Spirit Sands in Manitoba is a very special place. I spent some time searching the net for sites which would describe the experience of the place, but most sites were disappointing.
Here is my attempt to describe this glorious place.
This area has its beginning some 15,000 years ago, and is a geological wonder. There was an enormous delta created by the Assiniboine River, which was much bigger than it is today, due to the glacial meltwaters it brought into the ancient Lake Agassiz. There was some 6,500 square kilometres of deltaic sand, of which only 4 square kilometres remains open. The rest of it is now covered with a rich variety of plants and wildlife.
Spirit Sand is often referred to as a desert, due to the wind-patterned sand, the high temperatures and cacti. There is however nearly twice the level of moisture received here, as that received in a true desert. Indeed, the day I was there we had torrential rain, and got very wet. It was incredibly humid as a result. This abundant rainfall, allows plants to colonise and cover dunes, which has the effect of reducing the area of open sand.
The Devil's Punch Bowl, is a spot where the sand slips and slides down a bowl-shaped depression over 30 metres deep, disappearing into an ever moving and eerie pool of blue-green water. This is all part of the landscape of Spirit Sands. There are underground streams which have eroded and collapsed the hills beside the Assinibone river to create an unusual site.
Here I am, the eejit that walked there. At this stage I was Blue and Breathless and facing a long walk back to the car.
Larger Images are available here