It’s early fall in the Canadian Rockies and I’m on an Athabasca River pilgrimage again this year, this time with Franciscan Sister Meg Gemar who is originally from South Dakota, and now in Dubuque, Iowa.
This is Meg’s first visit to Canada. It’s quite a way for her to be introduced to this land with its stories of ancient life-forms (we started in the badlands and Tyrell Museum), fossilized or transformed into fossil fuels.
We’ve seen the countless oil derricks dotted throughout southern Alberta farmlands, and have just travelled through the majesty of the mountain passes, their glaciers, falls, rivers and lakes … and witnessed Athabasca River in all her grandeur.
Today we encountered the river in four locations as we journeyed further north, and became aware, too, of the network of lakes, smaller rivers and creeks that merge with the Athabasca. Yes, she carries the waters of the melting Columbia Icefields and also numerous other sources along the way. She carries life, fish merging with the waters, and wildlife drinking from her bounty. We witnessed geese, elk, mountain sheep, coyotes, and mother black bear with cubs.