My follow on stop after Saskatoon was a night of camping in Grasslands National Park. I want to find and use the right words to describe how I felt as I first entered the park and while exploring. My initial reaction was to cry. I stopped the car and broke into tears. I felt overwhelmed with gratitude for the blessing of finding myself in such an incredible place. A bison ran in front of my car, blowing me away with his size and magnificence. It was my first time seeing a bison.
Beauty is addictive. The feeling of being overcome by the splendor my eyes and being find themselves wrapped around is something I chase. It’s my high of choice. To be left feeling insignificant in the grander of God’ vast creation is incredibly freeing and priceless—all concerns, worries, and thoughts are erased in order to be able to begin to grasp the marvel of my surroundings. I swim in the waves of gratitude, joy, and awe. That was what my stay in Grasslands National Park was like.
I really wish I had spent at least two or more days there.
I arrived in early afternoon and after setting up camp at the Frenchman Valley Hub Campground, I headed out on my bike to explore. The self-guided ecotour scenic drive is a popular thing to do in the park, so I decided to explore part of it on my bike. What I absolutely love about being on my bike versus my car is my ability to connect more with the environment.
While pedaling along, taking in the sights, I was easily taken back to a time when Indians roamed the land following the Bisons to secure their survival, and stops along the tour offered flashbacks to when homesteaders, ranchers, and cowboys battled the rough life in the prairie to “cultivate” a new life for themselves.
The encounter with another Bison, a few variety of deer and a visit to the Black-tailed Prairie dog “town” was such a treat. I first saw a couple of Black-tailed Prairie dogs on their mounds before realizing the full extent of just how many of them there were on both sides of the road. They seemed to be everywhere, but just within a few square mile area of the park. I observed them in all facets of their natural environment.
I stopped a lot during my bike ride to simply stare in wonder before returning to my campsite to check on Little Man, eat, and catch the sunset.
The following day, before departing, I hiked the 11.2 km Broken Hills Trail and witnessed more of the beauty of the vast landscape and its rolling hills, mixed-grass prairies, and flowers.
I was sad to leave but it was on to Calgary.