We’ve been in Cypress Hills a couple of days. The weather has been just glorious, if a little cool. And then we had rain, off and on, early this morning. It didn’t seem like a lot until I pulled out our street side awning over the windows. Captured water washed over me, wetting my shirt and splashing a little into my shoes. Apparently the rain was more than we had realized. No problems, and we’re glad to sun dry the awning periodically.
We don’t need any sun shades for our RV in Warlodge, our camping loop of Cypress Hills Provincial Park. We are at the base of hundreds of mature lodgepole pines, the predominant tree in the Park. The sun peaks through the dense stand of tall tree trunks just enough to brighten our trailer’s interior. It seems the sunlight might not often be enough to dry the ground, though.
A few words about Cypress Hills Provincial Park are in order. First (and most surprising) there are No Cypress Trees, it was a mistake a very long time ago. This is a full-service campus. I played golf on the very nice 3,600 yard nine-hole course. Debbie and I found the tennis courts, riding stables, and baseball diamond nearby.
On another walk we encountered a very nice amphitheater, swimming pool, interpretive center, mini-golf, laundry, propane and petrol station, crafts hall (a young woman was teaching origami), lake with boat rentals and swimming beach, pizza stand, cafe, restaurant, and hotel. And, free firewood is delivered to every campsite, already split. This all is much more than we expected from a “campground” over 100 kilometers from the nearest city.
Our previous day was much cooler here, the high temperature was in the low 60s (15 celsius). We heard we could find internet wifi service in the cafe or in the hotel lobby. The cafe wifi worked for almost four minutes then stopped. So we walked up the hill to the nearby hotel. We joined a group of ten people, sitting in the hotel’s comfortable lobby. A restaurant was 20 meters behind us. The lobby looked out through large glass windows onto a pretty outdoor deck with birdfeeders doing a brisk trade.
Outdoors temperature was 58F, we were warmer inside. Four children were building dominoes towers (and, of course, noisily crashing them down). One gentleman, sitting by the window, was reading the paper. Two younger men were slowing our wifi internet connection considerably. Debbie was catching up on reading her Readers Digests. A couple of moms were playing with the children. And everyone seemed perfectly content to be indoors, for now. The only thing I thought missing was a nice crackling fire.
Cypress Hills has six camping loops, not counting the group camping, Bible Camp, and other special camp areas. Among the six camping loops appear to be almost four hundred campsites. Our campsite was large, with easily over 100 feet distance to the next campsites on any side. This Park does not afford campers the high degree of campsite privacy we find in some Canada camping parks.
But the distance between campsites creates another kind of privacy, like having just the right volume of music in a well-attended restaurant. You may not notice the music is loud but it somehow keeps you from paying attention to conversations at nearby tables. So it seems here — unless we walk over to talk, we don’t really pay much attention to other campsites.
We met a nice family from Leder, over an hour north of Maple Creek. Ed and Dolores have annually summer camped in this park nearly forty years. They started in a tent, then a tent camper, then a cabin trailer, and now a petite fifth wheel (twenty-two feet long). They farmed and Ed did some other work over the years. They brought their children every year with them. And now three of their four grown children are also camping in the park during their holiday. Jim played golf with them. Afterward we both enjoyed a drink with them and getting to know them at their campsite just up the street from ours.
The weather on our arrival Sunday was perfectly awful, gusty, foggy, rainy, and cold. The truck and trailer both looked as though they had been taken dripping wet through a sandstorm. Jim cleaned them up a little in hopes we would enjoy some fairer weather on our next drive. And Thursday morning, while cool, was a beautiful driving day.
We drove through Red Cliff then to Medicine Hat, where we found great parking near a Tim Horton’s restaurant. Big surprise, eh? We needed a washroom break, and had skipped breakfast. And maybe we could find internet too? Well, the doughnut and coffee were really just what the doctor wouldn’t have ordered but would have enjoyed anyway, had he been there. And we did enjoy the break. This was a long driving day, at 280 miles, to Calgary, Alberta.
We’ve done well to keep our driving days to under 200 miles. Our four day stay at Cypress Hills Provincial Park was two days longer than planned. So the following drives, instead of two 140 or 150 mile days with a break between, became a stretch distance to make up for the days spent. Cypress Hills was well worth the extra days. But we had planned on only two days. We’re glad we had the flexibility to stay longer, and to keep our September arrival date in Vancouver we are minding our calendar a little.
And with the gorgeous weather and wonderful smooth and straight roads between Maple Creek and Calgary, and the nice Tim Horton’s stop in Medicine Hat, this was a very easy driving day.