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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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
Mix dry ingredients together and then add lard and butter. Mix well.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.