Are we there yet?

04 Jun

No, we are not on a vacation to Kansas with Toto, but we are certainly in need of a break! I’m done! Kaput! Toast! (I could go on with the metaphors) It seems as though no matter how much sleep I get, I still wake up feeling tired. There are way too many things swirling in my head that will only go away once the school year is done. Now I know what you’re saying, poor teachers, it must be rough having the whole summer off! Well, truth be told, this occupation is getting harder to do all the time.

Once the weather begins to turn warm in April, this whole idea of “teaching” becomes much tougher to do. The nice temperatures bring with them thoughts of summer and the kids begin to lose their focus. It is now June 4th and we have completely lost them! They have no attention span, trying to do work is like pulling teeth and the senior kids just don’t show up; June is like a good month/bad month. Therefore June 29th can’t come soon enough!

I must admit though that I do have an ulterior motive; summer means that I will have time to do what I want, namely hiking the railway. Unfortunately the bush it still wet from last week’s rain, so I can’t really get out. The city continues to be in a state of emergency, since our water treatment plant is still out of action. More than a thousand homes were flooded by the rain, and I really feel for those people. I hope that things get back to normal as soon as possible.

Gravel Lake Station, June 2012.

I did get out for another drive this week, mostly to complete my task from the last drive. Moving beyond Nolalu, I marked Hillside, Silver Mountain, Whitefish, Wolfe Siding (Suomi), Mackies and Gravel Lake on Facebook. Being out there made me want to be hiking so bad; maybe I have a bit of an addiction! Or it could be that I love being in the outdoors and it gives me the peace and quiet I crave. I never really hiked a lot of the line along Whitefish Lake and my curiosity has been peaked. This area is fairly high and dry, so I might be able to get out next week.

One of my stops was at the Silver Mountain Station, one of the few remaining buildings on the line. It was built circa 1911, replacing an existing log structure and is an identical copy of the station that once stood at North Lake. For many years it has been an iconic landmark on the corner of Highways 588 and 593. During the railway era, it was home at one point to Dorothea Mitchell, the famous Lady Lumberjack. The book on her adventures makes for a very interesting read, not only chronicling some of the history of the area, but also of the life of a female entrepreneur in a frontier wilderness.

Silver Mountain Station, June 2012.

Today the station is a restaurant, recently acquired by chef and baker Shelley Simon. I had a quick chat with her on Saturday, but I need to stop by again this summer and sink my teeth into a PD burger. If you’re in the neighbourhood (or even if you’re not…the drive through the Whitefish Valley is beautiful) be sure to stop in for some great food and hospitality!

Last week I wrote about my concern for the potential development near the ghost town of Leeblain. Unfortunately I did not receive any replies to my emails, which is a bit frustrating. I know that it has only been a week, and that people have other business to attend to, but I had hoped to hear at least something. Maybe I’m used to my profession and things just operate differently. In my line of work, I’m expected to reply to messages/emails as soon as possible. Then again, I’m responsible to parents for their child’s education, so maybe there’s a bit more urgency in that!

My last news for this week is very good news. I’ve written about my planned talk at the Chik-Wauk Museum scheduled for August 5th, but I’ve managed to land something closer to home. On Friday I paid a visit to one of my old stomping grounds, the Duke Hunt Museum. Located just outside Thunder Bay in the Municipality of Oliver-Paipoonge, it will always be known to me by its old name, the Paipoonge Museum. I first visited this great little gem back in 1997 and I spent many a day there in years past. I was privileged to be able to give a few lectures at the museum back in the late 90’s.

It had been quite a while since I visited the museum, especially given that it was recently relocated to a former school just down the road. The director is a great lady by the name of Lois Garrity and it was nice to sit down and catch up with her. Our conversation naturally turned to railway and we reminisced about the presentations I had done all those years ago. It was then that Lois said, “Hey, it been a long time since you spoke about the railway, are you interested in doing it again?” To be honest, I was hoping that she would ask. Needless to say I jumped at the idea and we were able to pin down a date. So on July 25th I will make my return to the lecture world and I could not be more excited. I love to research and hike the railway, but I probably like talking about it even more!

Anyway, enough yapping for now; I’m sure I’ll have more news and things to say next week. Until then…

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Posted by on June 4, 2012 in Hiking, Miscellaneous, Research, Writing


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