Several folks we talked to recently were surprised that we had planned a stop in Saskatchewan. Their one-word question was always, “Why?”. It seemed to be one of those places people think there’s not much to do, but we usually discover there is. Maybe there aren’t spectacular activities or “in your face” beauty, but there’s always something to make us glad we stopped.
In all honesty, one of our motivations for coming here was to fill in that hole on Betsy’s map between Manitoba and Alberta. It was really bothering us!
From Waterton Park, Alberta we traveled just over the southwestern border of Saskatchewan to the little town of Maple Creek, where we set up our home base.
Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park
The main attraction here for locals and tourists alike is Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park. During our visit we learned it’s the highest point of land between Labrador and the Rocky Mountains, reaching a height of 1466 meters (4,809′) above sea level.
Reading that little tidbit made us pause for a moment to imagine the relative flatness of the landscape across those thousands of Canadian miles. Come to think of it, we did notice it was pretty flat in all of the provinces we’d visited along the way!
While there we followed a short trail that we almost didn’t finish due to swarms of mosquitoes. Fortunately Steve had brought long pants, which he immediately donned when the first wave of attacks began. The prairie landscape was still dressed with wildflowers, but we rushed this 1.5-mile hike and breezed through the plaques to get back to the safety of our car. It was about the worst mosquito encounter we’ve had during our journey.
Being the only humans out here, the locals eyed us warily. For sure we were the ones disturbing their peace:
We had come into this town at just the right time, as we discovered their one-day-a-year food festival was happening during our stop. Dubbed “The Taste of Maple Creek”, it features food from all of the local restaurants, and we were happy to make our lunch a tasting of their culinary delights!
Also that day was the Creek Classic Show and Shine, which allowed all makes and years and had a decent showing. Although we spent minimal time at the show, several cars were driven to our campground for a group barbecue dinner afterward. A small private car show right outside Betsy’s door – cool!
While walking around town we noticed many well-landscaped yards, with blooming flowers everywhere. Then we saw one with a sign showing “Yard of the Week.” I learned later that homes and businesses are chosen each week to recognize those within the community that take pride in the appearance of their yard and do their part to beautify the community.
I failed to take pictures of the yards, as I was drawn to three oversized beach chairs. I don’t know if this yard had been chosen before, but the garden was beautiful and I just had to sit in one of those chairs!
But for sure the highlight of this stop was when I met a Filipino couple, Edwin and Gina, at church. They invited me to their home for breakfast after the service, and then again for supper that evening with Steve.
Without being biased, I must say they exemplify Filipino traits – friendly, welcoming and warm to strangers. This was actually the first time in our travels that we’d been invited by complete strangers to their home. We enjoyed the good company and delicious traditional Filipino dishes.
Sometimes the best part of a stop for us is just enjoying the atmosphere and people there. A small, quaint town like this one with its friendly folks will always win out over the mayhem of a big city for us!
Next up: Speaking of big cities – A visit to Calgary