Text and photos by Ali Lauren
Anyone who has been out to the Lumsden Valley will understand what I mean when I say this: there’s just something that changes when you start your descent down the big hill, as the valley walls slowly increase in height around you as you make your way into town. There were once signs around Lumsden that read “Step Into a Country Pace”, describing the feel of the valley in one small logo. It’s just far enough from the city to be removed from the faster pace and bustle, allowing residents and visitors to slow their stride and breathe in everything the valley has to offer.
When I first moved to Lumsden just over ten years ago, the elements about this part of Saskatchewan I was most excited about was having such a beautiful backdrop to do photography, as well as a vibrant landscape to explore with my husband and our dogs. Both photography and exploring have always been my means of managing stress and anxiety, in addition to being a creative outlet. So, having the opportunity to do both simply by walking out my front door is something I will be forever grateful for. This area of the province is one where you can throw in your earbuds, turn up the music and get lost in nature. But it’s also one where, even if you set out for a solo walk, you’re bound to run into someone you know who’s willing to walk by your side for a short while if you need it.
Over time, The Great Trail in Lumsden began to play a large role in my life, without me even realizing it. Being able to do photography and spend time on The Great Trail is a constant source of inspiration. I’ve taken my photography clients there for sessions, and even after many years of photographing that same area of the valley, its beauty has always been enough to stop both me and my clients in our tracks. More often than not, sessions are halted to simply watch the valley and the sky and simply soak it all in.
The Great Trail has played a role in my personal life too, as it’s where my husband and I often walk our dogs. We’ve walked that path together after adopting and welcoming a new dog into the family, and have continued to walk it after our dogs’ chin hairs have turned grey. The path is a familiar one for us – one where we’ve had great conversations and other times walked in silence, simply enjoying the view.
And, while we find our way through the streets and fields in Lumsden for walks, somewhere along the way, we started calling The Great Trail “our path”. It is the constant answer when the question arises, “Where should we walk tonight?” We greet familiar faces, belonging to both our two-legged and four-legged friends along the way, and often find ourselves pointing out wildlife and the unique intricacies of the ever-changing landscape of the valley.
Walking and working along The Great Trail and throughout this space in the valley has helped to calm those restless days and fuel creativity, but it has also given my family a space to spend time together, a space to hold hands and talk about the past, future and everything in between.
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