Take Me to the River

Annette Mangaard

2012, 07:00 minutes, colour


I’m a compulsive traveler, perhaps born of the fact that my family lived in a tent when I was a young child. My parents moved across the Canadian countryside and camped because it was the most affordable option. Camping meant that water had to be carted and carried, pumped and conserved. These images are not only a record of my travels, but also my love of and respect for water. They begin at the source, a glacier… move then through the frozen north of Baffin Island to a river run dry … the Australian desert and end with a lazy float down the river. A flow that appears to be continuous and without end…….

In Patagonia, I scale the Tronador Glacier. The trail is hot, dusty, difficult and being largely vertical - feels impossible. All of this is compounded by having to carry an enormous pack. At the summit, I am rewarded with a breath-taking view of the Andes as well as a clear, cold stream of water that pours steadily from the mouth of the glacier. The supply appears to be endless.

When I was 23 I went to live in the Canadian Arctic for a year. Because of the permafrost there was no running water in the houses. Instead each household had a large indoor holding tank into which water was pumped twice each month. Water was a precious commodity.

The desert intrigues me. In Australia I visit the outback town of Broken Hill. Recent high rainfalls had transformed the dry red earth into a green desert; tiny flowers abound. The beautiful mysterious Menindee Lakes are flooded for the first time in almost a decade. And yet a nearby riverbed that normally flows with muddy water, contains only dry cracked red earth.

On the northeast coast, I board a riverboat in Daintree, moving upstream from the Pacific and the Great Barrier Reef. On a slow leisurely ride I feel the water flow beneath me and I ponder the future of the earths sustainability….

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