2016 Was Extreme

Posted Neil's 2016 Adventure

Saskatchewan can be a province of extremes - extreme weather, extreme temperatures and extreme Rider fans. Having spent the entire year exploring our province, I encountered my fair share of extremes.

As we’re currently enjoying a slight pause in frightening winter temperatures, I’ll begin with the coldest moment of the past year. My coldest moment of 2016 came just last week while filming my Top Ten Experiences video - with the thermometer reaching -25 below, a few hours spent in a windy open field was extremely cold.

Honourable mention: My polar bear dip at the Fort Winter Festival in Fort Qu’Appelle. It actually looks worse than it is, I’d do it again :)



Call me crazy but, personally, I would choose being cold over being hot any day of the week. That may be why I have more memories of being too hot than too cold. A couple of instances that come to mind are walking across the blistering Athabasca Sand Dunes in late July or the sun reflecting off the calm water fishing on Selwyn Lake - both were rather toasty. However, the hottest I’ve been this year was while stomping out a grassfire in Ogema…there’s nothing quite like singed leg hair. This was just a small grassfire started after hot dry weather combined with a spark from the train I took in Ogema. Everyone hopped of the train to help put it out lickety-split.



40,000 kilometres is a whole whack of Saskatchewan to cover and unsurprisingly, on more than one occasion, I found myself at the edge of our province.
The farthest north I travelled was while fishing at Selwyn Lake Lodge. The lake straddles the Saskatchewan and Northwest Territories border and admittedly, I may have accidentally set foot into the Northwest Territories. Luckily the “Saskatchewanderer Saskatchewan-Proximity Implant” didn’t explode :P



At the opposite end of our province, the farthest south I reached was while touring the Big Muddy Badlands with Tillie Duncan of Coronach Tourism. We just finished exploring the Sam Kelly Caves and made our way to the top of a coulee, where less than a hundred metres south was the Canada and United States border. The second-most southern point I visited in 2016 was a day spent exploring the Valley of 1,000 Devils in the East Block of Grasslands National Park - this was also an adventure in close contention for the hottest day.



The 500 kilometre drive from Saskatoon northeast to Creighton took me to Saskatchewan’s eastern border and I *may have* ended up outside of Saskatchewan in Flin Flon. It was this trip that lead me to one of my favorite adventures of the year - the Limestone Crevices south of Denare Beach.



Lastly, it may not be an extreme condition or destination, but the year’s moment of extreme embarrassment. Having successfully conquered TreeOSix’s zip lines outside of Waskesiu, I faced their Cypress Hills zip lines with confidence…confidence that was ultimately shattered. On the very last line of the day, I ended up stuck in the middle awkwardly suspended high above the ground with no means of propelling myself anywhere. Fortunately, our fearless guide, Winstyn Horton, was able to rescue me. 
These are just some of the extremes of my year as the Saskatchewanderer, but I wouldn’t trade this entire experience - including jumping into a hole in the middle of a frozen lake, being trapped on a zip line or singing my leg hair - for anything.