17-Jul-2001 -- We headed out around 9:00AM on our search for 51°N 107°W. First stop, Moose Jaw, to pick up our friends Gladys and Grant Fissum who had accompanied us on our trip to
N50° W106° last month. We headed north out of Moose Jaw on Highway 2 and then took Highway 42 heading north west. This road took us to Riverhurst where we had to board a ferry to take us across Diefenbaker Lake. This is a huge lake with about 800 km of shoreline which was created several years ago when the Gardiner Dam was built (official opening was in 1967). An interesting fact is that Gardiner Dam is the largest earth filled dam in all of Canada and one of the largest in the world. Diefenbaker Lake is used extensively for recreational purposes as well as for irrigation in the area and at this point is just over 2 km wide. Our ferry ride took about 15 minutes and after disembarking on the opposite side we continued our journey to the confluence site ... now only about 12 km away.
The dirt trail off the highway leading to where we wanted to go proved to be one of the more challenging we have encountered. Although much of this part of Saskatchewan is experiencing the worst drought in years, this road for whatever reason had several muddy spots we had to plow through. It has been a long time since any vehicle we've owned has been so muddy!! After making our way through the mud we explored the area a bit and discovered an access road that took us to within 310 m of our confluence. A quick hike through a Desi chickpea crop took us to our location where we attempted to take pictures. Strange thing ... digital cameras don't work well without good batteries. Grant and Alan soon found themselves hiking back to the van for more batteries. For them the trip to the confluence site was twice as far as it was for Carolyn and Gladys. Returning with fresh batteries (which will be carried with us from now on) the required pictures were taken and we all headed back to the van where a group shot was snapped. On the way back Grant noticed how his shoes had an oily look to them. Later we all discovered that not only our shoes but the bottom of our blue jeans seemed to be coated in an oily residue which we assumed had been picked up from the chickpeas.
We pulled into an abandoned farmyard situated just 800 m from the confluence spot that was inhabited by nothing but grasshoppers and birds. There we enjoyed a picnic lunch and took a few pictures of the farmyard and derelict machinery since there was very little scenery in the immediate area. After lunch we drove back (through the mud again!) to the highway where we had seen a large irrigation sprinkler system that seemed worthy of a photograph. From here we decided to have a look at the town of Lucky Lake which is situated about 10 km west of where we were. All of us were quite impressed at what a progressive community it appeared to be and pleased that there is still some life left in rural Saskatchewan.
It was now around 2:30 and decision time. Do we head home or go after another confluence? A quick vote was taken and we decided to head west towards