My daylong rouge up north - a tad different

Daylong excursions are one thing when it comes to the big city or the big buy; for one thing, they can be settled within an hour’s away from here or less.

But for one – long – day, my daylong journey began with one fleeting morning.  Wednesday, March 3, a day that no one else seemed to have anything going on.  At least not according to me and my work calendar, so it all fell into place seemingly at chance.  I had a day to do…what?  Stay on my computer all day?  Stick around at home?  Watch the same old TV programs that grabbed my attention any other day?  No, thanks.

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This was going to be the day that I escaped, albeit with a laundry list of to-dos.  I have expectations, though they are somewhat simplistic based on animal evidence.  I have an idea of what I won’t see and what I will see.  It’s really a day built just around the ‘What If?’ machine to see what I see and to see what I don’t see, in time.

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One of three elk seen enjoying their meal. They didn't mind the photoshoot. - Derek Ruttle

See, I’m looking to trudge up to Prince Albert National Park for a day, a mimic, a morsel of time before the hours in the day become so incredibly limited that I come home before I’ve seen anything.  Life in Outlook and Conquest has become such a standard that it barely needs repeating, and it feels like I’ve never been up here in so long that…my God.  Can it really be that long?  Seven months?  That’s how long it’s been since I’ve been up there, yet it bears repeating because the last seven months have felt, well, just that.  LONG.

Vehicle.

Check.

Case.

Check.

Two cameras.

Check.

Okay, let’s hit the open road.

I’ve never let myself believe that I’m headed somewhere new until I’ve reached the outer limits of Saskatoon, and that’s what I’ve done here.  It’s strange, so much traffic coming INTO the city, yet only a thumbful deciding out is the way they’re headed today.  I guess it comes with the day I’ve chosen.  If I decided to do this on a Friday, Saturday or Sunday?  Forget it.  I’d be joined by about two or three dozen vehicles.  But because this is a Wednesday, it’s all good.  Extremely limited skies seeking the north, which is just what I wanted.

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Wolf tracks. - Derek Ruttle

Coming across the strangest thing as soon as I leave the city heading north.  Is it?  Really?  I swear, it’s true, the body heat is going up.  I would have thought that to be false heading this far north.  But no, it’s true.  So true that in fact I have to take my jacket off in the vehicle and turn down the controls.  This IS Saskatchewan, is it not?  Turns out it is.  Just much, much warmer than originally thought.

And much warmer than originally seen.  You see, I’m coming across nothing but snow-covered roads on the way up to the park.  So much so that a good handful of that snow has decided to make its home on the back of my vehicle.  I guess I’m going to have to park and scrape it off.

Besides that, a park full of intrigue and adventure.  I drive my way through the trees and find them to be momentarily featured.  I use that word momentarily because I know these trees have a time stamp.  All of these broken ones seem to have one.  It’s incredible to see how many of them are snapped right in half waiting to be discarded, though I know all of them seem to have a circle ending their life.  I use ‘ending’ in a way that is not so ending.

As I make my way further up, I see something that is so uniquely north.  Three fully-grown elk munching on some trees right beside the highway.  Why, these animals don’t care.  They spend as much time to themselves as they do with people like me.  So even as I’m doing the, “Wow, these animals are incredible!” routine, they don’t seem to care.  This is so cool.

I go on, further into the woods.  I take a steer out of it because there just isn’t anything worth seeing here.  In the summer, mind you, of course there is lots to see up here in Waskesiu.  In the winter – not so much.  So long, community!

I take a look at everything that is offered to me in Waskesiu.  Not much.  There’s a lot not being offered right now because it’s a few days into March as opposed to, say, July.  So, I just keep on moving.

It’s hard not to notice all the little things that make this place worth the drive.

I see great imagery that I make sure to capture.  Can I see them at home?  Yes and no.

I see a road that is inviting me to drive, drive and further drive, but I know that there is only so many hours in one day.  Those unknown kilometres are just going to have to wait.

I make a stop at Kingsmere Road.  The large Waskesiu Lake is right behind me.  I’ve driven for a handful of hours and it’s time to eat.  But hold up, what’s this?  Literally right beside my SUV is a handful of large prints, so I document them.  Easy to see what this was – a wolf.  It isn’t seen around here this time, I’ve just missed this animal.  But one day…

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Waskesiu Lake's main welcome. - Derek Ruttle

Although I’m having a hell of a time just enjoying the outdoors the way they were meant to be enjoyed, I find I’m having a limited time, so to speak.  I look upwards and the sun is starting to take a low dip downward.  So I take the time to capture all I see and all I can before I lose the daylight.

It isn’t long before I see all I can see before the daylight takes a dip.  Before long, I’m taking off and it’s as if I snap my fingers and I’m already back at Saskatoon fueling up.

It’s like today didn’t even happen.  But it did.

© The Outlook

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