Thursday, November 4, 2010

A Chief Whitecap Walk: Photo Essay

Text and photos (c) Robert Barry Francos
Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them

The day before Halloween of this year, I was invited to take a walk at Chief Whitecap Park, just south of Saskatoon along the South Saskatchewan River. I'd been to another park in the area, Cranberry Flats, but this was my first time seeing the Chief.

Chief Whitecap (Wapahska) led the Dakota First Nation to the Saskatchewan area in the early 1860s to escape political turmoil in Minnesota. He guided John Lake, who is credited with the founding of Saskatoon, to the place it now stands on the South Saskatchewan River. During the Riel Resistance of 1885, the chief acted to protect the young community from harm. Chief Whitecap died in 1889, but is remembered fondly. More information about Chief Whitecap is linked at the bottom of this blog.

The park has been in the media a lot lately for two reasons. First, there is a question of whether it should be an off-leash park. Second, the north end of the park is about to have a highway and bridge going through it to connect a road that was originally planned (early 1900s) to circle the entire city (the road is called Circle Drive, but as of yet, is not, only going two-thirds around). Fortunately, the construction area was not visible from where we were.

There had been a recent snow which was in the middle of a melt, but the view was spectacular.

Along the trail in, there is the statue of Chief Whitecap. When we came around at the end of our walk, we saw it closer.
Along the trail, wild cranberries grew. I was informed they're easier to pick when it's cold, and the fruit is less mushy.

There were many ponds of water along the way.
The ridge rose above the South Saskatchewan, which could be seen through the trees as we climbed our way up.
The view (looking south here) is magnificent.
Flocks of hundreds of Canadian Geese were on the rise, and they rose up and flew directly overhead. The sound was deafening.
Further on the trail, we found some abandoned farm equipment and metal buckets rusting away. On one was a fine green mold. The melt from the trees made little droplet marks in the snow.

As the sun was starting to set, the light showed off some of the red branches.
The trees were bent by the weight of the snow over the years. On some was an interesting mold.

Across the river a road dead-ended. I zoomed way in.

The sun shone brightly on the water of the river, making sparkling lines.
Another hiker rests as the foot of the Chief Whitecap statue.
A proud symbol of the city of Saskatoon, though I ponder that he should be credited for founding the city, rather than John Lake, since he brought Lake to the spot. But we all know why that didn't happen, don't we...
For more information about Chief Whitecap:

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