Saskatchewan Trip Part II

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September 15th 2015
Published: March 21st 2016
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This is how you do it, Grandpa!This is how you do it, Grandpa!This is how you do it, Grandpa!

Jamie shows me how I should have slid down the pole.
OK, so this trip was in September and October. I've been busy and just got around to continuing the story of our fall holiday. But, first, a return to the “scene of the crime” from last April. I was surprised to see just how high the platform I sailed off actually was. If you missed the story for last April, click here. But, now, back to the Saskatchewan trip...


We had visited Preeceville once before when we came home from China for the summer. This time we planned to see more of it and also the surrounding area.

We were visiting our old Pender friends, Kathleen and Michael, on their Saskatchewan acreage. There are miles (or maybe there are kilometres) of trails on the property and we walked most of them since they walk with their dog, Slick, three times a day (I didn’t manage all the walks). Slick is the last of the four huskies they inherited from friends “up north” and he has a few of the aches and pains associated with old age. Slick and I got along very well as our old bones creaked along.

We drove into town with Kathleen and
Just a little wetJust a little wetJust a little wet

Somehow I don't think there is supposed to be that much water in the field. A precursor of what it was going to be like this winter?
Michael for coffee and to run a few errands. The table for four soon became a table for eight and then at least ten as more friends dropped by. We didn’t see this so much in bigger centres where not everybody knows everybody else. Lots of laughter and an interesting exchange of ideas.

Another day, we went into town for a Soup and Sandwich lunch. We were surprised at how many people showed up. But then we discovered how they advertise it. In the middle of the main intersection is a sandwich board with the appropriate notice. Pretty well everyone sees this as they pass through town. Strangely enough we knew several of the people as we had coffee with them a couple of days before.

There was a town not too far away that was the main Doukhobor settlement back in the early 1900s. Veregin was named after Peter Verigin, the leader at the time but the railway misspelled the name. When most of the membership moved to British Columbia, the town gradually disappeared. There is still a museum that is very interesting as well as Verigin's original “mansion” that has been restored.

On the museum

We made it! The easternmost point of our trip this fall.
theme, we also visited the Preeceville museum. They have 22 theme rooms dedicated to the early pioneers in the area. We couldn’t believe how much interesting stuff could be packed into what looked, at the outside, to be a small building. Once we had seen the inside, it was even fun to walk around the building and see how they had gradually added rooms until they reached the current 22 rooms. More rooms are being planned.

We managed to play a bunch of card games including Hearts, one of my favourites. I even managed to develop a new spreadsheet to score the games and keep track of the number of times each player won, average scores, highs, lows etc. It even handles when someone goes for control. A holiday with a new spreadsheet is a successful holiday in my book!

Moose Jaw

When it was finally time to start winding our way home, we charted a course southwest towards the Cypress Hills. This would take us through Moose Jaw where we had been told to visit the “Tunnels of Moose Jaw”. We camped in the municipal campground along the river valley in the heart of town. Very
Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to walk we go...Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to walk we go...Hi Ho, Hi Ho, it's off to walk we go...

We saw many trails like this during our visit. Slick was off checking his social media in the bushes. Note the boots we all were wearing.
convenient. They have done a nice job on the river valley walking trails. The only downside was that we had just got set up when the skies opened and we had a real prairie downpour. It turned the roads and parking pads into mud puddles that are still in evidence on Big Red. Luckily, we had decided to sleep in the truck as our tent would have been pretty soggy.

There are two sets of tunnels in Moose Jaw. One tells the story of what it was like for Chinese immigrants in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The stories told by the actors in period costumes really fit in with what we had learned in our three years in China. Quite a moving story. The other dealt with stories of Al Capone’s supposed involvement in “Little Chicago” during the 1930s. A lot of artistic licence in this area (we suspect) but the hour-long tour through the bowels of Moose Jaw was quite entertaining. We did both tunnels one morning and had the rest of the day to walk around town and look for coffee shops.

The downtown area in Moose Jaw had lots of neat buildings; many
Preeceville museumPreeceville museumPreeceville museum

Of course, we had to take a picture of a school room.
having been restored to their former glory. The two coffee shops we found had great cappuccinos so I was a happy camper.

While we were in the pools in Manitou Springs, the young life guard had recommended the Transportation Museum in Moose Jaw. It was well worth the trip. The ticket allows you entry the next day as well. This would have been nice as there was so much to see; breaking the visit into two shorter trips would have been great.


But time marches on. Off to Cypress Hills. As we drove down the Trans-Canada Highway, Dianne studied the map to plan our journey. “Hmmmm”, she pondered. “If we go south from Swift Current we could spend a couple of days at Grasslands National Park”. Another benefit of not booking ahead, you can change your plans on the fly. The park office is at Val Marie, a village not too far north of the Canada/USA border. The centre has a lot of interesting displays and in late September was not busy so we had lots of time to talk to the staff. They sent us off with lots of pamphlets and a map to the
Preeceville museum IIPreeceville museum IIPreeceville museum II

And also of a Scandinavian room.
campground. I wasn’t used to driving so far from the office to the campground but it was a pleasant day, so why not?

The country around here is pretty flat (it is Saskatchewan, after all) and there wasn’t a tree in sight. I figured we would drop down into a river valley and there we would find the campground in the trees. Well, we did drop down into a valley but there still weren’t many trees. We were told to watch out, not for bears or cougars, but for bison! I figured they wouldn’t be able to sneak up on you because you can see for such a long way.

The campground was pretty empty when we got there but a few more hardy souls did pull in during our stay. The fire hazard was so high you weren’t even supposed to use camp stoves at your site. Fortunately, they had a beautiful camp kitchen with power and lights. This was very handy because the wind was blowing so hard nothing would have stayed in one place. We managed to get our tent set up (the only time we used it on the trip) and we were lucky
Getting the word outGetting the word outGetting the word out

This truck checks out the sandwich board in the middle of the intersection. What else would be on a sandwich board? The notification of the lunch at the Seniors' Centre.
it didn’t blow away. When it came time to pack up we had to take everything into the camp kitchen to get out of the wind so we could roll everything up.

It was a nice two days despite the wind. The bison were on the other side of the fence and occasionally came by to pose for photo ops. There were lots of trails and some interesting tours you could take by driving to different locations to start them.

But this wasn’t the end of our Saskatchewan trip.

Cypress Hills

There are Cypress Hills parks on both sides of the Alberta-Saskatchewan border. We visited the Saskatchewan side. But that is a story for another day…. To be continued.

Additional photos below
Photos: 27, Displayed: 27


Peter Verigin's HousePeter Verigin's House
Peter Verigin's House

One of the main features of the Doukhobor historical Village.
Inside Verigin's houseInside Verigin's house
Inside Verigin's house

Interesting displays of the old days.
Rawhides in Stenen, SKRawhides in Stenen, SK
Rawhides in Stenen, SK

This restaurant seems to be in the middle of nowhere but is a great place to eat. They converted an abandoned 6 room school into a classy roadhouse style restaurant and are adding a fully equipped campground. Great choice for lunch.
Profitis Ilias Greek Orthodox ChurchProfitis Ilias Greek Orthodox Church
Profitis Ilias Greek Orthodox Church

Built by a Greek immigrant who felt he had been very blessed in his new life in Canada and wanted to give back to the community. A beautiful spot; very restful.
Inside the ChurchInside the Church
Inside the Church

It was full of icons and displays
On the road againOn the road again
On the road again

Off to Cypress Hills. Who says Saskatchewan is flat?
Tunnels of Moose Jaw.Tunnels of Moose Jaw.
Tunnels of Moose Jaw.

OK, maybe it should really be basements of MJ. But the stories were pretty good and well worth the visit.

We love walking in cities and looking at their old buildings. It was a beautiful day in MJ and the wide open skies were great.
Crescent ParkCrescent Park
Crescent Park

A beautifully quiet place in the centre of town. This isn't a sundown picture; that was a spot on the lens.
Renovated hotel. Renovated hotel.
Renovated hotel.

I said we like architecture. This old hotel was beautifully restored. At least the lobby and dining rooms were.
Transportation MuseumTransportation Museum
Transportation Museum

Full of old cars and trucks, beautifully restored and displayed.

Since we were camping, we had to take a picture of this trailer from another era.
Air transportation tooAir transportation too
Air transportation too

Lots of old airplanes. And not so old. There is a huge Snowbirds display which is not surprising as MJ is the home of the 431 Snowbirds Squadron.
Iron LungIron Lung
Iron Lung

We were a bit surprised to see this in the museum but it was something right out of our youth. There were 1,200 in use in the U.S. in 1959 and there were still 10 in use in 2014 (wikipedia)

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