From the Devils Punchbowl

The Devils Punchbowl in the Spirit Sands is magical place. It is a fairly exhausting trek to get there. Once you’re there, you want to stay, but you know that you’ll have to get ready to move again.


But before we leave, let’s go and take a closer look.

Viewing decks are built high above the Devils Punchbowl. And, as to be expected, the view is wonderful. It also makes it clear that descending the slopes to get to the water down below is out of the question.

So, if you can build decks for a view, you can also create stairs to get safely down to the water… Moreover, you will not be damaging the fragile ecosystem of the Spirit Sands when descending.


Below, a floating boardwalk allows you to put your feet in the water. Don’t try to drink it though. Fresh it may be, drinkable it is not. Look at the deposits on the bases of these dead trees. That doesn’t look like healthy water to me.

Self shining portraitSelf shining portrait

Walking on the wooden boardwalk, I couldn’t resist taking a little self portrait. You can see that the water is far from transparent. Even a polarising filter didn’t help.

Stairs, nothing but stairsStairs, nothing but stairs

From higher up, the water looks clean and inviting. And icy cold as well. This was also a good time to eat those fruits, drink the water in our bags and have a little rest. The temperature here at the Devils Punchbowl was around 30C, a little water to drink was welcome.

Clear waterClear water

This place is very quiet. Usually you can hear birds or insects, here everything was totally quiet except for the murmur of water coming down from the upper “lake”.

Ghostly remnants of treesGhostly remnants of trees

A last look at the trees that perished long ago of an overdose of water…

Silver reflectionSilver reflection

Going back up the stairs on the other side, we noticed the “hand of the Devil” brushing over the water, as if to invite us in… We declined the invitation.

An amazing colour paletteAn amazing colour palette

Back up on the top of the punchbowl the colours were vibrant, even if the environment was completely dry. I never imagined that a dry place could still have so many colours. The last time we were in the Spirit Sands, everything was subdued. But I guess that was because it was slightly raining at that time.

Some welcome fresh shadowSome welcome fresh shadow

Going back to the parking lot, we decided to take a different path, without ticks, this time. At first, the trees seemed to be inviting and promised lots of cool shadow. It turned out that this was the path we refused to continue on earlier, thinking it would lead us nowhere.

Viewing the ancient seabed called ManitobaViewing the ancient seabed called Manitoba

That cool shadow was not to last. The above shot shows a view of the Manitoba Prairies, flat and green. Up here, all was dry, but vibrant with green, red, yellow, blue, white, name the colour and it was here.

Winners and losersWinners and losers

While some trees succeeded in growing well, others, well, they just had to give up. The result is a place that has lots of potential fire hazard for the coming summer. And in summer, the rain will be absent. Any fire would simply remove all vegetation, leaving only the bare sand for the wind to take.

A dry pathA dry path

While the Devil might like some fire to warm up, fire in this place would be a catastrophe. I can only hope that the place will be protected. Either by prevention or simply closing the area for the dry summer time. As far as I know, it will be really hot and quite dangerous to be in, during summer.

Perhaps I’m overcautious, but this place is so beautiful that it needs all the protection it can get in order to stay beautiful for the future.

If you’re not too far away, make a trip to the Spirit Sands. Make sure you have water and food with you, preferably a camera, too. You will not be disappointed. But like always: Take only pictures, Leave only footsteps!