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Message in a bottle

Bob Walker is hoping bottle will make it to the Arctic Ocean
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Klondyke Ferry operator Michael Metzger and Bob Walker prepare to toss a large water bottle with a note inside into the Athabasca River on Aug. 7.

BARRHEAD – Sangudo’s Bob Walker has lived all his life near the Athabasca River, or one if its main tributaries, the Pembina River.

As a trapper, and an avid fisherman, he enjoys the outdoors, and also has a curious mind and wondered how far a large blue plastic water bottle would travel down the Athabasca River.

On Aug. 7, with the help of Klondyke Ferry operator Michael Metzger, the pair launched one into the Athabasca River mid-stream from the Klondyke Ferry, which is near the north end of Barrhead County.

“It floated really well, and it is a fairly sturdy bottle, so should survive the river quite easily,” Walker said. “I attached a bright flag to it, so it should be easy to spot.”

Inside the bottle is a note in a black plastic bag along with a Loonie and a Toonie; the note indicates where and when the bottle was launched and includes Walker’s name, address and phone number, plus instructions to forward it on downstream again when it is found.

He is also hoping it may reach the Arctic Ocean. To get there would be quite a journey, as it would have to first reach the Peace-Athabasca River delta, past Lake Athabasca, on through to Great Slave Lake via the Slave River and eventually into the Mackenzie River.

That’s a long distance with lots of obstacles, including islands and the Grand Rapids on the Athabasca River about 250 kilometres downstream from the Town of Athabasca. It could take many months, perhaps years, before it will, if ever, reach the Arctic.

“With the red flag and the large size bottle, it should be easy to spot,” Walker said.

Les Dunford, TownandCountryToday.com