PUPs Go West – Day 4, Grasslands

Winnipeg to Grasslands National Park, SK. The skies are truly amazing in the Prairies. I ran into some rain here and there. But when the sun came out I moved my head 180 degrees back and forth to “kiss the sky” (Jimi Hendrix Purple Haze was playing).

Our trip today: 1- Winnipeg was and is train central. 2- Pee on the world’s 2nd largest fire hydrant. 3 – Trying to find bison.

Driving music – I played Classic Rock driving out of Winnipeg starting with Winnipeggers The Guess Who. When we crossed the 100th Meridian, I played that song and others by The Tragically Hip.

7:00 am – I was going to have a long drive so took the pugs out for a long walk. Train holding up morning rush hour. Winnipeg was a central force in the Canadian railway.

Our route was taking us south. I decided not to go the Trans Canada route going west. I would take it on the return trip. The southern route was secondary roads, sometimes getting close to the American border. There was also a lot less traffic.

We had to stop in Elm Creek to visit the world’s 2nd largest fire hydrant. The town itself was small and I didn’t have any trouble locating the hydrant.

Raisin rose to the challenge. Peed. Scratch that off the bucket list. Let’s see any other pug find my spot.

Haven’t seen any Starbucks on this leg. Not a big fan of chain franchises. Prefer the independent coffee places.
Got coffee from a little shop where people say Hi when you walk in the door.

Our first grain silo. Not much to observe in Manitoba. In fact, there wasn’t any points of interest or picnic viewing sights. Just rain.

In Saskatchewan the rain stopped and the sun came out. I put the car into cruise control and watched, in amazement, the clouds in the prairie sky.

pugs and Sasktachewan sign

I had been told once that it was boring crossing the prairies. I was mesmerized by the clouds. In this one I see a Bull Dog, playing with a Shi Tzu

Sunset at Grasslands National Park
Sunset on Grasslands National Park, SK

Grasslands National Park Grasslands is an incredible park with limited camp sites. We are in Frenchman’s Valley. If you are a camper, then you need to plan to come here. No bugs, cool wind and great hiking rails to see bison. Grasslands National Park is located in southern Saskatchewan. It is the Badlands but is anything but bad. From rolling grasses, Prairie dogs, dinosaur bones and bison, this is a magical place. There are limited number of camping spots so you need to book well in advance.

Grasslands is designated as a Dark Sky Preserve. Dark sky means there is little to no light pollution at night. Astronomers come from all over to stare at the stars. For more info on this designation, follow the link:

https://www.pc.gc.ca/en/pn-np/sk/grasslands/activ/experiences/astronomie-astronomy

The campsite in Grasslands is centrally located. I think they deliberately left the potholes in the road to act as a calming diversion. Also to protect the prairie dogs who continually run across the road. The campground only has 25 spots. There is a Visitor Centre that is air conditioned which helped the pugs with the heat.

pug and tent

After setting up camp we had dinner. Asparagus and steak from a farmer’s market store.

We went to the Coulee Visitor Centre, which is air-conditioned, has wifi and opened 24 hours.

We decided to go for a walk along the Grasslands path. The trail goes for about 2 km and loops around. We did out Little Pug on the Prairies routine. . The sign has several warnings including keeping 1 football field distance from bison (we didn’t see any). Stay on the path and watch out for rattlesnakes (I had the pugs in the cart for most of the walk).

Top of the ridge at the trail head. The trail leads down toward the river bank. You can see the trail in the tall grasses in the background.

Intrepid Prairie Pug Raisin prepares to cross the grasslands in her uncovered wagon while her mule takes a photo.

pugs and grassland trail

There are deer far in the background.

pugs and grassland trail

Eve loved rolling around in the grasses, testing them out and comparing them to Toronto grasses. Raisin kept watch for bison and rattlesnakes.

There was a storytelling fire circle at the Visitor’s Centre that night but I went to bed early and set the alarm. I wanted to view the Milky Way at 3 am. It was too magnificent to describe. I didn’t even try to take a photo. Just sat outside the tent, looking at the sky and listening to the coyotes off in the hills (and the pugs snoring in the tent).

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