Anna Hergert, Art & Design

Back to Work After a Brief Southern Saskatchewan Excursion

View from the PetroglyphsJust when we packed up and set out for a couple of days of camping to get a break, the glorious summer weather changed. It seemed that the sun was hiding behind clouds and the temperatures dropped. The two nights in the camper were a sharp reminder that fall and winter will be here soon enough.

It didn’t deter us from enjoying our time away. The first night was spent at Sylvan Valley Campground near St. Victor. The ancient petroglyphs were just across the road and a personal guided tour at sunset was a wonderful end to the day.

Our guide from "The Friends of St. Victor Petroglyphs" actively interpreted the various markings on the sandstone slab.

David Munro, our guide from “The Friends of St. Victor Petroglyphs,” actively interpreted the various markings on the sandstone slab.

A close up of the ancient carving of a figure. The sandstone is covered with lichen. A dollar sized orange colored lichen takes approximately 1,000 years to form. Viewing the individual markings made by numerous Aboriginal tribes it is still a mystery of how old these petroglyphs really are.

A close up of the ancient carving of a figure. The sandstone is covered with lichen. A dollar sized orange colored lichen takes approximately 1,000 years to form. The individual markings made by numerous Aboriginal tribes remains a mystery of how old these petroglyphs really are.

Sitting up on the sandstone bluff at 2,800′ above sea level watching the sun set transform the blue sky into a warm orange let us forget the biting wind sweeping across the prairie. SunsetThe next morning we made our way to Willow Bunch to say hello to the Giant…

Possibly the most famous person associated with Willow Bunch was Édouard Beaupré (1881 - 1904). He was born into this small prairie town and wanted nothing more than to be a cowboy, but he soon grew too big to ride a horse. When the Willow Bunch giant died at St. Louis, Missouri in 1904, he had reached a height of 8’3” and weighed approximately 375 pounds. An autopsy revealed a tumor on his pituitary gland which had caused his phenomenal growth. His mummified remains were stored at McGill University in Montreal. In 1990 the remains were cremated and interred on the grounds of the Willow Bunch Museum.

Possibly the most famous person associated with Willow Bunch was Édouard Beaupré (1881 – 1904). He was born into this small prairie town and wanted nothing more than to be a cowboy, but he soon grew too big to ride a horse. When the Willow Bunch giant died at St. Louis, Missouri in 1904, he had reached a height of 8’3” and weighed approximately 375 pounds. An autopsy revealed a tumor on his pituitary gland which had caused his phenomenal growth. His mummified remains were stored at McGill University in Montreal. In 1990 the remains were cremated and interred on the grounds of the Willow Bunch Museum.

…before we carried on to explore the Big Muddy, Saskatchewan’s Badlands. Shaped by the last ice age this deeply carved valley holds a rich history for Aboriginals, early European settlers and outlaws alike. Entering the valley one is transported into a wild west movie landscape I so enjoyed as a youth.

Bigg Muddy Valley 1We followed the signs to Castle Butte from the highway. This was the first view that welcomed us into the vast valley that is home to several ranches.

Big Muddy Valley 2Above, the view to the “other side” of the valley. Herds of cattle grazed along the roads.

Approaching Castle ButteAfter six kilometers of gravel road our destination rose in the distance. Castle Butte, an ancient natural monument was used by Aboriginal people and the Royal Mounted Police as a major landmark throughout early times. Today it is a popular tourist destination.

Castle Butte with signA dusty road leads to a makeshift parking area. The less than informative tourist guide pamphlet said that the peak was easy to climb and great to photograph during the “golden hour.”

climbing Castle ButteWe set up the camper and decided to spend the night to witness the good light for some great photos. With many hours to go we were able to watch visitors come and go, climb sections of the wall, explore the caves and walk/climb the peak. I tried to tackle my fear of heights, packed my camera in my back pack and set out to walk up the steep, narrow path… Let it suffice to say, I made it up the first third of the near vertical path. When it forked I had a brief reality check – it would be one way to make it up to the top, quite another to come back down… The decision was easy – I turned around! No regrets – lost photo opportunity but I know myself and mountain tops….

View from our camper at sunsetOne last image of Castle Butte during sunset –  200′ of climbing pleasure for those who love heights.

Time to head to the studio – work is waiting and time is running short. I am packing for Art Quilt Campus today – so much to think about and so little time…

This entry was published on July 29, 2013 at 10:28 am. It’s filed under Art, Creativity Update, History, Journaling, Landscape photography, Nature photography, Travel and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

2 thoughts on “Back to Work After a Brief Southern Saskatchewan Excursion

  1. Linda on said:

    Wise woman!

    Like

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