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Due to different pandemic-related travel restrictions, my 2021 workshop to the dark sky preserve, Grasslands National Park, was cancelled. However, I couldn’t cancel all of my accommodations in time, so my wife and I took advantage of the now open weekend. We organized some last-minute childcare with her parents and took off to enjoy a “restful” long weekend away. That is to say: it could have been restful. But, for the first time in years, I was in one of the darkest places in Canada and one of the most geologically interesting places in Saskatchewan without a group to lead. I could now create for myself.
One of my goals for the weekend was to hike the Valley of 1000 Devils in the East Block of Grasslands National Park. This valley straddles the Saskatchewan/USA border and is home to some incredible badlands. I had seen a few photos of the area that intrigued me but none of them compared with the scenery as my wife and I finished the 6km trip to the valley’s edge. The landscape before us looked like it belonged to the Jurassic era. We both felt we had stepped back in time and were a part of something ancient. After admiring the view for a while and doing a bit of exploring, we hiked back out. Once we arrived back at the car, we drove along the Badlands Parkway to see the other side of the valley. On the hike, things felt much more intimate. But along the parkway, everything was further away, which meant losing that feeling of being a part of the landscape. The benefit of adding distance, at least photographically speaking, was the ability to isolate dappled afternoon light moving across the prehistoric landscape.
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