View from the Road in Saskatchewan - 1998

[Cross Canada Waterwalk 1998]     [Waterwalk main page]


From Suffield, Alberta to Regina - by Eloise Charet

From Suffield, Alberta to Regina, Saskatchewan

phone message from Eloise Charet

July 14, 1998

On July 1st we stayed with these people on Canada Day and it was just marvelous, and it was in Suffield- very warm and very helpful people. Of course I don't have their name... but we had a great time, we danced all night at their party, with kids and all ages and everybody stuffing themselves with good stuff. That place is near a military area and its been a dump for a lot of chemicals and everything and, unfortunately, I'm sure that it gets into the water system somehow. There's been a whole special on CBC on it.

Onwards July 4th we camped overnight at Cypress Hills campground and I had the Catholic priest in the morning do the weaving ceremony by the lake there and it was very touching. The next day we stayed at Linda and Ed Wright's ranch and learned about cattle horses, watched her husband show us how to make saddles and chaps.

On July 7th we went to a Hutterite colony in search of food and arrived in the middle of a wedding ceremony. We recieved tons of baked goods, hams, sasuage, milk and they even gave us their water and signed the car to bring to Ottawa. They asked me who sent me and I responsed with the people showed me to come here from the village. I thanked them gracefully. Unfortunately later on as we were leaving Swift Current the RCMP informed me that they had called the police later as they were suspicious of me, the car and Emma and worrying about a stranger landing at their gate. Someone told me that you can distinguish the old order from the new order by the small dots and the larger dots on their scarves, the women's scarves that they wear on their head.

Later on we pressed on to Herbert and camped on a lot in town and Karin stayed at Darlene's house, soon to marry Trevor, a Mennonite. We ate, washed up and left with a cooler full of goodies and her three kids, Tyler, Justin and Cama. They walked for six kilometers during the afternoon heat, baking hot time of the day. They arrived at the picnic area just exhausted. The sweat was rolling down our backs. Kerry was lobster red. At that point not to carry any water is to dehydrate.

We've been through extreme weather conditions, arriving in areas like Cypress Hills which received in one day as much rain as they usually got in a year. People keep telling us maybe its you guys that are bringing the rain. So that has keep the prairies quite green for our passage.

The winds have been furious, sometimes blowing at our backs. On a lucky day it pushs us along- other days it rips your hat off, makes rippling sails out of your clothing. I've seen birds fighting the current and never getting anywhere. [short unclear section] Your head is bent and you continue down the long unwinding line of highways.

Our worst day was getting caught in cyclone conditions. The winds were so strong the car was rocking back and forth. Three lightning bolts hit around us and I had to go find my partners as they were in danger. By the time we met Kerry he was hypothermic. We took his cloths off and wrapped him in a blanket. His shirt had holes in it from the hail. Karin, up ahead, was struggling along with the sign. Both had been blown off the road, were soaked to the bone and charged with electricity cracking around. We drove to a restaurant in Piapot and Mrs. Drinkwater bought us hot soup. We waited out the storm.

Campgrounds. We've been fairly lucky so far, able to camp freely so far in most of the sites. On July 8th, sitting in the Bissant Park, the owner Shirley was receptive and then thanked us for doing such a good deed as walking for water. Kerry put the fire on, we emptied food on the table, set up tent and all ran for a swim in the pond. The water was just right and we all swam down the channel through branches and everything. It was like being in a jungle; it was quite exciting. At midnight I still couldn't sleep; I was staying up late and trying to write this. The stars were bright and the full moon was on. It was like a magical night on this ancient land upon which some of the oldest of the America people would gather there for exchanges. I could feel the earth trembling almost beneath my feet and then all of a sudden there was a large storm and I got into the tent and it was about two o'clock in the morning and we're all hearing it and crackles around us and then all of a sudden we felt wetness at the bottom of our sleeping bags and we undo the flap and look out and we're in six inches of water.

In Moosejaw we meet some aboriginal people. They were very helpful. We stayed in a home that was quite receptive, and we had an elder woman of the Anishnobe [spelling may be incorrect] that did a ceremony for us down by the water and did prayers and blessings that was really quite touching.

We're in Regina right now. We had CBC interview us on the way in, and tomorrow [July 15th] we're walking to the Legislature Building and we're going all the way up to City Hall and the mayor has finally agreed to meet us after refusing and everything. We convinced him finally of the importance and that we are not aggressive and so on, so he is going to meet us for five or ten minutes tomorrow and we're going to have the press there. In Regina its pretty exciting and we're getting a lot of attention because the water is in pretty bad shape, and we're having a lot of fun.

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