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August 8th 2009
Published: August 16th 2009
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We had a nice breakfast at the Hawood Inn, one of the nicer hotels in town. Then we stop and grab a couple of sweet buns for later at the local bakery, which is bustling with people getting coffees, papers, and bakery items to go. We are heading home, and plan to take secondary and grid roads to see more of the countryside along the way. We take highway #263, AKA ‘the scenic route’ south through the park and stop at Trappers Lake and Sandy Lake before leaving the park. Trappers Lake is very small, shallow with lots of reeds and bulrushes, and with mud shores. It also allows no motor boats, so is nice and quiet, and has only 5 camping spots. However, it is not very inviting, so we move on. Sandy Lake is true to its name, with sandy beaches, a boat launch, and lots of camping and picnicking spots. The campground is full, and lots of people wander around with their coffees, just waking up to a beautiful sunny day. This place looks nice too, but a little too crowded for us. I can’t help compare it to the campsites at Namekus Lake which had lots of room, and few people. That is much more appealing to me.

Once we leave the park, we decide to check out Emma Lake. On the map it looks like there is a small road that goes all the way along the lake, so we head up that road. There are tons of little ‘communities’, each with their own access road, and lots of cabins (if you can call million dollar homes ‘cabins’). It looks like everyone has their own little piece of beach, boat docks etc. The lake is busy with big boats, water skiers, tubes, etc. Who would have known? As we try to find the road that curves over the north end ofthe lake, we keep getting lost. There are no signs as to what road you are on. I am sitting in the passenger seat with a highway map, a grid road map, and my compass, and we are still lost. After trying two different roads that both go to private beaches, we have no idea where we are. We finally find the road we came in on, and backtrack to the highway. Maybe a GPS would come in handy after all!!

We stopped for lunch at a little café in Humbolt. The lady running it just took it over last November. She was friendly, and the place wasn’t busy. The coffee was good, and another couple came in and chatted with her and with us, and we ended up staying for a very pleasant hour and a half just talking. Sometimes you meet the nicest people in the most unexpected places. If you are ever through there, stop and have a bite to eat or a coffee, and say hi to Heather for us. Be sure to ask if she has any chocolate covered coffee toffee left. She makes them herself, and they are excellent!

Steve saw another falling down barn he wanted to take a picture of, but it was in the middle of a canola field, and the road was totally grown over. It didn’t look like it would be difficult to walk through the field to get closer, so off he went. Pretty soon, the canola was as high as his waist, then higher, then it was just his head poking over it. I had to get him to wave so I could see him. We didn’t know canola grew that high! He came back to the car just covered with bright yellow pollen.

We got lost again looking for a bird sanctuary on the northern tip of Last Mountain Lake (AKA Long Lake), but after lots of backtracking and guessing, we finally found it. It is on a migration path for many birds that fly north to breed in the spring, and south again in the fall. In the summer, the resident birds are numerous but nothing exotic, but we enjoyed driving and walking around and seeing them. Pelicans, ducks and geese, red-tailed hawks, lots of other hawks I couldn’t identify, a field full of sandhill cranes, and one funny looking guy that looked like a miniature penguin. We saw a little owl sitting in the middle of the road - in fact we drove right up to him, and he just looked at us as if to say….”what? I was here first!” He let us take his picture, and then off he went. There was also a pair of hawks who screamed at us as long as we were stopped looking at them. They must have had babies nearby.

After the bird sanctuary, we visited a regional park on the lake that was built up a lot since I was there years ago, and a couple more little beach communities a little farther south on the lake. We walked around on the sand and watched the sunset. After that, we headed back to the main highway for home. I didn’t want to be lost on grid roads in the dark! It was a long drive, but an enjoyable one. Sometimes, the best vacations can be had close to home.

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