My jaunt to North Battleford revealed a delightful surprise. Crooked Bush is an unusual grove of aspens that has intrigued me since I first read about it in a local travel magazine but I didn't know where it was. Aspens are normally a tall thin pencil straight tree. For an unknown reason they have grown in a sporadic fashion in this little grove.
But if you are out looking for this little patch of trees, good luck. The signage has been changed and a different route is being used to get there. However, it is worth the drive.
I arose before dawn to arrive in the 'golden hour' for photography.
After more than 40 minutes of driving I was encouraged by this sign that I was going in the right direction. Not so! I drove and I drove until the road changed from gravel to dirt. No Crooked Bush. It is 6:45 am and my gas tank is running low. I am in the middle of nowhere and decide to drive back to the highway and the extra kilometers to Hafford , fill up with gas and ask better directions.
This cute-as-a-button bistro opened at 7 am and had excellent coffee and home baked pastries. It was a comfortable spot to wait until the gas station opened. Then I filled the tank, gratefully accepted the brochure with proper directions and got back on the road.
These are the proper directions to the Crooked Bush from Hafford (on the highway between North Battleford and Prince Albert, SK) ....
14.5 km west of Hafford on Hwy 40, past Speers to Flint Road.
Turn north into the country and drive 16 km (10 miles). You are driving through open farmland. It's beautiful and you are easily lulled into a sense that you will easily see the sign signalling a turn. NOT! Clock it exactly with your odometer and look for an inconspicuous little intersection with no unique landmark.
Turn east and drive 2.5 km (1.5 miles).
|Can you spot the sign? That little one below the YIELD sign.|
|Close up of the little sign. Glad it's 'not far now'!|
|See the sign? Not much help are they!|
|This sign requests that you treat the area with respect. Amazingly, it was pristine. No disturbance, no garbage, no hint of human visitors inside the grove.|
|University research has all but concluded that these trees grow crooked as a result of genetic mutation.|
|Locals know that a full moon lights up the Crooked Bush but courage of stone is necessary to visit it at night.|
|On the other side of the road not more than 20 feet away is a normal bluff.|