We saw two BIGS on Wednesday in the Big Muddy and in Willow Bunch. Now why does Willow Bunch sound familiar?
Castle Butte was our first destination. To get there, go South from Regina and head towards Bengough. I believe it is pronounced BENGOFF. The Tourism publications say that Castle Butte is 22km South of Bengough. But if you drive 22km past the town you will miss it.
Route 705 crosses route 34 in Bengough. From there, go 12km South on 34. Soon, you will enter the Big Muddy valley. This is another impressive glacial riverbed valley. Enjoy the scenery but do not lose sight of your goal. At the 12km mark, you will see an old house and palissade against the rock face. The entrance to Castle Butte is about 200m before than. You may notice the sign way out in the field on your left telling you to turn right.
As you go down the 6km to the butte, watch for grazing cows that may decide to cross the road. Watch out also for prairie dogs. We saw one standing on the side of the road but no chance for a picture. The drive up to the Castle Butte may be a bit lumpy, especially if it has rained lately. Whether you drive or walk, do not miss a close up view.
This sandstone monolith stands 300 feet above a hill and is 1/4 mile wide. We walked all around it and examined the grooves and scratches etched into the surface by the water runoff. In this picture, you see a few holes. Because of the varying density of the sandstone, several gaps have been created and I am sure are constantly evolving. The one on the left is tall enough to walk into. Examine the grooves below
The road down to the Big Muddy Valley is rough, but the trip is well worth the bumps.
From there, we kept going South as we wanted to see the rest of the valley, and headed West to Coronach. In Coronach you can take a tour of the coal mines. You will also see a coal fired power station in the distance.
From there, going North towards Assiniboia, you will pass through Willow Bunch. So what is special about Willow Bunch? It is the home of the tallest man ever in Canada. Like most unusual people of the last century, the story of Edouard Beaupre is both amazing and sad. Only three people have been confirmed since over his height of 8 foot 3 inches.
The museum in Willow Bunch is well worth the $5 visit. There are 8 theme rooms, one dedicated to the Giant and others showing the history of the area and colonial days in general. You may also know that the town has a historical link to Sitting Bull.
The Big Muddy Valley is like taking a trip back to the wild west days. This area was favoured by Jesse James and many other outlaws. Highway 13 North from Montana, was known in the day as the outlaw trail.
We are dusting ourselves off and getting ready to visit the murals of Moose Jaw.