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CHAPTER ONE

THE GEOGRAPHY OF OlJR DISTRICT

TOPOGRAPHY

The last glaciation, known as the Keewatin Ice Sheet, came into being some forty-thousand years ago and centred west of the Hudson Bay, covering much of the north central party of North America. It receded from our area twenty-thousand years later, creating, as it melted, the topography of our area, as we know it today.

Observing this country from the Souris River to the north, we see a broad undulating plain extending to the horizon. This is drained, in most cases, by shallow creeks that deepen quickly as they near the river. At a point approximately four miles north of Minto, on a line west-southwest of Elgin, the Turtle Mountains come into view. They were poetically called "The Blue Jewel of the Plain" by La Verendrye, who first sighted their beauty in 1738. ""':'hey are the second highest range in Manitoba, reaching a height A two thousand four hundred and fifty feet at the Turtle Head, the west end of the range. From here, one can view the panorama of the plains to the north, and, nestled just beyond the foothills Whitewater Lake can be seen.

This is all that remains of ancient Lake Souris, being fed by creeks flowing down the northern slopes. Waters of the north­ eastern slopes flow north and east, eventually emptying into the Pembina River.

In this area we find several moraines and, running north­ westerly to the Primrose District, northwest of Boissevain, traces of glacier drift can be located, containing deposits of petrified wood, agate and some fossil.

To view cne of the most beautiful valleys in our area we must skirt the rim of Lang's Valley, which was created when the Souris River, unable to flow north at this point due to the receding ice field, cut a course southeasterly to Pelican Lake, then to Rock Lake and on down the Pembina River.

On the west end of Turtle Mountain, Turtle Head Creek, also known as Newcomb's Valley, in pioneer days, is one of the loveliest valleys in this area. It is well treed, with a fast moving stream, fed by lakes in the Turtle Head region.

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