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The Prairie

Updated: May 2, 2023

As I head out of BC, through the Crowsnest Pass, I take one last look at the magnificent Rocky Mountains, and steel myself for the vast prairie ahead. I expect to see harvesting in full swing, but recent rains have bought that to a standstill, and machines lie idle while the crops dry.

I entertain myself trying to photograph Pronghorn antelope that graze near the road. They seem happy enough to continue grazing until I stop the bike, then all I get is a rear view.

Across northern Alberta and into Saskatchewan, where oil and gas production have bought new fortune to the rural towns. Once reliant on cropping and livestock farming, these provinces have a new sense of vibrancy.

The landscape is changing, and along with the oil derricks and gas pipelines, potash mines dot the horizon.

Laying beneath the fertile soils of Saskatchewan are 2/3rds of the world's reserves of potash, and from here it is refined and exported to the world.

Recently, Australian mining giant BHP tried unsuccessfully to acquire control of Saskatchewan’s potash industry, but was turned down by Canada’s Commerce Commission. Not many people know that....

I enjoy seeing the old grain elevators in many of the rural towns.

They were used to store and elevate grain into waiting rail wagons.

My dad’s sister emigrated to this area, and had a passion for traveling around and photographing the old elevators before they were torn down and replaced by more modern and efficient models.

My journey takes me on through Manitoba and into Ontario, and I’m crossing time zones almost daily now.

I reach the shores of Lake Superior, and the magnificent scenery is often hidden from me by the fog caused by the cool air from this huge lake as it reaches the shore. When the fog breaks the lake reveals itself, and the the colours of the trees are more brilliant than I’ve seen before.

I don’t see as much wildlife here as I did in the Yukon, but I’m still wary of the odd deer I see grazing near the road. There are huge flocks of Canada geese here also. They must play havoc with the farmers' crops.

There is other wildlife about. In the morning as I leave my motel, all the rooms have had a warning posted on them!


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