This is the Okotoks Erratic in Okotoks, Alberta. These large quartzite rocks were a part of the Foothills Erratics Train. They consist of a group of large rocks carried from the Rocky Mountains by glaciers during the ice age. This block in particular came from the Jasper area and weighs about 16,500 tonnes and measures about 41 x 18 x 9 metres.
The name of the rock comes from the Blackfoot word for rock: Okatok
Many of these rocks have split from the prairie sun. There is a Blackfoot story as to why:
"One hot summer day, Napi - the supernatural Trickster of the Blackfoot - sat upon the Rock to rest. Because it was so hot, Napi threw his robe over the Rock saying "Here, I give you my robe, because you are poor and have let me rest on you. Keep it always." Napi walked on, and it began to rain. Napi sent to the Rock and asked it to lend him the robe, but the Rock refused. Napi got angry, and took "his" robe. As he walked away, he heard a loud noise - the Rock was chasing him!
Napi was scared and ran. His friends - the buffalo, the deer and the antelope - tried to stop the Rock, but were crushed. Nearly exhausted, Napi called upon some bats for help. The bats dove at the Rock and one hit it in the middle and split it in two."
This Blackfoot legend shows both how the rock was split and how bats got their "squashed faces.
I've heard other variations of this legend where Napi is a coyote and he has a fox friend. He sends the fox back to get the robe instead. When the rock starts to chase both of them, the fox dives into a hole but his tail gets squished by the rock. This is why foxes have a white tip on the end of their tails. And at the end some witches turn the rock to dust and then want to eat Napi, so he tricks them and escapes.
To hear this version of the story you can visit the Myths and Legends Podcast site and listen to episode 32. There are a few other stories of Napi that are shared.
Below are a few more photos.
Hello readers! I'm Brian, an amateur photographer. I will be posting photos I take, reviews of products, and any tips I can offer to fellow photographers out there! I hope you feel welcome to read, leave comments, and create discussion! Check out other posts on my Niume account here: Brian Sloan Blog