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The two RV Gypsies
drove through the Big Muddy Badlands
in Saskatchewan, Canada
to explore Castle Butte
July 4, 2013

Map of Canada showing location of SaskatchewanSaskatchewan flag

The Big Muddy Badlands region is located just north of the international boundary separating northeastern Montana from south-central Saskatchewan, and a short drive to the south east of Willow Bunch in Saskatchewan. The badlands are punctuated by the Big Muddy Valley, a cleft 35 miles tall and up to 500 feet deep. Carved by melt water during the last ice age, the valley runs in a southeasterly direction into Montana, where it meets the Missouri River basin. The valley is 34 miles long, 2.0 miles wide and 520 feet deep.

In the nineteenth and early twentieth century the Badlands formed the northern end of the "Outlaw Trail", a series of trails and stopping areas utilized by outlaws in the American West spanning from Canada to Mexico. Outlaws such as Dutch Henry and his brother Coyote Pete, Sam Kelly, the Pigeon Toed Kid, and the notorious Sundance Kid turned up in the area. Today ranching and tourism are important in the sparsely populated area.

Big Muddy Valley sign

The two RV Gypsies could see for miles and miles, and seldom saw other cars.

The two RV Gypsies can see for miles and miles
The two RV Gypsies can see for miles and miles
cows in a mud puddle
cows in a mud puddle

Castle Butte is a 200 foot high outcrop of sandstone and compressed clay which protrudes from the flat prairie. At its highest point the butte is only 3,584 feet in elevation. Still, that’s more than 200 feet above the prairie below. The circumference is 1/4 mile. Castle Butte was a landmark to the First Nations people, the NWMP and early Canadian settlers.

First look at Castle Butte and its sign
Castle Butte sign
Lee Duquette by the Castle Butte sign
panorama of the last piece of dirt road leading to Castle Butte
Castle Butte
Karen Duquette approaching Castle Butte

Castle Butte is dotted with caves.

Karen Duquette approaching Castle Butte

Karen Duquette looked smaller and smaller as she approached Castle Butte

Karen Duquette approaching Castle Butte

As the two RV Gypsies reached Castle Butte, they noticed a steep hill and a cave.

Karen Duquette notices a cave
Karen Duquette by a cave in Castle Butte

The two RV Gypsies took a quick peek into the cave, but they did NOT actually go into the cave because that would be dangerous.

Lee Duquette peeks into the cave at Castle Butte
Karen Duquette peeks into the cave at Castle Butte

Below: The steep hill next to the cave. Footprints show someone has climbed up the steep hill, but the two RV Gypsies did not.

The steep hill next to the cave

More Caves

a cave
close-up of the cave shown in the picture to the left

Lee Duquette saw a rope in the cave and pulled on the rope. Apparently someone actually has been inside this cave. Even with the rope, it is not a place the two RV Gypsies want to go.

Lee Duquette see a rope in this cave
another cave

Karen loved the variety of texture and colors in Castle Butte. Composition is sandstone and clay-based with alkali and coal deposits.

variety of texture and colors in Castle Butte
variety of texture and colors in Castle Butte
variety of texture and colors in Castle Butte
another cave in Castle Butte

The two RV Gypsies took the 1/4 mile walk around Castle Butte. One area had a land slide. That is why it is not safe to go inside any of Castle Butte's caves.

The two RV Gypsies walk around Castle Butte
land slide at Castle Butte

Karen relaxed while Lee photographed the view around Castle Butte.

Karen relaxes
the view around Castle Butte
Karen Duquette at Castle Butte
landscape
landscape around Castle Butte

From this high place on the plains of Eastern Montana, the two RV Gypsies could see for a long distance.

the two RV Gypsies can see a long distance

Castle Butte varies in shape and texture

Castle Butte varies in shape and texture
Castle Butte varies in shape and texture
 

Karen liked this silky, feathery plant - whatever it is

Castle Butte varies in shape and texture
a silky, feathery plant

Below: Lee liked the pointy topping seen from this angle, but as he walked just a few steps, it no longer looked so pointed.

pointy topping seen from this angle
same point as in the left photo, but a different look
 

The two RV Gypsies are almost back to where they started their walk around Castle Butte.

The two RV Gypsies are almost back to where they started

The two RV Gypsies really love their life on the road

very happy RV Gypsies - Lee and Karen Duquette
Karen and Lee Duquette - the two RV Gypsies

Below: One last panorama of the surrounding area. There is a farm down there, but it doesn't show up in the photo very well. Everything is further away than it looks.

One last panorama of the surrounding area

Below: This is actually a different rock formation across from Castle Butte.

a differnet rock formation across from Castle Butte
a differnet rock formation across from Castle Butte

As the two RV Gypsies drove away from Castle Butte, they took the photo shown below of Castle Butte because the shape of it looked totally different than the shape of it from the other side.

a different look to Castle Butte

Driving away from Castle Butte on the dirt road, the truck kicked up a lot of dust which can partially be seen in the mirror. As they drove by, Karen also quickly snapped a few photos of some large, colorful rock formations

the truck kicks up a lot of dust
a large, colorful rock formation
a large, colorful rock formation
a large, colorful rock formation
Menu for the two RV Gypsies Adventures
in Saskatchewan, Canada
July 3 - 4, 2013

You may visit these six (6) sites in any order you choose.

enter Canada via Manitoba

Moose Mountain

Bengough

Castle Butte

Willow Bunch -
Home of the Giant

St. Victor's Petroglyphs

look below
go to the next adventure of the two RV GypsiesAFTER you have seen all six sections above,
please continue on to white water rafting and more in Montana