Even with some unseasonably warm days pushing into October, I think we can officially say that summer 2015 is over. I hate to break the news to you but those leaves aren't going to be green again for another 8 months.
As the days get shorter and our mind turns to winter activities, I thought I would spend time reflecting on what was another great (albiet short) Saskatchewan summer. Here are three highlights of another truly unforgettable summer.
I would love to hear about your summer adventures, share them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag @saskhiker!
Watching the northern lights paint the sky at Nemebien Lake
Nature at its best
In mid-August some good friends and I spent a weekend at a buddy's cabin on the shores of Nemebien Lake. Getting to his cabin requires a 30 minute boat ride, so you better make sure you have enough toilet paper!
Out here the night sky is untouched by the sickly orange glow of human civilization, also known as light pollution. This created the perfect backdrop to watch the most intense northern lights show I have ever experienced.
Not a cloud in the sky
The aurora borealis stretched from horizon to horizon and danced with brilliant greens, purples and reds. They swirled and exploded directly overhead, at some points I felt like I could reach out and touch the beams of light. My neck was sore in the morning from spending the night craning my head back trying to take in every moment.
The experience of watching the northern lights burn their way around the North Pole made me feel quite small in the universe, but at the same time I was in awe of the power of things outside of our control. Sometimes you just need to be reminded to buckle in and enjoy the ride.
A healthy existential crisis
Soaking in the Gem Lakes at Narrow Hills Provincial Park
You gotta visit here!
I was able to cross off a few things on my Saskatchewan bucket list this summer but nothing compares to the Gem Lakes hike at the Narrow Hills Provincial Park. This still ranks as my most favourite hike in Saskatchewan to date.
It is a relatively short trail; only about 6km for the entire loop but the scenery and tranquility of the Gem Lakes makes time stand still.
Clouds reflecting off the calm waters
These lakes were formed from ancient glaciers carving out the hillsides and they left behind half a dozen tiny lakes that are only fed by ground water. Since there are no rivers that enter the lakes and stir them up the sediments the water is crystal clear. This is what makes the waters have a greenish hue and they shine brilliantly in the sun, hence why they got their names.
The area is abundant in wildlife and we learned this firsthand. While we were deep into the trail we spooked a juvenile black bear that thundered into the forest after we got too close. He was maybe 15 feet from the trail and the sound of him pushing his way through the trees was enough to make our hearts stop for a second or two!
Not pictured - bear
The day we hiked the Gem Lakes it was a stifling 30C outside which made a swim in Jade Lake at the end of our hike, the icing on the cake, of an already fantastic experience. The dogs and us took full advance of slipping into the cool and refreshing waters as we soaked in the scenery around us. The Gem Lakes are one place that everyone from Saskatchewan must visit.
While researching hikes in northern Saskatchewan I came across the Anglin Lake Recreation Area that boasted many different trails – so one Saturday in July we headed out to the area. In my research I saw a hike called the Fire Tower trail and I knew that we had to explore this one specifically.
I was so glad that we did – the 10km round trip hike led us through towering birch trees and the impossibly dense boreal forest. We had to stop every so often and peer up at the towering tree tops that reach endlessly into the sky.
Look way up!
As we hiked we discussed what the end of the trail would look like. I assumed that we would come to a metal structure and that would be the end of it. For once in my life I was glad I was wrong.
The last 500 metres requires you to ascend a steep hill that brings you to where the fire tower resides. Once there you are granted a commanding view of the forest. When I close my eyes I can still vividly see the never ending green of the tree tops that only open up to Anglin Lake.
For more information about Anglin Lake Recreation Site click here
The hike is worth this view!
These are just a few of some of the memories from another great summer here in Saskatchewan that really stood out to me. This province has so many surprises and adventures waiting for those who are willing to go out there and find them.
Now that I have completed one summer as SaskHiker it has been great to reflect on what this little project of mine has meant to me. I often have people telling me stories of their own Saskatchewan adventures that were fueled by a suggestion or a post that I have made. Nothing has given me as much satisfaction in my life and is what keeps me pushing to find more and more places so we can all go out and have our own adventures.
Saskatchewan summers while short are an opportunity to experiences as many adventures as one can handle. However, don’t forget to pause and reflect.
After a great day of exploring Saskatchewan there is nothing better than sitting around a campfire with your friends and family and talking about things that don’t really matter.
And drinking beer...
I hope you had as good as summer as I have had - I would love to hear your stories! Send me an email or share them on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and tag me @saskhiker.