The Frenchman Trail 2018

classic fence photo of pilgrims

For five days we walked across the prairie. Thirteen miles was our “short day.” We watched for badger holes in the grass, spots where you could drop in to your knee and break a leg. We rolled under and climbed through barbed wire, not always successfully (I have a ‘pic’ in my left palm from grabbing a strand carelessly). Sometimes we walked silently. More often, in spurts, we chatted. During the day we baked in over-thirty temps and at night we shivered in our tents as it dropped to single digits. I was amazed at the wonderfully talented, eclectic group walking south with me. When they found out what I teach, I was challenged: “is this a pilgrimage?” That depends. We ended at a cathedral. We talked a lot about reconciliation, and tried to live it, at least a bit. We sang and laughed and formed a community that blessed each other. It was a holy time. For me, at least, that made it a pilgrimage.

Hugh and Matthew and sign

8 thoughts on “The Frenchman Trail 2018

  1. It was the trail used by settlers from Quebec, who left the train at Mortlach and trekked overland with all their belongings toward Gravelbourg, where many of them established farms.

  2. Many thanks to you, Matt and Hugh, and the other walkers for including me in past pilgrim experiences whereby your brief words above re indeed full of memories and meaning. Walking is the ticket to a whole new exploration and embrace of the natural world and all that dwell within it. And perhaps the closest we can come to the unseen supernatural beings and forces the move within, behind and through our temporal physical environments and existence. Folly some might say… delusion likely from the strain… but let me walk thus way, and Walk This Way, for it makes life infinitely more interesting and mysterious. Here’s to the pilgrims’ progress, both veterans and newbies. Our spacious Prairies under vaulting skies are an apt place for such supplications and reflections; all in time and tune with the steady swish and crunch underfoot.

  3. Many thanks to you, Matt and Hugh, and the other walkers for including me in past pilgrim experiences whereby your brief words above are indeed full of memories and meaning. Walking is the ticket to a whole new exploration and embrace of the natural world and all that dwell within it. And perhaps the closest we can come to the unseen supernatural beings and forces the move within, behind and through our temporal physical environments and existence. ‘Folly’ some might say… ‘delusion likely from the strain’… but let me walk this way, and Walk This Way, for it makes life infinitely more interesting and mysterious. Here’s to the pilgrims’ progress, both veterans and newbies. Our spacious Prairies under vaulting skies are an apt place for such supplications and reflections; all in time and tune with the steady swish and crunch underfoot. (With typo orrections) RK

    • Richard, thanks to YOU for being part of these western walks from the very beginning, and our first steps on the North West Mounted Police Patrol Trail, climbing through all those fences that first day. It may be folly, in some ways, but it’s also a beautiful chance to commune with each other, with nature, and with our deepest selves….

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