Narrow Hills Provincial Park

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When I was researching my trip to Narrow Hills, I found a bit of information about trails and camping offered in the area, but nothing too extensive talking about activities or camping in the area.  The majority of the information I found was about fishing and mention of the Gem Lakes Trail.  I wasn’t too sure of what to expect when we pulled into the park.

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We were planning for an un-serviced campsite, and we decided to stay at our first stop, Ispuchaw Lake.  We found a beautiful little spot overlooking the lake.  The site offers only five spots. Three of the spots are closer together, and the other two are more secluded.  This site would be perfect for the kayaking or canoeing enthusiast. The lake offers ample fishing and boating.IMG_3539
We had a later start on our first day in the park, so we decided to check out the other campsites surrounding our site.  There are some great un-serviced campsites at Beardy Lake as well! This site is great for trailers, and has a great boat launch.

The town office is located a short drive away from Ispuchaw Lake, at Lower Fishing Lake.  There are a few surrounding
communities around the park, just in case there is any forgotten gear.   As well, for those staying in the park Lower Fishing Lake main campsite does offer great shower facilities (we all know its important!) They also offer boat rentals near the main campsite, in case those beautiful lakes inspire the desire to be out on the water, which they probably will.

IMG_3473We decided to tackle Gem Lakes on our second day in the park.  This beautiful 6km trail travels around 7 lakes.  This stunning hike offers several back country campsites as well.  Each of the lakes has signage explaining the different plants and animals surrounding the area to watch out for.  The signs also explain the backstory of each of the lakes.   This trail has a lot of shaded and sunny areas.  I recommend dressing in layers for the temperature changes.  This is an absolutely must-do while in the park.  It’s an absolutely stunning trail, with beautiful views of the seven lakes.

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The next day we decided to take a drive down The Narrow Hills Scenic Road. While we were at the town office, we were told there were several older, un-serviced trails along this road, as well as ski trails, and we planned to stop along the drive to check them out.  The drive was beautiful (Another must), the winding gravel road goes for about 10km. While on our drive we would explore the different lakes and look outs along the way.  My favourite stops were Mackie Lake, or Lily Pad Lake.  Mackie Lake offers a beautiful short sandy walk to the river bed, this would be a great place to stop a take a lunch.   Lily Pad Lake offers and phenomenal overview of the lake with a great view of the green lily pads surrounding the shore line.

IMG_3603 At the end of Narrow Hills Road, the road is no longer serviced and unsuitable for cars, we decided the jump out of the vehicle and explore the snowmobile trails down this road.  This is a beautiful easy hike, and a road that isn’t frequently travelled.  We walked for approximately 5km down the road before turning around to see what else we could find on out travels.

IMG_3680 As we drove back down the road we came across Old PA Trail, this trial is no
longer serviced and it makes for a more difficult hike as you will have to cross fallen trees and make your way through the under bush.  Off of this trail you can hike, Beaver Lake Trail, Heiberg Lake Trail, Island Lake Trail, or take the cross country ski path.  This trail was so much fun, we spent our afternoon exploring this area.  This trail truly give you the feeling of being out in the boreal forest.   The trail was filled with wild flowers, and we listened to birds sing while we walked. We often heard loon’s when we were approaching another lake.  This trail although not often travelled does have trail markers, and signage to update you on your location.  I would certainly call this trail a hidden gem. Its not advertised through the town office, but its one of the most beautiful trails I have ever travelled.

IMG_3480I highly recommend a trip to Narrow Hills Provincial Park, bring your hiking gear, bring your kayak or canoe, and get ready to experience the beauty that is northern Saskatchewan.  On this trip we saw an abundance of wildlife, we saw several bears, moose, deer, pelicans, loons, wild turkeys, and more bush bunnies than I could count!

New Saskatchewan Trails Association Gear

We have exciting news!  The Saskatchewan Trail Association would like to announce the release of their new gear!

Support the Saskatchewan Trails Association by purchasing a SaskTrails t-shirt.   All proceeds will be added to the Trail Grant Program to assist members with trail development.  The shirts come in women’s and men’s sizes small through extra-large.  Shirts are a marled grey with the STA logo and SaskTrails in distressed white lettering.

T-shirts are $35 and includes applicable taxes, shipping

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You can follow the link below to place your order

STA Gear Order Form

SATVA encouraging ATVers to Ride Safe. Ride Smart

When summer rolls around, there’s nothing quite like hopping on your ATV and embarking on an epic off-roading adventure. In Saskatchewan, there is no shortage of ATV trails to explore, from the Esterhazy Trials to Narrow Hills Provincial Park to Fort A La Corne area..

Amidst the excitement of once again facing the open road, ATV safety can sometimes get lost in the shuffle for some riders. During ATV Safety Week, the Saskatchewan All-Terrain Vehicle Association (SATVA) is unveiling a new safety campaign reminding ATVers to follow two important safety rules this season: Ride Safe. Ride Smart.

“When an ATVer rides safely and uses their head, they can ensure they get from Point A to Point B without any incidents,” says John Meed, General Manager of SATVA. “Off-roading is one of the greatest summer activities and adopting safe practices will maximize your experience.”

According to SATVA, one of the most important safety steps any ATVer can follow to Ride Smart is wearing a helmet. The group recommends selecting a helmet that fits comfortably and is designated for “off-road” or “motorcross” purposes.

SATVA also has some other important tips to Ride Smart. They include wearing the proper gear beyond helmets such as eye protection, gloves, ankle boots, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt. SATVA is also reminding people that riders ages 12 to 15, or people who don’t have a driver’s license, must take an approved safety course or be supervised by someone who’s had a driver’s license for a years. However, the group feels all riders can benefit from the training. SATVA’s final tip to smart riding involves designating an emergency contact and packing a cell phone or walkie talkie.

“Before even hitting the ATV trail, you must ensure you have the knowledge and make the proper preparations,” Meed said.

To Ride Safe, SATVA notes that drivers shouldn’t attempt tricky manoeuvers, follow the speed limit and avoid roads and streets when driving, except to cross the road or go around obstacles. Unless your ATV is designed for more than one passenger, SATVA says you shouldn’t double up because adding a passenger to a quad designed for one rider can change the dynamics of the machine, especially when climbing or descending hills or when maneuvering around obstacles. The end result can be a roll over.

One of the points SATVA can’t stress enough about safe riding is to not drink and ride. It noted that drinking reduces a rider’s reaction time and impairs their judgement – not to mention the fact operating an ATV on public or private property while impaired is illegal.

“When it comes down to it, riding safely is all about remaining in control at all times,” Meed said. “By paying close attention to the elements, fellow drivers and pedestrians, you can truly focus on enjoying your off-roading outing.”

Give us Your Best Shot

Give us Your Best Shot

The Saskatchewan Trails Association will be running a month-long “Give Us Your Best Shot” photo contest in June.  The photo contest begins on June 3 — Saskatchewan Trails Day – and concludes on June 30.  Prizes will be presented to the top photos. To enter our contest, post a picture of your favourite trail in Saskatchewan on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, using #SaskTrailsPhotoContest.

 

Entry Procedure:

The contest is available for all residents of Saskatchewan.  STA board and staff may submit their pictures, but are not eligible to win the contest. While photos may be submitted multiple times using Twitter, Instagram, Facebook or email, there is only one entry per unique photo.  You may enter as many unique photos as you wish to the contest.

 

To enter the STA Give Us Your Best Shot contest, you must submit your photos by posting on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook using the hashtag #SaskTrailsPhotoContest. We must be able to see your picture in order to be entered in the contest, so be sure to check your privacy settings.  Posts must be made public to be counted as an entry.  You may also submit them via email to info@sasktrails.ca

 

Prize:

The winner will be chosen at the end of the month, and announced on our pages, the winner will also be contacted through social media to arrange to claim their prize. Pictures will only be accepted into the contest until June 30th, so be sure to get your pictures in before then.   The top photo winner will receive a prize package including a Best Shot certificate, STA t-shirt, Elbow Trail hoodie, Saskatchewan Parks and Recreation water bottle, and other great items. We will also be presenting two honourary mentions with other great prizes. As pictures come in they may be featured on our page, with credit to the photographer.  The best of luck to all that enter, we can’t wait to see your adventures!

 

Rules for Submission:

If you do not want to grant Saskatchewan Trails Association (STA) these permissions, please do not submit your photo. In order for STA to use your photo, you confirm that (a) your photo is your own original work; (b) you own all the rights in the photo, including copyright; (c) you have the right to give STA the permission to use your photo for the purposes specified in these rules; (d) the photo is not defamatory and does not infringe any Canadian laws or violate the rights of any third party; (e) you have the consent of anyone who is identifiable in your photo or the consent of their parent/ guardian if they are minors; (f) you waive any moral rights that you may have in the photo; (g) you indemnify STA against any claim, demand, action, suit, or other proceedings against STA arising out of the use of the photo or any false or inaccurate statements.

By entering, contestants agree to abide by the contest rules which shall be applied by Saskatchewan Trails Association

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Trail Snacks: Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Cookies

While you are out on a trail you need energy! Particularly, on a long hike you don’t want to be left feeling sluggish.  I have a few easy to carry snack suggestions that I wouldn’t be caught without while on a trail.

One of my favorite trail snacks are protein cookies.  I adapted my own recipe for protein cookies after a much loved double chocolate chip cookie recipe.  They’re easy, and they’re filling, and they’re fantastic! I will always have a couple in my backpack to keep me energized for my adventures.

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1 Cup Peanut Butter

1 Cup Protein Powder- I used Chocolate

3 eggs

2 Cups oats

1 ripe banana

¼ cup chia seeds

2 tbsp cocoa powder

1/2 cup coconut

½ – 1 Cup chocolate chips

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 Minutes

Make approximately two dozen cookies

Try the recipe for yourself! Let us know how it turned out in the comments, stay tuned for more trail snack suggestions!

 

White Butte Trails on Victoria Day

With Victoria Day on Monday turning out to be such a beautiful day I decided I would take the opportunity to get out on some trails. I chose White Butte Trails as it’s a short twenty-minute drive from Regina. – I highly recommend taking the back roads off of McDonald Street to get here with the construction on the Trans Canada Highway getting here can be a little tricky.

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We set out on this trail shortly after noon and we were welcomed with warm weather with a few clouds to make for great hiking weather. This trail is great for biking, hiking, or even strollers. I was incredibly impressed with the wide ski trails making it very easy to push my chariot along the trails.

 

We completed a little over 8km of the trail starting from the trail head to marker 15. We saw several deer, and various bird species while on our travels.  Something I noticed on the walk was how many birdhouses were along the trail; I found five!

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This is a beautiful trail offering a beautiful walk through birch trees and a spectacular view of the Saskatchewan marsh.

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There were stunning views of a small creek among the Saskatchewan prairie’s. I loved the beautiful contrast of colours from the terrain.

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We did pick up a few ticks while out on the trail.  I recommend visiting the SaskHiker’s blog for some great information and tips on tick prevention.

I would highly recommend this four season trail. It offers something for every trail enthusiast. The picnic areas would also make for a great family outing or rest stop. The wide, well groomed trails make it easy for hikers, bikers, and those out walking alike.

 

ELBOW TRAIL IS OFFICIALLY OPEN!

On May 13, a grand opening ceremony was held for Elbow Trail. The trail system will provide the people of Elbow and its surrounding communities, as well as visitors to Lake Diefenbaker, with an excellent natural surface, environmentally-friendly trail system that is safe for beginner and intermediate hikers, cyclists, cross-country skiers and snowshoe trail users.

 

The STA proudly supported the development of Elbow Trail through our Charitable Status Program. Through this program, fundraising assistance is available by allowing donations to be made to a project through the STA. Nearly $200,000 was raised for the Elbow Trail project.

 

Congratulations to the Friends of the Elbow Trail committee for its dedication in seeing this project through. Thanks to all the volunteers for your hard work and dedication. Thank you, as well, to the project donors. Through all your contributions, you have helped make this trail a reality.

 

_Photo courtesy of Carlie Letts_

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