Anticipating Walking

Matt and Rick by NWMP trail post Pinto Butte July 23
Richard Kotowich and I walking near Pinto Horse Butte, 2015 (photo by Marshall Drummond)

For years I dreamt of walking Treaty Four territories, what is now south-west Saskatchewan. Only in 2013-2014 did I find a trail (the Traders’ Road, or North-West Mounted Police Patrol Trail), a guide and fellow walker (Hugh Henry, of the SK History and Folklore Society), and feel in my bones a reason (un-settling Settler narratives) to make it finally happen. Ken Wilson is also interested in Settler preparation for reconciliation; he and I walked together from Swift Current to Battleford in 2017 and from Mortlach to Gravelbourg in 2018. Ken recently set his scholarly lens on an article I wrote for a volume in pilgrimage back in 2013, just before that first 350-km journey across the prairies. A serious academic, Ken has highlighted the article’s best parts. In case you’re interested, I’m posting his post, here:

15 replies on “Anticipating Walking”

There are many interesting thoughts, and much to think about. Yes, most people on the prairies are usually driving here and there. However there is some walking. Ranchers in this area move cattle in the old way with cattle drives to pasture that involve horses , trucks ,four wheelers and some walking. Yesterday I saw many walkers in west block of Grasslands National Park. Some local residents walk often if weather isn’t too unpleasant. There is nothing like a walk on the prairie to renew body, mind, and spirit. Have some great walks this year.

Thanks for the comment! Yes, I’ve seen a few cattle drives around Simmie area, too, where I’m from, although I’ve only ever helped move cattle from a truck. The Grasslands NP must be beautiful right now….enjoy the end of May out on the land! I’m getting some walks in, here in the UK, in the meantime!

I am looking for information on the NWMP trail from Fort Walsh to Wood Mountain. I am a retired RCMP officer who was stationed in Southern Sask. I have often visited the S,W, area of Saskatchewan and done the Pilgrimage across the top of Spain to Santiago.

I would like to walk this area and have questions about tail location, how it is marked and accomodation along the way etc. Any information would be greatly appreciated.

Hi Jim – nice to meet a fellow Camino pilgrim, and a fellow Saskatchewan person! The SK trail is only really walk-able with a lot of advance planning and land permissions. The good news is there’s a group that does some SW SK walking along there just about every year who’d be happy to have you along. I’d reach out to the SK History and Folklore Society, at and send them an email at: The “Trail Convenor” for the NWMP Patrol Trail is Hugh Henry of Swift Current. He keeps the signs in shape and he’ll be the person to get in touch with. You may also be interested in the latest episode of my podcast, which is about walking the NWMP Trail, and is here: If you have trouble getting in touch with someone, get back to me and I’ll get them to contact you. It’s certainly worth walking that land, and it sounds like you know it well.

Great to find this site. Wishing you peace and love. Photo of Richard Kotowich and you walking near Pinto Horse Butte, 2015: Photo by Marshall Drummond

Hi Marshall – very happy that you found the site. Did you take that photo? I’d be very happy to give you attribution in a caption (and apologize for not doing so). I thought perhaps it was from Hayden, who was walking with us at the time and had my camera!

Thanks for replying. No Problem. Yes I did. I waited for the NWMP sign to come into view as you walked by.

You’re welcome Matthew. Wishing you and your wife all the very best with your move to Nova Scotia.

I’m sure you heard this before Matthew, but this is one of my favorites of Emerson/Thoreau. This is my last comment…I promise.
“Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson.”

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