Day 2 of Vanlife Series
There is something about sand that soothes the soul. A tropical beach with the soft, warming particles beneath your bare toes is wonderful. Unfortunately, there are not any warm tropical beaches in my neighborhood but…there are sand dunes…who knew??
Welcome to the Great Sand Hills of Saskatchewan.
We made a pitstop in Burstall to gas up and explore the local gift/antique store. I would recommend hanging out there for a bit. They sell delicious local honey, homemade soups, smoked meats and of course, antiques. The fuel pumps are from the 1950s era. The owner has charm and an extensive knowledge of the area and everyone who lives there.
After getting some directions to the abandoned, must see old church, farm yard and cemetery, the location of a neighbors tractor and other such important tibbits, we were directed to the fastest route to the dunes.
We missed the turn off that was written on the bottom of a church bulletin board on a sign at a t-intersection in the middle of nowhere. I did happen to read it but was following my brother and had to flag him down to turn around. We corrected our compass and started down the dirt packed road.
After a drive that seemed to last forever and a few guesses on where to turn we could see the sandhills off in the distance. The sign states that the land is privatish and open mostly to local cattle farmers. You are welcome to drive on the path as long as you stay on the 6km road through the main part of the mounds.
We parked and eagerly got out to explore.
At the top of one trail there hangs numerous cowboy boots as a memorial to one of the caretakers John Booth. He was a local rancher and had dedicated his life to taking care of the local ranchers association and the hills. It’s a fitting monument to plant your feet at a high vantage point. You can see for miles in all directions and you can’t help but gain a better perspective on life and its ability to point out that nothing is impossible.
The fact that there are powdery white sandhills on a bald headed prairie seems like a far stretched fantasy and yet…here they are. They reminded me, on a smaller scale, about my trek through the Atlas Mountains and North West edge of the the Sahara in Morocco. They are just as serene and inviting.
We had fun laying down and taking pictures and video of the wind blowing the sand across the landscape in swirls and dust devil patterns.
We decided to keep going from there to Leader to discover another local curiosity. The larger than life Leader Wildlife sculptures are a clever way to get folks off the highway and into a little self guided tour of the town and all it has to offer. We took the bait and stopped at a few of them to take some selfies and learn more about their origin. I love the ingenuity of these little towns!
We left Saskatchewan and its big open spaces to head back towards Cypress Hills and the Alberta border.
Stay tuned for day 3 as our adventure continues…