31-Jul-2001 -- Once again we had made plans to tackle three confluence points in one day and today was the day. We weren't sure about the weather with heavy clouds covering most of the sky but decided to continue none the less since the sun seemed to be making an attempt to break through the clouds. Our friends, Gladys and Grant Fissum from Moose Jaw, had once again consented to accompany us on our search. Since we would be heading east this time, they drove over from Moose Jaw arriving here shortly after 9:00AM. We packed the remaining "confluence supplies" (which we found later to be severely lacking) into our van and around 9:15 headed out on our search for N50° W102°,
N51° W102° and
Our first stop was to pick up submarine sandwiches for lunch. It's always vital to have plenty of nourishment along on these trips. From there the trek began. Our route took us out of Regina on the TransCanada Highway as far as White City where we turned onto Highway 48 which we felt should take us fairly close to the first confluence point. The sky continued to become more menacing in appearance the further east we went and about two hours into our trip we ran into rain. Not a good start we thought since up to now almost all the confluence points we had done had been located in a field. We were already anticipating how wet it could get ... little did we know!
Shortly after noon we arrived at the closest approach to the confluence point that we could manage by car ... my GPS indicated the spot was about 215 m away ... in a canola field (canola is known as rape in many parts of the world). It was still raining so we donned our rain gear, grabbed our umbrellas and headed out. Gladys had opted to stay with our dog Max in the van where it was dry. In hindsight, she was probably the only smart one of the bunch. The first several meters were fairly easy going ... except for the hordes of mosquitoes that had descended upon us. We reached the edge of the crop and, since Grant was leading the way, he boldly headed in. About three meters in he turned around and informed us that was about as far as he was going ... he was already soaked and really didn't want to get any wetter. Since I was the "leader" of the party and wasn't about to admit defeat when we were this close I volunteered to find the spot so, armed with my trusty GPS, the digital camera and my umbrella off I headed. It seems that the leaves of canola plants act as beautiful catch basins for water and as I trudged through the field, each leaf I encountered dumped its load onto my jeans and feet. Before long I realized my shoes were also getting quite soaked ... inside and out ... as I was beginning to squish with each step. The mosquitoes were relentless. Do you know how hard it is to ward off a mosquito attack while holding an umbrella in one hand, a GPS in the other all the while keeping hold of a camera? Needless to say, the mosquitoes had their way with me!
I wandered around in the field for about 300 meters until I eventually zeroed in on the spot, got my pictures, swatted a few mosquitoes and headed back. Meanwhile Carolyn and Grant, who had lost sight of me on the other side of a knoll in the chest deep crop were beginning to worry about my whereabouts. We eventually came within eye sight and soon we were once again together. They had spent the time admiring all the beautiful wild flowers in the area, swatting mosquitoes, observing hundreds of small snails in one area of the wet mud and calling out to me in concern. I did not hear them. Back at the van we wrung out our socks, cleaned the mud off our shoes as best we could and laughed about our adventure. Although this was not one of our easiest to achieve confluence sites it will certainly be one to remember. Gladys did a mosquito bite count on my face and neck ... she came up with a total of 31. Somehow I managed to get not only soaking wet up to my thighs but mud covered as well. Carolyn found an old towel for me to sit on in order to save the seats in the van.
It is interesting to note that while the western parts of Saskatchewan are suffering from one of the most severe droughts the province has seen in years, the eastern part is almost floating away. Ponds, sloughs and marshes are full and the crops we saw all look beautiful.
It was time to head north to see what our next adventure would be. We'd already covered 218 km ... it was now almost 1:00 and we still had a way to go. We all hoped the rain would let up ... and so would the mosquitoes!! Off to find
Did I mention the mosquitoes?