Tag Archives: tch

Fake Forest Along the TCH

Reid Dickie

Located on the north side of the Trans-Canada Highway about 25 kms east of Brandon, MB, Camp Hughes Rest Stop offers travelers refuge from the road, washroom and picnic facilities and a fake forest to roam in. The trees are real enough, the forest isn’t. Constructed as a make-work project during the 1930s, the rest stop’s major feature are thousands of jack pines all planted in straight symmetrical rows as you can see in my video. The pines, mature now, have foliage on the top third of the trunks forming a dark, shadowy canopy. The red bark flakes away and on hot summer days, the air is redolent with the smell of pine. Covering several acres, the pines provide a sensual and sheltered place to stroll and stretch your legs. If you stop here, exercise caution because poison ivy is very prevalent on the forest floor. Otherwise, it’s a pleasant and unique walk.

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Filed under Day Tripping, Parks, Rest Stops

Eternal Romance

Reid Dickie
“I was a key that could use a little turning.”
 – Soul Asylum
Water and wind and their eternal romance with rock, etched into the weary flesh of stone, glowing eloquent beaches appear and disappear in a flash. On the prairies, in blissful perfection, their story never stops.  Here we are humbled yet throbbing, ecstatic.
There were moments on the Missouri Coteau this summer under a sky that opens up toward you and away from you at the same time when I could feel the mule deer mating just for the fun of it and prairie dogs chasing dragonflies just for the fun of it and evolution happening just for the fun of it! The eternal romance, The Imperative, echoes of Spirit bounding and rebounding everywhere!
Last Friday evening I sat under ancient silent cottonwoods and watched the red September sun sink below the Trans Canada Highway just north of Carberry, MB. I was staying at the Robin’s Nest Motel and Cafe (for the price, I recommend it). It is dry now and harvest time so the sunset was tempered with a fine yellow haze that lingered on the horizon all day. Swirls of sylphs dreamt above the setting sun. Silhouettes of dog walkers moved against the yellow horizon, crickets chimed the eternal temperature, the motel buzzed and the TCH hummed along. The dust turned the dusk to pink deepening to red, wisps of pale yellow meandered across the haze. The night cooled from near 30 degrees C.
Under the friendly cottonwoods I thought of what I had gained over the past two days of travel in southwestern Manitoba: my energy level was very high due to lots of sunshine and discovery, on which I thrive. I was learning, yearning and leaning – everything a man could need!
I was doing what I had yearned to do: to travel, see new things, meet new people, get ideas, feel at home wherever I go, bring Spirit out in myself, set the example, be the change!
The next day I returned to the city but detoured to Beaudry Park just west of Headingley for a couple of hours in the shade. It was a hot, hot day and the trees were alive with voices. In the distance I kept hearing trains. I had wanted to videotape a fast train. I love the noise, horizontal movement and the earth moving up and down with the weight of the speeding train. When I left the park I explored toward the sound. I crossed the Canadian National Railway mainline on a gravel road and shot a video of a fast freight that came by about 20 minutes later heading west. If you don’t have to be anywhere in a hurry and you’d like to watch a long fast freight train go by close up with great sound, click this into your life. Shot Saturday, September 10, 2011 at the CNR mainline crossing south of Beaudry Park on Manitoba PR 424. Train freaks will get a chubby, guaranteed! Watch for the engineer waving.
On the prairies in late summer – around now – there is a moment when the heat holds its breath and the cold sneaks in, a glimpse of our inevitable future, making the skin on our brown bodies tighten. Today that moment, the hinge, arrived. The north wind chills us today, reminds us today.

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Filed under Ancient Wisdom, Carberry, Hope, Linda, Natural Places, shaman, Spirit, Wisdom

Manitoba Flood Aftermath

Reid Dickie

In a farmer’s field I saw an eagle tearing into the carcass of a stranded fish, just one of thousands of outwash fish delivered by flooding rivers into pools of water that evaporated, leaving them to die. Flooded ditches are now the scene of slowly dying fish, suffocating in the disappearing water.  This first picture is a flooded ditch along the Trans Canada Highway east of Portage la Prairie right next to the Assiniboine River taken in May. The second picture is the same ditch today. I saw several gasping fish slowly swimming in the shallow water last week.

At Marsh Lake in Spruce Woods Park I saw only one painted turtle sunning on a downed log. In past years there would be dozens of turtles in the sunshine. The Assiniboine River inundated Marsh Lake, which is an oxbow, changing the habitat of the lake substantially. It will be several years before the lake rebounds from the flood and hopefully the turtle population will survive.

Every time I passed through the Assiniboine Valley this summer I was surprised by the amount and vast distribution of flood cake, the grey rind left behind by the flooding, now cracking and broken in the late summer heat. Whole valleys are white from the stuff with little black soil in sight.

In the Assiniboine Valley along Hwy 83 south of Miniota is a recently planted arboretum known as the Assiniboine Riparian Forest. I reported on it on my Day Tripper page. The arboretum sits on the valley floor and I was concerned the river may have washed the whole thing away. I was pleasantly surprised to see little damage to the trees and pathways with just a couple of rows of trees having evidence of flooding. Overall it survived the inundation well, however, the surrounding farm land was thick and white with flood cake.

Heading into fall, Manitoba has thoroughly dried out in many places with others still covered in standing water. The next two weeks promise to be dry so more moisture will disappear from the land. We could use a thirsty spring that soaks up the excess water next year.

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Filed under Flood, Natural Places, Roadside Attractions

Three Days in Eastend – T. Rex Discovery Centre

Reid Dickie

Day One

It’s Day One of my three-day stay in Eastend. The little town of Eastend, SK is located in the eastern foothills of the Cypress Hills, tucked into the wide and beautiful Frenchman River Valley. Eastend has a vast history which they have traced back to the dinosaurs with the local discovery of a T. Rex skeleton back in the 1990s. What sets Eastend apart is how they have developed their extensive and varied history into a blossoming tourist industry. Glacial landscapes, aboriginals and settlers, historic events and recent discoveries have been put into perspective, developed and now bring new interest and tourists to the town despite its out-of-the-way location.

 Actually, Eastend has two very good highways serving it: Hwy #37 from Gull Lake and Hwy #13 from Shaunavon. Eastend is less than a hour off the Trans Canada Highway, south of Gull Lake. I have visited Eastend regularily since the mid-1990s and watched them create an international image. The T. Rex Discovery Centre, an amazing building set right into the valley wall, opened a few years ago and offers state-of-the-art museum technology and methods to demonstrate the significance of the finding of the T. Rex skeleton. It’s a little bit of heaven for dinosaur lovers. To give you an idea how thoroughly Eastend has adopted the T. Rex as its power animal, there is a street leading to the Discovery Centre called T. Rex Drive. Next to the Centre and halfway up the valley wall (location, location, location) a new housing development is underway called T. Rex Heights! Though I didn’t shoot inside the Centre, here is my video report on the building and its spectacular location.

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Filed under Day Tripping, Local History, Natural Places, PRAIRIES, Roadside Attractions, Saskatchewan

The Halfway Trees

Reid Dickie

Regular, intercity travelers along the Trans Canada Highway between Brandon and Winnipeg will be familiar with the halfway trees, trees that local lore says mark the midpoint between the two cities.  

The halfway tree on the north side of the highway is about 14 kms west of Portage la Prairie, right next to the road and protected by a steel guard rail.

 This tree is a 40-foot common willow and is the last survivor of a willow planting next to a drainage swale. Twinning the TCH caused the other willows to be removed but this, the largest one, was spared. This tree is a Manitoba Heritage Tree and is listed prominently in Heritage Trees of Manitoba, a publication of the Manitoba Forestry Association.

The other halfway tree, situated about 23 kms west of Portage on the south side of the TCH, is a gigantic, old cottonwood. This is the tree most recognized as halfway despite  lacking heritage status. I have often seen the lower reaches of this tree decorated with an occasional Christmas ornament, ribbons, shoes and assorted stuff. It has been the scene of various life-changing events over its 100 year history including at least one marriage proposal.

So we have two trees nine kms apart that both claim to be halfway between Winnipeg and Brandon. Fact is, neither tree is exactly halfway but, by actual miles, the cottonwood is closer to claiming that title than the willow. I suspect building the Portage bypass and twinning the TCH changed the mileage between the two cities, thus neither tree is pivotal. The cottonwood certainly merits heritage status and the Manitoba Forestry Association is taking nominations now to update the protected tree list. See their website for details on the process.

This moody photograph of the cottonwood at night was taken by Brandon photographer and videographer Derek Gunnlaugson. Thanks, Derek. Check out his website, Dex

How To Measure the Height of a Tree

Have someone stand next to the tree. (It doesn’t have to be a person but should be something of a specific height.) Holding a ruler vertically, walk backwards from the tree until the person is one inch tall on the ruler. Note where the top of the tree is on the ruler. Take that number and multiple it by the height of the person (or object) next to tree and you have the tree’s height. Easy!


Filed under Ancient Wisdom, Day Tripping, Earth Phenomena, Local History, PRAIRIES, Roadside Attractions, Spirit

Spruce Woods Provincial Park Flood Update – June 24, 2011

Reid Dickie

There has been little change in the status of Spruce Woods Provincial Park since my last update. Most of the park’s amenities remain closed and inaccessible due to flooding, including Spirit Sands and Punchbowl, Ispuitinaw Trail, Marsh Lake, the lower area of Kiche Manitou Campground, concession stand and canoe campground.

The upper campground and yurts at Kiche Manitou Campground are open and accessible with the parks call centre taking reservations. Access to these campground sites is only via Hwy #2 from the south, but not the Trans Canada Highway. This map shows the detour. By the way, for the third year in a row, there is no entry fee to visit Manitoba’s provincial parks. They are free! Great deal! Camping fees still apply.

There’s not much to do this year at Spruce Woods but a few of the trails are open or partially open. Using Carberry and TCH access from the north, Epinette Creek is partially open, that is to cabin #2 and Juniper Loop but the trail is closed at start of Tamarack Loop. Arriving from the south, the Hogs Back Trail is open, Spring Ridge Trail is partially open with some flooded sections. This trail has been expanded. Warning signs are posted. The Trans Canada Trail east of upper campground is open, equestrian trails are open with some sections flooded and the main equestrian campground is open.

The prognosis for the park reopening is not good. Ominously, the Souris River joins the Assiniboine just upstream from Spruce Woods and, with the volume of water rolling down the Souris today, it is conceivable Highway #5 through the park will remain closed for the summer, and, depending on the extent of damage, possibly for the year. Though the bridge is still holding, there is massive wash-out of the highway on either side.

As one who hikes Spirit Sands at least a dozen times every summer, I’m having hiker withdrawal this year not being able to walk the land. Linda’s beautiful photographs of the sands in this post will have to do for now. The Assiniboine has probably inundated the low-lying Punchbowl but the sands themselves are at a much higher elevation and escape flooding. I’m imagining how pristine and pure the untrodden dunes must be, how delicately the rivulets of water have drawn their paths down the sloping trails and how the log ladders are buried from disuse.

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Filed under Ancient Wisdom, BEAUTY, Carberry, Family, Flood, Linda, Natural Places, Parks, Sacred Places, Spirit, spirit sands

Saskatchewan Flood Report #1

Reid Dickie

After receiving over 120 mm (about 5 inches) of rain in two days, Weyburn, SK is under a state of emergency due to flooding downtown, failure of their water treatment plant and continuing heavy rains.

City water has been declared undrinkable and dangerous with a boiling directive in place. I stayed in Weyburn at the Canalta Inn and Suites on Sunday night, arriving late afternoon about the same time as a thunderstorm with heavy rains began. It rained most of the night as over two dozen pumps and fire trucks tried to move water from the south side of Hwy #39 to the north side so it can drain into the Souris River. Emergency vehicles sped past my room all night. The flood arrived quickly and thoroughly in Weyburn. Most downtown businesses were closed with Boston Pizza being one of the few exceptions. Bottled water was scarce, even Wal-Mart ran out. The look of concern on the face of the front desk clerk at the hotel spoke volumes about the local worry. They weren’t renting rooms on the first floor that night “just in case.”  

Down the road in Estevan, SK things are getting worse. I stayed in Estevan at The Derrick on Monday night. A small lake formed behind the hotel and inched slowly toward the building while it rained all night. A trailer park has been completely evacuated, homes have been lost, both dams that face into the city are under the duress of unequalled amounts of water and it continues to rain. Boundary Dam holds back the water of Long Creek and is Sask Power’s largest thermal generating station and the largest lignite coal-burning station in Canada. The Rafferty Dam holds back the Souris River forming the gigantic Rafferty Reservoir which stretches northwest for 57 kms. Both dams are at their max as far as volume of water in their reservoirs. To relieve some of the pressure on the dams, record amounts of water are being released from both dams. This water becomes the Souris River. Estevanians fear that if either dam breaches, the city is in big trouble real quick. Highway #47 south of Estevan is closed due to flooding as is Highway #18 west of Estevan. 

Meanwhile, just downstream from Estevan and the dam outlets is the little village of Roche Percee, situated on the banks of the engorged Souris River. 180 people have been evacuated and at least half the homes in the low-lying portion of the village are believed to be almost completely underwater.

“It’s just numbing. It’s out of our control,” said Coalfields RM administrator Valerie Pelton. “It’s not a slow scar or a slow burn. It’s all happened so quick. We’ve got lots of families very seriously stressed. There’s a lot of numbness and people just don’t always know what to do. We’re not even sure if Roche Percee is a place people will ever be able to go home to.”

A 150-km section of the Trans-Canada Highway is closed in Saskatchewan, due to water over the highway. The closure stretches from Whitewood to Balgonie with traffic detouring via Highways 9 and 10. Local traffic can access Sintaluta and points west from Balgonie, and Wolseley and points east from Whitewood.

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Filed under Flood, Saskatchewan

Manitoba Flood Update June 18 – Driving Tour #2

Reid Dickie

Last Thursday I drove a 650 km loop around Manitoba that began on the TCH, then Hwy #16 then Hwy #5 into Dauphin. The Whitemud River has subsided but there are miles and miles of fields still completely covered with its floodwaters from ten days ago. This is most evident along Hwy #16 between Woodside and Neepawa.

I returned via Hwy #68 through the Lake Manitoba Narrows. The pictures of The Narrows give you an idea of how high the water is. All along the lakeshore there are inundated homes and people still scrambling to build dikes against the rising lake.

I passed at least six different points where sandbags were piled and available to the public. This picture is in McEwen Park in Eriksdale on the east side of Lake Manitoba.

Watch a short video of the situation at The Narrows.

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Be Happy on the TCH

Reid Dickie

Since her death nearly 18 months ago, Linda has communicated one simple and helpful message to me repeatedly: Be Happy! It has come in many forms – from her beautiful gentle voice saying it in my head to suddenly implied by gestures I see in others to full-blown experiences of the spirit world in trance to small bliss currents that happily billow through my consciousness. Whatever the messenger, the message is the same: Be Happy!

Last Friday afternoon, as I was driving down the Trans Canada Highway coming home from my flood tour, I was beset with anxiety about returning to the city hive and its noise and bother. I’d spent the morning sitting in a camp chair about a quarter of a mile up the north side of Riding Mountain, looking out over a forty-mile view that included Dauphin and the Duck Mountains beyond. Idyllic, quiet, peaceful and the opposite of what I was heading into. Just as these thoughts arise, a sporty candy-apple red SUV passes me. You couldn’t miss this vehicle. Its licence plate said, “B Happy.” I chuckled heartily and thanked Baby for reminding me in yet another inventive way. Thank you Linda, my angel.


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Filed under BEAUTY, Family, Linda, Old Souls, Spirit, Uncategorized

Manitoba Flood Update – May 31

Reid Dickie

We’re not out of the woods yet. Keep rubber boots handy.

As I left Brandon yesterday afternoon about 4:30 an ominous black sky promised wild weather ahead. Three miles south of Brandon on Hwy #10 (I came home via Hwy #2) it was raining hammers and nails. I had to pull over several times due to zero visibility, light the hazards and wait out the deluge. The lightning flashed and the thunder roared around me, ditches filled, fields turned into lakes again just like earlier in the spring. It was a classic prairie storm that the ancient Brandon Hills took with a small sigh and tried to absorb.

Manitoba is saturated. After last year’s wet summer and fall, the ground is unable to absorb any more moisture. Heavy rains like this one damage seeded crops and hamper seeding efforts. Every region is behind in seeding this spring. The central part of the province has 50 to 60% seeded, the eastern region between 25 and 40 percent of cereal crops are seeded and in southwestern Manitoba farmers have managed just 10% of the seeding so far this year, according to the latest crop report from Manitoba Agriculture.

Rainfall amounts varied yesterday but some were substantial: Souris received 88 mm/3.5 inches, Boissevain 64 mm/2.5 inches and Brandon 53 mm/2.25 inches. The headwaters of the Assiniboine also received heavy rains this week. Manitoba Water Stewardship is predicting an increase of at least 2 feet in the Assiniboine over the next week because of the new water.  Sioux Valley First Nation have begun new evacuations. 

Today most of the southern part of Manitoba, including the major lakes, is under a wind warning with gusts up to 90 kmh with showers in most areas. This is putting extra stress on dikes and on emergency crews in Brandon. Minor breaches are occurring but so far the pumps have managed to stay ahead of the leaks.

Wind-driven water in the lakes including Lake Manitoba, Dauphin Lake, the Shoal Lakes is washing on land and many properties are inundated. Hundreds of people around Lake Manitoba and area are now on mandatory evacuation. How much new overland flooding will result from the rain and wind will be better understood by the weekend.

Elsewhere the Grand Valley west of Brandon, though still heavy with water, hasn`t overflowed the Trans Canada Highway. Spruce Woods Provincial Park remains closed but for a few of the high ground camping spots and yurts. All aspects of the park remain off-limits or inaccessible, Hwy 5 is still closed so camping access is via Steel`s Ferry Road off Hwy 2.

Overall, we are getting exactly what we don’t need this week – more water and high winds. Depending on the flows, precipitation and winds over the next few days, the status of our flood situation  may change drastically. Stay tuned.


Filed under Flood, Local History, Natural Places

Manitoba Flood Update – Monday May 16, 2011

Reid Dickie

Brandon is holding its breath tonight. The crest of the Assiniboine reached the Wheat City today and will maintain high water levels there for at least three days before any reduction begins. Thereafter it will take weeks, possibly months for the water to subside followed by massive clean ups. Brandon`s elaborate and constantly maintained dike system is still in good shape with about 20 small breaches in the past day. All were repaired. Residents north of the river in the valley remain on alert, listening for emergency evacuation sirens.

Brandon`s mayor Shari Decter Hirst and councillors, who today extended the local state of emergency for two more weeks, visited with evacuees in various hotels around the city where about 700 are lodged. The other 700 or so are staying with family and friends. Free entertainment, child-minding, laundry and psychological support are being offered to evacuees by Brandon city services. Mayor Decter Hirst, who had an enormous number of nay-sayers against her when she was elected last fall, is being viewed as a caring, conscientious  and sincere public servant who knows what to do. Her personal charm and fresh savvy are a lucky break for Brandon.

Reports downstream from the Shellmouth Dam support the notion the Assiniboine has crested once and for all. The situation remains precarious with any new precipitation a serious threat. No rain is forecast for the river`s basin and headwaters for the rest of this week and no new water is expected to enter the river.

West of Portage, the newly heightened Diversion is carrying enormous amounts of water into Lake Manitoba. Shore residents are bracing for the flood that follows increased water levels in the big lake. Selinger Lake continues its spread across farmland and gravel roads east of Portage tonight, the first waters of the drain now reaching Elm River, eventually entering the Red River past the Floodway entrance. This thin film of septic/chemical soup hasn`t washed away any buildings and the military keeps an eye on the leading edge of the water. You can walk faster than the spread of the intentional flood waters.

One tidbit of information conveniently misplaced is the reason why a mere 400 cfs (cubic feet per second) of water flowing through the Hoop and Holler Bend breach makes anything other than a negligible difference in the Assiniboine River which is, by the estimates of Manitoba Water Stewardship, flowing at about 32,000 cfs. The flow through the intentional cut seems small, a drop in a very large bucket. Maybe this is all just optics with the political bottom line: Winnipeg is still safe tonight.

The Trans Canada Highway remains open at Grand Valley with no road flooding reported. There are 113 provincial roads affected by flooding, with 67 closed. Approximately 768 municipal roads are closed. Here is the map of road conditions and closures in Manitoba. My next report will be Tuesday evening.

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Filed under Flood, Natural Places, Winnipeg

Spruce Woods Provincial Park Manitoba Flood Update – Friday May 13, 2011

Reid Dickie

The Assiniboine River runs through Spruce Woods Provincial Park and not only has its flooding closed the park indefinitely, Highway #5 which runs through the park is closed between Glenboro and Carberry. Water is over the road and some of the highway is washed out. The lower areas of the Spirit Sands and Marsh Lake are water covered and there is more on the way.

The lower campground at Kiche Manitou campground in Spruce Woods Park is under several feet of water and all buildings have been severely damaged. Yurts are on high ground and unaffected by flooding. Manitoba Conservation is hoping to re-open the park to camping in the lower campground by the end of July! That’s right, the end of July! Some aspects of the park are expected to open in mid-June but there is an enormous amount of water to move first. Many provincial parks are affected by flooding. Check here for updates on campground closures and delayed openings.

In Brandon, the dikes are under heavy maintenance, another foot is being added to most of the dikes as water flows are expected to increase. Saskatchewan has had heavy rains and the Qu’Appelle River, which drains into the Assiniboine at St. Lazare, MB, is swollen. Everything downstream from there is under flood watch. The final stores have closed in the Corral Centre and Paddock. The last evacuees are expected to be gone by this evening and the city waits. The crest, once thought imminent, is now predicted for the middle of next week. The Saskatchewan rains and subsequent surges are making crest predictions extremely difficult. One certainty from Manitoba Water Stewardship is to expect higher than predicted crest levels along the Assiniboine. This announcement resulted in the new endeavours to raise Brandon`s dikes by at least a foot.

At Portage the military is working to raise the Portage Diversion to move more river water into Lake Manitoba to the north. Tonight there is more water in the Portage Diversion than in the Red River Floodway around Winnipeg! The Trans Canada Highway remains open today through Grand Valley west of Brandon where the ditches are being re-enforced with stones. Structurally the two bridges that span the river at Grand Valley are sound and uncompromised by the rising river.

The proposed “controlled” breach at Hoop and Holler Bend has been delayed again, now scheduled for early Saturday. There are 122 provincial roads affected by flooding, 73 closed. There are approximately 750 municipal roads closed. Though Brandon is predicted to get a little wet snow tonight, the forecast for the Assiniboine region including its headwaters in Saskatchewan is for clear sunny days ahead with no precipitation for a week. That would help immensely!


Filed under Flood, Local History, Natural Places, Parks, Prairie People

Flood News – Thursday, May 12, 2011 “This is our new normal.”

  Reid Dickie

Brandon mayor Shari Decter Hirst emphasized at the morning media briefing that Brandon is in for the long haul now. “This is our new normal for the next little while,” she said. “We have to live with this.”

The Assiniboine hasn’t crested yet. Brandon is in for weeks of high water levels requiring patience and forbearance. This morning new precautionary measures were announced. The Corral Centre and adjacent Paddock shopping centres are now under mandatory evacuation. The few stores still open are closing today. Traffic and speed limits on 18th Street are being restricted due to concerns about vehicles crashing into dikes.

Fifty thousand more sandbags have arrived in Brandon to increase the dikes by another 30 cms to accommodate new higher water levels announced by the province today. The crest of the Assiniboine is still a few days away according to Manitoba Water Stewardship. When it arrives it will be a prolonged crest, at least three days. No new residential evacuations are planned. Over 1300 people have been forced out of their homes so far. The few stragglers left in the flood risk zone have indicated they will leave today.

The Trans Canada Highway remains open despite rising water levels in Grand Valley. There is no water on the road.

The province’s decision to let river water intentionally flood an area southeast of Portage la Prairie has been put on hold for now. The flooding was supposed to occur at 8 a.m. this morning but now an announcement will be made this afternoon at two. Many of the residents in the “controlled” flood area had some loud and nasty things to say to the media yesterday and this morning. The premier is considering his future here and one can only hope this move was vetted by multiple engineers with credentials and experience but no political motives rather than the egocentric dreams of a single-minded politician looking to “save Manitoba.” The Manitoba website promised a map of the whole area to be intentionally flooded but none appeared and is still not available today. This is not a good time to keep people in the dark! Below is a diagram of the proposed site at Hoop and Holler Bend where the intentional flooding begins.

       Although not as transparent as it should be, provincial government flood information is here. My next report will be this evening after the 4 p.m. Brandon briefing and provincial decision on intentional flooding. Thanks for checking out my blog. Reid

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Flood Pictures #1 May 10, 2011

      This is an aerial view looking east down the Assiniboine Valley at Brandon. The river is flowing away from you. In the foreground the double row of spruce trees is the flooded entrance to the Brandon Experimental Farm. Perpendicular to that, water covers Grand Valley Road. Beyond that the row of spruce trees and white dikes indicate 18th Street, still open with one lane in each direction. Traffic in Brandon is tangled, to say the least. On the left of the picture, past the spruce trees is Corral Centre, the big mall that is now closed, and past that two residential areas. Right centre is the 18th Street bridge, the only outlet for the river. On the right side of the picture and off into the distance, the Assiniboine is creating its floodplain.

      This is a picture of Grand Valley with the Assiniboine flowing left to right. The Trans Canada Highway crosses the river here, about 15 kms west of Brandon. Today there is mounting concern that when the crest arrives, within the next 2 days, the TCH will be impassable.

My next report later this evening.

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