I have known about the 'gap' road for some time and have always wanted to cross from the west block of Cypress Hills to the Core Area on this rustic road. More in a bit.
We wanted to go to Ft. Walsh today as we've never been and seeing we were not doing anything else, why not. Only a few Kms out of Maple Creek a s we see the sign and as we probably should have guessed, it was closed for the season. Since we've never been down this highway at all, we (i) decide we should go anyway.
After about a half hour we get to the entrance to the west block and by the looks of things the road is pretty snowy and it's all steep slopes and switchbacks. We (i) decide we should go anyway.
Traci is white knuckling the dash a bit as we slowly wind our way up the not very often used road, but we eventually make our way up to the top and to the area map sign showing where we are. We hang out a bit and then figure it's time to head back. But hmmm Ft. Walsh is just over the hill according to the map, but darnnit its closed. Hmmmm. so we (i) decide we should go anyway.
Even though it was closed, it was really worth the drive! It's an amazing spot, one worth a summer visit for sure! So after we finished up there we head back up the hill to the top. I am sort of scoping out the road conditions and thinking maybe today is the day that we take a run at the 'gap'. Afterall, we have a 4 year old, 2 pugs, very spotty cell service and a free minivan. What could go wrong? Nah. Let's not bother. Let's head back into town and just head to the cabin from there.
So we get back into the highway and we (i) decide we should take a look at the road when we get to it. It's a really rocky and narrow road skinned off the top layer of the bald prairie surroundings. But its frozen and dry. I debate in my head about the snow on the other side of the 'gap' but we (i) decide we should go anyway.
After about 20 minutes of good road and cattle gates, we start to see signs of more snow in the few protected areas. We slowly test the first big drift across the road and as I suspected it's hard as a rock. Over we go confidently ahead and actually enjoying the stark scenery.
Well. All that changed when we reached the edge of the core block of the hills. We were moving more up and down in some pretty steep terrain and finally we came to a spot that looked impassible.
It was. The snow drift was very deep and very rutted from the few other attempts to pass, so after a bit of a scouting walk to see if there was a way past, we turned around and headed back.
All was not lost tho as we found a Different road that probably saved us 40 minutes of backtracking. Yay for that. Thank you spotty cell service and google maps for that info!
Just another day on vacation with me and my bravado.
Not much else, Andrew spent a good 1.5 hours sledding, we built a fire ad had some marshmallows and pretty much just relaxed.
Tomorrow? Stay right here at the cabin and keep the adventures to a minimum me thinks...
*Most of these pics are re shot with my iPhone off the display on the back of my big camera. I'll do a photo blog next week sometime to show you the real look of this amazing place...