LIVING OFF GRID

This blog is about our travels in our solar powered "Airstream" and living off grid, in our passive solar home, near Bancroft, Ontario, Canada.

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Tuesday, 19 June 2018

KENORA, ONTARIO

Had to check out the swinging bridge in Wolseley, Saskatchewan yesterday along

with their main street,

historic courthouse and

opera house built in 1904.

Today we had lunch with Bruce and Miriam Martin friends in Winnipeg we haven't seen in years. Bruce was our pastor at KRT in Brampton and he was a big help and support during the days Mary's Mom was struggling with cancer. You really appreciate family and friends at such times and it was so good to have a few hours to re-connect today.

Kenora is the Muskie capital of Canada and to say they are as big as trees is no exaggeration; see for yourself. If you live in the north you need to love fishing.

Tonight we are camped at Willow Creek campground just east of Kenora.

 There are some very large motorhomes here, some from as far away as Texas; guess Texans like to fish too.

Tonight we should get a good sleep, no trains in the area and we are well off the highway.

Tomorrow we hope to reach Thunder

Thanks for keeping an eye on us.


Monday, 18 June 2018

EAST OF REGINA

This morning finds us camping at Creekside RV Park, just east of Regina. I expect we will be home this weekend.


Yesterday before leaving the Grasslands NP they served "cowboy coffee"

While the coffee was brewing we sat around and heard stories of the pioneers who had ranches in what is now the park. I was able to share stories about my own grandparents who homesteaded in Saskatchewan at the same time but further north.

On the drive out we stopped at several sites to see remains of those ranching days. Here off in the distance stands an old corral.

There are also over 1,000 identified sites of native Indian activity. These people did not stay in the park but were nomadic following the bison throughout the year.

Tipi rings are the easy signs to spot of this early culture. Look carefully, can you see the ring of stones?

Here Mary is standing inside a ring high on the edge of a valley which was a preferred location. The stones were used to anchor the bottom of the tipi and keep it from blowing over.  From this location the Indians could watch for bison and the breeze kept the bugs away.

We will soon be into northern Ontario and the provincial parks there do not offer internet service. It will be a challenge to keep posting and so if nothing appears for a few days just know we are fine and unable to connect.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

GRASSLAND NATIONAL PARK

Spent three days in the Grassland NP in southern Saskatchewan.

They have large tent cabins available for those without equipment.

The first night they had a campfire where we made "smores" and learned about the history of the park and why it was here.

We camped in the overflow area which was nearly empty.

Just inside the park entrance we were greeted by this friendly fellow. There are 500 bison in the park and they roam free throughout the year. At the moment the bulls are wandering around by themselves while the female bison have moved to the far corner of the park to give birth to their babies. This was the only bison we saw this close during our stay.

Saturday morning we took a three hour hike with the park naturalist to learn about the ecology of the area and what species are endangered or threatened.

There is a large colony of prairie dogs here in the park, one species they are trying to protect.

I'll try to write tomorrow but internet connection is not always possible.

Thanks for stopping by and keeping an eye on us.




Friday, 15 June 2018

FORT WALSH

The weather was perfect when we visited |Fort Walsh in the Cypress Hills on Thursday. It is a national historical site as it was a North West Mounted Police force post back in 1875.  This was a critical period in Canadian history when this area was being viewed as a possible new addition to the USA.

In 1873 wolf hunters who had been on the trail of stolen horses attacked a camp of Nakoda Indians resulting in the massacre of elders, warriors, women and children. This hastened the dispatch of the NWMP and was one of the first tests of Canada's law enforcement policies in the west.

The fort is complete with students dressed in period costumes acting out the roles of people who actually lived at the fort back in the 1870s.

Our tour guide was excellent, explaining the use of each building and how the men lived and trained in these facilities.

No idea if the men had time to socialize back in 1870 but they seem to be enjoying some time together today.

There was a group of school children ahead of us being put through a training exercise as if they were members of the original NWMP stationed here.

Three of us were arrested by this constable. I was charged and convicted of selling booze in town and sentenced to a fine of $200 or 6 months in jail.

Here I am pleading my case in court, obviously not taking the charges very seriously.

This was the men's sleeping quarters, seven men to a room and no soft mattress to sleep on.

Outside the palisade there was the Indian encampment to tour .....

a Red River cart to examine and

a outdoor kitchen complete with working wood stove and fresh bread to enjoy.

Finally there was a log building outside the fort used as a trading post for the locals and Indians in the area.

It was a wonderful experience to step back in time and  relive for a moment the lives of those entrusted  to settle this land and establish law and order in a region where it had never existed.

CYPRESS HILLS

Thursday morning (June 14th) we left Reesor Lake in Cypress Hills and headed for Fort Walsh a reconstructed fort that played a pivotal role in the early settlement of this area.

This is a beautiful area totally unlike anything you expect to see in the prairies.

The lake was like glass this morning.

Mom and dad had the little ones up early for a walk to the lake.

They soon had them jumping in the water and paddling around like old pros.

This was our entry into Saskatchewan, a back road through the park. (click picture for a better view)

Our drive was slow and we stopped often to admire the views and take pictures.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

CALGARY

Wednesday June 13th found us headed for Calgary.

We met Sean early in the morning and gave him a tour of the trailer as he hadn't seen it yet.

Phil, who rents the apartment to Sean, joined us for coffee and some tips on places to visit while in the area. Cypress Hills was high on his recommendation list.

Then it was a short walk over to Cora's for breakfast.

Calgary has made it very easy to get around by foot or bike, which Sean really likes.

We left about 10 headed south and east to visit the park Phil recommended. Cypress Hills is an  inter-provincial park on the Alberta, Saskatchewan border. It is a unique environment for this prairie province and also full of early Canadian history which I enjoy.

Although our visit was short as Sean has students to coach and a trip to Quebec this coming weekend to organize, it was still a delight to have some time together. Next year we will organize our dates better so we can do some camping together. Maybe we need to be thinking northern BC for 2019.


FINALLY WE HAVE INTERNET

We left Nakusp last Thursday and took the ferry across the lake headed to Fernie BC.

This campground wanted $70.00/night so we kept looking.

This is more our style at $32.00/night.

Friday morning we left in the rain.

With this truck I wouldn't need to tow my trailer, just put it right inside the box.

Surprised to see cowboys actually doing what they have been doing for hundreds of years. These boys were moving a herd up the highway to a new pasture, all done on horseback and with a dog.

Next stop was Waterton which you read about already. Sorry for the confusion.