Good morning troops!!
(Got to use military lingo as we are visiting the Fort today and we want to impress the Royal Northwest Mounted Police)
Everyone should take the time to explore this part of Canada because it definitely isn't "empty or boring between Winnipeg and Calgary" unless you stay on the Trans-Canada Highway staring through the windshield doing 130 ks per hr in which case you really have missed things Big- Time.
In the summer when the road is open, you can go cross country from Elk Water Lake on the North west side, to Fort Walsh on the South East side of the Park along one of the most interesting and remote back roads. Watch out for cattle, deer and buffalo and of course the endless two, 12 inch deep tire ruts that turn to grease if it rains. Aside from that, if you’re not pulling a trailer and not afraid to get your undercarriage bumped a little, it’s worth the white-knuckle excitement.
Coming down to the area from the north approach, you come to the interpretive center. Here you find out all you ever wanted to know about the early days of the RCMP. They used this Fort as a base as they fanned out one by one into the remotest places of Rupert’s Land to stamp out the whiskey- traders, wolf- hunters, and blind drunk cowboys. You either had to be plain stand up stupid or incredibly brave for this job. All the ones in the first category got army issue grave markers while the rest made it into the history books
I have to leave my bike in the parking lot and hop on to a small rickety school bus. The driver puts it into bull gear and keeps his foot on the brake as we descend to the valley. I check for a land anchor to heave over board. Not finding one, I grab the over-head chicken- bar strap like every one else.
Every one in the Fort is in period costumes. Feels really authentic and is well presented. I get hauled in for being drunk and disorderly and a mock trial is held. I have to promise to keep the peace and post a $3.00 bond.
I’ll let you know how I get out of this tomorrow
Doug G Photos courtesy of Ilse Upsher, East End Sask.
422 TL 3078 OS