Virtual Travel – Prairie Provinces

I have been fortunate enough to have been in all 50 states, and all but 2 provinces of Canada – Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Today’s visit takes us there (obviously all photos will be from the Internet).

 

Manitoba

 

Manitoba is home to 1.4 million people, most of which live near Winnipeg. The city has long, cold winters with November through March all having average HIGHS below freezing (32 f/0 c). It is listed as the second sunniest city in Canada, so you have that going for you.

Why The Forks in Winnipeg has it all this winter - Blog Viarail

 

But eventually it does thaw out!

Winnipeg

2019 Winnipeg Food Truck Guide | Peg City Grub | Tourism Winnipeg

 

It has a very diverse economy, with no one industry being dominate.

Packers to play in Canada: How much it will cost and places to go ...

What does the future hold for development in Winnipeg? - Winnipeg ...

 

It is the capital of the province, so government is big business.

File:Manitoba Legislative Building.jpg - Wikimedia Commons

 

Winnipeg has the highest population of aboriginal people in all of Canada. The city is 12% Native Canadian

Annual Festivals & Events | Tourism Winnipeg

 

 

 

The small, far northern town of Churchill each fall has a migration of polar bears pass through town as they migrate from their summer home to their winter home.

Why this town on the edge of the world is the greatest place to ...

 

Tours are apparently very popular

Northern winter safari to see polar bears, northern lights in ...

Churchill Sunday Photo - Polar Bears | Churchill Polar Bears

 

 

 

Riding Mountain National Park is also in Northern Manitoba, just not nearly as far north.

Riding Mountain National Park closed to visitors over long weekend ...

 

It is known for it’s bison

File:Bison herd - Lake Audy - Riding Mountain National Park.JPG ...

 

 

As well as the moose

BULL MOOSE, RIDING MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK – Lone Pine Photo

 

 

 

Our final stop – an Indiana Jones nightmare – is the Narcisse Snake Dens. Tens of thousands of red sided garter snakes reside here during the winter before migrating to a nearby swamp.

Narcisse Snake Dens – Gimli, Manitoba - Atlas Obscura

 

Narcisse Snake Dens Update Page!

 

 

Let’s move westward to Saskatchewan.

 

Mining is the largest industry in the province, whereas the finance and insurance industry makes up the largest white collar sector.

As the Guess Who sang, it is time for ‘Running Back to Saskatoon’.

 

Saskatoon is the largest city with a population of nearly 300,000. The population is fairly diverse.

Much like Winnipeg it is bitterly cold in the winter.

 

But it too eventually thaws out.

Welcome to Saskatoon | Hotels, Restaurants, & Things To Do

 

 

For a city of it’s size it has an excellent collection of architecture.

 

 

 

 

 

Regina is the 2nd largest city in the province. It is the provincial capital.

Saskatchewan Legislative Building and Grounds National Historic Site of Canada-1534691.jpg

 

 

The Prince Edward Theater is a classic old hall.

 

 

The First Nations University has incorporated a tepee into the building design.

 

 

But our prairie time has come to an end, time to move further west to Alberta tomorrow.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Virtual Travel – Kansas

Toto we are back in Kansas!

1953 – Much like Iowa, Kansas is state that is virtually all farmland, although more grasslands than crops. The views on our opening map is of the capitol in Topeka, and a typical countryside road.

Government State Kansas 1953 1.jpg

 

Topeka was a city of about 80,000 in 1953. Since then it has grown to a population of about 125,000. By far the largest employer in town is the state government. (photo from Cathy Luz Real Estate website)

 

 

 

1963 – Rest area on Interstate 70.

Government State Kansas 1963 1.jpg

 

As the map shows, as well as the photo below, there are some rolling hills in Kansas. Kansas is a leading state for wind generated power.

2012 07 02 94 Kansas.JPG

 

 

 

1973 – Century II Performing Arts & Convention Center in Wichita. This facility is the largest of it’s kind in the state. It has hosted, among other things, the Miss USA Pagent.

Government State Kansas 1972.jpg

Wichita is the largest city in Kansas, with a metro population of 645,000. It was founded as a trading post on the Chisholm Trail. (Photo from VisitWichita website)

What's special about Wichita? Read the latest accolades

 

Today it is known as the Air Capital of the World with numerous small aircraft manufacturers including Beechcraft, Cessna and Stearman. The Kansas Aviation Museum celebrates this history.

The museum is located in the former Wichita Municipal Airport terminal. (Photo from Museum website)

 

 

 

 

1973 – Kansas State Parks. Most Kansas State Parks are fairly small, the largest being Fall River State Park.

Government State Kansas 1973.jpg

 

The most unique park in the state is Mushroom Rock. These rocks are a remains of sediment from the Cretaceous Period.  (Photo from Wikipedia)

 

 

 

1989 – Rural scene. Over half the people in the state live in what is classified as ‘Rural’, one of the higher percentages in the country. Trivia moment – the highest percent rural population is Wyoming.

Government State Kansas 1989.jpg

 

 

 

1993 & 2015 – Bison. Before Europeans showed up there were an estimated 20 million American Bison roaming the Kansas territory. Their demise was swift, as example the first three months of 1872 there were more than 43,000 bison hides shipped east from Dodge City alone.

Government State Kansas 1993.jpg

Government State Kansas 2015

 

 

Today there are a few refuges for the bison to continue to live. The largest is Maxwell Wildlife Refuge near the town of Canton, Kansas. (photo from Travelks.com)

Bison Herd

 

 

 

2001 – Flint Hills. This region covers much of eastern Kansas, stretching into northern Oklahoma.

Government State Kansas 2001.jpg

 

The area is very picturesque, and a nice break from the endless prairies beyond.

2012 07 02 89 Kansas.JPG

 

 

 

2003 – Collage including the Kansas Speedway. When the International Speedway Corporation was investigating building a speedway in the Kansas City area, they chose the Kansas side because of better funding (i.e. the State gave them more money than Missouri would).

Government State Kansas 2003.jpg

 

 

2005 & 2009 – More prairie scenes.

Government State Kansas 2005.jpg       Government State Kansas 2009.jpg

 

 

 

2011 – 150 years of statehood celebrated by travel.

Government State Kansas 2011.jpg

The two most famous Kansans are Dwight Eisenhower and Amelia Earhart.

Eisenhower was actually born in Texas but raised in Abilene, Kansas, where his Presidential Library is located (photo from travelks.com)

 

Earhart was born and raised in Atchinson, Kansas. Her childhood home is now a museum. (photo from kansastravel.org)

Amelia Earhart Birthplace Museum

 

 

 

2013 – Celebration of Kansas Byways.

Government State Kansas 2013.jpg

 

One of the more interesting byways is the Gypsum Hill Scenic Byway. It travels through rolling prairie as well as a section of red buttes. (photo kansastravel.org)

Red Cedars lining the Kansas Red Hills

 

 

 

2017 – The Sunflower State.

Government State Kansas 2017.jpg

 

We end this tour with Kansas State Symbols.

State Seal

Kansas State Seal

 

 

Flag

Kansas State Flag

 

Bird – Western Meadowlark

Western Meadowlark

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Idaho and Wyoming – National Parks Road Trip – Day 10 – Yellowstone to Jackson Hole

Another early start found us at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. As usual the early start allowed us to avoid the crowds for some excellent views, along with the other dedicated morning photographers. Why buy a postcard when you can take the picture yourself.

Since we missed it the day before we returned to the Norris Geyser Basin and began our hike along the boardwalk through the back basin. Steamboat Geyser fumed so high and huge that it could be seen from most of the back basin. This geyser erupted last year and it was evident of the violent destruction that was left for us to see. As we toured we found many other geysers vending significant steam. The hot water from the earth combined with the cold air of 35 degrees created a steamy low-lying atmosphere.

2015 09 13 19 Yellowstone National Park WY.jpg

 

The loud gurgling sounds of the geyser from Puff N Stuff was a visitor’s favorite as well as ours. It is caused by steaming vents in the earth among the dead trees in the white sulfuric basin gave an eerie feeling and a creepy setting. The tour continued on the other side of the basin where there were more geysers in the Porcelain Basin. This basin is more open and the area was crowded with tourists, along with a number of geologists and park rangers hiking back to where we had been carrying technical equipment for analysis.

Warning sign inform tourists not to toss debris into the geysers (morons of the world unite) as exemplified in the Minute Geyser located in Porcelain Basin, which was damaged by tourists and now no longer erupts as it once did nearly every minute. Over the years, tourists clogged the geyser with twigs and stones that they tossed into the geyser.

2015 09 13 27 Yellowstone National Park WY.jpg

 

The Artist Paint Pots turned out to be our last stop in Yellowstone. The loop surrounding the paint pots was disappointing due to the lack of variety of colors that decorate the pools, primarily due to the overcast day. You could however see a variety of pools, or paint pots, nestled in a hillside with mountains in the distance.

2015 09 13 42 Yellowstone National Park WY.jpg

 

Our plan was to go to Midway Geyser Basin while heading out the south exit toward Grand Teton’s, but instead we got stuck in a huge traffic jam. Sunday was much busier with tourists than the previous days. After an extended period of no movement I gave up, turned around and exited the West Entrance.

As we proceeded on the West Drive we came across a magnificent elk wading in the river. Everywhere in Yellowstone you see wildlife you see traffic jams, including our last as we were exiting, this one caused by a bison  walking in the middle of the road and refusing to move aside. As motorists inched around the bison, it came to be directly in front of us so we shot a photo from our windshield of the bison’s butt moving very slowly almost as if it meant to do this just to say he owns the place. Eventually the bison moved off the road allowing us to leave the park.

2015 09 13 48 Yellowstone National Park WY.jpg

 

We ended up in West Yellowstone, Montana at noon and stopped for lunch at McDonald’s. From here we drove south across the Continental Divide again and west into Idaho. The view of large mountains was spectacular and we passed many, potato fields which I had not seen before. We followed Idaho State Route 32, also known as the Grand Teton Scenic Highway.

We crossed Teton Pass back into Wyoming to reach our hotel in Jackson Hole. Since there was still plenty of daylight we drove into Elk Range outside of Jackson Hole to spot wildlife but were unlucky on that adventure so we went back to explore the town. The center of Jackson is Antler Park, named for the unusual arches made of elk antlers at the four entrances into the park.

2015 09 13 76 Jackson WY.jpg

 

Surrounding the park are a number of art galleries. Life-size bronze sculptures of Ben Franklin, Mark Twain, George Washington, and elk stood outside a gallery and seemed to be a popular spot for tourists to pose with the statues. The town is well known as a resort for its outdoor adventures but our stop was to take in a short visit and overnight on our way to Salt Lake City.

2015 09 13 83 Jackson WY.jpg

 

We chose to have dinner at the Gun Barrel Steak and Game House fitting for the western aura of Jackson Hole. The restaurant use to be a western museum and taxidermy shop and it shows from the many animals mounted on the walls. The restaurant also had a full-sized stuffed bison named Wyatt, and a 1800’s buffalo coat owned by Hank Williams, Jr. We were game to try the game on the menu so we had a sampler of elk steak, bison prime rib, and venison bratwurst, as well as elk medallions; I had mixed results with my dinner. Game meat is not fatty and needs to be eaten slightly rare so half of the medallions were overcooked and tough. The waitress brought two more medallions and only one of them was tender but I had enough to eat and it was a good experience to have eaten in a nice restaurant. The evening was cool, but the day had been long so we called it a night.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park – National Parks Road Trip – Day 5

Heading further west from Bismarck we stopped in New Salem, North Dakota, we saw Sue, the world’s largest Holstein cow. The larger-than-life statue stands atop a rise overlooking fields of grain. We stood under Sue shivering in our shorts as a cold temperature of 42 degrees hit while we watched the sun appear above the horizon.

2015 09 08 5 New Salem ND.jpg

 

Another hour west and we arrived at the visitor center for the Teddy Roosevelt National Park where Margi, the park ranger, was very helpful providing maps and directions. From the visitor center we hiked the Painted Canyon Trail to see the start of the Badlands. This trail, while only a little more than a mile long has numerous drops and rises as you traverse the badlands. While there was plenty of evidence of wildlife in the area, we saw none on this hike, however the interesting erosion patterns of the landscape made the hike worthwhile.

This visitor center also serves as a rest area on I-94, but to see the bulk of the park you must exit the interstate at Medora, and enter the South Unit. After purchasing our annual passes for the National Parks, we headed into the main portion for a day of driving the auto tour loop, interspersed with various hikes.

Our first hike in the South Unit on the Ridgeline Trail and Buck Hill Trail provided another overview of the badlands, as well as a herd of wild horses. Later on the drive we stopped to observe an entire colony of prairie dogs, followed by a group of bison crossing within five feet of our car. By the time we had finished the drive we also came across turkey, coyote, hawks, and eagles.

2015 09 08 64 Theodore Roosevelt National Park ND.jpg

 

Returning to Medora for lunch at the Little Medora Restaurant, named after the nearby river. We tried our first elk burgers; which were excellent though not much different than beef burgers. We spent an hour hanging around the town, as well as a brief visit to an upscale golf course called Bully Pulpit. As with many places in arid areas the lush green golf course seems out of place.

Returning to the park we hiked Wind Canyon Trail and the Boicort Trail. Later we spent more time watching the comical movements of the prairie dogs popping out of their holes in the ground and scurrying about. The prairie dogs seemed curious of the bystanders who stopped to watch them. We again saw bison throughout the day and more wild horses.

Returning back to town we had a dinner of pizza at the Badland Pizza and Saloon where servers from many foreign countries waited tables. After dinner we went back to the Teddy Roosevelt National Park to try to see the elk feeding in the pastures. We did not see elk but raced back to Wind Canyon to watch the sunset over the river. As we climbed the trail to the peak  the sky of deep pinks and peach colors that streaked across the sky and reflected in the river was breathtaking. We spent the entire day taking photos of the colorful sky from dusk to nearly dark.

2015 09 08 138 Theodore Roosevelt National Park ND.jpg

 

On the way back to town we parked to look at stars. As we patiently waited the starts began to appear. The void of electric lights and the distance from town gave us a black background for a picture of stars unlike any we have ever seen. The abundance of stars filled the sky and it was sad to think that we have not had a chance to see these stars before. It was so worth it to stay after dark to check out the stars, seemingly having the park to ourselves.

We returned to the Rough Rider Inn satisfied with a great day in the Badlands.