“The strongest love is the love that can demonstrate its fragility.”

Paulo Coelho

Eleven Minutes

If you’ve ever stood before fields of open space and raw nature as far as you can see, you’ll be familiar with how this feels. There’s humility under a clear midnight sky, the stars looks like you could reach out and touch them. Last night I stayed up late for some astrophotography shots, knowing a photo doesn’t come close to seeing this for yourself.

We’re staying in Grasslands National Park, located in southern Saskatchewan just along the Unites States border, for three nights. This will be our third night camping and falling asleep under the stars as we listen to the coyotes howl. The Grasslands are different from where we’ve camped before; there’s few trees, an endless sky, and blowing prairie grass as far as you can see.

Finally a chance for us to slow down and embrace a new pace. I’m writing a blog post, this morning I grabbed my camera and took a long walk. Krista’s reading after taking a long walk of her own (with Alice we take turns if we want a longer walk). This place begs you to walk and enjoy it.

The Rock Creek campground, where we are, sits on the rim of a small valley that was once used by the Atsina and Nakoda people as a place to hunt and trap bison. You can sit and visualize the numerous people who called this home or came here to rest. Their descendants remain to this day, some even working at the park.

One historic figure stands out to me. A warrior and a fighter, a man determined to not allow the United States government to assimilate or eradicate his people. This is the place that offered Sitting Bull respite after the Battle of Little Big Horn nearly 150 years ago. It’s easy to see why he would choose the Rock Creek in the Grasslands; no one sneaks up on you here, there’s miles of open land with little cover to hide.

You’re in the open, exposed and vulnerable. We found ourselves challenged by that, sitting in our sun shelter nestled beside the car and tent. Site #RC6 has one of the better views of the valley and sunset but it’s also open and exposed, not at all like the forests we stayed in so far.

It was good for us to be in the wide open like that. This is the kind of place that’s healthy for your mind and soul. It didn’t feel threatening, it felt healing. For sure one of the best places to camp in Canada, and with less than 12,000 visitors a year you can count on the silence.

Sitting Bull

Sketch of Sitting Bull; Harper's Weekly, December 8, 1877, issue.