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Oh, December…

Yep, December…what a fickle mistress you are! You can be warm and inviting, or frigid and heartless. Which one will you be this year? Sometimes you can’t make up your mind (though it seems like you are leaning a particular way), much like your name. Even though you are the last month of the year, we really know your name means otherwise. Despite all of this, I still do appreciate you; well, maybe without the double-digit negative temperatures! You bring with you a season of giving, happiness and holidays. And beyond that, comes a new year, an opportunity for renewal and new hope. So here’s to you and what may come!

So here we are in December…and none too soon. As you can tell, I haven’t really gotten back into the routine of writing; things are still pretty busy. This is unfortunately only my third post since July! My schedule is a bit better than it was, so most of the explanation behind my lack of writing is laziness, though I can say there is a bit of burnout as well. A lot has gone on since my last rant, so I’ll attempt to fill in the blanks here with as much brevity as possible.

I guess for starters, football season has been over for a month. It was another very successful campaign for our team, though we wished it would have ended differently. We finished third in the regular season, and upset the number two team in the semi-finals. So for the second time in three years, we advanced to the SSSAA (Superior Secondary Schools Athletic Association) Junior Football championship. Our competition would be our sister school, the St. Ignatius Falcons. The boys played hard, but unfortunately our season-long injury situation caught up with us (5 starters were out) and we fell 7-0.

Now you may be asking what I’m doing with all the extra time I have. Well, obviously it’s not writing! For the most part, the last several weeks have been about catching up on everything that had gone on the back-burner since September. It’s been a bit of a struggle, but I’m slowly making some headway, especially with my marking. I’m hoping to have pretty much all of my outstanding assignments cleared up before we break for Christmas.

One of the things that has been keeping me hopping is the preparations for our March break trip to Europe. We depart in 85 days! It’s hard to believe it’s coming up that quick. I know the kids are getting pretty excited, and though there’s some stress associated with the planning, I’m eager to go as well. I did manage to convince my wife to come along, even though she’s a very nervous flyer. It will be nice to share the experience with her.

The railway front has been fairly quiet as of late. With football and everything else going on, there hasn’t been a lot of time to devote to it. I did fit in a presentation a few weeks back to one of the local Gyro clubs, but that’s about it. Probably the biggest news is the forthcoming publication of my first article on the town of Leeblain. It just went to print last week, so hopefully I’ll have copies in my hands by the end of the month. Obviously I’m pretty excited to see the culmination of a lot of hard work!

I would imagine that the next few weeks will be about catching up on posting some of the pictures and video that I shot over the summer and fall and never was able to post on the net. I can’t believe that I’ve fallen that far behind. I did however receive some great photos via email. J.T. (James Thomas) Greer was a logging contractor that established a cutting operation along the railway during the winter of 1915-1916. His work along North and Gunflint Lakes during this period is an interesting chapter in the history of the railway. Several famous photos were taken of the train stuck in the snow on Iron Range Hill (the steepest grade on the line-2%) on its way to North Lake. I was sent two photos of this event from a relative of J.T. Greer; they make an awesome addition to my collection.

Stuck in the snow, Iron Range Hill, 1915-1916. (M. Wilson)

Stuck in the snow, Iron Range Hill, 1915-1916. (M. Wilson)

Stuck in the snow, Iron Range Hill, 1915-1916. (M. Wilson)

Stuck in the snow, Iron Range Hill, 1915-1916. (M. Wilson)

Anyway, it’s time to get rolling. As I mentioned in my intro, it seems as though December has made up its mind as to which way it is going. In the last week we’ve received a few big dumps of snow and now the temperature has dropped considerably (-40C with the wind at night). It certainly makes for an interesting start to winter. I’ll have more updates in the coming weeks. Until then…

Early winter snow, December 2013.

Early winter snow, December 2013.

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Posted by on December 11, 2013 in History, Miscellaneous, Railway, Writing

 

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I survived Snowmageddon!

Snowmageddon? Snowpocalyse if you prefer. Whatever you want to call it, it was bad…really bad. I know that I’ve been writing a lot about the weather lately, but this is the icing on the cake. We have been getting snow steadily for the last few weeks, but no one could have foreseen what happened on Friday. They were calling for a serious dump of snow, but usually the predictions are way off; not this time!

The forecast predicted up to 30 cm between Thursday night and into Friday. I was out at our annual school board Quiz Night on Thursday night and was shocked by the amount of snow that fell during the evening. It continued to snow overnight and there was quite a pile in the morning. I broke my vow not to shovel in April as I had to clean a path at the end of the driveway where the plow had gone by. I didn’t touch the rest of the driveway as I felt confident there would be no issues. Even though we were heading to the same place, my wife wanted to take her own vehicle to meet up with her friends. Unfortunately that plan went amuck when I got her van stuck in the drifting snow as I attempted to back it out; she would have to come 4x4ing with me!

Our Professional Development day was supposed to consist of mass and a speaker in the morning, followed by a technology presentation in the afternoon. The weather however continued to deteriorate as the morning wore on. It was “interesting” driving to our lunch destination, where we heard that buses had been pulled off the streets and police had put out an advisory to stay off the roads. I (and many others) attempted to navigate our way to our sister high school for the afternoon session, but found white-out conditions, blocked roads and stranded cars. At that point we were advised to go home.

By the evening the storm had subsided, so I headed out to clean the snow. It took me a while even with the snowblower as there was at least 30cm in most spots, higher in others with the drifts. There was a layer of wet, heavy slush underneath the new snow, which made everything more difficult. My wife’s van (aka the Loser Cruiser) was still stranded like a beached whale in the driveway; no amount of pushing would free it, so I had to yank it out with my truck.

Early morning snow, April 2013.

Early morning snow, April 2013.

White out lunch, April 2013.

White out lunch, April 2013.

Digging out, April 2013.

Digging out, April 2013.

The day after, April 2013.

The day after, April 2013.

So needless to say I’ve had enough with the snow. Some went away over the last few days, but to my chagrin, I woke up to a few fresh centimetres this morning.  The temperatures are supposed to climb though, reaching a high of 17 on the weekend. 17? Seriously? So we go from snowstorms and below zero temps to shorts weather in less than a week. Inevitably I’m going to be complaining on the weekend about how hot it is…can’t we just pick a season and stick with it?

So 500 words later, that is the scoop on our weather. Let’s talk about some other stuff shall we? So early last Friday morning, in the throes of the lovely blizzard, I met with my counterpart from St. Ignatius to discuss next year’s trip to Europe. We want to students to do some research before our cemetery visits (Bergen-op-Zoom, Beny-sur-Mer, Bretteville-sur-Laize), so it was imperative that we were on the same page. I think we have all the plans ironed out, so it’s now just a matter of explaining it to the kids. I have a meeting scheduled for next week and I’m pretty excited to start talking about the trip.

The railway front has been typically busy. Unfortunately my desire to go hiking continues to get delayed, but hopefully with the arrival of warm weather it will just be a matter of time. My next two adventures will take me to North Lake (probably on the May long weekend) and hopefully to Minnesota. Let’s hope that those warm temps melt everything fast!

Last Wednesday the board of the Silver Mountain (and Area) Historical Society gathered for what was supposed to be a Skype group call, but due to technical issues, it ended up being a rather crude conference call (we’re going to meet in person next time). It was a great opportunity to discuss some important issues and plot our direction for the next few months. There are some exciting things happening and I can’t wait for it all to unfold.

I my previous post I mentioned that I would be speaking to a gentleman from the Ontario Heritage Trust regarding our attempts to preserve sites along the North-Gunflint Lakes Historic Corridor. The phone call could not have gone better. He was very understanding and provided me with a lot of information about what we can do. He was very familiar with some of the people who I am working with in our area and clarified a number of things regarding the Ontario Heritage Act.

I am really looking forward to working with all of these great people and pushing this project forward. There is a lot of history in that area and I hope we can preserve as much of it as we can. From what I am beginning to understand, this is a realistic possibility. There is something important in the process that’s supposed happen soon, but I don’t want to say anything until it’s actually confirmed; you’ll have to wait for the news.

Anyway, time to go…lots of things to do. Hopefully I’ll have some good news (and good weather) to pass along next time. Until then…

 
 

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Enough already!

Yes, I’m angry. I’m angry and I’m tired. Confused? Well, I’ll explain. I’m referring to something that is on the mind of pretty much every Canadian right now, in particular the people living here in northwestern Ontario. Still confused? The weather-I’m talking about the freakin’ weather. Mother Nature can be a fickle mistress at the best of times, and at the moment she’s being downright nasty (I did want to use another word, but this is a family-oriented blog). It’s now the 9th of April and I’m tired of seeing snow. Go away already! It is bright and sunny today, but the temps are hovering around 5C, which is about 3 degrees below normal. We need it to warm up more and melt what’s left of the snow…maybe some warm rain will help (as opposed to the snow we’ve received in the past few days). So my fingers are crossed and I’m holding my breath and I’ll let Mother Nature try to redeem herself.

Fresh snowfall, April 2013.

Fresh snowfall, April 2013.

Morning "blizzard," April 2013.

Morning “blizzard,” April 2013.

*Gasping for air* Okay, so I can only hold my breath for so long, but you get the point. I’ll be anxious when we finally get some spring weather; the sooner the snow goes, the sooner hiking season starts! I already have a hike planned for the beginning of May, so I hope I can keep to that timetable. I guess it will be a wait and see game.

Today is April 9th; one year ago I was in France celebrating the 95th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge. I can’t believe that it was that long ago. It was actually a miserable day. I spent the whole day on my feet, in varying degrees of precipitation, from mist to pouring rain. It made me really appreciate the sacrifice of the 3600 Canadians who died in the course of the battle. I have started looking forward to our trip next year and how excited I am to go back. Maybe the weather will be a bit more cooperative in 2014!

Vimy Ridge Memorial, April 2012.

Vimy Ridge Memorial, April 2012.

The major news on the railway front in the past week revolved around the Silver Mountain (and Area) Historical Society. Thanks to the graciousness of my fellow Co-President Shelley Simon, the society was able to share a booth with the Silver Mountain Station at the annual Thunder Bay Home and Garden Show. The event was held on the grounds of the Canadian Lakehead Exhibition (CLE), and we were located in the Sports Dome venue.

Shelley manned the booth all three days; with my wife in Winnipeg for the weekend (watching her “boyfriend” Jon Bon Jovi in concert), I could only chip in for part of the day on Saturday. That certainly was enough, for I was pretty beat afterwards. However, it was very worth it. We had a lot of visitors to the booth and they were very interested in the society; hopefully it will lead to more memberships. You can read more about the weekend here.

Society banner, April 2013.

Society banner, April 2013.

Visitors at the booth, April 2013.

Visitors at the booth, April 2013.

My final piece of news involves our attempt to preserve some of the history in the North-Gunflint Lakes area. Most of the land along that part of the border is crown land, but there are a number of privately owned parcels. Two of those parcels are for sale, and have been for quite some time. The society would love to have land revert to the province so they are open for all to use. Therefore this morning I mailed a very important letter.

The Ontario Heritage Trust is an organization committed to preserving the province’s rich cultural history. This includes such things as buildings and land. My letter was directed to their land acquisitions branch, hoping that they would consider purchasing the land for preservation purposes. Now I get to play to waiting game to see if I get a response, and if so, what the tone of the answer will be. Hopefully I won’t have to wait too long.

Anyway, time to move on. As usual, more to say next week. Until then…

 
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Posted by on April 9, 2013 in History, Miscellaneous, Railway, Research, Writing

 

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Hip history and chocolate potato chips!

So last week as I entered my Grade 12 history class I was greeted by one of my students who presented me with a Pringles potato chip. Hiding the can from me, she told me to “taste it!” I’m usually very leery about requests to taste or smell unknown things for obvious reasons, but I decided to trust her judgement as I’ve never met a potato chip I didn’t like (well, with the exception of dill pickle). Taking the plunge, I was immediately greeted by the strangest combination of flavours I’ve ever experienced. I thought I tasted what seemed like peppermint and chocolate…weird. Turns out that Pringles has released some new flavours for the holidays, including white chocolate and peppermint; not something I’ll be running to the store for!

Anyway, the special edition chips tell us that Christmas is rapidly approaching. The man in the big red suit arrives in exactly one week! It’s hard to believe that it is almost here. It seems like yesterday that it was September and the school year was just starting. Where does the time go? Maybe the saying is true, “time flies when you’re having fun!” I wouldn’t necessarily say it was all fun, but certainly it was memorable.

It has once again been a very busy week on all fronts, especially with work. I am desperately trying to clear up as much marking as I can before we head into the break. My main priority is to finish marking the Gr.12 Independent Studies that I promised would be back by Friday. I also have a bunch of other things that I doubt will be done before Friday and on Thursday all three of my classes are writing tests. So I guess I’ll have a pile of marking to do over the break that I probably won’t get all through.

Speaking of work to do over the holidays, I know I’ll be spending some time going through clips and putting together our annual football highlight video. Come January players from this year’s team will be visiting our feeder school Pope John Paul II to do some recruiting. I guess I’ll have my work cut out for me!

It is also a very busy time for our boys with all the pre-Christmas activities. I spent the afternoon today with my youngest Noah at one of the local farms, Gammondale. They do a real good job making things fun and exciting for these young kids. Too bad they were not able to do the sleigh ride because of the lack of snow. Yes, once again pretty much all of the snow has disappeared due to warm temperatures! Unless we get some snowfall in the next few days (which is not in the forecast), we will have that brown Christmas I spoke of a few weeks ago.

Now with the approach of that much anticipated two weeks off, one of my primary goals (on top of all the other things I just wrote about and then some) is to do some work on my Leeblain article. It seems like eons since I last looked at it (November 4th according to my computer). I really want to get it done so I can have my contact at the Thunder Bay Historical Society take a look at it and give me some feedback. With Christmas close to the beginning of the break, I should be able to squeeze in some time here and there.

Handcar on the PAD&W, date unknown (Shelley Simon).

Handcar on the PAD&W, date unknown (Shelley Simon).

Work is continuing to progress on the Silver Mountain Historical Society. The last week has been filled with many little projects associated with the start-up and incorporation of this organization. We are hoping to have an executive meeting early in the New Year to complete and file the incorporation papers.

Ready for the incorporaton meeting, December 2012.

Ready for the incorporaton meeting, December 2012.

Yesterday I posted the first of what will be many blog entries describing the latest news from the society on our WordPress site. It seems if I am rapidly becoming a social media junky. Between the two blogs, several Facebook groups and pages, as well as four Twitter accounts, I feel as if this is like a fulltime job. However in this electronic age, it is absolutely critical to tap every medium possible. One of our goals is to reach out to our youth, and as a teacher I know that you need to speak their language and utilize all the latest technology. Welcome to a new era, where history can be hip and cool!

Shelley Simon and myself speaking at the SMHS, December 2012.

Shelley Simon and I speaking at the SMHS, December 2012.

On a final note, work is progressing on my personal project to preserve the railway in the North-Gunflint Lake area. Today I received an email from my contact in the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. Apparently gears are turning at the government level and hopefully everyone involved will be able to sit down and discuss where to proceed next. This certainly gives me reason for some optimism. I know that things like this take time, but at least we are moving in the right direction.

Anyway, it’s time to go…marking beckons! Next week’s blog will be a day early due to Christmas. Until then…

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2012 in History, Miscellaneous, Research, Writing

 

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Visions of what???

According to the poem, I am supposed to have visions of sugar-plums dancing through my head. I know that is from “Twas the Night Before Christmas,” but close enough. And what the hell is a sugar-plum anyway? According to our friends at Google, it is a type of dragée candy. Learn something new every day! Anyway, there are certainly no candy images floating through my head. If there was, maybe I wouldn’t have a headache. No, despite the season, my thoughts are focussed on other things. The sugar-plums have been replaced by marking, meetings and railways…par for the course right? All these things do nothing but exacerbate the sense of burnout that I’m feeling right now. How many more sleeps?

So Christmas is exactly 2 weeks away. The brown blah I wrote about last week has been replaced by a new blanket of snow, at least making it feel right. The house is fully decorated and ready for the season. Most of the shopping has been done and there are only a few things left to do. I guess it is now a waiting game, which is always interesting with a couple little boys in the house. They are certainly chopping at the bit for the big guy to arrive. We’ll see what he has in store this year!

To answer my previous question, there are only 8 more sleeps before the break. Thank God…my brain capacity is dwindling by the minute! I know I write a lot about it, but it seems as if every year the burnout gets more pronounced. Maybe it’s got something to do with the fact that I have way to many things going on (hence the lack of sugar plums). I tend to stress about things, which is not usually a good thing to do. I know that relaxation is important (and healthy), but I’m the type whose brain is always chewing on something. School is definitely one of those things. I had to laugh when I read my post from a year ago and wrote Santa for a marking elf. He never did send one, so maybe I should ask again!

This past week was again a very busy time on the railway front. Sunday was the incorporation meeting for the Silver Mountain Historical Society so there was a million and one things to do. Even though the event has passed, there are still many things swirling in my mind. The meeting itself went really well despite some bad weather.

The weather forecast called for snow on Sunday, so as I prepared to gather my stuff and head out to Silver Mountain I was a bit concerned at how that would affect the turn out. I’m sure we did lose some people due to the slippery roads, but the amount of folks that did show up was very positive. There was close to 30 people in attendance, and coupled with those that came to the previous event, we have over 60 names registered with the society!

Silver Mountain Station, December 2012.

Silver Mountain Station, December 2012.

I was the main presenter at the meeting, on top of speaking about the railway and our goal to preserve the North-Gunflint Lake corridor, particularly the ghost town of Leeblain. Other information was presented by my co-host Shelley Simon, who spoke about efforts to erect a historic plaque at Silver Mountain (like the PAD&W plaque in Hymers) and repair the Silver Mountain Cemetery. All this and we haven’t even really started!

PAD&W Historic Plaque, Hymers, May 2012.

PAD&W Historic Plaque, Hymers, May 2012.

To proceed with our incorporation process, a society executive had to be chosen. I was nominated and acclaimed as Vice-President. I certainly appreciate the selection, but I am also very nervous. There are just so many things involved and many of us have never done anything like this. Thankfully we have some members from the Thunder Bay Historical Museum Society who will be guiding us through this process.

I guess my biggest fears stem from the fact that I am unsure how this will affect my free time. Between work, family and coaching, my time is fairly limited. I still want to pursue my research of the railway and especially the fieldwork aspect of it. Hopefully I can find a way to tie everything in together. To compound things, I decided to start a blog for the society as well, The Silver Express (not really sold on the title, but I can always change it). Oh by the way, if you haven’t noticed, I changed the title of this bog too. I thought it was a bit more creative than “Padwrr.”

Anyway, I guess I should get rolling as I have marking to do; big shocker! Hopefully by next week I’ll have some pics of the society meeting. Until then…

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2012 in History, Miscellaneous, Writing

 

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Dreaming of a brown Christmas?

So the $64,000 question is where did all the snow go? Last week I wrote about the big dump of snow we received quite suddenly; fast forward a week and it’s gone just as fast. The abnormally warm temperatures we experienced over the last few days is the obvious culprit…we don’t usually get +8C in December. There’s no global warming right? Anyway, the big downside to all of this is that we’ve returned to that dreary, blah landscape of brown. I’m not the biggest fan of winter, but I must admit that things do look better covered in white. And besides, snow just puts me more in the Christmas mood, especially since the big day is only three weeks away!

So, other the lack of a white blanket in Thunder Bay, what’s new Dave? Well, to quote my usual response, “same ole’ crap!” Not that life is that uninteresting or negative, it’s just that I’m tired. No, not the I need a nap tired, but just that I’m a bit burnt tired. Time for a breather…a break if you will. And coincidentally enough Christmas break is just around the corner (well, 13 days from now to be exact)! As I’ve mentioned on several occasions already, I am definitely looking forward to the vacation. Things are not entirely sane right now and it will be nice to have a few less things on my plate.

What is it keeping my so busy you ask? The most obvious answer to that question is work. Despite my desire for a respite, I still have a job to do. This is usually the time of the semester that my marking tends to pile up and my illness a few weeks back did nothing but exacerbate the situation. I am behind! Marking is like this never-ending battle (well, it technically does end at the close of a semester); just when you seem to have gotten yourself caught up, you’re almost instantaneously swamped again. I guess I have another 15 years of treading water…cheers to me!

Anywho, the craziness with work has made it a bit of a challenge to get through all my railway related projects. My free time has once again, like it has been the last number of weeks, been dominated by preparations for the Silver Mountain Historical Society incorporation. Things are a little more real now since the 9th is this weekend. There is still so much to do! I think Shelley and I have nailed down the agenda, and now I’ve begun work on the actual presentation. I have part of the slideshow done for the meeting, and I’ve started work on a video for one of our principal priorities, the preservation of the North-Gunflint Lake corridor.

As the date approaches I am becoming increasingly nervous. Preparation is not the concern; as a teacher, I learned a long time ago that preparation is a critical element in the success or failure of anything. I think it’s just who I am. As a bit of a perfectionist, I do put a lot of pressure on myself when it comes to things like this…I just want things to come off as good as possible. I get the same way before football games…I routinely have to trot off to the port-a-potty on the field even though I went before we left the school. I’m sure I’ll be fine, but guaranteed the butterflies will be swirling before I start.

All the preparations for the meeting over the last few weeks has not taken every minute of my time, as I have found a few spare moments to do some other things as well. I did manage to get another vintage video up on YouTube, this time of the area around the Gravel Lakes. The Gravel Lakes are a chain of four lakes stretching for 2.5km from Sun Hill to Gravel Lake Station (mile 52); they are one of the most “interesting” sections of the railway. When I say “interesting” I am obvious being very facetious, as the Gravel Lakes are probably one of the worst pieces of grade on the entire line.

Rail bed, Gravel Lake I, July 2010.

Rail bed, Gravel Lake I, July 2010.

Rail bed, Gravel Lake II, July 2010.

Rail bed, Gravel Lake II, July 2010.

This entire stretch lies just at, or even below the water level of the lakes. It could be that the level of the lakes has risen in the past 120 years, but most likely the grade has settled into the swampy, muskeg topography of the area. If you’re not familiar with muskeg, just give it a Google. In his book “The National Dream,” noted author Pierre Berton wrote of the challenges of building railways through the Canadian Shield. He stated that many times entire sections of seemingly solid line had to be re-laid as they had settled into the muskeg; one had to be done seven times!

Ties, Gravel Lake II, July 2010.

Ties, Gravel Lake II, July 2010.

I first walked this section back in 1994, and was completely horrified (maybe that’s a bit strong) by what I found. I even got lost at one point, as I could not believe that it was the railway winding its way submerged through the last lake; it in fact was! I returned in 1997 to grab some video (I could have sworn I was there in ’95) and found that the water levels had receded somewhat. This is the footage I posted to YouTube.

Rail bed with ties, Gravel Lake III, July 2010.

Rail bed with ties, Gravel Lake III, July 2010.

I was back in the area two years ago in the summer of 2010. This section is interesting in the fact that because it is rather swampy, not many people have travelled it since the rails were removed. There are stories floating around of the locomotive engineers setting the engine on a slow speed and walking beside it on a particularly bad area because there was a tendency to derail. There are others of the train men becoming adept at coaxing the train back on the tracks because it would derail so often. I swear these legends speak about the Gravel Lakes!

Rail bed, Gravel Lake IV, July 2010.

Rail bed, Gravel Lake IV, July 2010.

Anyway, my journey a few years ago was to gather GPS data for the grade as it is difficult to plot its location due to the settling. I found that the water levels were even lower than in previous years, revealing things such as ties that I had never seen before. Many of the ties still had spikes in them! I would imagine that after sitting in the ground for so long, and the area being so wet, that they just left them in place. I took many pictures, but sadly I did not have my video camera with me. Therefore I will be returning to the Gravel Lakes to do just that, maybe even this summer.

Ties with spikes, Gravel Lake IV, July 2010.

Ties with spikes, Gravel Lake IV, July 2010.

Anyway, time to call it quits. I’ll definitely have a lot to say after Sunday’s meeting. Until then…

 
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Posted by on December 4, 2012 in History, Miscellaneous, Research, Writing

 

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Well, it was inevitable!

Gee, what is it you’re talking about Dave? Could it be that it’s the end of November and winter has finally arrived? Yup, you got me! However I must say that the onset of winter this year was a bit unexpected. Last Thursday the temperature was +10C and it was beautiful outside. By the next day the temperature has dropped to -6C and we had received 20cm of snow. That’s a bit of a 180 if I do say so myself! Buses were cancelled and so it was a rather quiet Friday at school with only a handful of kids in the building.

I must admit that the snow on the ground does add a little colour to what was becoming a rather blah landscape of browns and greys. Christmas (yes, the c word) is less than a month away so it was expected that some snow would fall-hence this week’s title. The forecast does call for the temps to rise back above 0 for the weekend, so we may lose some of the white stuff. I’m okay with all of it though, since at some point the boys and I can start going back up the mountain.

The end of November means that we are rapidly approaching the holiday season, and there are a scant three weeks left to go before the break. Perfect timing, as it’s starting to get to that “I need a rest” point to recharge the ole’ battery! Lots of things to do between now and then though, and I’m sure it will be very appreciated when we get there. Unfortunately due to my bout with the flu last week, I am very much behind in my marking and the next little while will be filled with the sound of shuffling papers.

This past weekend I tried to play catch up on missed projects from the previous week. My wife’s van received its winter tires, albeit a day and a pile of snow late. This weekend I’ll have to get up the outside lights, but thankfully my wife and the boys looked after the trees and decorations inside. Let’s hope those mild temps show up since it’s always a pain getting the lights hooked up when it’s freezing cold out.

It has once again been a very busy few days on the railway front, with my efforts again focussed on the Silver Mountain Historical Society. On Wednesday I had my planned meeting with Bonnie McNulty who is a regional advisor with the Ministry of Tourism, Culture and Sport. There were no earth-shattering revelations, as Ms. McNulty is just an advisor who offers support and advice to people like me. However it was reassuring to know that our group is headed in the right direction and talking to the right people. Hopefully this will lead to some sort of historic designation for the railway and eventually the planned hiking trails that we are after.

A lot of my time has been taken up in planning the upcoming incorporation meeting on December 9th. I’m really glad there are people around me like Shelley Simon and Ellen McInnis who have been instrumental in getting everything organized and promoted. The agenda is nearing completion and I’ve started planning what the presentation will look like. It is still a week and a half away, but I know that time will quickly fly by. I’m pretty good right now, but I’m sure my anxiety level will go through the roof as the date gets closer. Try to stay calm!

On a related note, I happened to take a look at the Gunflint Lodge website today to see if they had anything about my February presentation. In October I was contacted by Sue Kerfoot to see if I was interested in doing a few talks about the railway for their winter programming. Of course I gladly accepted! So the lodge has created a weekend package around the talks, snowshoeing and skiing. Hopefully I can convince my wife to tag along; she can get a massage while I yap! I really enjoyed my last stay there and the accommodations and hospitality were great. You can check everything out on the Gunflint Lodge website (I’ll have to talk to them about the spelling of Leeblain though).

Gunflint Lodge, May 2011.

Gunflint Lodge cabin, May 2011.

Romantic cabin for one, May 2011.

Gunflint Lake, May 2011.

Anyway, time to wrap things up for now. More to say next week as usual. Until then…

 
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Posted by on November 27, 2012 in History, Miscellaneous, Research, Travel, Writing

 

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