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Saskatchewan – The Great Sandhills
July 23rd – 24th
My next destination was the village of Sceptre to see the dunes, “The Great Sand Hills”. I arrived at midnight at Sceptre where I photographed a map drawn by hand on the door to the Sandhills Information Centre, to drive to the Dunes Park. They are 27 km south of Sceptre and indications on the map are quite good, there are a few signs on the route but at night, I couldn’t see anything. The whole road was gravel, through fields, then after a while the road become sandy, which was a sign that I was getting close. I arrived at the parking lot at 1 am, but to my surprise, it was already occupied … by a herd of semi-slumbering cows. I parked a little away, but one or two curious that I had awakened came pat my car to see what it was.
That’s how I spent the night 🙂
I got up at 5 am to photograph the sunrise over the dunes. Most of the park’s dunes are “still” dunes covered with vegetation, but several, including one near the entrance are still moving and uncovered. As the sun rose and I was photographing the scene, I could hear coyotes howling in the distance.
After taking pictures of the sunrise, I returned to the car to grab some food. Three mules deer were grazing near the parking lot, then I went back in the park, looking for a nice spot to have my breakfast. Finally satisfied with a place, I started to eat and I boiled my water, but I quickly realized that I had neither coffee nor cup, forgotten in the car 🙁 It is the hot water that I drank with my cereal, which in a sense was probably best to stay hydrated in this mini-desert.
After a short nap on the sand under the sun not yet too hot, I explored the surroundings. There are some trails that can be followed, but nothing official. It seems that this part of the park is used as pasture for cattle. Cows wander freely everywhere and the ground is strewn with dung. Towards the end of the walk, I even found some bones, probably from a cow, but I could say whether the death was natural or caused by wild animals. It started to get very hot, especially as I was a bit dressed quite warm for me the freshness of the morning, and forgot to bring water, so I just shortened my walk, but there wasn’t much more to see anyway.
I drove back to Sceptre, and then towards Regina, 400km plus loin.
Great Sandhills direction and GPS track
Here is the link to download the track for your GPS: http://blog.jnicolas.name/wp-content/uploads/gps_tracklog/Saskatchewan__Sceptre_Great_Sandhills.gpx
A few pictures to help you find your way: