Grasslands National Park

Posted Felipe's 2021 Adventure

Double the size of Germany, Saskatchewan is so vast that it takes a whopping 20 straight hours to drive the 1465 km from the northern town of Stony Rapids to Estevan in the south!

The advantage of such an enormous landscape is the unique biodiversity. I was fortunate to experience one of Canada's most significant ecosystems in Grasslands National Park, 70 Mile and Eagle Butte Trailhead.

At 5am, with the brilliant prairie sunrise pouring into my vacation suite at Don's Place in Val Marie, I knew my day was going to be epic. I am a sunrise fanatic, and I've been waiting a long time for this one . . . and it was sure worth the wait! The sunrise was a kaleidoscope spectacle of Titanic proportions!

The fauna found in the park includes bison, pronghorns, greater sage-grouses, burrowing owls, coyotes, ferruginous hawks, swift foxes, prairie rattlesnakes, black-footed ferrets and greater short-horned lizards. Flora includes blue grama grass, needlegrass, plains cottonwood and silver sagebrush.

After I soaked up the sunrise, I was in the mood for more magic! Just 20 minutes south, I explored a lesser-known spot, the Val Marie Reservoir Migratory Bird Sanctuary. The bird watcher's paradise supports several hundred ducks and geese during the breeding and moulthing seasons. Evocative colonial nesting birds also use the islands in the sanctuary; these include double-crested cormorant, great blue heron, black-crowned night-heron, ring-billed gull, California gull and the common tern.

It was so windy that I almost flew away with my bird friends!

Thanks for reading!