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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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