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11 October 2010

Meota, Saskatchewan to Cypress Hills Inter-provincial Park

Meota To Cypress Hills, Saskatchewan



Many people say Saskatchewan is flat..... Well, Yes and No. I would say that the most of Saskatchewan consists of forest, over 100,000 lakes, all kinds of rivers and rolling land. However, there is a lot of flat farm and ranch land.

Giant Map of Saskatchewan: look at all the lakes in the north, with
Lake Athabaska in the far north west corner

Saskatchewan is 651,036 sq km or almost 16 times larger then Switzerland. Lakes and rivers are plentiful, 9.2%  or 59, 366 sq km is lakes and rivers. Compare that to a total landmass of Switzerland of 41,290 sq km. The largest lake is Lake Athabasca, 7935 sq km. Lake Athabasca (in the far north) is also home to the worlds largest active sand dunes and also holds the record for lake trout at 46.3 kg or 102 lbs.


View Larger Map

On the 5th of October we broke camp after camping at my sister Rose and her husband Al's place on Jackfish Lake. They have a wonderful new home right on the south end of the lake. We drove into North Battleford and picked up some supplies, and then we took number 4 Hwy. south.


View Larger Map

We drove through some wonderful farm and ranch land

Straight South
 and after about 2.5 hrs of driving ended up in the Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park.

Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park
 If you have not had the opportunity to visit this park, this is a must see. The park is just fantastic right on Lake Diefenbaker, it even has a golf course (just under 7000 meters of Championship golf) and a marina with 110 boat slips as well as rentals, bait and tackle available.

The landscape is wonderful
Marina at Saskatchewan Landing
Lake Diefenbaker often referred to as "The Jewel of the Prairies" and "Saskatchewan's Great Lake" is surrounded by steep rugged hills, razorback ridges, wooded coulees, and a variety of wild life. Saskatchewan Landing is an historic river crossing, where generations of Indian and Metis buffalo hunters forded the river. The site later became a stage-coach station and ferry landing, to service traffic over the Swift Current-Batteleford Trail. Cart ruts are still visible in the park. A north West Mounted police patrol station was established in 1885. Colonel Otter and his men crossed the South Saskatchewan River here on their way to Battleford during the Northwest Rebellion. Saskatchewan Landing is now a natural environment park, a prairie oasis, straddling the western end of the lake.

Lake Diefenbaker is a man made lake, resulting from the construction of the Gardiner and Qu'appelle dams in the 1960s, now featuring more then 800km of luxurious, sandy beaches. The lake is home to 27 fish species.

If you enjoy swimming, fishing, windsurfing, camping, hiking, golfing, wildlife viewing or history, this park must be on your list to visit. Talking to one of the park employees, he told us the park is pretty well full from end of June to end or August. If you are going during this time, make a reservation, 1-800-205-7070.
Liz in the campground at Saskatchewan Landing

The park has four campgrounds and a total of 315 sites. If you are a birding enthusiast, you just have to come here during spring and fall when birds are migrating. This lake is home to many species, including  the endangered piping plover.

Geocaching (using a GPS unit to find a location or treasure. You could call it an electronic treasure hunt) has become one of the fastest growing activities around the world. If you are interested in Geocaching, the Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park Geocaching Program is worth a try.

Later we traveled to further south and west to Cypress Hills Interprovincial park, on the Saskatchewan and Alberta border. Cypress Hills is the highest point east of the Rockies, towering at 1468 meters or 4816 feet (Mt Washington on Vancouver Island is just a bit taller at 1585 meters or 5200 feet). This is our second time in Cypress Hills and it feels like you arrived in the foot hills of the Rocky Mountains with lodgepole pine forests and an abundant of wild flowers. The park is home to all kinds of wild life, including, Elk, moose, white tailed deer and over 200 species of birds that stop here during their migration. The mountain chickadee and the rare trumpeter swan are just some of the birds you might encounter.
White tail deer
Next we are off to the town of Eastend and check out Scotty the new found T-Rex and then off to the Grasslands National Park.

More pictures at our Picasa Web Album - Meadow Lake, Jack Fish Lake to Cypress Hills Provincial Park

Cheers,

Liz and Anders

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