AS A WAY OF LIFE

nomads, writer, speaker, photographer

Canadian Prairies 2020


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The Canadian Prairies ?

 « But there's nothing to see!

In Saskatchewan, the saying states that

you can see your dog running away for 3 days! »


We emerged from the gigantic boreal forests that have accompanied us for more than a year. They were this amazing refuge for wildlife and all the ethereal beings that populate them, yet we needed to see the horizon line. Perhaps to find ourselves in a world of nothing, so that we could be as free as the wind. We felt the call of the prairies.

Worries In Every Region Of The World

The wind has been our greatest ally and our fiercest opponent! On these vast treeless and unprotected lands, we were at its mercy, subject to its law. At times, this master of the place turned out to be terrifying. That day, an orange hue emanated from the boiling clouds. All the elements were aligned to create a tornado. A strange feeling of fear and helplessness. The fabulous thunderstorms are also one of the grandiose spectacles of the prairies. We are witnesses of their power. Once, lightning fell right next to our tent. The luminous flash was simultaneous to the great roar that tore the silence, leaving us speechless, our eyes open in the dark night. In every region, there are difficulties, dangers. In each region, we have our worries, sometimes our fears.  

All Our Senses Open

Cycling in the prairies is to imbue all our senses with what surrounds us. When the eyes plunge into a monotonous mantra, the other senses open, to let in new perceptions. Smells are unique. Each breath raises the scents of aromatic plants, sometimes sweet, gentle, delicate, exquisite or velvety. The song of crickets or that of birds accompany us from dawn to dusk in vivid symphonies or the regular chorus of insects. Even our skin brings us sensations, when it is not the hundreds of mosquitoes that bite us. The gaze then shifts, it surprises three Great Horned Owls in their flight. It spots the antelopes that frolic in these vast prairies. It is the fastest mammal in the northern hemisphere and can detect movement up to 6.5 km away. Then it is the aerial choreography of about thirty pelicans, or wild geese that begin their migration at the end of the summer. The sky dominates the landscape. It is these blues, each day different, that infuse the earth.The clouds form aquarelle paintings, sometimes dramatic scenes. At night, only the howls of coyotes disturb the peace of the celestial vault. In this infinite sky, we feel tiny, below this dance of stars.

The Bad Lands

« Jump! » exclaims Fibie, eager to swim in the wide Red Deer River. The water is brown and muddy. But it's so hot that the idea of plunging our bodies into the water is delicious. This river has created the "Bad Lands", lands that cannot be cultivated. These lands are formations of sedimentary rocks and clay that have been eroded by wind and water. Nayla and Fibie run, climb, and explore this gigantic maze in the Dinosaur Valley with our friend Jim.

In The Vast Prairies

In Alberta, gigantic prairies stretch out into the horizon, like the great Mongolian steppes or the ones in Central Asia. They bewitch us with a deep sense of freedom. Darren joins us there. The girls are thrilled to have a companion on the road and his presence brings a joyful and sparkling atmosphere.

The Montpetit family stops there with their RV to offer us ice cream and cold drinks. It was their encounter that traced our itinerary and that is how we chose the Northern Saskatchewan route to meet them again in Bruno. Their presence touched us by their sincerity and openness of heart. We were also grateful for the welcome we received all along the prairies, despite the world situation. A heat wave has set in on the territory. The heat hits us and rises from the road like the breath of a furnace. We are compelled to find shade. But the prairies stretch as far as the eye can see without trees on the horizon. Only the surroundings of private properties have saving shade. We are then pushed to ask for a shady spot to pitch the tent. We never had to ask for a second time.

In The Wheat Fields

In Saskatchewan, we find in every village the grain towers that rise into the sky, like a leitmotif of the prairies. The ears of wheat are now golden yellow. They dance in the breeze or compose moving scenes in the breath of a rushing wind. We then have the sensation of looking at the sea, like waves dancing in the field.

The Return Of Trees And Bears

Slowly, along our eastward crossing, the trees reappeared. In Manitoba, temperatures have dropped and the morning dew is almost frozen. The leaves of some birch trees are already coloured. Sometimes a cold mist surrounds us. We are again in wilder places. There are only a few houses on the 200 kilometers to the next town. At night, the coyotes howl. We hear the packs moving not far from the tent. When we arrive at the Narrows of Lake Manitoba, the sun shines on the water that looks like a sea. Something crystalline emanates from the landscape, perhaps it is its energy. According to myths, the unique sound of the waves foaming over the limestone rocks is the presence of the Manito-bau, the Great Spirit in the native Ojibwe language.

We discover some national parks, the Waskesiu and Duck Mountain National Parks, home to an extraordinary fauna: elk, moose, black bears, cougars, lynx, bobcats and even wolves. The lakes are then the sanctuary of birds, swans and wild geese. They are found there by the hundreds. Sometimes we see them flying in formation. The time of migration is approaching. For us, these lakes are also a source of vitality. The fresh water and swimming soothe the body and cheer up the girls. While the feminine energy of this element balances the masculine energy of the prairies.