Saturday, October the 1st dawned as a beautiful day. It was sunny and calm. I figured it would be a good day to explore more of the park and do a few hikes.
On my way I noticed how calm it actually was.
Just across the road from the pond was what appeared to be a Sharp-Tailed Grouse. I wasn’t as close to this one as the one I saw on the first day though.
I drove over to do the 2.1 km Eagle Butte Train and possible the 4.1 km 70 Mile Butte Trail as they were side by side. I’m not sure how 70 Mile Butte got it’s name; can you see it from 70 miles away? Can you see 70 miles from the top of it? According to the internet, it is the highest point in the park.
The drive there took about 20 minutes and when I got out of the truck if felt like a hurricane was blowing through.
I left Jeremy to look after the truck and hit the trail.
I started up the Eagle Butte Trail and was quickly feeling all alone in an alien landscape.
The trail was easy to walk on even as I climbed higher and higher.
I soon felt like I was up in the clouds, even if it was a fairly cloudless day.
I was starting to appreciate the fact the wind was blowing as I was already getting pretty hot and I don’t think I’d covered a kilometre yet. But I kept climbing.
Well, I could see for miles up here.
As I followed the trail it started back down the hill and I came to the intersection for the 70 Mile Butte Trail. As I stood there and looked up the big hill to the 70 Mile Butte Trail “why not” came to mind.
I hadn’t gotten very far when I had to take a break – about my 5th one since my hike started.
I still have to climb the hill. Oh look, a plant.
Ok, I’m moving.
About 3/4’s of the way up I rested yet again and spotted some other hikers. They were at the trail heads and looked like they were debating which way to go.
3 came my way and the other 2 took the trail I had just come down.
I know I’m out of shape and looking at my Fitbit confirmed it. My resting heart rate usually hovers around 60 beats per minute and it was showing that I was at 131 bpm. Must be time for a photo break. At the end of the day it would show me that I did about 21 and a half thousand steps and 101 flights of stairs today.
I made it to the top. Sure feels like a long way to anywhere from up here.
Amazingly enough, the view is quite different from one side to the other.
Even thought it’s mostly downhill from up here I lingered for quite a while at the top.
The wind has been blowing pretty strongly the whole time I’ve been here so I haven’t been paying too much attention to the sun beating down on me. That is till I suddenly felt like I had a sunburn. I’m guessing it’s more windburn than sunburn but the sun is starting to feel a bit uncomfortable.
1 more shot before I head back down.
Seems a bit dry here.
I was glad I actually took water with me on my walk.
I headed south to see if there was a place I could have lunch before I did another hike. I went to check out the Riverwalk Trail area and found that there was indeed a spot but it was full of people. It felt like there was more people here than I’d seen in the entire province of Saskatchewan since I’d gotten here. Turned out it was a grade 5/6 class from Swift Current down for the weekend in the park. They were just finishing up their lunch and were heading to do the 70 Mile Butte Trail. I told them if they walked the whole thing it would feel like they had walked 70 miles. They would be staying in the OTentNiks at the campground so I’d see them later.
Had a nice quiet lunch alone and was just starting my walk when a car with 2 girls showed up. So much for the peace and quiet. Lol. The Riverwalk trail is just over 3 kilometres long but pretty flat so I decided I’d be able to do it quite easily.
Oh look, a tree.
Trees are few and far between but it is called Grasslands.
The tipis used to be in the campground I’m staying in but it is a very wide open area and they blew down during spring storms so they were moved to a more sheltered area.
I found the proverbial forest.
It was quite peaceful on my walk. The loudest thing I heard was the Pheasant that jumped out from under my feet and flew across the river. I didn’t get a photo of him but I did get one of where he went.
About 3/4’s of the way around the loop is a shortcut back to the parking lot. The 2 girls took off that way and I continued around.
While there aren’t many trees around, there was still a lot of nice colour to look at.
I was done my walk but I was starting to get a headache from my sun/wind burn so I decided to head back to the campground via the scenic route.
On my way back to the highway I passed the trail head for the Two Trees Trail. Now how sad is it when they have to make a trail to go find a couple of trees?
I stopped to take a few photos of the most exciting thing I saw on the way back to the park.
When I saw this all I could think of was that it could be Curtiss Lund’s next fixer upper.
I was almost back to the park gate when I saw my first Coyote of my trip.
While he didn’t appear to be too concerned about me, he certainly didn’t stay very close for very long.
It was still hot and sunny when I got back to my campsite so I decided to get out of the sun and went to read in the Coulee Centre building again today. I stayed in there for almost 2 hours before it was time to get supper ready.
The kids and their chaperones I had met earlier arrived and must of put the population of the campground up around 60 or so people. Seemed pretty crowded compared to last night.
I got done my dishes just before it got dark and I wandered around the campground to visit some of the campers I had talked to earlier.
As we stood and chatted the clouds were starting to roll in and heat lightning was lighting up the far away sky. We stood around for about 1/2 and hour and the clouds kept building up but the lightning never seemed to get any closer. I watched the sky for another 1/2 hour or so and decided I should probably get ready for bed because it was starting to cool off and I was sure we’d get some rain.
Less than 20 minutes after I crawled into bed to read the wind picked up and the rains came. Suddenly the lightning was close and the thunder rumbled and rumbled. Might as well try to get some sleep I figured. The wind kept blowing harder and harder and the rain pounded down. The lightning was pretty intense and the thunder was really loud so sleep wasn’t coming any time soon. My truck was shaking so much I thought I was in a cradle and being rocked. I wondered how RV’s were staying upright.
The thunder and lightning ended after a couple of hours but the wind and rain kept up for longer. I finally fell asleep to the sound of the rain.