Dear Mr. Editor:
Hi, this is the old guy with the plaid tam again with the continuing story of the time my brother, Norman, and I walked a team of horses from Rainy River to Nestor Falls in the 1930s.
After leaving our comfortable night at the home of a farm family, we continued on to the highway north of Barwick, where the Sam Booth blacksmith shop was (and I believe still exists).
Turning north, we drove our teams to where the Kilpatricks had a little store. We went into the store, where Mrs. Kilpatrick (Lea’s mother) made us
a cup of tea and stirred up the fire to warm us.
I still can taste the O Henry chocolate bar she also gave us.
Then we continued on to Blackhawk and over to Finland, and then turned onto the Kenora highway, which was known as the Heenan Highway (named, after completion in 1936, for Peter Heenan, the provincial minister of highways at the time).
We continued on until our next planned night at Little Pine Lake, specifically Martin Thompson’s home (a log cabin). He was a friend of ours, especially to Dad (Martin was our dad’s night watchman as the highway was being built).
The next morning, Dad drove down to see us as Martin’s home was a planned stop.
This brings us to the third day and a plan to be at Nestor Falls—and home—by dark. We started out from Martin’s in reasonably good weather, but
before noon, a northwest wind cooled things off to below zero Fahrenheit and before long, our wagon wheels began to squeal and seize up.
Our coldest stretch was the “Stewarts flats,” as they were called, north of the now existing “load liner.” At the end of that three- or four-mile stretch, Bond Construction had a road camp as the original highway already was being straightened out.
We got to the camp, went in, and got warm. The cook sat us down to a cup of coffee and the best pumpkin pie I ever ate!
We arrived at Nestor Falls, and our home, about 4:30 p.m. (just before dark) and put the horses in the barn that we had built earlier in anticipation of their arrival.
It’s nice to think back—and remember—that trip as we now speed along that same route at 90 km/hr in our heated cars and trucks.
I hope this has been interesting look back. I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and may the New Year be happy, healthy, and safe!
May God bless,
Dear Mr. Editor: