December 10, 2021

Grasslands National Park

 Have you gotten a chance to explore Canada's natural beauty? Grasslands is our favourite place to go camping and we try to go every summer. When people ask where we're going camping, they usually have no clue where we're talking about even for people from Saskatchewan which is the province Grasslands is in. They can't believe we'd choose to go camping at a place where there is no beach, no showers and it is super windy. But we love Grasslands and I'll tell you why!

There's a reason Saskatchewan is called the land of the living skies. In the prairies, you can see miles and miles away especially if you find a high point to look down from. There are no trees to block your view. With the sky being so vast, this is one place where you can realize just how small we are on the earth. The sky is absolutely gorgeous and there are lovely lookout places where you can see the sunset over the vast space of land and the river run along in a snake of green on the prairies. On the far hills you might be able to see small black specks that binoculars will reveal to be bison. It is so beautiful. 

Because of the lack of trees and flat land, the wind can really pick up. This can make tenting difficult. Our tent pegs really well into the ground, but I've seen other tenters give up trying to set up their tent and opt for one of the otentiks. Most of the other visitors are in campers. The wind can make dishing out meals a little difficult too, but both the East and West Block Camping areas have a building campers can use for shelter and cook their food in if it is too difficult at the site. There are even propane barbeques available for use. But the wind really is wonderful. The days are so hot but the wind makes really helps to cool down and another plus to the wind is the lack of bugs. I've been to so many campsites surrounded by trees with no scenic view from the actual campsite where you are just getting eaten alive. It's miserable. But where there is wind, there are no mosquitoes. Yay!

There is so much wildlife. My husband loves to bird watch so this is a great place to do it from. There is such a huge amount of bird life there, from birds that nest in the grass and hop around hiding in the grass to birds of prey souring high up in the skies. The littlest kids loved to watch the ground squirrels come around investigating for food. After one meal, a little ground squirrel hopped into our pot we'd mixed pancakes in and left a little present for us. The kids liked watching the holes to see if the animals would pop up although we'd warned them not to dig in the holes as there could be tarantalas, black widows, rattle snakes or other biting creatures hiding in such holes. My kids also like looking for bugs and there are lots of grasshoppers and other small insects living in the grass. The West Block has other animals such as the bison, prairie dogs, and burrowing owls.

Besides wild animals, there is a lot of plant life. You might think that it is just grass, but there are a lot of varieties of grass, sage brush, cacti and wild flowers there. At the office, you can get a brochure that lists a lot of flowers that bloom there with a picture of the flower, it's name, the time of year it blooms and little boxes to check off if you found it. The smell is so fresh there because of all the grass too, it is so lovely. 

It is hot in the afternoon, so we often take a siesta in the tent at that time of day. We can open up all the windows on our tent to let the wind pass through. It is so relaxing to listen to the wind rustle the grasses and feel the shaded warmth of the sun in the afternoon like that. If the kids really need a cool down, we'll go for an afternoon scenic drive in our air conditioned van. 

Grasslands National Park is also a dark sky preserve. It is so far from any bigger towns that the night sky can provide a great view of the stars with no light pollution.

Although the East Block doesn't have bison or prairie dogs, but it does have lots of fossils. Dinosaur bones have been found there and my children easily found small pieces of petrified wood and fossils from animals. They were doing the test in which you lick your finger and touch it to the rock to see if your finger sticks to the rock to see if it was a fossil. They licked a lot of rocks. Haha!

We love Grasslands, the fresh natural beauty, the vast expanse of skies, and the variety of wildlife and plant life that we can explore there! It is a great place to take the kids and enjoy the creation that God made!

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