So I just checked the counter on my “dashboard” and I have just eclipsed the 5,000 views mark for this blog since I first created it in November 2011. Impressive…most impressive! I had to throw that one in there, since I am wearing a Darth Vader t-shirt today (Ethan and Noah’s favourite, the one where Darth is walking an AT-AT instead of a dog). Anyway, a big thank you goes out to all of you, the readers, who have taken the time to peruse my often witty, sometimes boring ramblings. Most of you are fellow Canucks, some of you are our neighbours to the south and a few are from far away places such as Vietnam, Jersey and Malta. I hope you return for more entertaining, insightful musings.
Since I am a bona fide literary heavyweight, I guess I need to make sure that this week’s installment is packed full of great material, both delicious and nutritious! As per usual, it has been a crazy week, with tons of things going on and it doesn’t appear that it will change anytime soon.
So I’m currently sitting here watching my Grade 12’s finish their exam, fitting in some sentences while I circulate and answer questions. This is my last exam, which means that by tomorrow all my marks will be in and another weight will be lifted off my shoulders. Thursday and Friday are both PD (Professional Development) days, filled with meetings, information sessions and preparations for second semester. At least we get a chance to go out for lunch on those days, which is a nice change of pace.
I do have a bit of apprehension heading into the new semester, since I am teaching my first ever eLearning class. eLearning is a fairly new program whereby course content is delivered online using a system called the Learning Management System (LMS). While I’ve never taught in this medium, I’m sure I can handle the technology portion just fine. I am a bit concerned about the fact that I’ve never done the course before, which is Grade 12 World Issues (geography). I’m sure I will be fine, but it is always a challenge teaching something for the first time and figuring out exactly how to work it. I’ll find out soon enough!
Remember last week when I wrote about the absolutely frigid temperatures, the likes of which I’ve never seen before? Well today it was 39 degrees warmer at +1C with some slushy, wet snow…this weather rollercoaster is absolutely insane! However the weekend was gorgeous, and coupled with the recent snowfall, allowed me to finally get up the mountain for the first time this year. It felt good to get out into the fresh air, especially after being cooped up in the house because of the cold weather. The only “sore” point was the fact that my body didn’t appreciate the 7k walk and 700 foot vertical climb. My legs were pretty stiff trying to get out of bed the next morning!
It has been another very busy week on the railway front once again. There has been some movement with the Silver Mountain Historical Society, as we press toward the incorporation of our group. I’m trying to get some action going on a logo for the society, which will help us with marketing once the incorporation goes through.
In my last installment I wrote about several photographs that I received from Library and Archives Canada and my attempts to identify them. I’m happy to report that one photo was most likely taken at Whitefish Lake, where the Snowden Brothers operated a logging business. Another appears to be a construction camp at the east end of North Lake. The third shows a locomotive, which has added another piece to our ongoing investigation of the Black Auntie.
I did spend a bit more time on Ancestry trying to gather more information about the railway management. I did make some headway, but my principal task of locating photos has proved very frustrating. I wish there was just a magic place that had all the pictures I was looking for!
Most my interesting piece of news from the past week was an email I received from Gunflint Lake. If my article on Leeblain is selected for publication, I thought it would be important to have a detailed map of what the site looked like. My biggest problem is that the only map of the area was done nearly 20 years after the town was established. I needed some expert help, so I contacted long-time resident and current Gunflint Lodge owner Bruce Kerfoot. Bruce’s mother Justine (who I was fortunate to meet in 1997), first arrived at Gunflint in the late 1920’s and became a legend in the Boundary Waters area. I met Bruce back in 2011 at the Gunflint Green-up and I was hoping that he could help me out.
In response to my inquiry, Bruce sent me a map that completely shocked me. I was aware that there were several buildings at the site, but Bruce’s map showed the locations of 8 structures on top of the station beside the grade. Unfortunately this information has provided me with yet another mystery; if there were so many structures at Leeblain, why are they not on the 1911 Boundary Map? My theory is that some buildings, such the trading post/hotel, were shifted to Gunflint Narrows. I can’t wait until the spring so I can get out to Leeblain and do some exploring!
Speaking of Leeblain, next weekend is my presentation at Gunflint Lodge. Things are rapidly coming together and I guess I need to get my butt in gear and finish the slideshow. Another busy week ahead…what’s new!
Anyway, I need to get rolling. This coming Sunday is Superbowl, so I’m sure there will lots of news to talk about. Until then…