Experience the beauty of Saskatchewan.
We as a province have been dubbed the land of living skies, yet several Saskatchewanians have only seen the views our main cities have to offer. I was among that population until this past long weekend when a few friends and I drove down to Grasslands National Park in the southwest corner of our province. I’d like to issue an apology for anything I may have said in my 23 years of life alluding to the opinion that Saskatchewan is flat, boring, or that I’d seen all it had to offer; I had no clue what I’d been missing out on.
Forget the experience in the campground – even just the drive out was breathtaking. We spotted deer, foxes, and hawks during our 380km drive. Between the animal sightings and the 70s playlist we were blasting, the drive took no time at all. The absolute beauty of the sky when you can see clear from the west horizon to the east is paralleled only by the ocean’s endless waves or a wheat field billowing in the breeze. We stayed at the Two Trees campsite within Grasslands, far away from Wi-Fi signals and cellular service. Thankfully, the roads are all beautifully (and bilingually) labeled, easily directing you to the campsite. It’s an open area to visit during the day complete with a small 3.3Km walking trail, barbecues, and fire pits. On a low hill facing the badlands to the east were five Sioux tipis available to rent for shelter overnight situated around the barbecues and fire pits.
Aside from the actual nature to enjoy, they had horseshoes available to be thrown and a swing made from what looked like repurposed tires (the younger ones at the site were especially fond of it). One couple brought out their telescope and another had a ukulele to play after dark – there was quite a variety of characters who came out to camp at Two Trees. From a toddler who almost got into our vehicle the next morning while we packed, to an older gentleman taking time-lapse photos, there was no shortage of friendly faces and conversations which brought a real sense of community to that random chance gathering of strangers.
The real beauty didn’t show until night fell, and the darkness of a new moon’s sky filled the plains. The stars are already incredible on an average night due to the lack of light pollution, but missing the moon too really took the stars to a new level. The belt of the milky way was easily visible from our site and more than a few shooting stars graced us with their presence. There’s nothing like laying on your back in the middle of the night, in the middle of nowhere, and the sense of peace that just overtakes you from the inside out. Regardless of specific beliefs it has a tendency to reignite a sense of purpose and determination while inspiring awe and humility in a near-epiphany. The morning came bringing with it a fog that danced over the tops of the distant hills as beautifully as the starlight had the night before. We took a 6 a.m. stroll through the short trail and were amazed by the wildflowers and fauna growing safely and spreading naturally. Bushes of white sage at least four feet wide were a common find on this path, along with the occasional doe and garter snake minding their business while we respectfully snooped in theirs.
The single night stay at Grasslands was not near enough time to fully take in the vast beauty present, but it was more than enough to inspire a passion for the beauty in our province. Conventional camping season is quickly drawing to a close, but I’d fully encourage you to look into Grasslands National Park and Two Trees in particular; you won’t be disappointed.