Where the Deer and the Antelope Play

People, I have a serious blog jam that I need to break. My hard drive is so stuffed with photos from this summer that they’re oozing out the computer’s ports onto my desk. What a mess! To clear this up I’m resorting to a series of no frills photo blog-posts. Minimal text. Fear not, normally programmed wordy blathering will be resumed in short order.

This first post features  my July trip to Saskatchewan. Previously, I could barely claim to have seen any of the province. Our small convoy of motor vehicles hauled 8 people on a 9 hour drive to our neighbouring province. And,of course, we took some bikes.

Grain ‘n Trains. The modern grain elevators are less photogenic than the old wooden ones but you still can’t beat them as a prairie icon. I took a raft of photos on the drive out but I will spare you the majority as most of them were taken through bug smeared windows at highway speed.

Early on the first morning at the campground my daughter and I went for a walk. Two deer trotted past us about 10 feet away. My daughter was instantly charmed.

A few minutes later, while we were walking through a field of waist-high grass, a duck exploded from nearly under our feet.

My bike of choice for the expedition: the2008 Kona Jake. This cross bike is a good compromise between road bike and mountain bike making it a great all rounder. The trail you see it on here is a rough heavy equipment “road” that circled the campground. The Jake gobbled up the heavily rutted sandy track with no problems. There was one steep hill that was so much fun that I went down it three times. The only mishap was when the front wheel lodged  deep in a soft patch and I had a pleasant trip over the bars.But hey, that soft patch meant a soft landing too, so it was all good.

There was a big wind storm at the campground a few days before we arrived. A lot of big trees were blown down, one of them crushing a brand new RV (luckily unoccupied). By the time we were there they had the power restored and most of the storm damage cleaned up.

Cross carefully.

Another prairie staple. These pump-jacks liberally dot the framer’s fields.

The campground also had a golf course. I think that this is the clubhouse.

There was a certain practical approach to the maintenance of the putting green. I didn’t feel unduly worried that anyone was going to yell at me for riding my bike across the course.

There were a lot of these little cacti on the golf course.

Pelican over Antelope Lake.

I also took a few rides on the surrounding country roads. TheJake showed its versatility again as I easily explored both paved and unpaved roads. The 700cX35 Schwalbe Durano tires were great on both road surfaces. This road extended in a straight line to the horizon, exerting a mesmerizing effect compelling me to cycle endlessly forward. But then I’d have been late for supper.

Here we see another example of that Saskatchewan practical approach, this time as applied to roadway maintenance.

This antelope was standing by the roadside and fled into the field as I cycled closer. As I pedaled past, it retreated to the crest of the hill where it was joined by a few more antelope. They decided to follow me. First they’d run, then they would stop to watch me for a while, then they’d run along pacing me again, and so on. They clearly could not decide what the heck I was. This went on for a couple of kilometers before the novelty of my presence wore off. Cycling along with the company of the antelope may have been the highlight of the trip. All the creatures I encountered (including humans) exhibited the same bemusement at the approach of a cyclist. One herd of cows studiously ignored passing motor vehicles but turned as group to gape at me as I approached, eventually deciding to flee. Passing motorists did not flee but certainly did gape.

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10 thoughts on “Where the Deer and the Antelope Play

    • Antelope Lake Regional Park. It’s about 20km off the Trans-Canada north of Gull Lake. The terrain was lovely and the park itself charming in a run down sort of way. It had obviously seen a lot of money invested in it sometime around the ’70s and very little since.

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  1. Hey, those are pronghorn, not antelope!

    One of the parts I enjoy about cycling in rural Saskatchewan is the lack of traffic. Difficult to find those quiet backrounds near a place like Calgary.

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    • Yes, they were pronghorn, commonly called pronghorn antelope or just antelope for short. Not the same as the African / Eurasian ones, of course. The lake we were camping by was called Antelope Lake. Go figure.

      There wasn’t a lot of traffic on the roads and it as very peaceful. However, I don’t have to pedal very far out of Edmonton before I can find similarly empty roads.

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      • Yeah, we always called them antelope, though of course the biologists would correct us (but then again, they will call potatoes a “berry”)
        🙂

        Have you by chance ever cycled on the “Iron Horse Trail” NE of Edmonton, or heard from those who have? I am curious what that is like for bicycle touring/bikepacking and trying to collect info on riding experiences, but it seems it is used more by motorized vehicles.

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