Springtime in Saskatchewan

We had dodged a bullet, completely missing the spring snowstorm that slammed into the Capital region of Alberta.  Our long drive, scheduled for the following day, meandered around the affected areas giving us more than pleasant conditions.  As a family, it was our first attempt at making the 1,200 kilometre journey from Fort McMurray, Alberta to Kamsack, Saskatchewan in one fell swoop.

"If this trip were a football game, we'd be done the first quarter," I said as we pulled into Lac la Biche for breakfast.  Getting on the road by 5 am allowed us to be a quarter of the way there by the time we were slopping down our eggs and coffee.

As we crossed the border into Saskatchewan just south of Cold Lake, the clouds off in the distance suggested that we might be heading into weather of some kind.  By the time we traversed Saskatoon on a quiet Good Friday, the lightly coloured clouds on the horizon began turning a darker shade of gray .

By the time we pulled into the gas station at Humboldt, the snow began falling in earnest, flying almost parallel to the earth driven by a fierce north wind.  By the time we pulled into Watson, it was a full-out blizzard and I really didn't know if we could make it.

"Call Mom," I asked Heather, wanting to know what was happening at our destination, now less than three hours away.

Trying to find some trace of the road, now covered with six inches of wet, slushy snow, we heard from Mom that Kamsack was still enjoying a warm spring rain.  With that news, we decided to push on, through the intense blowing snow and driving conditions that were becoming more perilous by the moment.

My hands, intently placed on ten and two, gripped the steering wheel, eyes focused on the scene ahead as we cut through the worst of it.  Several vehicles had succumbed to the ice and sat in the soggy ditches waiting for the tow truck to arrive, getting a supreme workout on this holiday Friday.

As the names of the towns went zooming by - Quill Lake, Wadena, Invermay - the biting snow turned into driving rain.  Suddenly, we had gone from sliding through the slush and ice to hydroplaning over pools of water that had collected on the highway near Canora.

The weather system seemed to pause as we pulled up to the house of my youth in Kamsack, giving us just enough time to gather up our bags and get settled inside.

I was glad we pushed through, as the spring snowstorm intensified, eventually finding its way to the eastern side of the province.  Our decision to cut through about 100 kilometres of blizzard conditions gave us two full days at home, a great chance to spend time with Mom and Dad, and many other members of our family.  We were 19 around the table for Easter Sunday dinner.

By the time we packed up and began the long drive back to Fort McMurray, the wrath of the storm had completely fizzled, leaving us with beautiful road conditions and lots of sunshine, all the way back to our front door 1,200 kilometres away.


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