Current news – We crossed the border from Canada to Montana USA 23rd Sept, from here we went down through Glacier NP. Our heading now is Yellowstone NP. We are dodging snow on the highlands and have a small window of weather for the next few days after which we turn south before we are snowed in.
Imagine the year is 1867 the year of the Canadian confederation, you are travelling the Cariboo trail. A small post house marks the 108 mile on the stagecoach route (from Dawson Creek mile 0), mail and supplies could take weeks to arrive on the rough dirt tracks. From this time on various enterprises try to make a success here, many come and go, a horse ranch, lumber mills and many more.
It is the time of the last frontier, of wide open spaces, dark stands of evergreen and graceful groves of white-trunked aspen, of shining lakes and the big empty sky above. The human population is sparse, rugged pioneers scattered over a seemingly endless expanse of wilderness. It is hard living but it is also a land of opportunity. Moving forward in time the logging and ranches continued until 1969 when the land was purchased by Henry Block who developed areas of the ranch as an airport, residential and recreational areas. He also set aside 1500 acres of greenbelt and 108mile was preserved for the future explorers of this land. Fast forward to present day 2013 and 108 mile is now a tourist attraction and various buildings have been built or moved here to enhance the understanding of the history of this region Join us as we take you around. The house Karen is touching the roof of is a trappers cabin built around 1930.
This Clydesdale barn is the longest wooden truss barn in Canada possibly the world. It was built on this very spot in 1908 by Captain Watson to house over 100 of his Clydesdale horses which he imported from England and bred, after his demise sadly time and neglect left it in a bad way until the new owners the historical society procured money from the Heritage trust to rebuild and stabilize it. It was more a labour of love for one man local log-home builder Dennis Wick and his helper who painstakingly hand hewed the replacement timbers one 40ft long and developed a respect for the old timers who built this magnificent structure.
Although the school was an old original the church is a new building built in the old cabin style with huge logs. The arched windows reflected the different purpose of the building.
There were also stables and portable saw mills, old farm machinery and relics of the age.
Further down the road in the town of Williams lake the horse riding lifestyle was celebrated by this wooden statue in town, the murals on the walls here show how times have changed. It was also here we discovered this giant wheelchair which Karen tried for size.
We made it to Quesnel and found a lovely little camp ground at Irwin beach run by the Royal Canadian legion with Hans our host, it was a great setting by the lake. Kev made a lovely meal consisting of snapper and vegetable stir fry in pesto sauce yum.
The light was good that evening for taking photos of the boats on the lake.
Heading out the next morning we encountered our first moose taking a drink from the marshy ponds. As you can see in the last photo she was a little way away but we were soo excited to see our first wild moose.
On route we discovered this little town of Wells, there is a city called Wells in England but it’s nothing like this place. Here colourful houses adorned the main high street.and we loved the odd shape of these buildings, (shame about the power pole in the way). Sunset theatre was built in 1934 (the white building). Have a look at the underground mine workings under the mercantile which is an old fashioned word for shop or merchants.
Stanley was also a town on route but all that remains of the once thriving town is its graveyard, it is a ghost town long since abandoned when the gold rush that spawned it finished. Some of the graves were exhumed many years ago and the Chinese buried here were returned to China to be re buried in their home country.
Next up – Barkerville a living history town