Margaret Plain Eagle and Jordan No Chief have a deep bond to the land here, telling us about the plants that they used to make dyes and medicines.
I could feel the deep connection to the words Margaret spoke. She picked up the small flowers blooming, showing how the yellow pollen falls off easily and told us her people used this to make dyes. I hadn’t even noticed the wild strawberries surrounding us until she pointed them out. It made me want to slow down and notice all these small details.
We headed farther south into the park and to picturesque Beaver Mines Lake. We picked a nice day use spot for Jordan No Chief to tell us about the importance of the Castle area to him.
As a flock of geese flew overhead he said: “We invite all people to come share the beauty this part of Alberta holds. This is one of the last remaining natural wild lands in the region. This is the traditional land upon which we hunted and fished, I am pleased to see it now protected as a provincial park.”
Listening to the words of the Piikani First Nation elders you can’t help but want to protect and love places like this. I learned from Margaret that the popular hiking route to massive Table Mountain standing behind us was where she went as a young girl with her mother and grandmother. It was there they would go for a vision quest and ask the Creator to show them their path.
We said our goodbyes with Margaret and Jordan so that we could continue to explore a few other parts of the park. Such a large park with endless opportunities, there are four campgrounds, a group camp, and plenty of rustic camping areas to choose from.