Sunny warm winter walk by the Oldman River, with other people's dogs.
Location: Popson Park, Lethbridge, Alberta
Length: 3 km
Date: 19 December, 2020
River Walk, Redcliff, Alberta
It is good to be below the horizon line, where it's warmer and out of the wind, and where there is some geography to look up at. Walking on the flat prairie above the coulees there is rarely a hill to interrupt the horizon line, unless you are in sight of the Sweet Grass Hills to the south, the Rocky Mountains to the west, or the Cypress Hills to the east of the province. The trail is a mix of mud and ice today.
Location: Loop by the South Saskatchewan River, Redcliff, Alberta
Length: 3 km
Date: 6 December, 2020
Dog Run, South Lethbridge
I heard about a porcupine somewhere off the trail, while walking with the happy neighbourhood dogs. Big feeling of relief at being outside and moving in the brief sunshine during a six-Zoom-meeting day.
Location: Dog Run, South Lethbridge, Alberta
Length: 3 km
Date: 25 November, 2020
Walking the fence line in southern Alberta, following the lines of barbed wire that separate a cultivated field from the uncultivated valley below. The border where an orderly barley crop meets disorderly prairie grasses. The land where I'm walking is affected by other nearby boundaries, both natural and unnatural, both imaginary and real.
There is a river nearby, and a continental divide - just two of the ways the terrain naturally expresses itself with water and land forms that create boundaries recognized by human and other life forms. The USA border is not far away, as is an international highway that divides the landscape. There are many fences, many roads, many visible and invisible boundary lines marking private property from other private property, bounding private property from the scant public land that is still acknowledged in this region.
We can relate to boundaries in the parallel or in the perpendicular. We can follow, cross, or transgress them. Locally, we have just crossed the seasonal boundary into winter, and our neighbours south of the border are teetering on the edge of a line in the political landscape, which will be crossed within hours. A boundary implies dichotomy, which leads us easily to a sense of division and of conflict, but it isn't necessarily so.
Location: Southern Alberta, Canada
Date: 6 November 2020
*Thanks to Walking the Land's First Friday Walk for the idea and the collective nudge to take a walk.
Twin River Reserve, Southern Alberta
Wide open prairie interrupted by barbed wire, we walked among herds of cattle and pronghorn antelope. Down to the shrinking Milk River to sit on its bank and talk about emptiness while the cows all stared at us. So far south that our phones thought we were in Montana.
Location: Twin River Provincial Grazing Reserve, Southern Alberta
Length: 5 km
Companions: Troy & Annie
Date: 13 September, 2020
Backcountry, Southern Alberta
I was just along for the walk while the guys were bird hunting. One of the last hot summery days of the year. The quiet weight of sky over fields. There were no partridge that day.
Location: Backcountry of rural southern Alberta
Length: 4 km
Companions: T & T
Date: 5 September, 2020
Lethbridge Coulee Loop
Feeling pretty lucky to be able to do this walk right from my house. Down through the dog run, along the river valley to Fort Whoop-up, up the hill to downtown, and back home in time for supper.
Location: Through the coulees to downtown and home through town, Lethbridge, Alberta
Length: 7 km
Date: 30 August, 2020
Window Mountain Lake, Alberta
A steep, rocky trail opening through the trees to a sparkling alpine lake is plenty enough reason to hike. It was so still up there, quiet and sideways sunny, in spite of all the other hikers and even a few people camping and fishing. We decided to come back to camp one day, to find out what this place feels like at night.
Location: Window Mountain Lake hike (from the road), Crowsnest Pass, Alberta
Length: 8 km
Date: 2 August, 2020
Ambulant* walk, Lethbridge, Alberta
Go for a walk. Looking for text, looking for signs. We still walk, we still communicate, we still live with each other in these times, in all times. We're in it together.
South Coulee, Southern Alberta
It's all about the grasses at this time of year. So many shapes and shadows and shades of green. I set out along deer trails, hoping to pick some Saskatoon berries. Finding instead the sage and tumbleweeds and badger holes and rusted out farm machinery and thistles and lichens and fields of barley. Thinking about the non-dualism of map and terrain.
Location: South Coulee, Southern Alberta
Length: 3 km
Date: 25 July, 2020
Sandra Cowan likes to walk on trails, paths, and city streets. She is based in southern Alberta, Canada.