Moose Jaw to Swift Current
Unfortunately, because my toes were freezing I kept waking up despite having two pairs of socks on. It was an early start at 7:45am as it was too cold to sleep anymore, so it was off to Tim Horton’s for breakfast and then onto Douglas Provincial Park for some hiking trails before exploring Swift Current, however, not before we had to drive through more off road terrains. It was more like a one-way dangerous mud slide with no traffic lights or lollipop men, so if you happened to meet another car coming the other way you were screwed. We got lucky and timed it perfectly as a car was just coming off the single lane mud road as we approached it and we didn’t bump into anyone (phew). Although the single lane mud slide turned into a wider pot hole ridden mud slid Tim did some great driving despite sliding everywhere and managed to avoid sliding down either bank into frozen streams! Just when the end was in sight we found some paved roads only to find it lasted 10 minutes before leading us back on more lethal mud tracks – it least this time it was daylight and there was a truck following us.
Mud tracks and patches of potholed paved road continued for the rest of our journey to Lake Diefenbaker. Along the way we drove through two towns called Eyebrow and Elbow – I mean what’s next?! Armpit? Toe?! After some better road, we found the scenic lookout over Lake Diefenbaker and went into the Douglas Provincial Park visitor’s centre for some advice on hiking trails. The lady pointed us towards a 4km part forest trail as she thought we might spot some deer and she was right! It was a lovely snowy walk in the Wilderness and we even spotted some white tailed deer in the distance which bounced away when they heard our boots crunching in the snow (I got pictures!). Tim then decided to imitate them and started springing around in the snow – it was rather amusing (again, I have photographic evidence). Unfortunately, no coyotes or white tipped jack rabbits came across our path but we saw some awesome little birds which were bright blue – which we think were Mountain Bluebirds. And then we were off again towards our next stop which was Swift Current in hope of some better road and they were definitely betters and less pot-holey! We saw some Canadian and snow geese well camouflaged in the snowy fields on our drive which was cool, as well as lots of birds, cows and tiny ducks on the water.
We arrived in Swift Current and went to the visitors centre were there were two exhibits – one on the history of medicine in Saskatchewan and the other on the nature of Swift Current and the prairies. The lady said there wasn’t much on in Swift Current at the moment but she gave us some ideas and said that the next two place we were going were really beautiful so that was promising. She was apparently from Dartford in the UK but her parents moved to Vancouver when she was young and now she’s living in Swift Current with her partner who’s a farmer and gets to complain about not being able to access the road near her house because of winter weather conditions! The exhibits were interesting and we decided to head to the Saskatchewan hockey hall of fame which had no body in it except staff. That was good fun and we got to play some table ice hockey, though much to our dismay we weren’t able to go skating as the rinks were closed for kid’s hockey practice. We had a wander around town to see what there was and then headed back to our car to meet our couchsurfing hosts – Emily & Ryan. They were really lovely and cooked us a great meal of roasted veg, potatoes and chicken, bread and Caesar salad. We also tried some of their homemade cocktails that they had leftovers of from a party the week before. We spent the rest of the evening chilling, listening to music, talking about traveling, work, family life and healthcare and then headed to bed after realising it was late and they had work in the morning!