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Published: August 12th 2009
I have a week off of work, and the weather is supposed to be cool and rainy all week, so we decided to get in the car and go somewhere where it is sunny. It seems counterintuitive, but the forecast says it will be nice and sunny in the north. So, we have decided to head north. Waskesui Lake, in Prince Albert National Park is a favorite summer vacation spot for lots of Saskatchewan folks. Neither of us has ever been there, so that is our destination.
As soon as we get out of town and start heading north, the land turns into rolling hills dotted with hay bales and farms, both old and new. Just off of highway #2 we find an old abandoned farm. You can see that it was once someone’s home. A couple of houses, a barn, and other outbuildings, all falling down. The grass is thigh high. The grain silos are still in good shape though, so we figure the farmers still use them for storage. That is something that I find interesting about the farms around here - once the buildings get too old and start to fall down, they don’t bother to
tear them down, but just leave them and build another place somewhere else, often just across the yard. Steve is fascinated with the different leaning barns and buildings we see.
Etter’s Beach is a small resort village on the northwest part of Last Mountain Lake. There is sand, water, a few old houses, and lots of campers and boats. The lake smells bad, or maybe it is the mounds of rotting weeds washed up on the shore. Nice sleepy little place, but not somewhere we would want to spend any time at.
We stopped for lunch at a little place called Village Perk at Manitou beach, by Watrous Sask. A cute little place, using and selling vintage dishes, and decorated with 50’s style ceramic wall hangings, tiffany style lights, and old mismatched formica topped tables with vinyl upholstered chairs. The people are very friendly, and the food is average - soup and thick-cut sandwiches, salads, chili, and lasagna (heated from frozen) more home-made than the average burger joint. The beach is small but cleaner than Etter’s. This is an old fashioned summer vacation town, and it looks like not much has changed, except there are no crowds.
Grain fields give way to thick forest, and soon we are in the park. Although the park is about 5 hours north of us in Regina, it is actually in the centre of the province of Saskatchewan. Further north of there is mostly unpopulated land, with just a few Indian reserves and fly-in fishing camps. It is one of those National Parks that was a make-work project for unemployed people at the end of the great depression. It is kind of like a miniature Banff, without the mountains. However, only the park buildings still look like the log-cabins that was the style of the original buildings. The rest of the town is like any other resort town, but smaller than others I have been to.
Sunset over the lake is wonderfully peaceful and beautiful.
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