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tance back on both sides, the country rises gradually until the general level of the prairie is attained. The valley lying between these elevations well deserves the name of “ Grand.” It is certainly destined to be a place of great importance both as regards its farming capabilities and railway and steamboat privileges. The soil, however, on the south side cannot be called first-class, as it contains much sand and gravel in the ridges back from the river, and many boulders on its surface. There is none of it, however, that will not be taken up, if indeed any of it has been left since the “ boom” of last summer.
About eight miles south of Brandon lie the “ Brandon Hills,” which are very picturesque on the east side, as they rise ridge over ridge from the level of the Souris, which here runs in a deep valley. Aspen is still found in some abundance along the slopes, but much of it is useless except for firewood. Standing 150 feet above the plain, on the most western ridge of the Brandon Hills, the traveller once looked over a vast grassy plain stretched out at his feet, without bush or mound to break its uniformity, except one solitary conical hill rising from the centre. Now, standing on the same point, he looks no longer on a solitary waste, but sees the plain dotted with the cabins of the settlers, and their cattle grazing peacefully in the little valleys or up their slopes. One short year more and stacks of grain will be grouped over every part of the plain, and what in the spring of 1880 was a vast prairie covered with waving grass, will, in the spring of 1882, be alive with settlers, and its solitude and loneliness gone for ever.
Proceeding westward on the line of the C. P. R., the soil is a light sandy loam for a number of miles with many boulders near the railway. Beyond this, the country is firstclass and comparatively level, but altogether without wood. About eleven miles out from Brandon, a patch of sand hills of about a square mile in extent is passed on the left, containing
some wood, consisting of oak and aspen of small size, fit only for fuel. These hills-like all sand hills—are flanked by marshes and hence protected from fire by water. Westward from this point to Flat Creek the railway keeps to the marshy plain, which extends all along the base of the high rolling country more to the north, and which lies between it and the Assiniboine.
The tract lying between Flat Creek on the south and Gopher Creek on the north, is generally low and marshy, or consists of sand hills, altogether unfit for farming, but eminently suited for grazing purposes.
In the marshes around the hills immense quantities of hay can be cut. There is good pasture, wood, and shelter in the hills themselves and permanent water abounds.
After passing the last mentioned creek the land rises gradually and its character at once changes. An excellent farming country is entered upon, which extends with
very little change to Moose Mountain, a distance of nearly sixty miles. For the whole distance the soil is rich and fertile, having a black sandy or clay loam surface soil, with the subsoil varying from gravel coated with carbonate of lime in the ridges to a light ash-colored clay in the more level parts. All the water is good as far as the 102nd Meridian, but beyond that very little is found except in Moose Mountain itself.
Pipestone Creek, flowing in a narrow valley about 190 feet deep, was, when I crossed it on the 26th of June, a rapid stream about twenty-one feet wide and thirty inches deep. It rises in the high country between the Qu'Appelle and Moose Mountain, and flows to the southeast into Oak Lake, described in a previous chapter. Near the lake the banks of the Pipestone are low and the valley not so confined, but as the stream is ascended the valley narrows and becomes much deeper, so that it is with extreme difficulty that carts can be taken across it. The summit of the valley slope is generally covered more or less with boulders, but this is no unusual occurrence, as the higher slopes of nearly all the river valleys of the plains are similarly covered. The upper part of the valley is filled with wood, which extends in clumps into the Wolf Hills, that were formerly covered with fine forests of aspen, but these have nearly all disappeared within the last thirty years.
The Weedy and Wolf Hills are a continuation of the Moose Mountain ridge, and are of the same general character. Many diverse opinions will be expressed regarding this region, as men of various temperaments view it. To one it will be a land of ponds, marshes, willow bushes, aspen clumps, and rolling hills, altogether unfit for farming on account of the broken character of the surface. Another seeing these characteristics will consider each one an element of future good, and will say, this is a land destined to become the garden of the North-West. Both will notice that the soil is unsurpassed for richness, and as they examine the rich black clay loam, the croaker will declare that the soil is too rich, and that wheat would be sure to lodge owing to the length of straw. These objections have been urged to myself time and again, but they fall to the ground when fairly tested. The tract to which these remarks apply will be in the market the coming summer. of it west of the 102nd Meridian, included in Ranges from 1 to 10 west, and Townships 15, 16, 17, comprising about 2,000 square miles, will be found superior to any other locality yet opened for settlement.
The Qu'Appelle River joins the Assiniboine about three miles above Fort Ellice At its mouth, and for twenty miles up to the mouth of the Big Cut Arm Creek, it averages seventy feet in width, with a depth of from eight to twelve. Cut Arm Creek comes in from the north and has a width of twenty-five feet, with an average depth of about three. Between Big Cut Arm Creek and the Fishing Lakes, the
That part river still retains its size, being very little under seventy feet in breadth, but its depth varies from three to ten feet. Between the Second Fishing Lake and the Assiniboine, the distance in a straight line is about 110 miles, but by the winding of the river in its valley the distance is increased to 270 miles. Qu'Appelle Post and Mission are situated between the four Fishing Lakes, which are noted for their great depth and the abundance of white fish (Coregonus albus) drawn from their waters. Above these lakes the river still retains a breadth of forty feet, but the depth decreases, so that at the Grand Forks, or outlet of Long Lake, it has become an insignificant stream. The total length of the valley is about 250 miles, but owing to its tortuousness the river cannot be less than 500 miles long. The valley for the whole distance averages fully a mile in width, and its depth varies from 200 to 300 feet. Small steamers can ascend to the Mission without difficulty when a few obstructions, caused by boulders, are taken out of the river's bed. The eastern end of the valley is of little value, as sand dunes and gravel hills choke up its northern side. Before Big Cut Arm Creek is reached the soil of the valley becomes very rich, and this is its general character for nearly 200 miles.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF THE COUNTRY NORTH OF THE
Extending from the Qu'Appelle, northwest by Pheasant, File, and Touchwood Hills to Quill Lakes, eastward to the vicinity of Livingstone, and southward, a little east of the 102nd Meridian, is a tract of country containing at least 7,000 square miles, or about four and a half million acres of excellent soil. It is true that the western side is almost devoid of wood, but to compensate, the hills, extending all along its flank, are covered with trees Pheasant Plain, which extends from the crossing of the Pelly