Monday, October 27, 2014

Winnipeg to Brandon

We set off on Highway 1 - crossing the flat land created by the ancient Glacial Lake Agassiz. This is the lake bed left over when the lake created by melting glaciers eventually emptied to what are now the waters of Lake Winnipeg and Hudson's Bay.

The flat and fertile sediments have been exploited by the farmers of the region since they are perfect for growing the grains that feed the world. The vast fields of the region are only broken by clusters of farm houses and barns and the infrastructure of commodity trade: grain elevators and train tracks.

Once we reached the the settlement of Sidney we climbed the rise that marks the ancient lakeshore, and entered the sand dunes of the old Assiniboine flood plain.

Finally, about Douglas Station we entered the Uplands region - consisting of mixed outwash from the ancient lakes and rivers, ground moraine from the edges of the glaciers, and water deposits. In the middle of this region stands Brandon - the regional service centre and our destination for the night.

Once again I am thankful for the ecotour series produced by the Canadian Forest Service many years ago. This is a series of small booklets that describe the geology, flora, fauna, and social history of sections along the transcanada highway. It is designed for car travel - describing what we see out the car window every kilometer along the road.

It was the ecotour series that transformed my travel across the prairies - teaching me what to look for along with its significance. This series taught me, for example, that there are many different regions on the prairie - each with their own special characteristics and importance.  They are essential reading for any cross - country traveler or Canadian enthusiast.  You can download them from

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