Friday, September 13, 2013

Yukon Bound Day 4!...Winnipeg to Saskatoon

"Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; 
what is essential is invisible to the eye."~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

I did not take many photos today. I'm not sure why. It is not as though the prairies didn't offer much to capture. On the contrary, I enjoyed the immeasurable flatness in all directions, a golden yellow expanse pressed under the thumb of a giant rolling pin. I left my hotel around 6:15am, the earliest departure yet. I wanted a good jump on the day as I knew there would be the better part of 9 driving hours to cover. 

Dawn bloomed around 7am this morning...a hazy, sleepy eye opening with lovely colours all around. Today I drove from Winnipeg, Manitoba to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. The odometer pronounced that 1,849 miles have been driven so far. Just shy of 3,000 km. I am pleased with this progress. From here on out it will be another 9-10 hours to Grande Prairie, Alberta tomorrow, and then another 9+ hour day to get up to Muncho Lake, British Columbia on Sunday. All things going according to plan I will arrive in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory on Monday late afternoon. My new home.

A rather unassuming little sign welcomed drivers to Saskatchewan. The Prairies, in earnest. Land of terribly expensive beer, pleasant inhabitants, mottled cows, grain elevators and crisply distant horizons.  I couldn't help but notice the cows and horses as I drove past them. They were very handsome and looked to be well cared for. The cows were a mixture of ruddy reds, deep ochres and blacks, jumbled about in herds, lazily swatting their tales. They reminded me of multi-coloured corn kernels. As I approached Saskatoon I saw more variability in the landscape; some deeper hollows slid down away from the road, probably remnants of long-dried streams. The temperature was hot and dusty, a perfect day to be here. The prairies at their best, as they should be. The wind was present and constant. With nothing to stop it it blew about the buildings and vehicles everywhere. I felt a little bit cast back in time, or at least, frozen in it for awhile.  

Before this drive people had rolled their eyes when mentioning the prairie component of a trans Canada drive. "Stay awake!" "They are SO boring." "It gets better when you are beyond the prairies". And I have also heard that some people feel agoraphobic in the prairies. The expanse can be unsettling. I find it comforting. Nothing can sneak up on you out here. There is a knowledge that most things are seen here and you can prepare for them, as opposed to being in deep valleys or deep woods. I find this landscape uncomplicated and relaxing. And it is far from boring.

Today I passed through Portage la Prairie, Brandon, Regina, Chamberlain, Craik and finally Saskatoon. I didn't get much chance to look around town here but rather made a beeline for my hotel, a horse for the barn. Sasha is typically tired and fed up by that time of day and I like to get settled in and relax to prepare for the next day of travel. I promise I will take more photos tomorrow. I have no idea what the landscape will be like heading across northern Alberta to Grande Prairie. All I know is it will be another long day. But another beautiful one as well, no doubt.

I didn't see much wildlife today, other than a few geese flying in a loose 'V' and the odd lone duck in little lakes by the highway. Sasha slept most of the day, after his morning yowling. I would be upset too, but he takes it in stride and resigns himself to his blanket.

New adventures tomorrow...more trucks, bugs on the windscreen, Tim Horton's and always a new horizon.

"What makes the desert beautiful," says the little prince,
 "is that somewhere it hides a well."~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

1 comment:

Patricia Gapske said...

It's so good to hear your trip is going well. I love reading about it and checking the map to see how far you've gone. Sasha is a trooper, so happy you have him as your co-pilot. :)