Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fort Steele and Finding Sharon!

We're off to Nelson this morning. I called Sharon (my friend from Hepworth days) again this morning and it rang! Then I realized there is an hour time difference and it was only 7:30 a.m. Yikes! The voice on the message didn't sound like her, so I was hesitant and hung up. Waited a bit and called again and next thing I was talking to her. Yippee! The more excited she got, the more excited I got. You can imagine the conversation. Ha ha! Poor Jim! Sharon is going to call us when we get to Nelson...

Here was our view as we started off to Nelson. I will probably take a million mountain pics because they always look so beautiful.

Jim's expression on the trip has become "Well, look at that now!" So everytime he says it, I take a picture!

So peaceful...

We saw this sign and decided to go see Fort Steele. We had heard a lot about Sam Steele and the North-West Mounted Police at the RCMP museum in Regina.

The sign inside said:
A reserve on the St. Mary's river was laid out for the Kootenay Indians in 1884, but as the district's ranching potential became known, investors pre-empted meadows traditionally used by the Indians. The Indians made counter claims and in 1887, British Columbia, fearing violence, requested North-West Mounted Police protection. In response, Inspector Sam Steele built the barracks known as Fort Steele here. The police presence led Chief Isadore to relinquish his claims and retire to the reserve. Within a year order had been imposed, leaving the area open for development, and the police post was abandoned.

In 1898, when the B.C. Southern Railway bypassed Fort Steele in favour of Cranbrook, the town soon declined into obscurity.

The heritage town was open, but there was no one there (great!), but also none of the buildings were open (not great!). So it was like walking through a ghost town. We didn't get too much information, so we made our own stories!

The government of the nicest buildings in town...

The hotel and band stand...

I found a cat!!

The town really was deserted!

There were three different churches in the town, but all of the signs were blank, so we could only guess at which was which.

The province acquired the site in 1961. We surmised that some of the original buildings were beyond repair and they kept them as they were and constructed the others.

The sign outside the blacksmith shop.

The blacksmith shop...

An old house....

And a new house...

Look at the colour of the sky against the buildings. So beautiful...

The white building is the gift shop and admissions building. It looks great against the mountain backdrop.

Jim posing!

There were some turkeys and roosters. OK...I don't this a rooster? (Not a farm girl...)


The time changed at the top of the Kootenay pass. I had always thought the time changed at the border between BC and Alberta. In the north it does, but in the south it follows a wiggly trail. Who knew?

There was some snow at the top of the pass (1800 m) and the roads had been plowed recently.

The trucks must hate these roads, especially in the winter. One of the many runaway lanes, in case they get out of control.

Entering Nelson!

Sharon and me...this is at least picture No. 6 as we were laughing so hard someone's eyes were always closed. It was really funny that on the weekend before I called Sharon, she and her husband, Chris, were going through old photos and found this one of us. (Sharon receiving her "Hepworth Award" in 1998?) She snatched it up as she was leaving the house. We haven't changed a bit (well, maybe a bit!!). It was so good to see her again. We yakked for 3 hours...Jim tuned us out!

And he's still smiling...

A wonderful day! We are staying another day in Nelson to do some sightseeing...

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