Updates: Buffalo Hunt & Hay Lakes Trail

If you were wondering whether or not the scheduled meetup between Mr. Steinhauer, Mr. Woolsey and John McDougall ever did happen, the answer is yes. The two groups, travelling from different directions, arrived within days of each other at the Cree camp of Chief Maskepetoon. They participated in a successful buffalo hunt, socialized and celebrated, then each returned to their respective settlements. McDougall and Mr. Woolsey’s route to Smoking Lake passed through Fort Edmonton:

Our course was now westward up the Battle River, and then northward for Edmonton… We went in by the “Bony Knoll” and what is now known as the “Hay Lake Trail,” camped twice, and reached the Saskatchewan opposite the fort in the evening of the third day. Swimming our horses, and crossing in a small boat, we resaddled and repacked and rode into the fort.”

in Parsons on the Plains by John McDougall, edited by Thomas Bredin

This paragraph was particularly interesting to me because of its mention of the Hay Lake Trail. I’d come across the name before on road signage, and then on a historical marker on Telegraph Flats outside of Fort Battleford, SK (Sunday Sunshine: Afternoons on the Road). I’d assumed that the trail came about from the telegraph, but I was wrong. It was obviously already in existence in 1862 when McDougall and Woolsey traveled north on it. Filling in blanks like this is great fun. My next google search will be “Bony Knoll.”

Sleeping Rough

sleeping rough
Perch Lake, AB

The effect was alchemical. When I stuck my head in the light of dawn… somehow I belonged in a way that I hadn’t before. Sleeping out produced a sense of enhanced connection with the land, a feeling almost akin to ownership: the paradoxical entitlement of the rough sleeper; whose lack of rights somehow grants him a greater right than anyone else.

by Nick Hunt, describing his first night ‘sleeping rough’ on his long distance walking expedition across Europe in Walking the Woods and the Water: In Patrick Leigh Fermor’s footsteps from the Hook of Holland to the Golden Horn, 2014.

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