Saturday, April 16, 2011

Ten Foot High and Risin'

This scene is from an lookout we used to call "Boodle Hill", the name of which has a story of its own, but it shows you the state of the Qu'Appelle River as it is right now - very, very wide. Notice the water is almost up to the bottom of the deck of the double arched bridge.

This is right beside where I grew up. The farm yard was just to the right of the bridge. I learned to skate on that river and occasionally swam in it, although it is normally almost dry in the summer.

There's a creek at the bottom of the valley banks in the distance, which flowed dangerously every spring, but only for a few short weeks, if that. It enters the river downstream (to the left) from this view.

As kids we used to catch suckers and carp which were trapped in small pools in what was left of the once swollen river, and bury them alive in the sand bars. Yeah. I know. Kids are cruel. But when we weren't doing that we'd be spearing them with pitchforks, just for the helluvit. A primitive drive, or something. But, quite naturally, Mom wouldn't let us near the river when it was swollen like this:

And it looks like it's gonna get worse. This is what's happening upstream in Lumsden (to the right, in the above picture, about fifty miles as the crow flies).

The Qu'Appelle drains into the Assiniboine River, which joins the Red River in the centre of Winnipeg. Still a few miles to go, and a few places to flush out. Sure hope the Red has crested by the time this gets there. Its waters eventually enter Hudson's Bay. If it was any further south, it might be heading to the Gulf of Mexico via the Mississippi.

All of this stuff is just awe inspiring. Water. Creeks. Rivers. Lakes. Drainage basins. Gulfs and Bays. Oceans. The whole valley was apparently carved out by the receding glaciers of the last ice age. And this is just one little spot in the grand timeless process. Maybe that's why I liked this film so much when I was a kid.

And that's why there are poems and songs about this beautiful valley:

Even if there weren't, I'd still love it, the deep sense of history it gave me and the ultimate insignificance of one's life that it taught me to appreciate. It's hard to be anything but humble when up on Boodle Hill looking down on the grand expanse below. Anyone who thinks the prairies are flat and uninteresting hasn't seen my lovely valley nor experienced its seasonal rhythms. Ancient and beautiful.

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Anonymous MaxEd said...

"Paddle to the Sea" was one of my favourite books when I was a kid.

April 16, 2011 9:49 am  
Blogger Louise said...

Me, too. In the fifties and early sixties, at the school I went to, which is also in view in that picture (if you know what to look for), one of the teachers would bring in a whole bunch of films from the National Film Board and host a film day for the families in the area.

It was great fun. Especially when my cousin was put in charge of rewinding the films and he'd do it with the lamps still on and the film still in the tracks, so everything was shown backwards. Some of the films were pretty funny when screened backwards. LOL!! The best was one of cowboys and rodeos. Instead of being bucked off the horse, the cowboys miraculously rose from the ground, flew up and landed on the horse's back.

The school as called "Katepwe" which is Cree for "Who calls" which is what Qu'Appelle means in French and is the name of the lake not far from this view.

April 16, 2011 10:53 am  
Blogger Bob Devine said...

The Qu`Appelle Valley has surprised many an eastern or west coast trucker on their first encounter. There are not to many hills in the mountains that are tougher than climbing out of that valley or heading down into it in some places.

April 16, 2011 2:57 pm  
Blogger Louise said...

Yup. And it kinda sneaks up on ya, like, bang, there's a wide, deep valley right in front of ya.

I suspect the road going from Regina to Saskatoon and the road from Regina to Yorkton are the ones that most truckers would be using, if they passed through that valley. Otherwise, the valley and the trans-Canada highway run more or less parallel to each other.

In fact, on the radio this morning, they were saying the road from Regina to Saskatoon is closed due to the flooding at Lumsden.

April 16, 2011 3:34 pm  
Blogger Louise said...

That's another thing about Saskatchewan. If you're driving through on the #1 you miss all the good, scenic spots. Everybody thinks it's flat a boring, because the #1 is flat and boring.

April 16, 2011 3:42 pm  

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