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  • Writer's pictureJanette Frawley

A rolling stone gathers no moss

Updated: May 5, 2021

My friend, Pat, had grown up on a farm in an area near the township of Okotoks, Alberta. The family farm is still very much a part of her life; she is a country-girl at heart. We leave Calgary early as we have a long day ahead of us. Pat has a list of places to show me, and today, we are starting at the family farm.

We drive past beautiful wheat fields, not yet matured, but strong and straight. The plentiful rain of the previous weeks mixed with the warm sunny weather we are experiencing now has stimulated growth and the flat landscape is a sea of wheatfields. The contrast between the tall green strappy crop and the bright blue sky is stark.

A gateway, bearing the combined names of Pat's parents welcomes us to the farm. We drive up a long driveway, past two homesteads and to the huge sheds, which were built by Pat's father decades ago. It must feel like home for Pat, as she shows me the different buildings, each with its own lifetime of stories hidden between the walls.

Pat has done a lot of research into her family history and she has not only collected vast amounts of information and photos, but has put family history and stories into a large tome, divided up by family. It's an absolute work of love, family ties, and local history. Perhaps it will encourage me to work on mine!

This perfect land for wheat crops is flat and sparse prairie land, yet up ahead, a giant rocky mound is visible. As we approach, Pat explains that this is Big Rock Erratic. This huge boulder appears to have collapsed in the centre, giving the impression that it is two, rather then one rock. Glacial Erratics are rock formations that travelled on the top of glaciers, and which dislodged and scattered as the ice melted between 12,000 and 17,000 years ago. Big Rock is a part of the 930 kilometre long lineal scatter of quartzite glacial erratics known as the Foothills Erratics Train, which extends along the eastern side of the Rocky Mountains of Alberta and Northern Montana in USA. Near the entrance of Pat's family farm is a small rock from the same scatter.

Big Rock glacial erratic, Okotoks, Alberta

We walk around the base of the rock, marvelling at its size. Over the thousands of years it has been sitting here, ice, water, and wind have eroded and sculpted the surface. I see people profiles as we view the rock from different perspectives.

A face appears in the Big Rock, Okotoks, Alberta.

But Big Rock is just the first stop of our busy day. We return to the car and drive down Highway 22 to another iconic Alberta site.

TITLE QUOTE: Anonymous

ACCOMMODATION: Private Accommodation

BIG ROCK ERRATIC: 8kms from the town of Okotoks, Alberta, Canada

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