The Sounds in the Silence, Grasslands National Park

The Sounds in the Silence, Grasslands National Park

The Sounds in the Silence, Grasslands National Park

 

A sound brings me to my senses, a guttural noise that scars the peaceful whisper of the wind running through the grasses. I nudge Prue to wake up and whisper “I think they are right next to us.” We sat poised, releasing tentative breaths to the crisp cold air of night, the Bison were certainly close. “Shall we take a look?” I ask and she nods but it takes us a little more time to commit our whole bodies to the cold. We stood and stretched, our teepee had much more room than our wee tent, in comparison it felt deliciously large, boy had we been camping for a long time. Releasing the strings to the door of our palace we unhinge the canvas and peer from the oval window. I stifle a laugh because I don’t want to disturb the ambience, “There’s no bison here, they must be miles away.” The sound, like everything in these vast prairie lands had travelled with the breeze, no wonder it’s known for being one of the quietest place in North America. A man had come here once and sat his recording devices within the grass and said yes, this is one of natures quietest voices.
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Grasslands National Park
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Looking above me I was stunned, the cold no longer holding me back. The stars felt like they were dropping towards me, huge pinpoints of light. “Oh yes” I remembered aloud, “This is one of the world’s darkest spots too.” We almost never came to this grassland paradise because it was overshadowed by so many other National Parks in Canada and as we bade farewell to the mountainous Rockies we had almost shed a tear to leave it behind, but there was no need. A little further into Canada’s core was a whole new world to discover, not just of a different landscape but a unique species of animal and an endless amount of energy emanating from the Earth. The Grasslands National Park possessed a link to Canadian history and the evolution of animals, a heavily fossilised area of mammals and dinosaurs and even matter from the asteroid that separates the two from ever getting to know one another. The sounds must have been louder when they trampled the earth, far more than the disgruntled snorts from the bison that I can hear now or the numerous chirrups of prairie dogs just before they duck beneath the soil into their underground networks.
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It is amazing to be in a place that has never known the sound of motors, television sets, phones nor machines, a place where even the grasses have a voice. It is amazing to find myself so in tune with those noises, like my senses have developed just because I have nothing else to listen to so I listen more closely. So that I notice the difference between the grasses frolicking in the wind and complaining that it is too strong, that the sound of a wee rattle snake reaches me with the volume of thunder and those bison, well, they may as well be just next door. In the quietest of places nature sure kicks up a fuss.
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 Grasslands National Park - ©Straight On Detour
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A little more about the Grasslands National Park

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The Grasslands National Park is situated two hours from the Trans Canadian Highway in central southern Saskatchewan. Its own border touches the invisible boundary between the USA and Canada. If you could name a town to which the Grasslands belongs it would be the quaint village of Val Marie, a place with one campsite, one budget hotel and numerous bed and breakfasts.The reality is that you need a car to access this National Park and this is isolated countryside. You can drive for hours without passing a single other vehicle but catching sight of a rattlesnake or coyote instead. Once you are here you are free to explore as you choose, from a comfortable bed and breakfast in town, by renting a teepee in the parks core or by strapping your tent to your back for a few days. Parks Canada will make it happen, they offer guided walks, hikes, do-it-yourself scenic drives and friendly advice.
 
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Grasslands National Park - bison
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The Highlights of the Grasslands National Park

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Walking amongst the undulating buttes while marvelling at the vastness of the prairies and coming to understand that they’re not so flat after-all, searching for fossils or matter left by the asteroid that hit Earth and killed the dinosaurs. Finding ancient teepee rings, star gazing in one of the worlds dark spots, enjoying the peacefulness of being in one of the worlds quiet zones. The undulating rolling plains also boast a unique subspecies of animal; coyotes, prairies dogs, bison, greater short-horned lizard, pronghorn antelope, american badger and burrowing owls to name a few. The bison have had a successful reintegration into this original homeland.
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 Grasslands National Park - prairie dog
Written by

Rebecca Mayoll is a ‘just turned 30’ freelance writer and photographer from England. She is the co-founder and author of straightondetour.com, a travel website with the mantra ‘find your own adventure.’ Promoting adventurous destinations, independent travel and giving a humorous insight to the World of travel is what Becky does best.

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Hi we're Prue and Becks, travel writers and photographers who have been travelling the world together since 2012. Without taking ourselves too seriously, we divulge the lesser known, out of the way places and give you the tools to replicate it. Want to know more? Click on our pic.