Thursday, September 22, 2011

West Edmonton

This is a blog about beaches and I have sometimes gone out of my way to find beaches where others might not expect to find them.  There's not much to say about this one, other than it's a pretty popular place.  It doesn't have some of the dynamic aspects that attract me to most beaches - but I guess there's no troublesome erosion, either.  Unlike most freshwater beaches in this part of Alberta, it doesn't freeze in the winter.  The waves come and go, generated by some sort of mysterious force behind the proverbial curtain.  It's surrounded by the 800 or so stores of the West Edmonton Mall.

The previous days have seen few beaches, other than the one at Clear Lake that I previously posted about, but we've seen many rivers, all of which are captured (if only briefly) in my other blog.  The Missouri River (Chamberlain, SD), the Cannon River (Northfield, MN), and the Mississippi River (St. Paul, MN) all drain into the Gulf of Mexico. The Red and the Assiniboine (Winnipeg), the South Saskatchewan (Saskatoon), and the North Saskatchewan (Edmonton) all flow into Hudson Bay, via the Nelson River.

Blogger/Google has changed some things, which explains my occasional playing with different thumbnail sizes and layouts.  It also means that the link to the map/aerial that I've traditionally provided by clicking on the title of the post, is now done by clicking on the location at the bottom of the post.

Clear Lake

High in the mountains of Manitoba...well, everything is relative, particularly the mountains of Manitoba.  Much of Manitoba is as flat as a cornfield - and some parts, like the huge leftover lakes Manitoba and Winnipeg, are even flatter.  But Riding Mountain National Park rises above the prairie and supports a rolling landscape of birch and spruce forest.

Wasagaming, on the southern shore of Clear Lake, is the only major development in the park, and by development, we mean vintage tourist cabin resorts and a public beach.  The beach here must be packed in the summer, but it seemed a bit out of place and I suspect it isn't original, or at least it isn't what this shoreline looked like two hundred years ago.  After all, where would all this nice raked sand have come from?

The best beaches on Riding Mountain are much more subtle and I couldn't capture them in pictures.  Lake Aggasiz, back in glacial times, lapped against the northern and eastern edge of the hills leaving a series of beach ridges that are now covered in aspens.  Which I guess means that this post continues the theme of the last post, which also deals with the shorelines of long ago lakes.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Lake Missoula

15,000 years ago, Missoula was underwater.  Something like 40 times.  And each time the ice dam would break and the water would race across Idaho and Washington and out the Columbia Gorge to the Pacific.  But between dam breaks, the lake carved shorelines into the hills above the University.

Saturday morning (September 2nd) I hiked up to the "M" on Mount Sentinel, which provided great views of the strand lines across the way on Mount Jumbo.  They show up well in the low light - but are pretty subtle when you're actually climbing across them.

Lake Bonneville (July 2007)