Claus Lauter: Hello and welcome to another episode of the Why We Travel podcast. Today’s journey will take us to Canada, better set to the province of Saskatchewan. Probably a budget at name, , but we will have some help here to really find out on how to pronounce this, province. As an expert today on the show I have today was me Ashlyn George.
She’s an award winning content creator behind the Lost Girls Guide to Finding the World. She is the go to travel expert in Saskatchewan, but no stranger to trips abroad. She has been traveling solely to more than 60 countries on all seven continents, and she’s a passionate storyteller, always in pursuit of the next adventure.
So, hello Ashley. How are you today?
Ashlyn George: I’m good. Thanks for having me on the show. So excited to
Claus Lauter: chat. Yeah. Glad to have you on the show. Tell me a little bit about your, I think it’s your home country, Canada, and specifically about the province. We wanna know everything. I know almost nothing about it, so we need to really deep dive there to get the most out
Ashlyn George: of it.
Absolutely. Well, I am so excited to share more because, I am born and raised here in Saskatchewan, Canada, and. Big country, but it’s also a big province. I’ve traveled a lot, but Saskatchewan is as big as some countries I’ve traveled through are, so there’s lots to see and do here. And yeah, I was born and raised here.
I grew up on a grain farm, so my dad’s a [00:02:00] farmer. I have a really unique perspective of having grown up in a rural community, , on the land. And then now I live in one of the biggest cities in the province, so I get that rural and urban lifestyle. throughout my. Okay, so
Claus Lauter: understand Saskatchewan is right in the middle of Canada.
, tell me about, how can I imagine it? , how’s the nature there? How’s the climate there? Just a bit of a overview.
Ashlyn George: Yeah. So we are directly, almost perfectly in the center, , of the province. We’re considered a prairie province, so we’re known for our agriculture and our grains. But we’re a lot more diverse than that.
So actually 50% of the province is made up of forest. And the further north, you start heading in the province, you get into some of the rocky Canadian shield and lots of trees, lots of lakes, and we are very lucky. You to have four seasons as well. So while we have really hot summers, we can get up to, 30, 35 degrees in the summer.
We do have very, very cold winters we often do get down to minus 40 in the winter months. That’s degrees Celsius, so it gets quite cold here. So you definitely need to bundle up to stay warm. [00:03:00] But that being said, we get lots of snow, so we have the opportunity to do lots of really wonderful outdoor winter activities.
Claus Lauter: So if somebody comes first time to your area or to the province, what would you recommend to do there? What do people need to see?
Ashlyn George: Yeah, so most people coming into Saskatchewan are coming into one of our two major cities, either Saskatoon, which is. A little more north and Regina, which is a little more in the south of the province.
And when I say north, I say saskatoon’s kind of in the middle because the top half of our province has a very low population. Most people live within the bottom third of the province. So you’ll probably come into one of our major cities and we have a really. Dining scene here, obviously because we specialize in agriculture, we’re able to grow lots of wonderful foods and we’re known as the bread basket of Canada, so you’ll be able to dine on some really great foods.
We pull in food from a variety of different cultures, but we do have a lot of Ukrainian influence here in Saskatchewan. you might come across, sausage and pieros as well. I [00:04:00] also recommend. Taking a couple days to visit in either of the cities, depending which city you wanna visit in Regina, there’s lots of cultural hubs.
, we’re actually home to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police Training Center. It’s the only one in Canada. So if you’re familiar with those iconic police officers in those bright red surges, That’s here is where they come to train here in Saskatchewan and Regina. So I always recommend people stopping in, checking out the Heritage Museum and learning a little bit more about that.
But if you’re gonna get out in Saskatoon, which is where I live, , we have some really fantastic locations, including the rainy, modern, art gallery that was built, , less than a decade ago. Sits on the river here that flows through the city and we have one of the largest collections of Picasso, Leno cuts in the world.
So you can come to Canada, come to Saskatchewan, and get access to some really great arts and culture and history here.
Claus Lauter: Okay. That’s unexpected, but even greater. So in, the notes that you sent me through is that there’s even sand dunes [00:05:00] in your region. Is that.
Ashlyn George: That is correct. So we are actually home to four different sites of sand dunes.
Some of them are a lot easier to get to than others. , and so a lot of people don’t think of Saskatchewan or even Canada as having sand dunes. Now these are a little bit different. They’re not a desert. , they do contain more moisture in the sand, so they’re not deserts, but sometimes they do look like it.
So there is one location. Easy to get to if you have access to a car. And these are the great sand dunes and they’re near a small community called Septer, Saskatchewan in the southwest. And these are really easy to access. You can drive up to them and then park your car and it’s like a one to one and a half kilometer hike to get into this massive area where these, Great sand dunes. We even sometimes take little pieces of plastic to go sliding down the sand dunes just to have a lot of fun with it. But we’re also home to the most northernly sand dunes in the world. These are called the aas sand dunes. Now. They take a lot of effort to get to. I’m really excited though this, past summer [00:06:00] I was able to get up to them, but it was.
13 and a half hour drive north mainly on, , unsealed or gravel roads. From there, you had to hire a float plane that can only carry up to a max of six people. And we flew out with two canoes strapped to the base of the float plane, and we landed on the southern shore of Lake Athabasca. And from there we spent 10 days in true and complete wilderness.
There’s no cell service out there, the. Community is dozens of kilometers away. The only way they could ever access you is by boat or by float plane. But you also need to have common enough weather. Sometimes you can get a lot of wind up on the southern shore of this lake, and if there’s too much wind, the float plane actually can’t land on the lake to come pick you up.
So it’s a really true wilderness outdoor place to get to. And then from there you can hike into this area of these sand dunes and there are dunes that are up to 35 meters high. And when you get up there and climb to the top of them, you look around and it really [00:07:00] does. Look like the Sahara Desert. So it’s an unusual destination.
It takes a little bit of effort to get to, and while I went there unassisted, I, traveled up there on my own with some of my friends. , there are companies in the province that you can pay and they will guide you there. They’ll give you the gear that you need. They provide the food and everything to make it a little bit easier.
Claus Lauter: Okay. Touching on this, how do you get around in the province? Obviously long distances, I understand gravel roads, dirt roads, what’s the best way to travel?
Ashlyn George: Definitely you’ll want to rent a vehicle, from our major city centers. When you’re here, it’s the easiest way to get around outside of the city and you’ll want to get outside of the cities cuz we just have access to , so much nature and some really great national and provincial park.
Claus Lauter: Okay, so I reckon most of your travelers coming through are more like solo travelers, more like adventure travelers. Is that right?
Ashlyn George: A lot of our tourism in Saskatchewan actually comes from the locals who live here. We love to travel around and experience our province, but otherwise, people are generally passing through with vehicles that they either [00:08:00] own or have rented if they’re doing a cross Canada trip.
, and lots of. When we do get tourists coming in, they know somebody in the province. So you usually have a friend or family member or contact who can help you get around too. Okay.
Claus Lauter: Next question after traveling around is like, where can I find accommodation? You said there’s regions that are very, , less populated, so how do you need to plan a trip?
Probably so that you don’t end up being without a roof over your head. .
Ashlyn George: Yeah, so we do have hotels that you can rent and in lots of small communities they might have a motel. I’ve even visited some communities where it’s just a keypad that you gain access to, And we do have lots of Airbnbs as well, so lots of smaller communities.
That’s their way of accommodating travelers that do pass through is, using Airbnb as. But I do wanna say if you are coming in our summer months, you’ll want to consider camping. I think that’s one of our strong suits. We have hundreds of provincial, regional, and national parks. Lots of campgrounds. , I would say 99% of them are, you have to pay for your camping services.
There’s [00:09:00] still a few hidden gyms that if you know about them, , you are able to access. Those camping sites are those natural areas and not have to pay for it. And most of that is on, it’s called Crown Land. , and it’s just land owned by the government that you’re able to access and again, have that true wilderness experience.
But I definitely recommend camping. And that doesn’t mean you have to be in a tent. You can car camp, you can pull your own little camper trailer. That’s really popular here in the province too. Lots of people have their own camp. Okay.
Claus Lauter: Camping, wilderness Canada. Question there? Wildlife, what can you see?
What you can expect? , any dangerous animals.
Ashlyn George: So the one good thing is we don’t really have grizzly bears here in Saskatchewan. Our provinces. Neighboring us, Alberta and dc They do have the grizzlies, but you won’t really find them in Saskatchewan. What you will find are black bears and typically they’re pretty skittish.
So if you make a lot of noise, if you make sure that when you’re out in a boat that you aren’t leaving any food or coolers or anything around on your picnic table, you should be okay. I’ve encountered several [00:10:00] black bears, both on my own and with friends, and usually if you just make a lot of noise, they run.
So black bears are really cool to see, but we have so many different types of animals. You’ll get to see the very typically Canadian moose. , you can even see them in the south now too. They’ve been moving their habitat. You’ll get to see elk. You can see prong horn. , they’re like antelope.
They look a lot like antelope. They’re one of actually one of the fastest animals on the planet behind the cheetah, which people don’t realize. But you get to see herds of them in the south. And then of course we have the Canadian Beaver Musk. Tons and tons of mule and whitetail deer, and we have really wonderful fishing.
So I would say, actually our hunting and fishing in the province is really popular, especially with American tourists. Lots of them come up to Saskatchewan, , later in the year to go hunting and fishing.
Claus Lauter: that sounds very exciting. How can people get in and out of Saskatchewan?
Ashlyn George: So we have this big rectangular land border, and you can drive in on any of our roads.
We have thousands of kilometers of highway and grid [00:11:00] roads. , usually people fly into Saskatoon and Regina, which are two largest cities.
Claus Lauter: final question here. When it comes to traveling, budget is always a topic. If you are visiting for how long should you plan and what kind of budget do you need to plan for?
Ashlyn George: I would say a week or two is a great , amount of time to visit even 10 days is that sweet spot that gives you a few days in a city, but then also time to drive out and experience some of our parks like you mentioned earlier. There is a lot of driving and you might have to spend a couple hours on the road to get to a location.
That’s not uncommon. And in terms of price point, , it can be a little expensive just because we are in Canada, you’ll find hotels that will run anywhere from 100 to $250 a night. Camping is between probably 20 and $50 a night with that park pass that you’ll have to purchase. And then meals out, I would say range from probably.
20 to, 60 or $70 if you’re having a really nice meal in the evening and having a couple drinks with it as well. So you’ll definitely want to budget one to $2,000 depending how [00:12:00] you’re traveling. Okay.
Claus Lauter: That sounds but on the upper end, but I was definitely worth it. One question, and that might be a surprising to you, what’s the biggest mistake that you see with people traveling the region?
Ashlyn George: So we have this highway that goes through Saskatchewan. It’s called the number one highway. It’s obviously the most easy and convenient way when you’re crossing through Canada and people drive through Saskatchewan. They say We’re flat and boring. And I say, they didn’t get off the highway and that’s why they didn’t get to experience anything more in the province.
We have so much to see and do here, and I can say that because I’ve also been fortunate enough to see a lot of the world and like I’ve had some pretty incredible adventures here. So I always recommend get off the highway and find some real adventure.
Claus Lauter: Great. So there. Cool. Where can people find out more about you?
Ashlyn George: Yeah, so I blog over at the lost girls guide.com and you can find me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok. Usually if you just search the Lost Girls Guide, I’ll pop.
Claus Lauter: Okay. Hopefully No one is anything lost there. . So ,
Ashlyn George: that’s part of the adventure [00:13:00] sometimes, .
Claus Lauter: Very true, very true. Cool. I would put the links in the show notes, then you just one click away and then people can find you easily.
E, thanks so much for your time. I think it was a very good quick overview and I think there’s tons of more to explore there and I would highly recommend to she on your own and check it out. Thanks so much for your time.
Ashlyn George: Thank you.
Leave a Reply