I am not sure how many times I have driven the Kipling to Medicine Hat and back route over the years but it’s way more than I care to count. Ever since Mom and Dad moved their family to Saskatchewan in 1963 we’ve travelled back and forth to Alberta to visit family many, many times. When Mom and Dad moved from Kipling to Coledale AB, in 1980, and then on to Medicine Hat in the early ‘90’s, my Alberta trips increased. Last weekend my wife and I took another fast trip out and back in one weekend making our time riding in the vehicle seem longer than the actual visiting time we spent there.
While my siblings and I were growing up and travelling with Dad and Mom we didn’t take leisurely trips. The trip was never the thing; the destination was the thing, if you know what I mean. Get in the car and get to where you are going in as little time as possible with as few “rest” stops as possible. We didn’t venture off the beaten path to explore anything and it appears that the proverbial apple doesn’t fall far from the tree as I have made that #1 Highway trip a hundred times, if I’ve made it once, and I have seldom strayed from the road top.
Over the years I have witnessed a lot of changes along the route and many of them are improvements, like the twinning of the highway making travelling faster and safer, but there are also many of the same old landmarks and signposts that I have been seeing along the way for over forty years.
I still think of my brother and me tee-heeing in the backseat whenever we passed the “Uren Road” sign, a little west of Chaplin, and I’ve always wondered who named the “Ear-View Road” near the Alberta border. What does that mean? Who’s ear? It just seems like an odd pairing of words to me like it’s a misspelling of “Deer View Road”, or something.
There are also a number of neat little rest stops and camping areas along the way. Besant Park Campground comes to mind right away. The spot is on the south side of the road between Caron and Mortlach SK and from the highway you can’t even tell if there’s much of anything there but if you were to drop down into that park you would find a beautiful prairie oasis. I know it’s there because we used to have our year-end school picnics at Besant Park back when our family lived in the Moose Jaw area too long ago and we’ve also dropped in a couple of times to show our children where it is.
That’s the thing too, eh? There are so many little “hole-in-the-wall” campgrounds and parks, not just along the Trans Canada Highway, but all over Saskatchewan that only get known by word-of-mouth or by chance encounters. While playing Twilite Baseball over the years our team has stayed at some very nice small out of the way places like Field Stone Campground north of Moosomin, Craik and District Regional Park, Moosomin Lake Regional Park and Eston Riverside Park to name a few.
At work the other day a few of us were discussing our May Long Weekend plans and of course a few people are going to the usual haunts like the Provincial Parks but it was suggested that maybe some of these lesser-known spots would be ideal for a quiet weekend of camping, if that’s what you are looking for, or even a day trip to break up a working weekend.
I know that this advice might have been more helpful earlier than a day before the May Long Weekend starts but you can keep it in mind for next year or some other weekend or occasion coming up.
I think I might just take my own advice this weekend and search out a nice quiet spot for some relaxation and I won’t have to get off the beaten path too far to find it.
“A well-beaten path does not always make the right road”,-Proverb quotes.