Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Spring Trip 2010 – Day 27 – Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park – Part 3

After lunch, we decided we would attempt driving to the ‘Center block’ of Cypress Hills….just to check it out.  Remember that this was Wednesday and we had the May long weekend looming before us….we knew we had to be settled in somewhere before that happened.  I didn’t think it was possible to drive to the Center Block from the West block, other than by going back to Maple Creek (approximately 45 km) and then heading back south about 20 km…..BUT a map we had picked up at the ranger station showed a ‘short cut’….soooo  It was back to the switchback hill….

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Since I hadn’t taken pictures going up….I decided to take some ‘going down’…note the barriers at the drop off edge, leaning this way and that – that is because the edge of the road was crumbling away…

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there was actually a pull out area here – I wouldn’t want to meet someone on this road….

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One of the ‘hair pins’

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and leveling out towards the bottom….

As soon as you left the park a gravel road headed off towards the south east….this seemed a logical route for the short cut….so we headed in that direction…

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This was beautiful country….that curve is the road and obviously, that ridge up there was the plateau we had come off of…

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The road is veering away from the hills now, still beautiful rolling ranchland….but then it flattened out…we were obviously now traveling through a native reserve and we’d gone a lot further than the distance indicated by the map….we had pretty much figured out we were on the wrong road, when a couple of guys towing a big horse trailer stopped and asked if we needed help…and they confirmed that this was not the road…we were on our way to Consul….so we turned around and retraced our steps……

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back the way we had come…..until we met the main road again….this time we decided to ask ‘Tizzy Lizzy’ (G.P.S.) and she directed us to a turn off about a kilometer further down the road….aha…a sign said this was ‘Cypress Gap Road’….I took one look and said ‘NO WAY!’….it was nothing but a rutted mud track!  So at this point, we turned around, deciding to head back to the same campground we’d spent the last night at…. 

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Just before the park entrance there were numbers of White Tail Deer in a field

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This time, we stopped to take some pictures of what was obviously an over flowing lake or pond at the entrance….

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And here is the road into the park.  That trailer drop off I mentioned before is that cleared area to the left of the middle.  I don’t know what the buildings were….if this was someone’s ranch or what….  Then it was back up the hill, back to the campground, where we once more joined the Outdoor School.  That afternoon the campground attendants showed up with registration envelopes etc. (We hadn’t paid the first night as there was a sign, left over from the ‘off season’ saying there was no charge).  After talking to the attendants they said they were way behind ~ the campground should have opened on the 1st but because of the snow, they hadn’t even been able to get there.  

The rest of the afternoon and evening was spent doing some ‘housework’ in the camper and just wandering in the general area….oh I should mention that before pulling into the campground, we thought we’d drive past it and see what was down the road (remember it was supposed to go through to the Alberta part of the park….well it didn’t go much further than where we had walked the previous evening…there was a ‘Road Closed’ barrier across it…apparently the road was flooded not much further on.


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Ernie had to take this picture of this sign….the ‘Radar Enforced’ was a bit of a joke!  Apart from the Outdoor School and the Park attendants we never saw another vehicle….would someone really be up there with a Radar Gun???

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Ernie also got this picture of a Black Cap Chickadee…

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and this one of these White Tail Deer is also courtesy of Ernie…

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That is why they are called ‘White tail’….

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In the evening I set off up a road that went off just past and opposite to, the campground entrance…

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It isn’t much of a road but it was in better shape than that ‘Cypress Gap Road’!….

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the rolling hillside…

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These Shooting Stars caught my eye!

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Here is pretty much where I called it quits….

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Heading back, the campground is the other side of those trees…..note the sky….and keep that in the back of your mind as we progress through this trip….

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While I’d been off wandering on my own….Ernie and Shantz had come across this…a Pink Sided Junco…another ‘new’ species….

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and I had been trying desperately to get pictures of this Ruffed Grouse that stayed just on the other side of the vegetation lining the road…..and so another day drew to a close.  Tomorrow we really would have to figure out what we were doing re the ‘long weekend’!

One more thing….I must make a correction…I think I said that Fort Walsh, where we had attempted to visit in the morning, was right on the Montana border…..I was wrong…it isn’t…it is almost right on the Alberta border, but it is still a long ways to the Montana border….in fact we were well south of Fort Walsh before we turned around, on our ‘short cut’ search!

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