Monday 30 November 2015

A walk to the Paint Pots in Kootenay National Park

I went here on November 1, 2015. Of course the day I decide to go it has to snow two to three inches of wet snow that day. The trail is nice and wide. It is marked as wheelchair accessible. Parks Canada does a great job of marking and maintaining trails. 

This is a one kilometre walk from the parking area. This is just off Highway 93 west of Alberta border. This would have been better in the summer simply because you would be able to see everything better. I kind of misunderstood what would be here. I expected water or mud bubbling up from the ground. Instead there are three pools where minerals accumulate over time from underground springs and there is a runoff from these pools. It is a nice little trek.

The paint pots are formed by the accumulation of iron oxide around the outlets of three cold mineral springs. As the rim of iron builds up around each pot, they gradually increase in height. The greenish colour of the water is the result of fresh water mixing with the pooled water.  

Mineral laden runoff. There is a lot of iron in the water.

The three pools are just above this runoff.

There are three pools. With the recent snowfall I was really able to show one of them.

The earth here is red and yellow and used to be mined. This is a long abandoned cart.

More mining remains.

On the way back this tree with overly green branches caught my eye.

Sunday 29 November 2015

Reid Hill Cemetery

In 1906 there was a store in this area and a temporary North West Mounted Police detachment. This is eleven kilometres due east of Vulcan, Alberta on Highway 534. Reid Hill came into being before Vulcan existed. Vulcan remains, all that is left of Reid Hill is a hall across the road. The church that was here was moved to Champion, Alberta many years ago.

The two acre cemetery was neglected for years until someone got a government grant to improve the site. Apparently a lot of the graves were unmarked. The headstones were moved and the original site is farmed.

This is at the back of the collection markers. I would like to see it at the front. Some person likely scraped together what they could to give someone a marker. I think it deserves a more prominent position. It is also the most recent headstone at the site.

Saturday 28 November 2015

The smallest Post Office in western Canada

Located in Metiskow, Alberta. Photos as of November 9, 2015. I find odd stuff like this interesting. 

Friday 27 November 2015

Morning moon

To the naked eye the moon was huge and wonderfully defined. On camera, not so much. Quick attempt taken at 8:20am November 27, 2015.

Old firehall, Lougheed, Alberta

November 9, 2015. No dates or information that I found. I like running across stuff like this.

Thursday 26 November 2015

Metiskow, Alberta November 9, 2015

Metiskow is a little bit off the beaten path. I posted some photos of Metiskow on Facebook and a cousin commented that my uncle, my father's brother, was born here. I never knew that, then again I was never much into family history. My father was never really into pursuing it. A lot of relatives I have never met. My grandfather on my father's side died years before I was born.

Less than one hundred people live here. I can confirm there is an active rail line beside the town as the train went by when I was there. 

The church has stain glass panels in the windows, nothing fancy, just coloured panes of rectangular glass. It looks like it is still being used as a church. There was no way to see the inside.

Wednesday 25 November 2015

An anniversary of sorts

My first entry on this site is dated November 21, 2014. I do not count this as the true start of this site because I had no idea what I was doing or how to set things up. That was a practice post. I cobbled enough knowledge together to start posting a few days later. I count the first true post on this site to be November 25, 2014 and I have managed minimum of a post a day since then. My goal was to post original content and see if I could keep it up for a year. I managed to do it. The photos on this site are my own with the exception of a few images from Google Maps and a couple I used to illustrate the Airdrie hailstorm of August 7, 2014. Therefore I declare this day to be the one year anniversary of this site.

A few notes to note. Wirecutter got me started through reading his site.  I had the idea that if he can do this then I certainly can. No, that is not meant as a slight, it looked like he was having fun doing what he was doing. I had no vision of what I wanted to blog. I had emailed him months before I started blogging and he gave me a lot of good advice. I really appreciated the time he took to help me out with a few questions that I had about this whole blogging business. I still read his site but I have a minor criticism. I think his site is much better when he concentrates on original content like his stories and his history posts. I have sent him a few emails after I got started to thank him for everything and never heard back. No matter, I am still grateful though.

Angel at her site got me some initial exposure and some information as well as C.W. at his site. I correspond on a fairly frequent basis with the very nice and fun lady at All of them have been very helpful. I must not forget Irish in this, he has indulged me a couple of times in the past. 

Some years ago I read an autobiography by Michael Caine called "What's It All About?". A very enjoyable read. At the end he had no idea. Neither do I. I started this blog as a way to store some photos and know when and where I was at a certain place. If someone read it I considered that a bonus. I got more out of this then I thought I would. I have not received any negative comments, I have got a couple of odd ones, some helpful ones, all have been great. I think I have managed to make a few contacts along the way and might be able to meet up with some people that I have met through this blog.

I was not sure if I was going to continue this after one year. The big reason that I started this site was due to a change in my situation. I was married for over twenty years, I was served early in 2014, and sometime in the future I will be divorced. The reasons do not matter and I doubt I will be posting anything about it here. A few years ago I had a job where under constant pressure from deadlines, the place was always understaffed, I frequently worked after hours and on weekends. I felt I was on automatic pilot, functioning and not living. Now I do something else that I actually enjoy. It took me some time to adjust, things are at a different pace. I do not wake up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat about something job related like I used to and I do not labour under constant stress. 

The benefit of age is that it allows you to examine things in a different light. A large number of relatives on my father's side of the family dropped dead in their fifties from various causes. A disturbing number died at age fifty-four. If this is to be my fate I determined that I was going to squeeze in some living in the meantime. I am probably in better health than most of them, I have never smoked and occasionally drink. I also like to get out and do something like explore. It is interesting how many people live somewhere and never go out to see the place where they live. So while going through an adjustment in my situation I picked up a motorcycle which became therapeutic in a way and the blog morphed into a hobby.

I was going to stop this cold turkey and move onto something else, perhaps start up an entirely different blog. Now I am unsure. I will likely keep this going. The frequency of posts may or may not lessen. It has been interesting enough and doing this has led to a few things and I will see how things progress. 

Tuesday 24 November 2015

Main Street Airdrie, Alberta 11:30am November 24, 2015

My thoughts on disappearing small towns


Everything got better, likely with unintended consequences.

There are a number of torn up rail lines in Alberta. Trains used to have to stop at intervals for water. There were a number of rail stops and sidings for trains and rail crews. Trains improved over time and the need for multiple rail stops decreased over time. A number of rail stops had accommodations for crew, sometimes a general store, sometimes a small town of some size. A lot of these places disappeared entirely over time. Some of them are not even names on a map anymore. The need for multiple rail lines themselves became redundant. Tearing them up had a devastating economic effect on many places from which they would never recover.

Farming became more efficient. Years ago there were gangs of workers that travelled from farm to farm during harvest. Mechanisation made them obsolete. There used to be small towns all over where farmers used to travel to for what they needed. Things had to be within a certain distance and accessible. A lot of times you would see farm equipment dealers in small towns. Not so much anymore. General stores which were in every town now do not exist. My father grew up on a farm. He mentioned sitting on a steel tractor seat enduring the summer heat and dust. Now you have sealed air-conditioned cabs with satellite radio and GPS. You can do a lot more with less.

Roads improved, vehicles improved, people could travel longer distances. Everything got better and more reliable. Small towns used to have gas stations and mechanics. Even the cheapest car you can buy new these days is pretty reliable. My grandfather had a garage and shop in Tomahawk, Alberta many years ago. He would not be able to do it in this day and age, there are less people and no market. I remember it was fairly common to get a flat tire. The tire technology has improved so much that getting one is almost rare.

With better roads, better vehicles, transportation got cheaper and more efficient in the process. This had a ripple effect, you could travel further and were not constrained by being where you lived. You have more choice. Unfortunately smaller places often could not keep up, compete, or there was no longer a reason for them to exist.

Technology is a large part of it. Two world wars stripped a lot of towns of people. You read cenotaphs in dwindling or abandoned places and it is amazing how many people from small places served. The wars also diverted funds for irrigation projects and roads that doomed some places. Consecutive years of lean harvests sealed the fate of others.

You read in the news that some small Alberta towns are offering incentives such as free land with a stipulation that you have to build a house on it to get people to move and live there. The sad reality is that I believe it is a losing battle and they will be unable to reverse the decline. That way of life is no longer there. I think we will eventually see a small number of large populated areas with less and less in between. I do not necessarily believe things were better years ago, just different. The landscape is changing.

Monday 23 November 2015

Annasheim School, October 31, 2015

On Highway 855, north of Highway 9, north and west of Hanna, Alberta. This is right beside the highway, hard to miss.

The inside is home to a number of pigeons and possibly a few bats. There are quite a few one room schools in this area. There must have been a larger population to warrant them. Close to fifty years was a long time for one of these to operate.

Sunday 22 November 2015

Hemaruka, Alberta

November 9, 2015. This is now a ghost town. It was named after a railway engineer's four daughters, Helen (He), Mary (ma), Ruth (ru), and Kate (ka). You cannot miss this place, it is right on Highway 884 south of Veteran, Alberta. There are a couple of houses not pictured that look occupied although I cannot be sure. There used to be grain elevators here years ago. You can see where the rail line once existed.

Saturday 21 November 2015

Odd sights on the road

I really took the long way home taking a trip down Highway 884 south of Veteran, Alberta. Sometimes in the least expected places you see some odd sights.

I have no idea if there is any significance to the rainbow.

Headless Horseman? I think that was the intent. This had to take a bit of work and creativity. This is something that should get more attention. I am sure that Highway 884 does not get a lot of traffic.

Friday 20 November 2015

Music that sets a mood

On the road there are times that I like something that seems to set a mood. A review I read describes it as spectral. I really like this.

Near Cessford, Alberta

November 11, 2015. Some enterprising soul years ago built a small house in the middle of nowhere on the open prairie. Some of these look the same, I wanted to get a number of photos from different angles on this. 

This had to be an ambitious undertaking. The river is about eighteen kilometres away. There area is almost devoid of trees. I would like to know how old it is and how long someone lived here. The big challenge years ago would be to avoid going mad in the middle of the open prairie being so isolated. The loneliness and hard living conditions must have got to more than a few people.

A long line of tumbleweeds that are trapped by miles of fence.

Thursday 19 November 2015

November 1, 2015 in Radium, British Columbia

There is a T intersection where Highway 93 meets Highway 95 and over forty of these decided to block traffic. They know the score, nothing is going to happen to them in town so sometimes they just decide to be stubborn. Road hazards can be a little different in the mountains and on occasion you just have to wait them out.

Wednesday 18 November 2015

Signs of . . .

This is kind of funny if you are familiar with Alberta backroads. In rural areas where there are dirt roads there are often roads that are not even gravel. What looks like a solid surface might not be. A quick short rainfall can turn some of these roads into a quagmire. Four wheel drive is not going to help you either.

This one is great as well. My backroads atlas sometimes brings me to roads that ceased being roads. I appreciate that someone put up a sign.

One of the best ones I saw on some open prairie in a remote corner of Alberta said "Not Recommended For Winter Travel". It was the middle of summer and it looked like a goat trail and I would not have recommended it for summer travel either. I should have got a photo of that.