FTLComm - Whitewood - Sunday, August 19, 2001. images by: Judy Shire
Given enough time and precipitation all of the scenery becomes flat, mountains and hills wear down, water forms puddles, ponds and finally lakes. But the slope of the land from mountain to ocean hills to lowland become the route for water movement and century after century and in most cases millennium after millennium the rivers gradually carve out valleys. All river courses begin as "U" shaped excavation in the landscape but in time the walls of the river valley are worn down producing "V" shaped valleys.

The rivers themselves move around with the variations in volume of water they carry and where the slope is gradual rivers will wander or "meander" cutting circular pathways left and right of their general course. This process produces huge loops which further widen the valley floor and the loops eventually cut into themselves leaving abandoned river loops called "Oxbows". But it is time that makes a valley, it is the constant arrival of gravity born water that moves mud, sand and hillsides to ever flatten the scene more and more.

The most impressive Saskatchewan Valley is the South Saskatchewan from Swift Current (Saskatchewan Landing) to the Gardener Damn South of Saskatoon, near Outlook. This great valley is now lake Diefenbaker and it required a damn built South of Elbow to prevent the river from running back on an old valley that becomes the Qu'Appelle. The old course of the South Saskatchewan, when it carried much more water, ran South East from Elbow to what is now Buffalo Pound then across to Craven then to Lumsden and then to the chain of lakes around the town of Fort Qu'Appelle. The last of these lakes is Round Lake which is only a few miles West of the picture above taken on highway # 9 North of Whitewood.

Various small valleys work their way into the Qu'Appelle including the Pipestone and the valley itself continues East into Manitoba and joins with another large North South valley which is home to Lake of the Prairie. Eventually as all rivers do, the old waterway empties into either a lake or an ocean, the huge size of the Manitoba lakes makes them seem almost like oceans, the shallow Lake Manitoba and Lake Winnipeg which themselves are flushed North to the Hudson Bay. In the scale of geological time it is not that long ago that the most of the prairies from Regina to Winnipeg were all part of what amounted to an inland sea called Lake Agassey.

It is important to think about this process and the vast lengths of time involved and realise that a few dry summers, the frantic alarmists who talk of "Global Warming" all of need to realise that things change, sometimes gradually sometimes very abruptly. Many times in this planet's more than four billion years of life it has been slammed by wandering asteroids and all life has been obliterated only to be replaced by new emerging life forms. The land its shape and what grows on it has been altered remarkably over these ages and we need to realise that our part and time in this process is really insignificant.