Day 5 of 5
The next morning was sunny. Packed up. Let the tent dry in sun for a bit first. On the water by maybe 9am. Campground still quiet. Light winds against us initially from the east. We crossed the lake and hugged the north shore. After the winds yesterday, we braced ourselves for potential strong headwinds later in the day, but were delighted to find the wind shift to a perpendicular angle from the north and not too strong by mid-morning. We stopped along shore for a snack. I think we stayed in the canoe as there were bull cattle around looking grumpy.
As we continued the lake curved right and we now had a strong tailwind. We relaxed and enjoyed the last day on the water, paddling lightly or not at all. At lunch as we drifted as we ate.
We could see a cluster of dark green in the distance, which stood out in contrast to the brownish coloured hills. Many of the hills actually were bare earth and eroding, likely from over-grazing by cattle, resulting in destabilized slopes (see above photo). It actually looked like a fairly serious problem. We drifted/paddled past the picnic area and beach west of Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park, complete with irrigation pump on shore, which explained the sudden dark green vegetation.
We passed under the Highway 4 bridge, only the second bridge of our journey of around 140 km! We debated if we should stay the night at Sask Landing or head to Regina that evening. We initially planned to camp overnight, not knowing how long it would take, but with the tailwinds we had made good time and it was only about 3pm.
We started looking for the marina where the car was parked, but could not see anything that resembled a marina. We stopped at the beach as Sarah needed to use the washroom. She asked someone on the way back which way to the Marina. Apparently we had already passed it!
We doubled back, against the growing wind (groan) and found it tucked behind a peninsula, making it nearly invisible when we first passed. We found the car with the hidden key as planned (in case we capsized and lost the key, we hid the key on the car).
Loaded the car. Sarah rescued a man’s boat that was blown across our loading dock while he had run to his car to grab his fishing rod. He had not tethered his boat, thinking it would stay. Arrived in Regina around 8 p.m.
We have now finally bought a canoe this year, a used 17 ft Grumman. For its inaugural journey, we took it down the Bow River, for a wild ride down some Class 1 to 1+ rapids. This was our first time running rapids (other than my one time on the Churchill River), and it may prove addicting. And may trigger the need for another canoe more suitable for whitewater. Stay tuned for more adventures.
INTERESTING FACTS ABOUT THE SOUTH SASKATCHEWAN RIVER AND PALLISER TRIANGLE AREA
Source: Atlas of Saskatchewan, 1999, U of S, 2nd edition (pg. 41)
* Ratio of average annual precipitation to potential evaporation: less than 0.6
* South Saskatchewan River receives more than 70% of its flow from mountains and foothills of Alberta
* Some non-draining lakes and wetlands in the Palliser Triangle contain salt water 10 times saltier than sea water (300 ppt TDS)