Top Instagram shots from 2013 – #3

3. The cemetery at Travers, Alberta (2010)

This photo was taken in early August 2010 on the final leg of that year’s Forgotten Alberta Road Trip. The visit to Travers Cemetery was a pilgrimage of sorts for me, as four generations of my family have been laid to rest here over the span of a century. Forest fires in British Columbia were just beginning to cast an acrid haze over the countryside, something that is a little more apparent in the image below. This photo was also taken during the 2010 visit to Travers from a vantage point overlooking crop land and farms to the northwest.


Top Instagram shots from 2013 – #4

4. Tide Lake roadster (2013)

Every now and then you find something out on the prairie that makes you think. This was one of them, an old abandoned roadster, miles from anything really, the engine and most of the interior removed, the remnants rusting away in the prairie sun. Naturally, or unnaturally, one’s mind tends to wander through all the morbid possibilities a scene like this presents. However, a more likely explanation for the Tide Lake roadster likely involves teenagers, an old beater, possibly some booze and too much time to kill. Or, maybe this just seemed like a good place to dump a car?

The photo below from the same day also makes you think, a creepy old shack out stuck on the prairie at Kinivie, southeast of Tilley. Perspective is everything of course, and what you can’t see are the corrals for the community pasture adjacent, which adds a little more context and removes most of the mystery from the scene.

Top Instagram Shots from 2013 – #6

6. The Hotel Tilley (2013)

Behold! The historic Hotel Tilley / Tilley Hotel, site of much of my misspent youth, and still a landmark in the former village of Tilley. I say former village, as Tilley was disorganized at the village’s request, and dissolved into Newell County effective August 31, 2013. The photos below were taken in July 2013 en route to Suffield and points southeast.

Next week: The countdown continues with photos 1-5.

Top Instagram shots from 2013 – #7

7. Scenes from Kinnondale, Alberta

Six on the list features two older photos taken in the former Kinnondale district of northeast Vulcan County. The first is entitled “Along the road to Amethyst (2010)”  a reference to a former school district and post office once located north of Hwy. 539. The photo below, “The Lunt Place (2007)”, is the former homestead of Joseph and Annie Lunt, who helped found and sustain the Kinnondale community during three decades of drought and hardship. The Lunts left Kinnondale in 1953.



Top Instagram Shots from 2013 – #10

It’s 2014, and as I’m feeling the need to publish in something the next two weeks, I’m going to be counting down my top 10 Instagram photos of the year, as “hearted” by my devoted legion of followers (all 17 of them). The selections are a mixture of pictures I’ve posted from previous year’s excursions, and others are from more recent forays into the southeastern Alberta outback. If you wish to follow me on Instagram, please don’t hesitate to stop by my page:

10. Main Street – Hilda, Alberta (2013)

The first of many shots from the 2013 Forgotten Alberta Road Trip. It wasn’t my first trip to Hilda, a tiny hamlet little more than a stone’s throw away from the Saskatchewan border. However, I was surprised to see little had changed since my previous visit eight years earlier; and heartened to see the elevator still standing. The major exception was that the Hilda Hotel no longer seemed to be in business (I may be mistaken about this, please let me know if this isn’t the case). A have posted a few more pics from the visit below:


“Xmas Eve 1934″

Thank you to C. Tom Grusendorf, who passed along the poem below entitled “Xmas Eve 1934″, written by Mrs. Sanford, housekeeper and cook at the Monarch Ranch, situated 13 miles south of Buffalo, Alberta within the boundaries of the British Block.

Owned by the Horne family of Calgary wholesalers, Horne and Pitfield, the Monarch ranch was managed by Harold Moon, who also managed another ranch at Monarch, Alberta.

The poem makes reference to the diverse cast of characters gathered at the ranch on Christmas Eve, 1934; including J. Les Grusendorf (1913-2004), referred to in the poem as “Leslie”.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all Forgotten Alberta readers!

 Xmas Eve, 1934

‘Twas Christmas Eve, the snow lay thick,
The air was clear and still.
And Winter spread his icy touch
O’er coulee and o’re hill.
The hoar frost on the fences,
Like strings of diamonds hang.
And all was Peace, Goodwill to men,
Just as the Angels sang.
And it was fit it should be so,
For tomorrow’s Christmas Day.
And so with mirth and all good cheer,
We’ll sing our Christmas lay.

The Monarch Ranch lay gleaming white,
The sheep all in the fold,
Safe from the prowling coyotes,
And sheltered from the cold.
Just lying peacefully at rest,
Their cuds all quietly chewing,
Till sleep fell on them one by one,
Their spirits quietly wooing.
No “Shepherds watch our flocks by night” –
All seated on the ground.
“Nor Angel of the Lord comes down”
To glory shed around.
We have instead a brilliant moon
Which sheds a minor glory.
Making a perfect setting,
For this lovely Christmas story.
And if you would enact the scene
The Wise men saw that night
Just walk around out crowded corral
You’ll get this vision right.

Continue reading

Bow City Townsite with

Have you ever been to downtown Bow City? It’s not where you think it is.

On August 24, I met Connie Biggart and Chris Doering, the names behind, and area long-timer Leo Smith at the corner of Herrick Avenue and East Railroad.

Check out the blog post and pictures from Chris and Connie here.

Related: Bow City: The Village Born Unlucky

Sights and Stories of the Southeast