I often talk about how much I love Saskatchewan, and Iâ€™m always met with raised eyebrows and generalizations like, â€œBut the prairies suck!â€ I never understood that sentiment. Even driving through the province for the first time a few years back, I was enthralled. The sky there is like the ocean, and if I could live on a ranch for the rest of my life, a rugged cowboy named Butch by my side, Iâ€™d be alright with that.
Last summer I camped at Nesslin Lake, next to Ness Creek, next to Big River, next to Alberta, in Saskatchewan. Itâ€™s like the Russian nesting dolls of the prairies. The site is a home to a number of campsites, a big glassy lake, and several yurt rentals. Ness Creek also plays host to the annuals Northern Lights Bluegrass Festival, where hippies and cowboys alike descend upon the area for a few nights of wild carousing and music making. I was told the forested area around the festival grounds ends up being filled with impromptu jam sessions well into the evening as this event goes on.
â€œItâ€™ll probably be years again before we see that beach,â€ Gord said.
Still, you can dive in for a swim, or take the canoe out on the water.
Instead of taking the fit route, the other writers and I opted for a fish fry around the campfire. Itâ€™s something Iâ€™ve missed about the 2014 summer: campfires, a mug-up, and camping out under the stars. Time just got away from me.
Once the fish was cooked, we set the picnic table with a candle and sat down in front of the lake for a hearty meal accompanied by a few beers. The onsite artist, Gilles, joined us. When I told him I was from Newfoundland, he told me about how he had been around while the Newfie Bullet (the railroad) was still in operation, and how one time at a party someone had parked their car a little too close to the tracks, and how the train ploughed into the car and dragged the others with it. Seriously.
I never said I was brave.