Neil Fisher

Neil grew up on Canada’s west coast exploring beaches, climbing mountains and learning to appreciate everything that Mother Nature has to offer. For five years he worked as a marine mammal trainer at the Vancouver Aquarium, it was during this role that he started using a camera in a professional capacity. It’s Neil’s adventurous spirit and unique storytelling ability that make him the perfect fit as the Saskatchewanderer. 

Since February, he has been exploring the province as the 2016 Saskatchewanderer. He has uncovered much of what Saskatchewan has to offer throughout his many adventures. When asked about his best experiences so far, here is what Neil had to say: 

1. What surprised you most about Saskatchewan? 
Throughout my travels across our stunning province, there were many instances that demanded a momentary pause, remarkable vistas and bizarre geological formations. However, the one thing that surprised me the most was how proud we as Saskatchewanians are of where we live. Whether in Climax or Stony Rapids, everyone I spoke with was excited and passionate to share their reasons for loving their home. 

I had planned to go stargazing last night in the Old Man on His Back Prairie Heritage and Conservation Area. However, with that massive thunderstorm rolling through southwest Saskatchewan, I decided against transforming my tent into a combination Franklin-Wright Brothers electrified flying machine. Instead I began editing imagery captured over the past week and this photo in particular jumped out at me. Chay Anderson (left) and his father Lloyd, are cattle ranchers outside of Wood Mountain. Over the course of one very long and exciting day, they shared with me many fascinating aspects of ranching. This photo was taken towards the end of the 25 kilometres we travelled and nearly twelve hours after starting the day. #ExploreSask #Saskatchewan #Cattle #SaskAg #WoodMountain #KeepExploring #TravelPhotography #ExploreCanada

A photo posted by Saskatchewanderer (@saskatchewanderer) on

2. Where are your top three places to explore?

Growing up surrounded by mountains and trees, I’m a sucker for the complete opposite. I still view the treeless and rolling hills of south Saskatchewan as an exotic destination and Grasslands National Park has become somewhat of a second home. I’ve also spent a considerable amount of time exploring the west side of Prince Albert National Park – along the shores of Amyot Lake. In the midst of winter, the leafless deciduous forests are incredibly peaceful as you meander through the extensive trail system in complete solitude. Finally, I’ve really taken a liking to the shores of Lake Diefenbaker. Whether it’s Saskatchewan Landing Provincial Park or the sandcastles south of Beechy, the landscape here is one of a kind. The relative youth of the lake is reflected in the visible erosion which molds and sculpts some truly breathtaking shorelines. 

3.  What’s your favourite outdoor activity? 

It may sound boring and simple, but my favourite outdoor activity is walking. To explore any corner of our province on foot allows you to absorb every sound, smell and texture along the way. With that said, I’ve also grown fond of exploring on horseback. 

4.  What’s left on your Saskatchewan “bucket list”? 
To be honest, I was able to check off a large number of bucket list destinations over the summer. The Athabasca Sand Dunes were otherworldly and the Limestone Crevices south of Denare Beach were so incredibly interesting – and considerably accessible too. As for what’s left. I still would love to canoe down the Churchill River and spend some time in Prince Albert National Park looking for wolves in the dead of winter. 

5. Where’s your favourite place to eat? 

I was first asked this question while speaking with students at Pense School and after a moment of thought, my favourite place to eat is perched on the edge of the Killdeer badlands overlooking the Valley of 1,000 Devils in the East Block of Grasslands National Park. In the middle of summer, the 4 a.m. sunrise is a perfect alarm clock and watching the light slowly creep across the badlands is spectacular. The actual meal has little impact on the experience, but if you must know – breakfast is typically four of those instant oatmeal packages. 

6. Where do you suggest heading this fall/winter? 

This is a question I receive very frequently and my answer is always the same: go somewhere you’ve never been. If you live in the south, travel north – likewise, if you live in the north travel south. The colours of our flag represent the green boreal forests of the north and the golden rolling prairies of the south, and they’re so wonderfully different.