Canada 150 – wide open spaces

I grew up in a house with a field just beyond our backyard, in a town that was seemingly plunked down in the middle of nowhere. It was surrounded by fields, and in one direction, beyond the fields were the Great Sandhills.  I can tolerate crowds, I’ve lived in a city since I finished high school, and I’m not sure I could live in a small town again, but I still am attracted to wide open spaces.  All of these pictures were taken near Regina, SK.

sunflower against a blue sky

sunflower against a blue sky

morning sunrise on the prairiesprairie sunrise 2

prairie sunrise

sunrise in mid-July

saskatchewan wheat field against a grey sky3land of living skiessaskatchewan wheat field against a grey skycanola field near regina 3Canola field near Regina 2wide openprairie roadsummer storm clouds on the prairiesclouds on the prairies-2asc_7116

at the right momentcastle butteprairie sunset

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Saskatchewan Sky 4St. Nicholas Anglican Church 2pretty donkeys

 

 

Canada 150 – Cypress Hills, Saskatchewan

When I was a kid, there were three places we’d drive to that I would look forward to with much anticipation.  One was driving through Saskatoon on our way to my grandparents’ house.  We’d drive by the beautiful University of Saskatchewan campus, and I’d imagine going to university there. I loved every second of my four years there.

Thorvaldson Building - Uof S Campus

Thorvaldson Building, University of Saskatchewan campus in Saskatoon

Driving to Banff, and getting that first glimpse of the mountains was (and still is) a thrill!  For at least the last 10 years, maybe more if I really thought about it, I’ve been to mountains somewhere in Western Canada or Montana.

Banff Bound

driving to Banff

But, Cypress Hills in Southwest Saskatchewan is most likely the place I’ve been to the most.  It was about a two hour drive from the town I grew up in and it’s the first place I remember going where I felt like I was going somewhere!  I’d watch for that first glimpse of the hills, just a silhouette far off in the distance, and as we passed through Maple Creek, I could finally see the hills close up!   I’ve camped here a lot with my family, gone to Brownies and Girl Guide camp at Camp Shagabec, and I’ve been several times as an adult, but most of my memories of it are as a kid (including one Victoria Day long weekend when it snowed – I think I was 5 or so.  I think that was also the last time I rode a horse!).

Conglomerate CliffsIMG_1310.JPG

 

 

view from Bald Butte

View from the top of Bald Butte

Cypress Hills Sunset 1

Cypress Hills Sunset

Sunset view at the Lookout Point

 

 

 

a bridge to watch the sunset

The pedestrian bridge over the North Saskatchewan River between Battleford and North Battleford has become one of my favourite places to photograph.  If you’re ever in the area make sure to take in the sunset from the bridge. I’ve been visiting this area of Saskatchewan since birth, really, but it’s only in the last few years that I’ve appreciated how scenic it is (and it definitely correlates to when I began pursuing my photography hobby).

Battleford pedestrian bridgeBattleford pedestrian bridge 3Battleford Pedestrian bridge 2Battleford pedestrian bridge 7Battleford pedestrian bridge 8Battleford pedestrian bridge 4

 

up on the roof

Still have some Puerto Vallarta pics to share which is a good thing! Between being busy at work and figuring out how I’m going to handle my workload, and being uninspired by the April landscapes this year, I haven’t picked up a camera in awhile. The prospect of May flowers, though, will change that soon!

If you’re interested in traveling and experiencing different places, I really encourage you to think differently about your accommodations and look beyond hotels and resorts.  Renting a house was not without frustrations – there were a few pool issues to be sorted out which meant contacting the owner in Texas and then dealing with the property manager who lived across the street and was extremely busy running a fishing boat charter company, and a language barrier with the pool guy.  Also, because the house was for sale, there were a few showings, but we knew that a possibility before renting, and received a discount for the inconvenience.  Some people have asked if there were any worries about renting a place online because what if the place doesn’t look like the pictures and you’ve spent all that money and it ends up being in a bad neighbourhood?  You do need to do some research.  I looked on AirBnB and Home Away.  Read the reviews, then try to read between the lines of those reviews.  I only look at places that have more than 5 reviews, preferably more (because it’s pretty easy to get three of your friends to give you a good review!). If there’s an address look it up on Google Maps street view.  Establish a rapport with the owner either by phone or email  – do they respond to your inquiries quickly and answer your questions?  This all sounds like it takes some effort, but I enjoy it! Keep in mind, this was for a two week stay, and a good portion of the travel budget was going towards accommodations.  I wouldn’t put this much effort into a three day stay, for example.  Ultimately, the house in Puerto Vallarta was chosen for its million dollar views and my bucket list rooftop, private pool! All the research paid off! All the pics were taken from the rooftop.

The sunsets!

oh the sunsetsalone on the oceansetting sun

The neighbourhood…5 de Diciembre

stained glassbrick buildingmagic hourmountain vista-2open windows-2palm trees and hanging clothes

all in a day's work

Felt a little nervous for this guy painting on the roof!

hillside

And the iguana who liked to sun himself on the ledge of the house’s second level.

so handsomeiguana

 

the sky is my endless fascination

As in Maui in 2015, I don’t think I missed a sunset in Puerto Vallarta.  The sky is my endless fascination.

Most of the sunset pictures I took in Puerto Vallarta were from the rooftop pool. I don’t really have a bucket list, but I’ve always wanted to stay somewhere with a private pool.

Rooftop pool

…a lot of time was spent in this pool staring out at the sea (but my favourite time in the pool was in the evening look at the lights of Puerto Vallarta and the moon)…

 

another puerto vallarta sunset

three sailboats at sunset

The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.
– William Arthur Ward

a Tuesday sunset

When the temperature is -40 degrees celsius are there nice sunsets?

I realized during the last couple of weeks when it’s been so cold I haven’t paid attention to what it looked like outside. Like everyone else, I’ve  just been scurrying from Point A to Point B as fast as possible (without slipping on icy streets and sidewalks) to avoid frostbite on my nose and cheeks.

Finally, though, we are out of the deep freeze. It was above freezing today – I think the high was +3 and we were rewarded with a beautiful sunset!  I bet many people were outside with their cameras pointed at the sky tonight.

a-tuesday-in-january-sunset-2a-tuesday-in-january-sunset-3a-tuesday-in-january-sunset

this was November in Saskatchewan

At the beginning of the month I wrote a post about how I hate November…well, at least this year, I have to take that back.  It was a beautiful , unseasonably warm month – with no snow until just this week. Awesome!

Here are some pics from a a mid-November morning walk in Wascana Park with just my iPhone in my pocket…

albert-street-bridge-in-novemberthe-leg-in-novemberwascana-park-in-novembera-november-morning