Southwestern Saskatchewan Ghost Towns etc.: Day 1

Posted in Abandoned buildings, Driving, Forgan, Ghost towns, Glamis, Hughton, Lacadena, Leinan, Plato, Roseray, Saskatchewan, Shaunavon, Sidewalks, Success, Travel, Tyner, Verlo, Wartime, White Bear with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 3, 2015 by Amanda

This weekend I drove around a fair bit of southwestern Saskatchewan looking for ghost towns, abandoned buildings, and anything else interesting. I drove a lot over three days. I saw a lot of abandoned farms and such that I didn’t stop for as I knew I’d never get very far if I stopped at every single one. Plus, a lot of them look quite alike. It was an interesting way to spend a weekend. I think I’ve seen enough of Saskatchewan now to say that I really can’t see where the whole stereotype about it being flat comes from. Anyway, this post will just deal with the first day of my trip (Saturday).

My first stop of the day was a place called Glamis. It was abandoned and there wasn’t too much left. Between the sidewalks and a sign dedicated to the settlers, it was clear that this was once a decent-size town. By the way, I saw a lot of sidewalks this day. I think a lot of the places I visited had once been decent-sized and perhaps, abandoned a bit later than many of previous towns I’ve visited.

Glamis

Glamis

I then went to Forgan. Despite having a couple inhabited houses, this places definitely had an eerie feel. It had some abandoned buildings but clearly had been considerably larger at one time. It also had sidewalks and streetlights.

Forgan

Forgan

Next was Hughton. It was kind of similar to Forgan but had a more welcoming feel though it didn’t have streetlights.

I then headed to a town called Wartime. I certainly don’t think this is the best name for a town but it still has a number of people though it also has some abandoned buildings.

I then drove on to Plato. I was definitely my favourite town of the day but I really didn’t know what to make of the place! It seemed very abandoned-looking overall but had two decent-looking inhabited houses, lots of fairly new farm machinery laying around, and what could certainly be the smallest standalone post office in Canada (it is in what looks like a small shed). Anyway, it was definitely an interesting place to explore for a bit.

Canada's smallest post office?

Canada’s smallest post office?

Next I went to Tyner. It also must have been a good size at one time. It had a playground. It also had sidewalks galore some of which were in great condition, others not so much.

I also enjoyed the town of Lacadena. There was an interesting, large two story house just outside of the town that looked to have been abandoned not all that long ago. There was a strange sound outside of that place and it had a bit of an eerie feel to it. It still has an R.M. office and a couple inhabited houses. The former school (which must have had several classrooms) but still be used as a community centre. There were, of course, also a number of abandoned buildings and sidewalks. I think this town may have once been even larger than the others. I know I could easily do some research but I tend to find speculation much more fun for some reason!

Spooky house just outside Lacadena

Spooky house just outside Lacadena

I then headed to White Bear. This town has a statue of a white bear, of course! It really isn’t close to be abandoned but does have some abandoned statues. Interestingly, it has also has a school (that is fairly large) that is no longer in use and which is clearly abandoned. It was used until 1974; Lacadena’s was in use until 1972. These towns aren’t far apart. There must really have been a population decrease around that time!

White Bear

White Bear

The stopped briefly to look at the view from just outside Saskatchewan Crossing Provincial Park which is along the South Saskatchewan River. I stopped at the first parking lot I saw and I was definitely the only one with a small vehicle. I realized later that there was a nicer parking lot on the other side of the river. This parking lot wasn’t bad though and the view was nice and it had a washroom so I’m glad I stopped.

When my GPS told me I had arrived at Leinan, it seemed that nothing was there. However, a little down the road I found it! There wasn’t much though: a schoolhouse and a couple buildings on what is now a farm.

Soon after, I found myself on a road that had a sign that said “Not a through road.” I consulted my road atlas it looked like it went on for a while. It ended up going the whole 20 kilometres I needed to read the next road. There were also some signs later on that said “Seasonal Road” and yet, it was in better condition than many roads without warning signs and there were farms located on this road with seemingly no other access. Anyway, it was rather puzzling.

I then went to Success as I really couldn’t resist visiting a town with that name! It had a few abandoned buildings but largely looks to still be successful!

Next was Roseray. There isn’t much left of this town and I suspect it probably never was all that large. It’s community hall looks like it may still be in use and there were a few abandoned buildings but as there was a “No Trespassing” sign I didn’t explore.

I almost didn’t stop at Hazlet as it was undoubtedly quite inhabited but I’m glad I did! It was an interesting town. There library which, of course, wasn’t open was still interesting. They had a nice sign about its history out front. At first, I thought it shared its space with a church which would have been strange (though I did grow up sometimes going to a library branch in the basement of a church) but on closer inspection I discovered that the church had given the space to the library.

Sign detailing the history of the Hazlet library.

Sign detailing the history of the Hazlet library.

Verlo has nothing more than a sign and a plaque left. Strangely, there was a “historical site” sign leading there. I have found that signs like this and especially, “point of interest,” signs, in Saskatchewan tend to lead to the least interesting things.

I also found my first of three “bridges to nowhere.”

A bridge to nowhere

A bridge to nowhere

I then checked in to my motel in Shaunavon and walked around the town a bit.

A short update to my last post

Posted in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Scary, Storm, Weather with tags , , , , on July 25, 2015 by Amanda

I can’t believe how many people have come to look at and take pictures of the fallen tree. My street is usually pretty quiet but not tonight!

Scariest storm ever!

Posted in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, Scary, Storm, Weather with tags , , , , on July 25, 2015 by Amanda

So, I’m pretty sure I just experience the scariest storm I’ve ever encountered in my life. It was brief but it was truly frightening. I knew a storm was coming and the sky looked very ominous but I wasn’t expecting this. I am so glad I was at home and not driving as for a couple of minutes I literally couldn’t see anything but water. We also had some hail so it looked like it had snowed in places but of course, it rapidly disappearing. The street lights in front of my place went off for a few minutes but my electricity stayed on the whole time. One of the chairs on my balcony literally flew from one end to the other. Trees were swaying but I didn’t notice until things had calmed down that a huge tree at the other end of my building to fallen onto a parked vehicle, blocking the street. Anyway, I’m glad that the storm is over and it’s now just lightly raining.

Hail on the roof and ground.

Hail on the roof and ground.


The tree blocking my tree.

The tree blocking my tree.

A slightly belated post

Posted in Driving, Home, New York, Niagara Falls, Ontario, thorold, Travel, Wedding with tags , , , , , , , on July 24, 2015 by Amanda

I really intended to write this post two or three days ago. Somehow, it just didn’t end up happening.

Late last Thursday (July 16) evening, I left for the airport for my stupidly timed flight the next morning (12:35 am scheduled departure time). I was a bit tired when I left my place but something happened on the drive there that completely woke me up. Suddenly, something brown (which I’m sure must have been a deer given its size) ran in front of me. It was so quick and couldn’t have been more than a car length in front of me; I didn’t really recognize what happened until it was over. I was going about 120 so I think hitting the deer would not have been good at all. Anyway, I did end up making it to the airport okay.

The main purpose of my visit was my sister’s wedding but I did also arrive on the day of my mom’s birthday (the 17th) which was the day before the wedding. I still really don’t see the point of weddings but it wasn’t really that bad. The weather ended up being very nice which was good as it was outside.

I didn’t leave until Tuesday. I, therefore, had time to shop a bit. I also finally got around to walking over the Rainbow Bridge to Niagara Falls, NY with my mom. I’d planned to do this on my last couple of visits but it didn’t end up happening. It turned out it be a super easy way to cross the border; there was absolutely no line and few questions. I guess they figured we couldn’t possibly be taking much stuff with us and we just had small purses! We spent a few hours walking around over there near the falls. It was really nice and I really wondered why I’d never done this before.IMG_1512

On Tuesday, I ended up at the airport quite early. With the HOV lanes added and made stricter (3 versus 2 people minimum) for the Pan Am Games, we made to the airport in record time. It really is too bad this is temporary!

Banff, Jasper etc.

Posted in Abandoned buildings, Alberta, Athabasca Glacier, Banff, Calgary, Camping, Canmore, Caving, Drumheller, Edmonton, Forest fires, Jasper, Lake Louise, Lloydminster, Pocahontas, Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Travel, Vacation, Vegreville with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2015 by Amanda

Last Saturday I picked up my sister from the Saskatoon airport and then we headed to Alberta. We stopped briefly in Drumheller and then spent a night in Calgary.

On Sunday we drove to Canmore (which I thought was a very nice town) and went caving. It was definitely different than other caves I’ve been in. Overall, I enjoyed the experience though I would have appreciated elbow pads in addition to knee pads and I truly thought I might never get out of the cave as it was very slippery and difficult to get out of. I left with quite a few bruises. I really liked the rappelling and it was nice to be in a cave that isn’t visited by that many people.

Entrance to the cave.

Entrance to the cave.

Later in the afternoon we headed to Banff. The campground was nice and quiet and had lots of elk. I especially enjoyed watching them lick water off of tents. We walked around the town and did a little bit of hiking.

Elk licking a tent.

Elk licking a tent.

We then headed to Lake Louise was completely insane. Parking was very frustrating. Eventually we ended up parking about a kilometre away in a parking lot for some trail. It would have been much quicker to do that in the first place. We took a trail to a lookout which was surprisingly quiet. I doubt more than one in a hundred people there took this trail but it had such an amazing view and the 1.8 kilometres walk which was pretty much all uphill was very much worth it and of course, the walk down took no time at all!

Lake  Louise from the viewpoint.

Lake Louise from the viewpoint.

We spent a night at a campground near the Athabasca Glacier. It only had pit toilets but I can’t really complain as it cost only $15.70. We got there around 3 o’clock and there were very few sites left so it was good that we didn’t arrive later. You can’t make reservations and it uses a self-registration system.

The next morning we took a tour and walked on the glacier for close to three hours. It was an interesting experience. It was astonishing to see how much of the glacier has melted since 1982 (there is a sign of where it was then). I think it would be interesting (and depressing) to visit in a decade or two to see how much change has occurred.

The Athabasca Glacier.

The Athabasca Glacier.

We stopped at a couple of waterfalls on the way to Jasper. I liked the town of Jasper better than Banff but was the campground was not good. There was so much traffic and noise there and we really didn’t sleep well; being sick of camping by then didn’t help either. We saw a bear but didn’t manage to get a picture of it. We did a bunch of hiking in the area.

Jasper

Jasper

On the way out of the park, we stopped briefly at an old mine called Pocahontas. It had some old ruins and informational signs. It was very interesting and we were the only ones there!

Sort of entering a building you aren't supposed to enter in Pocahontas.

Sort of entering a building you aren’t supposed to enter in Pocahontas.

We stopped for a night in Edmonton and then travelled back to North Battleford (with a stop in Vegreville as my sister needed a picture of the sign as she used to have a job where she had to send things to there all the time). On the drive, it became increasingly hazy. I eventually realized that it was smoke as it got stronger. The smoke seemed strongest around Lloydminster. It was still smoky when we reached here yesterday. I know that there are like a billion forest fires but was surprised that the smoke spread this far.

I showed my sister a bit of Saskatoon this afternoon and then dropped her off at the airport. I am a bit tired and not really looking forward to going back to work tomorrow.

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