Tuesday, 27 June 2017

On Sunday, June 25, 2017, we traveled through the back country and ended up at the Cardinal Divide, it is a very slow but beautiful drive up the Elk River Road to the Trunk Road and then on into Cadomin, through the Valley to Mountain Park which is the headwater of the McCleod River. We stopped at the Mountain Park Cemetary to pay respects to some of Chris's family members who resided in the town of Mountain Park. The Cheviot Coal Mine is adjacent to the Cemetary, the historical and the modern all in one valley. The elevation at Mountain Park is about 5800 feet, the Cemetary is at 6200 feet. Mountain Park was known as the highest civilized point in Canada at one time. Due to generally declining coal markets, the residents of Mountain Park moved to other towns and the town itself soon became a ghost town, some moved their homes board by board from there to a new location, several of these were moved more than once. We had the opportunity to have dinner with a lady who lived in Mountain Park, we will be going back with her in tow to absorb more of the history of this fascinating part of our Alberta History.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

In the early years of building and getting children to country schools, was sometimes an adventure.
The "School Van" pictured here was one of six that were used in the Hoosier Saskatchewan School District No. 1145. There were six different routes that were tendered on by local farmers and townspeople. They were tendered spring and fall and driven by the winning tenderer or his or her spouse, son or hired man. During the thirties, the tenderers were paid an allowance that went against their land tax. The Vans were constructed of wood with a canvas enclosure and was designed to run on wheels in the spring, and fall and could be converted to sleigh runners for winter. There was even a little wood stove inside to keep everyone warm and cozy. These Vans were eventually replaced by motorized School Buses, which made life much easier for all, drivers and students alike. Hoosier is a few Km. east of the Alberta/Saskatchewan border, north of Marengo Sk. and not very far from where I grew up and lived for many years.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

In the early days, there were schools situated in very unique places, usually when small communities felt the need for a school in their area. This particular school was located a few km NE of the town of Esther, it is the Claremont School District No. 3018. The school district was formed in 1913 and plans were made to build a school, the community took out debentures from the government, a carpenter was hired and with volunteer labor, the dream became a reality. The school was situated on Neil Blue Sr's land and since he had come from a town in Ontario called Claremont, that was the name given to the school. For many years the school was also used as the United Church and ministers came from Compeer to give the Sunday Sermon. The last records of teachers and activity in the school were in 1940-41, it seems the school closed after that year. The school still stands today on the Blue farm north of Esther.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

When I was growing up and learning to curl, one of my hero's was Ron Northcott. One of his curling mates was Fred Storey from Empress, Alberta, pictured in the center, he threw lead rocks for Northcott. This team of professional curlers Won the Alberta Championship seven times, Canadian Champions three times and World Champions three times.  Fred is a member of the CCA Hall of Fame and also the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame. Fred started his curling career at the age of 13, by hanging out at the old curling rink in Empress, substituting whenever he could. This is a great achievement for a young lad from the tiny little town of Empress.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Lundbreck Falls, just a bit west of the town of Lundbreck along Highway 3 is typically a lazy little fall with a 30-meter drop. Last Sunday we stopped there and grabbed a few shots, it is roaring over the rocks and is incredibly loud with a spray mist. I was told that there is still parts of the high country that still has a lot of snow and the run-off has only just begun. I am always awed by this little falls and have photographed it in all seasons and many variations, including one with the train in the background. It is well worth the drive from Black Diamond past Longview and on down to Lundbreck on a Sunday afternoon. The scenery is incredible and the drive is very relaxing.

Wednesday, 31 May 2017

                                                         Wenger Heights School
Wenger Heights School was situated southwest of Esther, it was built in 1914 making it the second oldest school in the Esther area.It was situated on a high point of land on the NW 29-30-3-W4 on land owned by J.D. Wenger. The school operated from 1914 until 1934 when there were only eight students attending, in 1937 the School District was incorporated into the Acadia School Division and students had by that time gone to several different schools in the area. As many of the old schools from this era, they were bought by local farmers and either used for grain storage or for shops. This particular school was moved to New Brigden and then eventually purchased by Innozenz Hertz who in turn tore it down for the lumber.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Sharing my Experiences.
During the winter of 1968 my friend and neighbor, Ron Barnett, asked me if I would like to work on a seismic crew. I discussed it with my parents and they suggested it would be a fantastic experience. After Christmas, I drove with Ron to Hanna, Alberta to begin my career with Velocity Surveys, a Seismic company from Calgary. We spent a couple weeks living in the old Seymour Hotel and working south of Youngstown, near Big Stone, after that, we moved to a camp job south of Grande Prairie on the Kakwaw River. We spent the winter there and at breakup moved all the trucks and drills back to Calgary.
The following winter I went back and had the opportunity to work on the survey crew, eventually ending up behind an instrument, working with two great guys, Bill Pajak and Brian McBride. When spring came, instead of shutting down, we all boarded a plane and ended up in the Arctic on Prince Patrick Island at a place called Satellite Bay. When I stepped off that airplane, it was -60 F and very windy. I asked myself, what on earth possessed you to do this? Well, long story short we stayed there from April 1 until July 1 and I got to experience 24 hours a day daylight and had the opportunity to work with some great people, who became lifelong friends. When I got home I helped on the farm then back to a crew doing Gravity Exploration near Caroline. My younger brother Brian joined me on this crew and that is where he began his career as a surveyor. He too has had some fantastic adventures throughout BC., Ab., NWT and now in Saskatchewan with Stantec.
All in all the many different experiences I had during my time on seismic crews prepared me for the rest of my life, preparing me for life's experiences and allowing me the ability to be able to work with confidence in myself.