Story and photography by Andy Goodson
On a hot and dry Sunday morning, Teisha and I were chatting on the patio and chowing down on eggs Benedict. It was a gorgeous weekend. Aside from the province-wide fire ban, I had every reason to be camping out in the woods. But the city does have its perks.
Our conversation drifted toward afternoon's activities. I already spent Saturday bumming around, mooching sunscreen from grumpy golfers and browsing the Cathedral Village Arts Festival. It was time to venture outside the city limits and get lost... And what better way to do so than to go on a quest for Regina's mysterious water supply?
The funny thing about Regina (actually, there are many things) is that it is one of the only capital cities in North America not situated near a major body of water. All of the city's drinking water is pumped from Buffalo Pound Lake, located in a provincial park 50 km away from the city. If you're familiar with the dubious water quality of Wascana Lake and its annual carp-purge, you can see why one might be curious about what water we actually drink. I'm imagining a swamp fit for the Toxic Avenger.
We took west down Dewdney Avenue and left the pavement for gravel. Just to make it more fun, we decided to impose a rule not to check the map—something I recommend only when you have full tank of gas and patience.
The grid-road eventually ran out and we found ourselves in the depths of a rural maze. It took us about six dead ends before we spotted a curious dip in the horizon.
The monotonous prairie scenery suddenly erupted into rolling valleys and emerald groves. It took a moment for my mind to switch gears. The road led us down into the valley through narrow corridors of Manitoba Maple, passing by collapsed banks on a meandering creek. "Welcome to Nicolle Flats Nature Area," read the sign at the trail head where I parked my car. Time to walk.
We gazed ahead in the shadow of an austere house made of stone. The trail continued up a hill, promising a view that was too spectacular to pass up. "We didn't come all this way not to climb the big-ass hill," I attempted to convince Teish—whom I had also advised earlier not to bother bringing hiking shoes. With eyes like daggers, she obliged my fool's errand and followed me up the dusty trail in flip-flops.
The peak was pretty nice though. We both agreed.
Oh right, the quest... Well, it turned out Buffalo Pound Lake was actually remarkably clear. Maybe it's just early in the season, but with a new picture in my head, I now drink Regina water at ease.
The rest of the day was spent fishing the lake shore. I had one good fight from a walleye that snapped my line just a few feet from dry land. My disappointed audience - two conservation officers - promptly laughed then proceeded to check my angling license.
We left feeling as if we added an entire day to an already full weekend. Day trips seem to have that time dilation effect. Now that I'm more familiar with Buffalo Pound Provincial Park, there's no excuse not to come back for great fishing, cool trails, and lazy Sunday drives.