Sunday Sunshine: Old Man Buffalo

One spring day in 2016, after years of travelling back and forth along Hwy 14 (AB) / 40 (SK), I decided it was time to take a look at the Viking Ribstones. East of the town of Viking, AB is a pull-out with a provincial heritage marker describing Ribstones Historic Site. I’d stopped there many times, but had never ventured any further because the turn off wasn’t marked.** However, I’d recently come across instructions on how to reach the site, and that encouraged me to try a quick visit, without risk of losing time on a search.

ribstones enclosure
Ribstones Historic Site, east of Viking, AB

The Viking Ribstones are two quartzite boulders known as glacial erratics that identify an archaeological site going back to ancient times. These Boulder Petroglyphs have markings that resemble the spine and rib cage of a buffalo as well as smaller circular indentations whose purpose is unclear. Speculation suggests these pits could represent 1) arrow or bullet wounds, or 2) are the result of “repeated pounding done to replicate the sound of a running herd as part of a pre-hunt ceremony“, or 3) “may have been carved in imitation of the pock-marked surface of the Iron Creek Meteorite.” The
papamihaw asiniy (flying rock in Cree) or Iron Creek Meteorite could be seen from this hilltop until it was removed in 1866 by Missionary George McDougall.

boulder petroglyphs
Boulder Petroglyphs w/ markings

The Viking Ribstones are one of nine ribstone sites that have been found in Alberta. This location, on private land, is unique in that the boulders have not been disturbed or removed. In the 1950s, the area was ploughed, and at that time many ancient artifacts were uncovered. Historically, good luck offerings and prayers of thanks were given at ribstone sites to “Old Man Buffalo,” the spirit protector of the buffalo herds. Today, this hilltop remains a sacred site. Sweetgrass braids, offerings of tobacco, and colourful prayer flags on the surrounding trees and fencing are placed regularly, and should be respected.

SOURCES:

** Note: There is now signage marking the grid road south.

All photos, except where noted, copyright D. MacLeod. All rights reserved.

Sunday Sunshine: Signage!

Sign- Reserved Parking for Clergy, Tramping Lake, SK
Tramping Lake, SK: “Reserved Parking for Clergy” in front of St. Michael’s Roman Catholic Church, which is still in operation.
New Idea No. 16 printed on antique farm equipment
Landis, SK: “New Idea No 16” – piece of antique farm equipment at the Landis Museum. I’m guessing this is a manure spreader because both New Ideas 15 and 17 are spreaders (?).
Sign- Village Office, Cando, SK
Cando, SK: “Village Office” no longer in use as Cando became an unincorporated hamlet in 2005, and now falls under the jurisdiction of the Rural Municipality of Rosemount No. 378.
Window sign, Books, Books, Books, Books, Perdue, SK
Perdue, SK: “Books, Books, Books, Books” – bookstore featured in MacLean’s magazine, which prompted me to make this my destination, today, “Canada’s most inconvenient bookstore is a ‘treasure’ on the Prairies

All photos, except where noted, copyright D. MacLeod. All rights reserved.

Sunday Sunshine: Alberta Badlands

view of the Red Deer River north of Drumheller, AB
View of the Red Deer River north of Drumheller, AB on an October (2016) weekend. We were too late in the season to visit the Atlas Coal Mine National Historic Site. And, a spur-of-the-moment visit to the Wayne’s Last Chance Saloon was a bust, too: the tables were either full or reserved. No big deal though, because there’s always next time. In the meantime, there were the views…

All photos, except where noted, copyright D. MacLeod. All rights reserved.

Sunday Sunshine: Jackfish Lake, SK

Jackfish Lake, SK
View of Jackfish Lake from the lighthouse hill, Cochin, SK

The Cochin Lighthouse is, not surprisingly, the only one of its kind in Saskatchewan and offers spectacular views of Jackfish Lake and neighbouring Murray Lake. It sits atop a hill in the resort village of Cochin, about half an hour north of The Battlefords. Cochin, named after missionary Father Louis Cochin O.M.I., was originally settled as a Métis community, and Métis people continue to live in the area, today.

Also nearby are the Saulteaux and the Moosomin First Nations, both of which are Treaty 6 signatories. The Saulteaux are an Ojibway-speaking band whose forebears made their way to Saskatchewan from the northern United States via the northern Great Lakes. The group traveled west with the expansion of the fur trade. Land near Battleford was allocated for the Moosomin First Nation in 1881, but after the CNR main line was constructed through the reserve in 1903, the Moosomin were forced to surrender their land and relocate to the Cochin area.

To read more about the area’s history and attractions, click here.

All photos, except where noted, copyright D. MacLeod. All rights reserved.

Sunday Sunshine: Afternoons on the Road

Rain or shine, for me, it’s all about being on the road. I like to stop for historic markers, and keep my eye out for any, and all signage that may hint of a former overland trail. It’s almost like solving a mystery: it takes knowing a bit of background, being on the alert for clues, and then putting it all together, which in some cases only happens with luck!

Today’s #SundaySunshine is all about the clues:

Hay Lakes road sign
This road sign led me to a dead end at a T-intersection. But with help from Google and the Alberta Register of Historic Places, I discovered that the Village of Hay Lakes used to be the location of a telegraph station that went live on Nov. 20, 1877 when it passed a message from Fort Saskatchewan to Battleford. The Hay Lakes Trail probably refers to the original telegraph line, which would have provided access to the station, as well as a route north. Two and a half years later, I found the cairn below:
Telegraph Flat cairn, Battleford, SK
“Telegraph Flat was named in 1876 when the Dominion Telegraph company opened its western terminus office on this site.” The cairn is located on the west side of Highway 4, across the fields from Fort Battleford National Historic Site, Battleford, SK. Fort Battleford was the original capital of the old Northwest and an important stop on the Carlton Trail.
Post Office Ranch sign, Carlton Trail, SK
The Post Office Ranch sign is located on the Carlton Trail, SK on the way to Fort Pitt. I imagine it to once also have been an overnight stopping place for travelers, or maybe even a general store. And, what these imaginings mean is that I haven’t really done any further research. Yet.
Victoria Hotel, Bruderheim, AB
The Carlton Trail included a segment known as the Victoria Trail, which connected Victoria Settlement with Fort Edmonton. The hamlet of Bruderheim traces its origins to the efforts of a Scotsman and rancher named William Leslie, who in 1892 had taken a homestead at the present town site, also operating a store from his cabin on the Victoria Trail.”
Victoria Fancy Sausage store on 111 avenue, Edmonton, AB
It turns out that Edmonton’s Victoria Fancy Sausage & Delicatessen was originally located in Beverly, a small community on the eastern outskirts of the capital region. The Victoria Trail passed through Beverly to join up with the Jasper Trail (now Jasper Avenue) which connected Fort Edmonton to Jasper, AB.

Connections are everywhere. It’s all about finding the dots. Of course, there are red herrings out there, too, but for me, Sunday afternoons are made for this!

All photos, except where noted, copyright D. MacLeod. All rights reserved.

Sunday Sunshine: A Prairie View

frosted trees, Cut Knife, SK
Facing west from the entrance of the Clayton McLain Memorial Museum, Cut Knife, SK (2018)

All photos, except where noted, copyright D. MacLeod. All rights reserved.

Sunday Sunshine: Victoria Trail, AB

North Saskatchewan River from Victoria Trail
View of the North Saskatchewan River from the Victoria Trail, AB.

All photos, except where noted, copyright D. MacLeod. All rights reserved.

Sunday Sunshine: Cut Knife Museum, SK

Cut Knife Museum's Pioneer Village from across the trout pond
View of Clayton McLain Memorial Museum‘s pioneer village from across the trout pond. Cut Knife, SK 2015

All photos, except where noted, copyright D. MacLeod. All rights reserved.