Cycling the ‘wrong way’ through the Prairies; Winnipeg (Manitoba) to Calgary (Alberta)

Leg; 885 miles / 1,424 km
Total; 2,281 miles / 3,671 km

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Whenever we told people we were cycling west to Vancouver they told us two things; ‘you’re going the wrong way’ and ‘you’re gonna be bored’. They were kind of right on both accounts, but we enjoyed ourselves all the same. The main reason is the wind. There are famously strong winds that blow from west to east, so we had some days of comically fierce headwinds. BUT, it wasn’t as bad as everyone said. We found the winds are just generally blustery and tend to whip up around you in every direction.

Yes, the landscape is not the most interesting. It’s certainly incomparable to Ontario, with its stunning lakes and lush green vistas. We cycled through endless farmer fields and ‘Canadian Badlands’. BUT, when we approached Moose Jaw the landscape changed dramatically. The flat fields disappeared, and were replaced with lumpy green moorland that reminded us of Dartmoor in the UK.

Contrary to what we were told, there are also lots of small towns, and seven some cities, in the Prairies. Brooks (Alberta) is a delight. We often find Canadian towns of this size to be pure utopia, and Brooks is certainly that. Same with Medicine Hat and Strathmore (both Alberta). Towns in Saskatchewan and Manitoba are much smaller, quieter and quainter. We really liked Whitemouth in Manitoba, and then Moosomin, Moose Jaw and Gull Lake in Saskatchewan. But Alberta is undeniably our favourite ‘Prairie province’. It’s just so friendly and welcoming. And you can feel yourself gradually climbing in anticipation of the Rocky Mountains. Which is very exciting!

So don’t let the Prairies put off cycling across Canada. It probably won’t be your highlight, but it’s an experience all right! And you’ll meet some real characters!!

Wildlife spots; prairie dog, mink cat, coyote, owl