Lake Agassiz & Edrans: discovering the glacial past of my mom’s girlhood home

As mentioned in my last post, I’m reading Lake Agassiz: The Rise and Demise of the World’s Greatest Lake, by Bill Redekop… and yes I’m taking forever, thank you for noticing. By now I’m well past the halfway point, and like any good book filled with stories, this one has gotten even more interesting at this point, because we’re now joining Bill as he sets out on a solo road trip, attempting to follow Campbell Beach, which is Manitoba’s most prominent paleoshoreline left behind from the ancient massive lake that once covered our province.

If you’re anything like me, you’ll read that sentence again. It is good to dwell on these thoughts of massive geological change.

(By the way, I think this book, alongside a Manitoba Back Roads Map and a Yeti mug would make a stellar gift idea for the local history-chaser in your life.)

I’m having a lot of fun following Bill on his adventure, as he zig-zags his way down gravel roads in his attempt to follow this landform. I’m now at the point in his book wherein he’s arrived in Edrans, and he’s caught my attention anew.

In the summer of 2020, I visited Edrans with my mom and aunt, because I wanted them to show me where they had lived before moving to Winnipeg, when they were very young.

To arrive at this isolated location, I’m sure I followed many of the same roads as Bill did, and my prairie sensibilities were challenged and alarmed by the sudden steep hills I had to navigate. I really thought the SUV was going to flip headlights over tailpipe.

As I stood on the gravel and dirt road in front of the farm site where my mom spent her earliest years, I gazed west to the land rising on the horizon. “What is that?” I asked her. She didn’t know. She had been a very small girl at the time, living on a farm where they were just trying to survive. I stood still, staring at the unusual land forms, thinking to myself that she had lived on the shoulders of something significant.

A giant beach of Lake Agassiz.

Now I definitely need to go back, and look with new eyes.

Near Edrans, looking west. I was standing on the road, looking up at the school. It sits on a high sandy ridge. The ancient Campbell Beach, I now believe.