comfort.
A Grey Jay
A Grey Jay came to visit and play hide and seek.
The close of a perfect day at Bagwa Lake
The close of a perfect day at Baldy Lake.
Just chilling around the fire
Just chilling around the fire.
Amazing beauty of nature
Until morning.
Its getting dark and still no fish
It’s getting dark and still no fish, our truck camper neighbours.
Northern Lite Truck camper
One day I will get that shot that makes Truck Camper magazine.
The sky is on fire
The sky is on fire.
A light through the trees
A light through the trees as the sun goes down.
Breakfast time surrounded by the beauty and quiet of nature
Breakfast time surrounded by the beauty and quiet of nature.
Coffee time
I really love my Jetboil stove great simmer and good high heat.
Coffee time!
My suitcase camp kitchen really saves a lot of steps in and out of the truck camper and rides behind the passenger seat in our truck when not in use.
Map of the Narrow Hills Provincial Park in Northern Saskatchewan
Map of the Narrow Hills Provincial Park in Northern Saskatchewan.
Baldy Lake
Last parting views of Baldy Lake.
GEP00028
We are so blessed to be able to enjoy the natural beauty around us. Let’s preserve that and not destroy it for others. Leave your campsite clean and fire pits are not garbage bins.

That’s it for now. As many of you who follow me on Facebook and Instagram I am no longer there. To distance myself from many political opinions on social media and to refrain from giving mine to those who have not asked for it, it’s best I stay off. I love sharing images and telling stories on my blog and I can spend much more time on it. As always I will be happy to give my opinion if asked and if I ask would love to hear yours. When I run across an image I want to share and some thoughts it will appear here to those who subscribe. We are planning on hitting the road for a year as we have found someone to keep tabs on our cabin while we are away. So far plan A is northern Manitoba in the spring and early summer then heading to Northwest Territories, Yukon and Alaska if time allows. As the weather turns Arizona and beyond is calling….that’s plan A.

If you can handle more of this please subscribe you will be notified when new posts are up and your emails will not be shared and let those you know who may be interested where to find us….

We really hope to meet you down the road. Who knows where we are going to show up watch for the camper and western hat….take care stay safe and may the wind always be in your back…..Gerry and Charlotte

Discovering the Narrow Hills

A solo trip in the Northern Lite

Discovering the Narrow Hills in a solo trip that would test the Northern Lite and my trusty Ford F350. It was late July and Charlotte took a road trip to the mountains with our daughter so I was left to fend on my own. Not a problem I have a home on wheels so no sitting and sulking around the cabin. This was my chance to do some off roading, a solo trip where Char was not there to keep me out of the ruts and in check.

A northern lite truck camper stop for lunch
A quick stop in a gravel pit to make some lunch at a very quiet spot.

RVing in Saskatchewan in July if you do not have a reservation in a campground you are probably out of luck. As it happens that suited me just fine as they were too crowded and noisy. So time to check out the north down some untravelled roads. I took Highway 55 east from Prince Albert towards Nipawin turning off heading north on 106 commonly referred to as the Hanson Lake Highway. This highway is the only route to Flin Flon, Manitoba and many northern fishing lakes in Saskatchewan along the way. At one time it was just a dirt trail and a challenge. Our version of the Dempster highway. It now is paved and very easy to travel in most areas.

Travelling through the Narrow Hills Provincial Park, the main campgrounds at Lower Fishing Lake were of course booked solid. I travelled through the Park heading north and turned on a gravel highway 165 that headed west to La Ronge. After just about shaking the truck and camper to pieces on the washboard road I pulled over and let about 30 lbs of air out of my tires. This worked great to take the shake, rattle and roll out of the camper as I could not travel fast to begin with. Why rush I had no place to go and a week to get there.

The further you go the more remote
The further you go the more remote and no cell coverage a BIG bonus for those of us who seek peace and quiet.

My proposed destination was to find Piprell Lake recreation site somewhere back in the hills and down this road. I travelled until the day was getting on close to 7:30 pm. Finally I saw another gravel road on my left and figured I would take it as it should lead me in the direction I had to go to get back to the main road I had passed. I really at this point had no idea where I was but no problem I was at home wherever I chose to stop.

Someone was on my side as the road ended at Piprell Lake at least that what the sign said. Some will hate me for this but I was not impressed as I drove through the campsites. When you get that feeling it’s best to sometimes just leave. I cannot say what made me feel that way except perhaps the condition of the grounds and people looking at me like I had just landed.

I was tired from a long day of driving slowly over rough roads and hungry. I just wanted a place to crash and have supper. Leaving there I headed down a trail hoping to find a spot in the bush to pull over and spend the night. The road was just about unpassable but I was determined to go on. I met a fellow coming on a quad and asked him where it led to and he said pretty much nowhere and very few spots I could even turn around, suggesting I back out. He had just come the way I was going so I believed him. He informed me a ways down the road they had just plowed in to Lost Echo Lake and there was a campground that might have a spot but could not be sure.

The last camp spot at Lost Echo Lake
The last camp spot at Lost Echo Lake. The road here is an un-serviced forest road not recommended for larger RVs.

Taking his directions I headed east at this point. I decided I was done driving and took the first right trail heading into the bush. I would find a spot for the night on this forest road somewhere. After about 10 kms of rough trail I was getting less selective on where I would stay when a young couple in a car pulled up, I stopped to ask them what was up the road. I was informed they had just left a camp spot at Lost Echo Lake and if I continued it was the only spot left of the six sites. There were no signs but just take the next left for approximately 10km.

The road to lost Echo Lake
The road to lost Echo Lake as always the best road is at the beginning.
Lost Echo Lake
Lost Echo Lake is at the end of a forest service road and is very rough and approximately 20 km from the main road.
A view of Lost Echo Lake
A view of Lost Echo Lak.e

OK just keep going and it was worth the drive on a road that said travel at your own discretion, not maintained. The spot was there, the last one of six sites, I made supper and crashed for the night. Lost Echo is a smaller lake and the campsite were rough but have potential. With not even a hint of a cell signal I used my Spot X satellite phone to let Char know all was OK. Pushing the wrong button I also let 12 other people in our contact list know that as well. Should read the manual more often.

Campground trash
Campground trash left by two young people quite capable of carrying it 50 steps to the trash bin. This has to stop,

The weather started to change with storm clouds and a bit of rain so I decided to get out while the getting was good. In hindsight I should have stayed but pushed on to explore the area. The Narrow Hills are full of smaller lakes, a few with campgrounds and some just day picnic areas. The country is beautiful but in July as expected the few campgrounds there are were booked, mind you many were empty but booked. I know, as I boondocked in a booked site before leaving the park thanks to those who picked up the tab.

Camp site at Baldy Lake in the Narrow Hills Provincial Park
Camp site at Baldy Lake in the Narrow Hills Provincial Park.
Baldy Lake campsite right on the Lake
Baldy Lake campsite right on the lake.
Stickley Lake
The way to Stickley Lake, careful not for large RVs .

I put that old Ford and the Northern Lite down some roads Charlotte would not have approved of but now I know how far I can go without using the winch. Just a few scratches on the camper windows. Checking out many lakes and forest roads I knew I would be back when it was off season. This is starting to get close to being a novel so I will post some photographs of my trip in the Narrow hills and try to finish this post off.

Baldy Lake sign
Made it to Baldy Lake in the Narrow Hills Provincial Park in northern Saskatchewan.
Baldy Lake campsite right on the Lake
Baldy Lake is actually a lot larger than it looks from the campsite. A photographers dream, I will be back.
Baldy Lake
Another view from the campsite of Baldy Lake. A site we would occupy later when I returned with Charlotte.
Baldy Lake
The view from the campsite at Baldy Lake, I have to return with Charlotte to stay here in the near future.
Fishing or picnics only no camping
Fishing or picnics only no camping.
A rest stop at Summit Lake in the Narrow Hills Provincial Park
A rest stop at Summit Lake in the Narrow Hills, only one there very quiet and peaceful.
Summit Lake Dock
Help from our friends, a popular fishing spot I would think as there is no camping here.
Sharing the wild
Sharing the wild and the peace and quiet we both enjoyed Summit Lake.
Not sure how Big Summit Lake is
Not sure how Big Summit Lake is as this was all I could see from the dock.
Summit Lake welcoming committee
Summit Lake’s welcoming committee.
Finally made it to the Gem Lakes
Finally made it to the Gem Lakes.
A trail along the beautiful Gem Lakes
A trail along the beautiful Gem Lakes in the Narrow Hills, yes I would return, Charlotte has to see this.
A campsite off the Gem Lakes tenting only
A campsite off the Gem Lakes, tenting only on these lakes. Now if I could only get Char to stay in a tent.
Jade Lake
Jade Lake is one of the Gem lakes set in the Narrow Hills, hike in only and no power boats a bonus.
Gem Lake campsite
Gem Lake campsite tenting only but complete with fire wood.
The wild rose
The wild roses seen everywhere are beautiful in the natural surroundings of the Gem Lakes.
Peaceful and quiet
Peaceful and quie,t probably only during the off season times as these lakes are beautiful and waiting to be photographed and hiked.
Another wild beauty
Another native flower, not sure what these are called but wild and beautiful.
Simple beauty in the natural forest
Simple beauty in the natural forest. I do not know my flowers well so remains a no name.
Gem Lakes Clear and peaceful love the reflection
Gem Lakes clear and peaceful, love the reflection.
follow the trail to discover the beauty of the Gem Lakes
Follow the trail to discover the beauty of the Gem Lakes in the Narrow Hills.
The trail to Jade Lake the first of the Gem Lakes
The trail to Jade Lake, the first of the Gem Lakes.
Wild flowers thrive at the Gem Lakes
Wild flowers thrive at the Gem Lakes, this one caught my eye.
Another natural beauty
Another natural beauty painted by pixels in my Olympus camera.
Just could not resist stoping along the roadway and check out these beauty's
I just could not resist stopping along the roadway to check out these beauties.

With the parks booked I decided to slowly travel back towards home, maybe there was a campsite available at the Narrows north of Prince Albert in the Prince Albert National Park. No reservations required first come first served, my kinda campground. If not I know a spot I can boondock for the night. I took highway 120 from the Narrow Hills to Candle Lake, a gravel well-maintained road but in July very washboard. Air down tires really works great at keeping your rig in one piece. I stopped in Candle Lake Provincial Park to air up and on to PANP. A few photos along the way.

McDougal Creek
Lunch at McDougal Creek, now you are in bear country. a pretty rest stop off Highway 106.
Along the road in the Narrow Hills
Along the road in the Narrow Hills.
White Gull Creek the name says it all
White Gull Creek just off Highway 120 north of Candle Lake.
White Gull Creek
White Gull Creek from the highway in Northern Saskatchewan.
White Gull Creek after a short hike from the highway
White Gull Creek after a short hike from the highway.
White Gull Creek after a short hike from the highway
White Gull Creek after a short hike from the highway, beautiful clear water and a quiet forest.

Well this novel should be winding down, yes I made it to the Narrows and it was packed except for one small campsite that most could not fit their condos on wheels into. It was home for three days, but the noise, the generators, the huge boats and people everywhere, this is not camping this is Walmart on steroids. The people across from me must have slept all day as they finally went quiet at 6 am. two days in a row. Another evening I was sitting around the fire and was startled by yelling and screaming and banging of pots and pans. Some inexperienced camper left food on the table outside his camper and a bear thought he was invited for a free lunch. I found out later he had actually filleted fish on his picnic table. When in bear country and you leave food out just be prepared for them to accept your invitation for lunch as many live in this park. Don’t get me wrong I have been to this campground for over 40 years and never have experienced this, it is normally a very quiet respectful and peaceful campground. But then I stay away on long weekend’s and July and August, now I know for sure not to be there. I phoned my son in Calgary and said I would be there for supper the next day. And so it was Calgary…my home parked on the driveway in peace and quiet…. that’s why I like my truck camper it fits anywhere and it’s home.

Camping in Calgary
Home at my son’s residence in Calgary.

Charlotte and I returned to the Narrow Hills and Baldy Lake later in the season, that and a camp kitchen idea coming in future blogs. We may get a chance to test our DC to DC charger for some winter camping which I will share. Thanks for getting through this one. If you got to this point I can probably count on you to sign up and subscribe, it’s the only way I know I got you hooked. I am working on not posting notices on Facebook and Instagram to concentrate on my blog, so if you know someone who might like long winded novels and a bit of RV travel please share. It really helps motivate me to learn this blogging thing. Questions and comments are always welcome.

Take care, be safe and may the wind always be behind you…see you down the road.

Gerry and Charlotte

Amazing beauty of nature

The amazing beauty of nature and the lessons and peace it can bring never cease to amaze me as we travel through the north. With our home on our back, everywhere we stop we feel right at home and with four wheel drive and our Northern Lite that can be just about anywhere we want to be.

Always at home
Always at home

Time Northern Lite kicked in for some gas money or something as I keep raving about our rig, but we do love the freedom it provides. Especially now as we find a whole new group who are trying out the RV lifestyle and are pre-booking just about every campsite possible, some even show up. With the mobility of the truck camper we can get spots a lot of units cannot get to or cannot fit into as we travel. To me retirement is not living by the clock or schedule to have to be somewhere at a certain time, been there done that…no more.

Home is where we park it
Home is where we park it, this time in a nicely groomed campsite complete with table and fire pit.

Besides the truck and camper another must for me is my trusty old 2013 model OMD Olympus digital camera, with one lens. A great little light travel camera. Gone are the days of big bulky cameras, dozens of lenses and filters and gadgets, I’m too old to carry all that stuff which is seldom used. Little is more as I can have my camera with me all the time, the best images I have witnessed is when I do not have my camera with me. The camera helps me focus and see the amazing beauty in nature I would otherwise walk right by and not even stop for a moment.

One of the main reasons for this blog is to be able to share those images with others who can appreciate them. They are far from National Geographic quality images and appear much more beautiful to my eye, but I have captured that moment in time as is. They also allow me months after while trying to catch up on my blog the chance to enjoy them and the memories all over again…bonus.

Hope you enjoy these as much as I did photographing them.

Mushrooms in the forest
A person really has to learn what mushrooms are edible as there are every type in nature.
A squirrel a common visitor
A squirrel is a common visitor to our campsite.
Amazing beauty of nature
Amazing beauty of nature and light, this says it all.
Amazing Sky
Amazing sky reflected in the water.
Light trees and water a beautiful combination
Light, trees and water are a beautiful combination as the sun sets.
Unique sunsets everyone different
Unique sunsets, everyone different, never to be captured the same, just frozen in time.
Looking away from the sunset
Looking away from the sunset has its own beauty.
Northern sunsets while camping
I have photographed sunsets from this exact spot for over 20 years and do not have one the same.
Northern sunsets while camping
Another favorite evening gathering spot for photographers at the Narrows.
A bull Elk common in Prince Albert National Park
A bull Elk common in Prince Albert National Park allows us to share his home if we leave it clean and the way we found it.
Love these signs
Love these signs. Usually means it going to be a whole less crowded.
Fall is coming to the Spruce River
Fall is coming bringing an amazing beauty to the Spruce River, a stop while leaving PANP.
Smoke in the air from forest fires
Smoke in the air from forest fires adds a unique glow to the sunset.
Hard to tell if this is sky or water
Hard to tell if this is sky or water but it’s actually reflections of a smoky sunset in the water.
Not sure what this fellows name is but has a bit of an injury
Not sure what this fellows name is but has a bit of an injury which is why he allowed us so close in the canoe.
Shorelines home to thousands of birds
Shorelines are home to thousands of birds so let’s keep their home free of garbage, fish line etc.
Just plain peaceful
Just plain peaceful no wonder we sleep so good in the RV.
Northern sunsets while camping
Northern sunsets while camping time well spent on the trail.
Big old birch
Big old birch, love the way the light shows its beauty.
Light and darkness
Light and darkness shorelines divided by the light.
There is a storm coming
There is a storm coming. Not all is sunshine on the road, but the beauty remains.
Another common camp visitor the Grey Jay or Whiskey Jack
Another common camp visitor the Grey Jay or Whiskey Jack looking for handouts. We do wildlife harm by feeding them our junk food.
A forest fire sunset in the north
A forest fire sunset in the north.
Natures amazing beauty
Natures amazing beauty highlighting many varieties of mushrooms.
This spruce Grouse checked us out to see who was making the noise
This spruce grouse checked us out to see who was making the noise while his partner was getting some rest.
The forest floor supports many different forms of plants
The forest floor supports many different forms of plants and food for its inhabitants, we leave it undisturbed.
Light and shadows
Light and shadows is this photographer’s favourite medium.
The forest provides
The forest provides for its’ full time residents with berries and more.
The dying make way for the new
The dying make way for the new growth, just loved this image. The light provided to make it special.
The lake purging itself
The lake purging itself of unwanted material.
Lets take a walk
Let’s take a walk, just slow down and enjoy nature. It settles the soul.
Just plain natural
Just plain natural, no pavement or concrete here.
Sometimes being a tree in the forest is hard
Sometimes being a tree in the forest is hard.
You can see the "quiet"
You can see the “quiet”.
When I grow up
When I grow up I will be big and strong.
Love the light and color
Love the light and colour.
Amazing beauty of nature
Amazing beauty of nature is everywhere if we take the time to look.
A sign of fall on its way
A sign of fall on its way has its own beauty.
Love the color in its natural setting
Love the colour in its natural setting.
I'm a sucker for sunsets
I’m a sucker for sunsets.
The sunset lights the way for an amazing evening hike
The sunset lights the way for an amazing evening hike.
Just the way God planned it to be
Just the way God planned it to be. Glad we preserved it for you and me to enjoy, let’s keep it that way.

If you have made it this far you are probably one who can enjoy the amazing beauty of nature, we just have to take time to notice. As a wanna be photographer I love the light.

In order to spend more time and keep current with this blog I will be posting little or nothing on Facebook or Instagram in the near future. If you like the content please subscribe or sign up for email notices of new postings. Also I would appreciate if you share it with those who are like-minded and may enjoy some feeble writing and images from our travels.

Coming up in my next posts a feature on my camp kitchen, Narrow Hills Provincial Park, my solo trip north to discover not so common lakes and rough trails as well as our final fall camping trip. It appears our trip to Arizona is now off so some winter camping and travelling is in the works. A good chance to give my DC to DC charger a work out. (see post DC to DC charger install).

Hope to see you all down the road. Look for the NL and the western hat….Gerry and Charlotte

Extra truck camper storage

One of the cons of a truck camper is storage and on our Northern Lite outside storage is limited. In a four season camper the fewer openings to the outside the better, so one has to compromise outside accessible storage for insulation, one of the pro’s.

extra storage for truck campers is a plus
Extra storage in a lockable box provides us to take a little extra

We have two RV set ups for traveling. One is when we plan on doing a lot of lake camping and staying in one spot for some time, we take our small 4×8 trailer with our 17 foot Grumman canoe as a tow behind. Or when we are planning a trip that requires extra fuel, water and supplies in areas that don’t offer any services.

The second mode we call our “Free and Easy” way of travel with nothing in tow. This is when we do more travelling and less camping. Our back seat is taken up with our 16 foot Sea Eagle kayak, tools, my camp kitchen, portable 100 watt solar panel, camera equipment and anything else we can fit in. This is our preferred way to travel even while camping as we can pretty much go anywhere our truck can get to and be at home. We also can park just about anywhere to overnight. Mileage is much better as well less carbon tax. This limits what we can take like extra fuel.

In the photos I have been posting on our blog I have had a lot of inquiries about the rear storage box. This has been one of my better ideas, that actually works great, some don’t. I started with a hitch carrier from Princess Auto. Due to the design of my back step on the Northern Lite I had to add a drop receiver under the standard hitch as shown in the photo. This will be different depending on your truck and camper, but in my case hides the storage under my back step.

truck camper storage under the rear bumper
Extra truck camper storage under the rear bumper of our Northern Lite 9.6 still allows the step to work
A drop down hitch receiver was required
A drop down hitch receiver was required. This was bolted under my camper tie down bar and into the truck hitch receiver
A view of my hitch set up
A view of my hitch set up including the chain stabilizers to limit movement of the box

I then built a box to fit inside the carrier 4 feet long 19 inches deep and 14 inches high out of 3/8 inch plywood all in one piece no openings. I then cut the lid at an angle so I could pull it off to the back. Inside I then put a liner 1/2 inch higher than the opening to create a seal when the lid was slid back on. This keeps out 95% of the moisture and dust. I bolted the box to the storage carrier and it works great. The photos will perhaps show it better than I can explain it.

Storage is a bonus for travelling
To keep the box more secure from movement I added some chain with tensioners
The extra storage also allows for me to carry my leveling blocks
The extra storage also allows for me to carry my leveling blocks securely and a great place if they are damp or muddy

I can now carry my levelling blocks on the outside of the box, inside I carry a small 10 lb. propane tank, a small propane fire pit, two 10 litre gas cans, a splitting axe, two outdoor mats, water hoses, grill and anything else that fits. We always travel with way too much stuff and think we are travelling simple. For me the extra fuel and propane is almost a must where we travel…the rest well. Over the years we have found the simpler the better and less stuff to worry about makes for a more enjoyable time. Hence the truck camper, home in the back of a pick up truck.

More stuff to take down the road
Hoses, extra fuel, small propane tank just some of the items fitted into the extra storage space
extra storage on my truck camper build
The inner liner provides a secure fit as well as some sealing against the elements
Back of the storage box cut at an angle
Back of the storage box cut at an angle to allow opening under the step of the camper
Leveling blocks
Cutting the box to 4 feet allowed room for my leveling blocks
Locks on the extra truck camper storage
I built the box then cut the angle for the lid and added some locking closures’ to keep the box closed and secure

Hope this helps those who were inquiring and give others some ideas. Some day I would like to get one of those fancy checker plate well sealed boxes and figure a way to put it on a slide out track so I could get at things from the top easier, but for now this works and that quick prototype I built has been in service for at least five years. Just never got around to building one out of better material.

In my next post the last of our northern travels to Meadow Lake Provincial Park and more photographs. I hate playing catch up on posting so will attempt to post regularly as we go. January 2022 has seen no travel yet but the road is calling, we will either be in Quartzite Arizona in February for a truck camper rally we are registered for or going to our plan B of more winter camping in Canada.

This post pretty much was for our truck camper family, for the rest of you with a different RV than a truck camper…well you just don’t know what your missing out on.

Your signing up or subscribing for my ramblings and photographs I thank you this retirement thing would get real bad if I had no reason to ramble and take photographs. Charlotte appreciates it as well it keeps me busy and out of her hair. So please sign up for notifications on new posts. Questions and comments are welcomed. I also post notices on Instagram under my name gerrypopplewell, no creativity there in coming up with a catchy name but it gets the job done.

Heading home in our Northern Lite from the far north we had not traveled this road and it did not lead home

Charlotte and I look forward to meeting you as we travel down the road.

New roads and amazing lakes in northern Saskatchewan our 2021 travels continued…

Otter Rapids back to La Ronge we took our time exploring any and all the new roads we could get down with our truck camper. A little plug for our truck camper group, there were very few roads we could not travel, height was our only problem on some of the forest trails. We discovered some beautiful smaller lakes and interesting terrain in the Canadian shield.

Some of the lakes in northern Saskatchewan we visited were just recovering and re-growing from forest fires in past years. Since we have visited this area some of it was decimated by summer fires and we were glad we made the trip when we did. We spent a lot of time hiking and enjoying the natural beauty of the forest, photos I did not lose and will share with you.

Our Northern Light at Nut Point campground La Ronge
Back from Otter Rapids to our campground at Nut Point in La Ronge

La Ronge Nut Point campground was home for several days as there we’re very few campers and it was quiet. I love float planes. They are just part of the north I love so spent a lot of time watching the Transwest airplanes leave and arrive. Transwest Air is now under a different name which I cannot seem to remember. I think I have mentioned it before but a visit to the Trading Post is a must to pick up some locally grown wild rice one of our favourites. We have only found it elsewhere in northern Manitoba.

The Northern Light at Nut Point Campground
One of our favorite sites with our back door overlooking the lake. Our rig loves it here.
Out door camp kitchen
My outdoor camp kitchen saves many trips into the camper for basics
View of La Ronge lake in Northern Sask
With views like this to wake up to it’s hard to leave La Ronge
The Canadian Shield
The further north you travel the landscape changes to low trees and more rock, some large enough to park our Northern Lite on.
The Canadian shield
Shore line solid rock in the Canadian shield
Lots of canoe and kayak traffic
Lots of canoe routes start from La Ronge and Missinipi. You can pick routes that match your abilities.
Lake La Ronge
Where all is peaceful, calm and still
another view of our campsite
There are cabins on those islands in La Ronge
Chipmunk
This little fellow stopped in for lunch
Great Landing of a float plane
This was the first landing in this aircraft for the pilot and he was right on the money
float plane just arriving in La Ronge
Float plane just arriving in La Ronge to pick up supplies for a northern camp and fly in the workers.
La Ronge a busy float plane airport
La Ronge a busy float plane airport home of Transwest Air
Loading a float plane with supplies for the north
Loading a float plane with supplies for the northern camps
Artsy photograph of float plane
Just had to include this one because I liked the shot
Studio West Photographers
float plane take off
Just skimming the water in the twin prop
A quick coffee on the back step
A quick coffee on the back step before heading out

The rain settled in so we decided to start heading towards home with a stop at Prince Albert National Park and camp at the Narrows Campground. Along the way we stopped at the beautiful Montreal River Rest area for lunch and the rain was gone.

Our Northern light truck camper at Montreal River rest stop
Taking a break for lunch at the beautiful Montreal River rest area.
Love the clear rushing water
Cold clear run off running to join the Montreal River set in the lush surrounding forest. This is why we travel
a stream at Montreal Rest area near La Ronge
A small stream running though the rest area to the Montreal River not far from La Ronge, Saskatchewan
a fast stream photographed by Gerry Popplewell
Another view of the stream in the rest area that runs to the main river. In Spring it was running fairly swift.
The Montreal River in Northern Saskatchewan
The Montreal River in Northern Saskatchewan running fast during the spring. The rest area is a portage around the rapids around the bend.
above the rapids on the Montreal River
Above the rapids on the Montreal River, a take out spot to portage the rapids.
A northern trail leading to the Montreal River river
A beautiful trail leading to the Montreal River at the rest stop area a great place for lunch.

Arriving in Prince Albert National park the weather was beautiful so we decided to stay a few days and enjoy the many friends we have met at the Narrows, most of whom are regulars who spend the entire summer there. With no services such as power and sketchy cell coverage the campground is usually not packed and quiet.

Our Northern Light truck camper camped on a beach in the north
The beauty of our truck camper is that we are at home on the beach and can go where most can not.

When travelling light as we call it without our small canoe trailer, we pack our Sea Eagle FS 420 16 foot kayak. It’s a very well built tough inflatable and very stable in larger rougher waters. This is usually packed behind the drivers seat of our truck and with an 12v electric pump we can be in the water in minutes. A couple of days ended up being closer to a week as we travelled to the other lakes in the park and put in to check out the shore lines and wild life (animal type) there is no shortage of the other in the park.

Our Sea Eagle inflatable Kayak on the beach where we camped
Our Sea Eagle FS420 inflatable kayak, travels behind the driver seat in our truck when packed up.
very stable Kayak on the beach in the park
The Sea Eagle is extremely stable in the rough waters on the larger northern lakes. The kayak gets inflated when it’s too rough for the canoe.
Paddlingthe Northern Lakes with our Sea Eagle Kayak
Headed for the island in our Sea Eagle on a beautiful day. We use canoe paddles most of the time as we find them quieter than the kayak paddles.
Big bear along the shoreline in Waskeiu
The advantage to being in a kayak or canoe you can get close. This bear did not hear us coming.
Bear along the shore line of the lake in Waskesiu
They are getting too close I’m out of here. Amazed how fast they can move
An Elk stopped for a little snack and allowed us to photograph
We tried not to interrupt this Elks lunch as we got our photograph. Love the green background the north is so lush.
A beautiful Prairie Lilly discovered in the Northern forest of Saskatchewan
Nestled in the northern forests undergrowth is this beautiful Prairie Lily
water trees and sky with moody cloud's
One of my favorite spots to catch the ever changing mood created by the northern sky on my camera
Light rays in the northern skys
The skies never fail to give me lots of photographic challenges to capture the beauty as seen by the eye.
a bright spot in a gloomy sky
As the evening darkens there appears a bright spot in the northern sky
The rain is moving in we can see it coming across the lake
We even love the rain in the north as it keeps the forest lush. Watching the rain come across the lake.
the lake and sky forma a beautiful photograph
Water, trees and sky, I could just live here year round.

As always PA National Park does not disappoint anyone with a camera and I took many images so will select some to share. Well the weather changed on us again and we decided once again to start heading home this time we would take some different side roads we had not travelled before… well we did not make it home once again, but that is for another post as I have gone on and on long enough.

Heading home in our Northern Lite from the far north we had not traveled this road and it did not lead home
On our way home this road is responsible for leading us astray and keeping us in northern Saskatchewan for days longer.

Just a note on the DC to DC charger, well worth the time and investment especially in our truck camper as we have to drive it for sightseeing so we may as well top up the batteries and it will do that in a very short drive. So far so good. We’ll see how it handles our camping this winter. Winter camping is the reason we bought it, as well as being able to camp in shaded areas and not having to depend only on solar.

Enjoy the images. All images as taken good or bad, I do not photoshop or enhance any photograph in any way so you get them as taken. It’s unfortunate we have come to a time that you cannot believe an image for what it is and that bothers me.

Please subscribe and if you like share with a friend and thanks to you all who are with us all the time it gives me a reason to keep shooting images. Next post a short camper mod some are interested in and then why we never made it home!

Look for the Northern Light on the white Ford and the western hat….hope to see ya all down the road….

Gerry and Charlotte

Merry Christmas 2021

Prince Albert National Park
From our second home to yours may the New Year be filled with a bright sunrise each day

Charlotte and I are wishing all a very Merry Christmas and may we all find love, happiness and health in the New Year. To all our RV family we wish safe travels and new experiences around every bend and may the wind be always in your back.
Hope to see you all down the road in 2022…..

Saskatchewan’s Crooked Bush

In July we travelled to Meeting Lake to visit with friends and while there decided to take a short road trip and visit The Crooked Bush. It’s an amazing sight and one of only two unexplainable botanical growths in the world. Enjoy our photographs of the area but it is really one must see for themselves, you will not be disappointed . I have included the information from Tourism Saskatchewan write up on the area we visited. In our travels all over Saskatchewan it’s amazing the hidden gems once you get off the Trans Canada Highway and travel some less known roads. This one has been in our backyard and we finally got to check it out this summer.

The crooked Bush in Saskatchewan
One of Saskatchewan’s hidden Jewels

The Crooked Bush, located in the Rural Municipality of Douglas near Hafford and Speers, is called a botanical mystery by the Friends of the Crooked Bush and was declared one of the ’54 Wonders of Canada’ by CBC’s ‘Morningside’ show. This trail tours a small cluster of aspen trees that are atypical as they do not grow towards the sky; instead, the branches twist and turn in horizontal and downward directions, giving the grove an eerie and, yet, mesmerizing appearance.

Scientists believe that the tree growth is a result of a genetic mutation, but they are unsure what caused the mutation. Meanwhile, local legend attributes the strange shaping to everything from a UFO landing to a lightning strike that affected the area’s soil. The legend also claims that people who enter the area experience dizziness and that, despite the lack of a fence, cattle will not travel through the trees. The peculiarity of the trees, which were first identified in the 1940s by local residents, is further increased by the fact that the trees grow less than 10 m away from other aspens that do not feature this mutation.

The trees are 15 – 20 ft. tall and are around 70 years old. Normal aspen trees usually reach this height after 15 years. What is truly intriguing is the fact that the trees are growing at a normal rate, their branches are just growing in every direction other than straight up. Although the trail is rather short, it features a wooden boardwalk and is a must-see destination for people of all ages and abilities.

This area is considered a natural treasure. It is located on private land. Please do not climb the trees, break branches, litter or leave the boardwalk. This will help ensure that the area remains intact for years to come.

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A short walk is very worth it
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A prehistoric egg? or perhaps a present from outer space
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A very unique outhouse on site
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Inside the unique Biffy
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Just across the road perhaps 50 feet away the trees grow straight
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We finally took the time to check out one of the Provinces wonders, so close to home.

Thanks for checking us out. I am so happy to be able to share our images and great travel locations with you. Perhaps we can entice you to check out these areas for yourselves. Please subscribe it’s free or sign up for email notifications of our new posts as we get them up. Always running a little behind on posts but after trying to catch up on a whole summer….if I am going to do this they must and will be more regular. All we need is internet and we tend to choose areas that are not internet or cell friendly so sometimes we will be running behind on posting.

As always your comments and questions are appreciated on the Crooked Bush, our travels or the Truck Camper our home on wheels. Thanks and hope to see you down the road….look for the Northern Light and the western hat we would love to meet you…Gerry  and Charlotte

DC to DC charger installation

One of the big problems we found with our electrical supply was the lack of power camping during the winter months. When the temperatures are dropping to minus 15 Celsius and lower the furnace runs a lot. Our Northern Lite is what they call a true four-season camper but let’s face it no camper is insulated to our Northern Saskatchewan winters.

So you ask why bother in that weather. Well we cannot resist as the north is just too beautiful in winter and just needs to be photographed and shared with all those who will not put themselves through that. Snowshoeing and skiing also being another reason. During the summer my two 6 volt 100 amp/hr. flooded batteries with the 100 watt solar panel on the roof is more than adequate for our power needs. However we love those well treed private spots with lots of shade, throw in two or three days of little to no sunshine and we need the generator. I hate listening to generators and especially mine, we camp to get rid of the noise and listen to the wind and birds, not a generator grinding away.

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Winter in Saskatchewan is too long not to go camping

Having read posts on RV sites written by someone who knows more about the electrical side of RVing, I ran across this DC to DC charger system that many recommended. This is my solution! I got to get one of these, so I ran down to my local RV dealerships wanting to purchase one and get it installed. Well after three dealerships I was told they never heard of a DC to DC charger and I did not need one as my batteries charged from the truck while driving. Yes a slow charge and if I drove 10 hours a day that may work, not acceptable for me. After I spent $25 worth of gas and two days running around trying to purchase locally (support local) and getting nowhere, I turn to on line direct to Renogy.  Yes, four days later I have my 40 amp Renogy battery charger delivered and ready for install. If memory serves me right it was approximately $165.

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Renogy DC to DC 40 amp charger mounted to added plywood on the inside wall under the rear closet.

Next problem I had to solve was where to mount the charger as they recommended close to the camper batteries as possible. Finally I decided to mount it under the closet panel in the rear closet of our 2017 9.6 Northern Lite.  The big shock came when I discovered the cost of 4 gauge wire recommended to be run from my truck battery to a fuse then back to the charger, then from the charger to the batteries. My truck is a 2013 Ford F350 Super Duty with crew cab and eight foot box.  That’s 20 some feet to the back of the truck only and still had to get to my charger and batteries times two for positive and negative wires. After pricing the cable individually by the foot I was shocked, copper is expensive. I then discovered at my local Princess Auto store 4 gauge booster cables 20 feet long for less money. I now have several booster clamps in the shop less wire. These worked perfectly to run side by side from the battery down my truck frame just reaching the back, these were about $36 each pair. Locally I could not find the connectors to connect the camper to the truck (Orion Motor Tech wire connector, 2-4 gauge x 2) these worked well.  Also needed the Renogy, 60 amp fuse x 2  ($13 each) as well as two spare fuses which I found on Amazon. Also needed is a way to turn on the power to the charger from either the camper batteries or the truck battery, I chose to wire it to my existing truck switches and run it to the charger in the back. This required about 30 feet of 10 gauge wire and a wire connector from camper to the truck.

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Orion connectors from truck to camper along with 12v switch to charger
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4 gauge from positive to 60 amp fuse block then to charger. Also ran 4 gauge from negative to charger

This part is specific to our 9.6 NL camper. Next I did not want to drill holes in the camper so I ran the wiring up through the battery compartment using the bottom vent to enter the battery compartment, under the batteries as they sit on slats up through into the area under the closet to the charger. From the charger to a fuse then back to the battery compartment to the batteries. I connected the camper with the Orion wire connector attached to the camper under the battery compartment to the truck connector at the rear of the box along with the 12v wire to start the charger. This allows for a quick disconnect for unloading a truck camper and not necessary for other applications. The connectors would probably not be needed on a van, class A or C. I would only recommend this system for someone who moves their home with them when they drive from place to place, if you are disconnected from the source it will not benefit you unless you want to sit and run your vehicle.

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Without adding holes to the camper I ran the cables to the charger through the bottom battery compartment vent
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Wires coming into the battery compartment, slats keep the batteries off the cable
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Wires coming to the charger and leaving. Black case is the battery compartment
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60 amp fuse block leaving the positive side of the charger to battery’s

I am not going to try and get into the technical end of the system as I do not understand everything, so do your own research there is lot of help on line as well as Renogy  themselves. My truck alternator was large enough to handle the 40 amp charger but some applications may require a larger alternator.

So far we have only used the system in late fall while running the furnace, which we keep at 21 Celsius, our water pump and a few LED lights. Our days are shorter here and less sunlight at a very low angle for our rooftop solar panel. Now when we use our camper to get supplies or just to explore an area I am pumping full charge into my two 6 volt in the camper. In a 30 km drive I can bring my batteries from 12 to full charge. This would have never happened before. I never run my batteries below 11.5 so if I am close, even Idling for 15 to 20 minutes, has topped them back up to around 12.5 to 12.7. I like having the switch in the cab to turn the charger on if I need it and not have to have it on when not necessary. Being as the switches are tied to the ignition when the key is off I am not draining the truck battery to power the charger and house batteries, something to watch for.

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Utilized existing truck switch to run 12v power to the charger

There are sites out there that have the technical information, all I know is for the investment and trouble to install this charger we have a lot more options and it will also work on all kinds of batteries, so when I can afford to upgrade to lithium it’s going to work even better. So far 100% happy with Renogy and the system and would not hesitate to recommend it. Hope the photos explain it better.

Your comments and questions are more than welcome if the questions are not too tough or techy.

Next Post Saskatchewan’s “Crooked Bush”

Hope to see you down the road…Gerry

Northern Saskatchewan travels 2021

Chapter 1:

road-least-traveled

If I’m not mistaken in my last post I said see you next week….well folks that was sometime in May,  it’s been quite a week and already it’s December. When you’re having fun time just goes flying by and we had a very enjoyable summer of travel. Our little cabin was mostly deserted from early May to late October so we are starting to question why we even have it as the road calls and we find we must go. We know there will be time in our lives to sit and look out the same window but until that time comes… why not see this beautiful country.

Our travels took us right across northern Saskatchewan from Otter Rapids north of La Ronge and west to Meadow Lake with lots of stops in between.  Starting very early this spring we missed most of the forest fires and not until later on in our trip did we have to deal with smoke and it was never really bad. The worse smoke we experienced was when we returned to our cabin near Saskatoon briefly. As of this year we have travelled nearly every highway in the province from the far north to the U.S. border. The Grasslands around Mankota, Big Muddy area, The Great Sandhills in the Sceptre area, the Crooked Bush near Hafford and all through the north of the province. And we have not seen all the diversity this province offers even yet.

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On the road to Otter Rapids

Leaving  Pike Lake we headed north.  That was our only plan at the time and as usual we stopped to visit my cousin June, owner of Northside Antiques at Northside, north of Prince Albert.  We try and keep our visit short as when I start looking around at all the unique antique pieces she has it is a good thing we are in a truck camper with no room for the gems I could purchase. Heck I either used or know what those gems were for…yep I am officially an antique by years. Stop in next time, you will be totally surprised what treasures that building holds.

Next stop we overnighted at Prince Albert National Park.  We love that park, then on to lunch at a beautiful little highway rest stop on the Montreal River. Plan A was to head from there across country to the Narrow Hills Provincial Park and the smaller lakes there but it was raining and the weather forecast was not in our favour so we continued to La Ronge where we spent several days enjoying that community. Always a highlight in La Ronge is a visit to the Trading Post where they sell the best wild rice you can get in this province which is harvested locally. We paid cash but they do take furs there as well but we were right out of squirrel pelts so cash it was.

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Breakfast at Nut Point Campground
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Nothing like cooking in the outdoors

While in La Ronge we managed to get ourselves with our truck camper mixed up in a parade downtown. We noticed flashing lights coming towards us and were able to get into a parking lot as a very large parade came marching down the street. The Parade full of orange shirts was in remembrance of residential schools and “Every Child Matters”. It was a beautiful sight as La Ronge and northern communities are largely First Nations people, featuring drumming, RCMP in full uniform and the entire community taking part in Orange.

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I made a HUGE mistake however and lost close to 300 images of our travels from La Ronge to the Otter Rapids and Devils Lake. We visited many small and beautiful lakes and campgrounds on our way there and more on the way back photographing all the way. Well I thought I had transferred all my images to my hard drive and then formatted my camera disk just to find out, for some reason, the images did not transfer. I was devastated at my loss and had I known then what I know now is that if I would have switched to one of the several spare disks I carry, those images probably could have been recovered by someone smarter than myself on these things….I learn the HARD way.

We decided on plan B and that was to head for Missinipe Provincial Park, which according to the Provincial booking website had campsites available. Pulling into Missinipe our wonderful Sask Parks booking system was again wrong and all sites were full.

Now we were a long way up the road so plan C was put into play and we headed for Otter Rapids not sure what we would find there. Just on the east side of the bridge crossing the rapids were two small campgrounds one on each side of the road. There was a group camped there so we decided to head further to Devils Lake and check out that campground. When we got there it was also occupied and the sounds of sirens greeted us. The conservation officers were busy chasing a bear out of some ladies campsite. We decided to head back to Otter Rapids as it was beautiful and we had never stayed there. When in the far north or anywhere secluded I always make it a point to know who I’m sharing the campground with and if not comfortable with the neighbours we leave. We can do that, our home is on wheels. As it turned out they were a great group of young kayaker’s crazy enough to be doing the rapids. It was for this reason they travelled from southern Saskatchewan.

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below the rapids
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Another view below the rapids we took most the rapids on my camera the images I lost in transfer
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Down stream from Otter Rapids

Well there was one level spot left and we took it just above the rapids, beautiful but very noisy. Note unless you love the sound of pounding water all night take the campground across the road to the north it’s much more peaceful. Also the washroom, a pit toilet, is very busy most of the night for locals travelling the road, after you realize what the traffic is about all is good.

We enjoyed our stay there but had to move on. Charlotte thought we had enough of the rough dusty road so would not join me heading further up the road for miles to its end. A trip for another day I think probably on my own. We headed back stopping at many beautiful lakes along the way, lakes that are out of the way and we will return to if we get the chance. I love float planes so we stopped at Osprey Wings Ltd. at Missinipe on the way back and spent the morning there photographing planes coming and going. The owner of the family-owned air charter Gary Thompson was very accommodating when I asked if I could just hang and take photos, we had a great visit. Also an artist Gary gave Charlotte a choice of a couple of his prints, one of which is in our camper. A great outfit, remember them when chartering a northern flight. Many stops later we made it back to Nut Point Provincial Campground in La Ronge.

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Osprey Wings Missinipe north of La Ronge
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Thanks to Gary Thompson for letting us photograph his planes at Osprey Wings
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Lunch break at Mackay lake and some chill time
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Little Deer campsite only two sites, dock and boat launch
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A beautiful view of Little Deer Lake from this cook shelter. To bad CLAIKE was such an idiot.
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An undisturbed shoreline on Little Deer Lake
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The trail down to Little Deer lake
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How can you tell we loved the Little Deer Lake area

For those who have not been north of La Ronge you start getting into the rock of the Precambrian  or Canadian Shield  where the trees get shorter and country gets a lot more rocky and rough. The road is good I would say for most RVs however you must realize it is the only road to service the north and the mines and communities. Huge trucks that are loaded have the right of way and some of the roads get a little rough and narrow with a few pull overs so be warned.

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Nut Point Campground where the Canadian Shield begins
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Our first site at Nut Point, at home where ever we park, love the truck camper
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Not everyday was sunshine on La Ronge
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Campsite two at Nut Point

I’m going to break our travels into sections as there are a lot of images so the few we did salvage from our phones and Charlotte’s camera we hope you enjoy. We now have a reason to return to the north.

We have more images of La Ronge, PA National Park, Kimball Lake in the Meadow Lake Provincial Park and the “Crooked Bush”.

As always I appreciate those of you who I can share my images with. It gives me a reason to continue and a lot to catch up on. It’s free to subscribe and be notified when I finally get posting and no information is shared.  We appreciate each and every subscriber and hope we can add to a little bit of your online entertainment. I have some mini posts on Instagram at gerrypopplewell.  I final figured out how to answer questions or enjoy your feedback in the websites comments section. Please feel free to comment with ideas or questions would love to hear from you and perhaps learn from your travels as well.

For our RV friends I am pulling together my photos and information on the installation of a DC to DC charger, one of the better upgrades to our truck camper complete with approximate cost.

Until next time stay safe, healthy and take time to enjoy the beauty around us every day and that includes our friends. More images to come from the north stay tuned.

The road is calling and I must go…..see you down the road

Gerry and Charlotte

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