Category: travel

Fort Carlton Provincial Park (and a campfire bannock recipe)

Jordon and I took Mark and Oliver to Fort Carlton Provincial Park today.  It is also a National Historic Site today.  There are some hiking trails around there and of course the replica of the Hudson’s Bay Company trading fort that used to be there.  It was rebuilt in 1967 as part of Canada’s centennial celebrations.  It is also the place where Treaty Six was signed.

Fort Carlton Provincial Park

As kids most of Saskatoon seemed to go out there as part of a school field trip in Grade 5 or 6.  For some reason Mark’s classes never went out there which is weird considering it’s place in Canadian history and the emphasis that every single Social Studies teacher placed on teaching him about Louis Riel.

After a quick lunch on the way out of town at Costco, we drove out to Duck Lake and hung a left.  Eventually we got to the North Saskatchewan River Valley and Fort Carlton Provincial Park.  We had thought of going to both Batoche National Historic Site and Fort Carlton as part of the same trip but we are doing Batoche as part of a project we are doing later this fall.  Also Jordon wants to take the kids to the sites of all of the  battles of the Northwest Rebellion which mean more time on the eastern part of the river.

We got into the park at about 12:55 p.m. and I paid for our entrance.  The staff at the main centre told me that there would be tea and bannock served from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  As we walked out there, a wonderful staff member named Serina had the first batch of bannock ready to be cooked over the fire and a large pot of Saskatoon Berry tea warming up in a kettle.

Fort Carlton Provincial Park

Oliver and I decided to cook up the bannock while Jordon and Mark went for a walk around the outside of the fort.  They came back just as the bannock was being done, having been repelled in their attempt to breach the walls and enter the fort.

Oliver and Wendy cooking bannock over a fire at Fort Carlton Provincial Park

Serina was the staff member who made the bannock mix up for us about 8 others.  If case you are wondering how to make bannock over and open fire, here it is.

Campfire Bannock Recipe

Campfire Bannock Recipe

Ingredients

  • 3 cups of flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 teaspoons of sugar
  • 3 teaspoons of baking powder
  • 3 tablespoons of lard/butter
  • 1 1/2 cups of water

Directions

  1. Mix dry ingredients together and then add lard and butter.  Mix well.
  2. Use about a quarter cup of bannock mix and use a spoon to wind it around a wooden stick to roast over the coals of the fire until golden brown on the outside.

Notes

Once cooked, serve with your favorite jam.

Recipe Management Powered by Zip Recipes Plugin

Wendy and Oliver cooking bannock over a fire at Fort Carlton Provincial Park

She used about a quarter cup of bannock mix and used a spoon to wind it around a wooden stick to then roast over the coals of the fire.  After we had cooked the bannock there was some blueberry jam to spread over it.

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So while we were all cooking our bannock and enjoying some Saskatoon Berry tea, she told us some great stories of a couple from Japan who had come to visit the Fort.  They asked her if they could roll in the grass as they weren’t allowed to do that in Japan and they had a great time.  She also said that people from all over the world come to Fort Carlton and tell her where they are from.  Then they ask her and she goes, “Just up the hill”.

After tea and bannock, we went inside the stockade and were given tours of all of the open buildings.

Fort Carlton Provincial Park near Duck Lake, SaskatchewanFort Carlton Provincial Park near Duck Lake, SaskatchewanFort Carlton Provincial Park near Duck Lake, SaskatchewanFort Carlton Provincial Park near Duck Lake, SaskatchewanFort Carlton Provincial Park near Duck Lake, Saskatchewan

Oliver then lead up the stairs and along the top of the Fort.  We took the tour of the last building and as we went upstairs, Jordon disappeared.  So as we went to find him, the boys called him, “Aunt Beth” who was Jordon’s great aunt and was known for wandering off while in a mall all of the time.  It was always Jordon’s job to keep track of her.  He didn’t appreciate the comparison but the boys did.

Fort Carlton Provincial Park near Duck Lake, SaskatchewanFort Carlton Provincial Park near Duck Lake, SaskatchewanFort Carlton Provincial Park near Duck Lake, SaskatchewanFort Carlton Provincial Park near Duck Lake, Saskatchewan

From there we walked from the stockade to the river.  With all of the rain in Alberta, the North Saskatchewan was flowing fast and was expected to rise greatly.  As we were walking, I couldn’t help to notice the bear scat all over the pathway.  We eventually ran into a “You are in Bear Country” sign but we had gotten the idea already.

Fort Carlton Provincial Park near Duck Lake, Saskatchewan

Fort Carlton Provincial Park near Duck Lake, Saskatchewan

It took us about an hour to cook bannock, drink some tea, get the tour and then walk the 1/2 kilometer trail to the North Saskatchewan River and back.  We also explored the camp group which was empty but nice.  I wouldn’t mind exploring it some weekend next summer.

The Weekend

For a quiet weekend, it sure was busy.

  • We went out for drinks at O’Shea’s Irish Pub with Pat Lorje and her husband Tom.  It’s always a fun time.  For those of you who wonder what gets talked about, it’s a bunch of “Donald Trump did what?  I stop paying attention to CNN for and hour and he did what?”  I don’t know who the cooks are at O’Shea’s but they were only going through the motions Friday night.  Maybe I am asking too much but I want good food at a local pub and O’Shea’s has never seemed to understand that.
  • Then on Sunday we got up early and drove to Prince Albert National Park and the village of Waskesiu with Oliver.  We did some shopping, went for a bit of a swim in the lake, had pizza at Pete’s Terrance and then drove out to the Narrows Campground.  We are planning to spend Thanksgiving Weekend out there this year.  We have been to Paighton Beach (see last Thanksgiving’s post) but had never been to the campground.  We check out some spots and then drove back into town where we got Oliver an ice cream cone the size of his head.
  • We got back into the city in time to head back to O’Shea’s for a drink with some friends.

For Thanksgiving, we will bring up Mark and Oliver’s three season tent and also bring up a summer four person tent.  We will have lots of blankets, our warm sleeping bags, and stuff for warm food.  With warm clothes, hot chocolate, and a dog to cuddle with, we will be fine for two nights.  Now to train Marley to cuddle with me rather than Jordon when she is cold.   The entire park is so quiet that time of year and I am really looking forward to spending that time together.

That didn’t work out at all

So today was supposed to be a fun trip up to Waskesiu and Prince Albert National ParkMark had to work and so it was just going to be Oliver, Jordon and I.  We got to just past Rosthern and Jordon goes, “Umm, did you grab the Parks Canada pass?”  Doh!  No I had forgotten.  I did grab my camera strap though.  I’m not saying forgetting the Parks Canada pass was my fault but I am the one that has a special spot for it in a special envelope and always says, “I’m responsible for the Park pass.”   So let’s blame Jordon for this one.

So we turned around and headed back and then debated do we wait until Mark is done at 3:30 p.m. and then go for dinner or go next Sunday.  Since the Angry Taco is now closed and for sale, we just decided to get up early next Sunday and then the four of us go then.   Also, after reading several reviews that say that the Angry Taco is a horrible place to eat, I am starting to think I idealized in my memories how good it was.

For those of you who don’t know, Jordon and I vacationed in Waskesiu a year after I we were married.  This is when Jordon told me the big lie.  He told me that Lake Waskesiu is warm like a tropical lake and to jump right in.  It’s not.  It is a northern lake that is deep and cold and did I mention it is cold.  I almost killed him.

Last Thanksgiving when we had an amazing picnic on a secluded beach in Waskesiu, we all waded into the water.  It was beyond cold and brought back all sorts of cold memories.  Hopefully it is nice next weekend and if it is, I’ll brave it.

Also Jordon one time told Mark that he had an older brother Dad who was eaten by the Loch Ness Monster’s Canadian cousin, “Lockie” while on the breakwater at Waskesiu.  Mark didn’t buy it but when he came home and asked his Uncle Lee if had an older brother who had been eaten by a monster and Lee said, “Dan.  We miss him a lot.”  So Dan is kind of like Kenny from South Park.  He has died a lot of different ways on a lot of family trips.  The guys are so weird.

So with some suddenly free time, we came home and finalized our Christmas gifts.  The bad news is with Mark reading this blog daily (Hi Mark!) and Oliver being able to read, I can’t blog about what I am going to get them.  Well bad for Mark and Oliver that is.

Marley at Lake Louise

Marley at Lake Louise.  Photo by Mark Cooper

This is Marley just after she decided to join Jordon on a rock that was just off the path in Lake Louise.  She found out that her often useful claws don’t work on slick rocks and fell right in.  As she tried to extract herself from the water, she fell in again and for good measure, one more time.  The other tourists loved it and the entire episode was well covered by everyone else other than ourselves.  Credit to Mark for the great photo.

The weekend

  • Dinner tonight is Beer Can Chicken.  I haven’t made it in a while.
  • Today’s project was to prime some exterior windows and my front door.  Mission Accomplished.
  • I also found some time to get a new watch battery for Jordon’s Invicta but no luck on a new watch strap for his Casio that Marley chewed.  To the internet for that.   Changing the battery took soooooooooo loooooooooong.  Jordon was at work so I was texting him to waste time.  So glad I have an unlimited texting plan.
  • The boulevard that a city contractor tore up last year but didn’t reseed is coming along nicely but I had to Killex it today.  It is a bright green and looks good but the rest of the boulevard looks like crap even when fertilized, watered, and mowed.  That is part of the master plan.  The city planted really poor grass seed on the westside compared to what they planted on the eastside for decades.  Along the side of the house, we had to reseed much of it over the first few years and the new grass has spread a little each year.  That is the plan along the front of the house.  In 20 years or so it should look great for some other owner.
  • We are redecorating our living room.  We replaced the sailing photos and art that had been there for years with some vintage Canadian Pacific Railways travel posters.  We had them mounted on Gatorfoam and then on the walls.  Along with that, we have had some amazing travel photos printed at Don’s Photo from over the years that we are framing and mounting.  It’s a fun job and it is always nice to see some photos by you and of you mounted on the walls.
  • We are heading to Prince Albert National Park and Waskesiu tomorrow.  No real agenda.  After a long week around here, just looking to get away.   I plan to walk into the warm healing waters of Waskesiu Lake.  Wait?  It’s cold and freezing?  Maybe I’ll just ice cream.

Day 4 in Banff and Yoho National Parks

We got up early on our last day and the big news was that Jordon finally felt better.  His fever had receded and had his own energy back.  We briefly talked about hiking up to Lake Agnes Tea House but I really wanted to see Moraine Lake.

I should say that we had seen two bears so far.  We saw a Bear Jam over a Black Bear on Monday with people taking selfies and such.  Jordon said that there should be a new rule.  If you take a selfie with a bear and it mauls you, you lose your health insurance.  Then on the way to the Castle Mountain Resort’s confectionary, we saw a large grizzly bear.  After reading about it, I think it was The Boss (he later confirmed that it was on Twitter…. smarter than the average bear) but it was another total mess of a bear jam with people leaving their cars on the highway and running out to get close ups of a grizzly bear.  People are so stupid.

The day before, I finally saw a Black Bear while driving into Banff.  As we were driving along the Bow Valley Parkway, a bear poked his head up over the guard rail and I saw it up close.  We kept driving as it was on a tight corner and I couldn’t stop but I was so happy, I had my own bear sighting.  Well, Jordon and the boys saw it too but who cares about them right?  It was my bear and I was happy.

So we headed up to Moraine Lake and as we headed up the road, there was a big “Road Closed” sign.  We were going to head back but a Parks Canada dude waved us by the sign so we kept going.  I am not sure why he didn’t wave some others by but we kept driving.  We got up there, found a parking spot and it was everything I had dreamt it would be.

We hiked the entire trail to either a really quaint and peaceful waterfall or a stream that ran at a downward slant.  Either way it was fun.

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After getting back to the trailhead, Jordon took me up the Moraine Lake Lodge Gift Shop and get me a great Moraine Lake t-shirt.  Mark went up there and got me two mini black bears, one holding the letter W and the other one holding the letter C.  They are cute.  Apparently my pleasure at spotting a bear up close was well known.

After getting into the car, we drove back down the mountain to Lake Louise, dropped by Laggan’s Mountain Bakery and Delicatessen and instead of turning back east towards Banff, Jordon went west and we headed into British Columbia and Yoho National Park.

As we decended the famous Cathedral Mountain on the Trans Canada Highway, we saw the Spiral Tunnels that the Canadian Pacific Railway used to extend the run and lower the grade for trains going east and west.

The Spiral Tunnels in British Columbia's Yoho National Park

Then it was off to the Natural Bridge which Jordon was sure was in Kootenay National Park was thrilled to find it Yoho.

The Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkThe Natural Bridge in British Columbia's Yoho National Park

From there we drove to Takakkaw Falls.  Jordon has never been to Yoho and neither had I.  He asked me for directions and my cell phone only worked for a moment.  Jordon glanced at it and said, “okay, let’s go” but I wasn’t sure where to go and got really stressed and anxious.  I need to trust Jordon’s ability to glance at a map and go as for me, I need to really understand it.

Either way we had the most amazing drive I have ever been on with insane switch backs, roads damaged from falling rocks from above, and some of the most amazing scenery I have ever seen.  We also ran into another spiral tunnel.  Then we got to the falls.  They are the most amazing thing I have ever seen.  I’ll never forget them.

Takakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkTakakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkTakakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkTakakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkTakakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkTakakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkTakakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkTakakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National ParkTakakkaw Falls in British Columbia's Yoho National Park

My battery was dead at this point so I will wait to Jordon edits his photos and I’ll link to them.  It was an amazing day and one I’ll never forget.  Jordon’s ability to make a plan A on family trips and then pull out a plan B or Plan C at a moments notice amazes me and makes trips so much fun.  On the way back he said, “Umm, we kind of wrecked next year’s vacation as I had planned to do some of these things then.”  I’m sure we will have lot’s of other ideas.

We headed back to Johnston Canyon Campground for some dinner and snacks and started to pack up for the drive home the next morning.  We got home late Friday night and unpacked the car.  Today is spent cleaning and putting stuff away.  Well that and editing and posting a lot of photos online.