Travel entrepreneur and former Saskatchewanderer Ashlyn George is an advocate for people to get outside, be active and enjoy nature.
Michelle Berg / Saskatoon StarPhoenix
Saskatoon travel blogger Ashlyn George takes her job seriously — before the age of 30, she’d set foot on all seven continents.George was recently named one of KAYAK’s top 10 Travel Hackers for 2019, an honour given to bloggers and Instagramers that stand out from the pack.The globe-trotting explorer and former Saskatchawanderer says that Saskatonians looking for a weekend adventure needn’t look far. Here, she shares five trips, activities and destinations within two hours of the city that are worth checking out. Paddling the Chief Whitecap Waterway (varies, up to 105 km/approximately 1 hour away)From multiple points along the waterway from Gardiner Dam, paddle boarders, canoers or kayakers can drop into the water and follow the river north back into Saskatoon.“It’s a wonderful experience because I think it gives a really different perspective on being just outside of the city,” George said. “I’ve done it twice now, once paddle boarding and once kayaking.”Islands along the river can provide a place to camp, but make sure to keep water level changes in mind when picking one, she cautions. Taking it Easy in Pike Lake Provincial Park (37 km/30 minutes)The provincial campground is perfect for those looking for an easy, family-friendly camping experience — waterslide included.The Camp-Easy sites in the park provide almost all of the equipment for six people to have a comfortable camping experience.“It’s a great way to introduce people to camping,” George said. “They have it all set up for you, the tent structure and the beds inside. And there’s a fire pit too.” Noshing at Camp Wolf Willow and the Wolf Willow Winery (77 km/one hour) The campground, added in 2017, provides a glamping experience in furnished teepees, luxury and army tents or a retro Boler trailer. There’s eco-friendly tent and trailer sites as well.“It’s really beautiful to look over the South Saskatchewan river, and there’s a little offshoot you can walk to that’s shallow enough for the kids to play in,” George said.The Camper’s Classic pizza at the winery, a bannock crust topped with hemp heart pesto sauce, farmer’s sausage, roasted vegetables and cheddar cheese, is a must-try she said. Setting Sail with the Saskatchewan Sailing Clubs Association (SSCA) CANSail Mobile Sailing School (varies)This week-long sailing certification course stops at a few different lakes and waterways in the province. George took the course at nearby Lake Diefenbaker, but it also stops in Saskatoon throughout the month of July.“A lot of people don’t know you can sail in Saskatchewan,” George said. “With this course, you can go out and actually learn to sail, it’s such a cool experience.” Exploring Prince Albert National Park (230 km/about 2 hours)“I like to encourage people to get off the beaten path a little bit when they visit,” George said. “You can actually backcountry camp anywhere as long as you’re 2 kilometres away from a road or a campground.”Aside from great day hikes in the park, she recommends the popular trek to Grey Owl’s Cabin.Keen-eyed botany enthusiasts should also keep an eye out for the carnivorous pitcher plants that ground along the boardwalk on the parks Boundary Bog Trail. firstname.lastname@example.org