Tuesday, May 27, 2008

May 26, 27: Cypress Hills and South to the Red Coat Trail

May 26: Eagle Valley Campground to Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park (Centre Block)
52 km
4:22 on the bike

Don't let the 52 km fool you, today was hard, hard, hard. The wind continued to be our problem, although Mark notes that climbing into the Cypress Hills (about 300+ metres) was also a big part of it. The wind blew from the east - north east, and we had to ride due east for a few kms at the start of the day. Then it was mostly south/south east.

The country side, however, didn't disappoint. The Cypress Hills are quite high, and we were in the highest part (1300 metres). Our camp was in the midst of lodgepole pines, and at 1300 metres this was our highest camp.

We did a little hike at the Cypress Hills park. Lodgepole pines, white spruce, and wildflowers just starting to show. A few views completed the walk. It was nice to get off the bike and work different muscles.

We had a very quit campsite -- no one else was in the place.


May 27: Cypress Hills (Centre Block) to Eastend
96 km
7 hrs on the bike

Another physically and mentally difficulty day. The wind was against us for almost 86 of the 96 kms. For 40 km it was a full-on head wind. We suspect it was around 20 to 30 km/hr. Also, there was no place to stop for the entire day, save the side of the road. However, the views were wonderful. This part of south western Saskatchewan is full of buttes and hills. This is a land of ranching and farming -- the farm land has no fences, the ranch land has fences, cattle, and horses.

We have now become blaise about Pronghorn antelopes. We have seen dozens of them now, with their huge white butts heading off across the plains. Lots of great birds, and coyotes too.

Cycling across the prairies really gives you a feeling of space and moving across the land - in BC it is all about the trees and water, whereas in the prairies the vast sky and land visible for kilometres in every direction - you can pick a point on the horizon and then spend the next few hours tracking your progress as you move past it. Whereas in BC our eastward progress was often quite difficult to detect, here we really feel like we are (ever so slowly) actually picking our way across this vast vast country. All of the country we were in today is quite empty - with the exception of one near-ghost town (Robsart) all we saw were farms, mostly very far off, all day, to Eastend.

Mary + Mark


Anonymous said...


You describe the Southern Alberta winds as I know them so well. Keep you eyes out for curious young moose and wild turkey fellas with harems!

Mark Weston said...

We did see some wild turkeys heading into Cypress Hills -- what a suprise to see these big gobblers heading into the hills.