Photo Uploaded: Jan 25 2011 16:21:45 GMT Taken: 2010:08:28 17:25:43 Manufacturer: Canon Camera: Canon EOS REBEL T2i Aperture: F4 Shutter: 1/400 sec ISO: 200 Flash: No (Turned off)
Spirit Sands in Spruce Woods National Park, Manitoba, Canada
Insects (caterpillar) in the park.
Spruce Woods Park's most fascinating and fragile feature is Spirit Sands. There are a few places in Canada and nowhere else in Manitoba with such large stretches of open sand.
When the last great glacier began to melt locally about 12,000 years ago, the Assiniboine River was 1.5 km wide. It was laden with sand and other sediments from melting glaciers in what is now Saskatchewan. It drained into the huge Lake Agassiz just south of present-day Brandon. From the mouth, the fine sand fanned out into the 6,500 km2 Assiniboine Delta. As the glacier continued melting northward and Lake Agassiz drained to the south, sands of the delta became exposed.
On July 12, 1806 the fur trader Alexander Henry, the Younger, wrote that the dunes were called Montagne du Diable (Devil's Mountain). "Many extraordinary stories are related of this mountain, both by Indians and Canadians-of the strange noises heard in its bowels, and the nightly apparitions seen at one particular place . . . . In crossing those hills our horses sank up to their knees in many places." For Aboriginal people, however, the sand dunes were a place close to the Great Spirit or Kiche Manitou, rather than a place or home of evil spirits. Its present name "Spirit Sands" recognizes the dunes' religious significance to early inhabitants.