Day 2 - Across the Gap, Reesor Lake to Center Block - Before the Ice Age - CycleBlaze

September 14, 2020

Day 2 - Across the Gap, Reesor Lake to Center Block

Trees, Hills, Endless Pains ... and Lots of Cows

This place is so quiet and peaceful. It helps being out of the main summer holiday season, but there was no sound of human activity - other than a bit of snoring - all night.

Pretty fresh (still single digit temps) in the morning but we got packed up efficiently and set off to cross ‘the gap’ to Centre Block in the Saskatchewan part of the park.

The team was down one member though. Marc’s shift cable left him no other option than to return to Elkwater. There’s a paved 20 km road from Reesor Lake to Elkwater with a ~200 m vertical climb out of the lake to the plateau above. Fortunately Marc was able to hitch a ride fairly quickly with a passing truck and was back in Elkwater in short order.

The rest of us headed east towards Saskatchewan and the Centre Block core area at Loch Leven (think a Scot named that one for the maps?).

Once again I’ll let the pic’s tell the story ... but what an incredible array of landscapes! Coulee’s with forests and streams, forested ridges with real alpine-like switchbacks, huge open rangeland where you could see literally forever, and then lovely parkland and forest by serene clear and deep lakes.

Not only is this area incredibly varied and scenic, it is also steeped in history. Millennia of use by the indigenous peoples and more recent (Late 1800’s) ‘Canadian’ (read European settlement) history as one of the drivers for the creation of the now RCMP. Won’t bore you with any of this but a little internet research will turn up a lot of amazing things about this area.

We are planning on having a lazy day and doing a little exploration around this Centre Block area tomorrow.

Mostly dirt roads with a few sections of paved. Wildly varied terrain from pine forests, lakes, steep gullies to endless open plains
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Setting off out of the Reesor Lake campground. A cool morning with still a lot of smoke blocking the sun
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Fishermen at Reesor lake, doing what they do. The guy that Brian’s talking too had just caught a small Rainbow trout
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Really nice riding along pretty decent gravel roads for most of the day. Nearing the Alberta Saskatchewan border
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More of the same from a different angle!
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... and some more. This really is beautiful country to ride through. Note the complete lack of traffic. Over the entire trip we didn’t see any other bikers (surprise!) and the cars/truck we could count on our fingers and toes
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.... no other people, but lot’s of cows on the other hand.... more ‘big country’ landscapes
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Team shot at the memorial for Marmaduke Graburn, the first NWMP/RCMP officer to be killed in the line of duty in 1879 near this spot at Battle Creek. Larry is looking particularly stoic.
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Karin KaarsooStoic is one adjective....
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7 months ago
About a couple of km’s later we cross the border to Saskatchewan! Larry’s homecoming! He was born and raised in Swift Current, about an hour east from here. In the late 70’s he had the misfortune of moving to Calgary to attend university. That’s where he met me. The rest is history.
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Still stoic in grainy B&W
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Happy to be back home .... really
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Glenna JefferiesHe doesn't look happy to be home.
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7 months ago
Now this is ‘truth in advertising’!
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classic abandoned log building. Not sure of it’s vintage but I wouldn’t be surprised if it dated from the NWMP time (late 1800’s)
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No this is not the Rockies... the last Ridgeline separating the ‘West Block’ from the ‘Centre Block’ had a steep forested descent on a pretty good paved road!
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Glenna JefferiesDid you climb up the bank? or did the road switchback and you were on the upper switch?
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7 months ago
Lyle McLeodTo Glenna JefferiesUpper switch.
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7 months ago
..... that came out into another ‘big sky’ open rangeland environment
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Trees and coulee’s gave way to wide open rangeland for miles and miles. This is ‘The Gap’
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.... and these were our riding companions for the next few hours! The road conditions deteriorated somewhat too, as hard packed gravel gave way to loose conglomerate and cobble stone
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.... love this shot .... really captures the moment. Such big country with nothing but us and cattle
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Larry explaining the nuances of Saskatchewan
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Just follow the road ahead ....
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The small black speck on the road cutting across the middle of the frame is Brian. This country was so wide open, and although it looks desolate in this shot, we didn’t have that feeling at all as we road through it. Loch Leven and the Centre Block core area is on the other side of the far ridge. That’s the goal for today
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Approaching the last ridge to cross to get to Lock Leven. Kirsten making a short descent into the coulee ....
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.... before the final climb.
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Today's ride: 56 km (35 miles)
Total: 78 km (48 miles)

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Rachael AndersonGreat photos!
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7 months ago
Bob DistelbergAmazing photos!
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7 months ago