Afternoon Drive – Late Winter

Aquamarine Ford F-150 - Tompkin's Landing, Ab Canada 1
Aquamarine Ford F-150 – Tompkin’s Landing, Ab Canada 1
Aquamarine Ford F-150 - Tompkin's Landing, Ab Canada 2
Aquamarine Ford F-150 – Tompkin’s Landing, Ab Canada 2
Buttertown Buildings - Fort Vermilion, Ab Canada
Buttertown Buildings – Fort Vermilion, Ab Canada
La Crete Heritage Museum Buildings 1
La Crete Heritage Museum Buildings 1
La Crete Heritage Museum Buildings 2
La Crete Heritage Museum Buildings 2
La Crete Heritage Museum Buildings 3
La Crete Heritage Museum Buildings 3
La Crete Heritage Museum Buildings 4
La Crete Heritage Museum Buildings 4
Old Tompkin's Landing Ferry 1
Old Tompkin’s Landing Ferry 1
Old Tompkin's Landing Ferry 2
Old Tompkin’s Landing Ferry 2
Stuck in Snow - Buttertown, Fort Vermilion, AB Canada
Stuck in Snow – Buttertown, Fort Vermilion, AB Canada

I got out for an afternoon drive on a Saturday late in February. I gathered my cameras and set off for a look around within Alberta’s MacKenzie Municipal District.

From High Level I traveled south. I would cross the Peace River ice bridge through slushy water at Tompkin’s Landing, traveling no more than 10km/h. Before I got there, on the hill descending toward the ice bridge a blue, aquamarine colour caught my eye. The colour belonged to a seventies Ford F-150. Someone had dragged it a ways into the trees. It, like the 1970 Buick GS next to it, had served a purpose and was left there – a rusting relic. Tromping into knee deep snow I gathered photos.

Driving past Blue Hills, farms held livestock, the occasional horse and derelict farming implements. I detoured along back roads behind Buffalo Head Prairie. There, second and third generation families are operating farms that have grown in size through the years. Many families are moving from original homestead homes built in the forties into new homes. The older homesteads stand holding memory’s residue. Next, I drove behind La Crete to the Heritage museum. The museum site holds old buildings from the La Crete area, old farming implements and machinery. The old Tompkin’s Landing ferry that transferred people and vehicles across the Peace River is there. The museum is one I want to return to for photos. And, people are invited to arrange a tour of the site. It might be something to see in early June.

Later, in moving past Fort Vermilion and into Buttertown, I managed to get my truck stuck in snow. I had seen some Buttertown buildings built with Swedish log cut corners. They were likely more than a hundred years old and I had been meaning to photograph them for a while. In parking my truck on a snowy road shoulder, I got too close to the shoulder’s edge and my truck and I slid sideways into the ditch. I did not have to wait too long for help though. A young Mennonite farmer out for a drive with his date stopped. He took some time (an hour or so) and was able to pull my truck back onto the road. And, he didn’t want anything for his trouble. He was just being neighborly. Good on him!

I stayed in Buttertown for another hour or so before sundown and my return home with pictures, better for being out of the house, better for being away from town, grateful for all that my afternoon had held.

Quote to Consider – “Sometimes I do get to places just when God’s ready to have somebody click the shutter.” – Ansel Adams

Listening to – Martyn Joseph’s ‘Strange Way,’ Bruce Cockburn’s ‘Wondering Where the Lions Are,’ David Gray’s ‘My Oh My’ and James Taylor’s ‘Country Road.’

9 Comments on “Afternoon Drive – Late Winter

    • Hi Rajiv:

      We’re close to the 60th parallel (the border between Alberta and the Northwest Territories); we usually will have snow from October and as late as the first or second week of April. Right now the intensity of sunlight has almost doubled from what we had three weeks back – it’s that noticeable. Here, the snow on the side of my drive way is piled four feet high and all the snow in our region (300 km south and north) will melt within a 10 to 14 day stretch ending somewhere in mid-April. Right now, we’ve got graders and dump trucks moving snow from our streets to prevent flooding with the melt. At latitude 54 (where Edmonton is) all the snow has been gone for most of the year; they’ve had a very warm year, perhaps with global warming. My childhood in Edmonton in the sixties and seventies recalls drifting snow that might be anywhere between three and four feet deep – excellent distraction from getting to school with friends.

      The other part about spring snow is that the condensation cycle of melting, evaporation and rain or snow in spring sometimes bring three or four blasts of spring blizzards – treacherous stuff in terms travelling over ice and in terms of visibility when driving.

      What about you? How’s your weather?

      Take care … thanks for looking in. 😉

      • In the town I grew up in India, we would have snow between November and March. Now, the town barely gets any snow.
        Global warming!

  1. i love these shots, especially the truck ones. we are in the middle of the middle here, technically spring, yet still wavering a bit between the seasons –

    • We’re in the colder portion of spring; the melt in earnest has yet to begin. Thank you for your last two posts re: Brussels and the Challenger piece; you’ve got heart. Good.

      Take care … 😉

  2. Enjoyed this series of images! What a successful outing, especially because you had such prompt and willing help!

    • Hey there, Laurie:

      I get a kick out of the first image being a Ford F-150 residing in snow and my final image being another Ford F-150 also residing in snow (albeit temporarily). It is a year when I haven’t had my tow rope and shovel with me – I should know better. Young Jared Friesen took good care of me and the predicament I was in … Matthew 22:36-40 is an outpouring from this young man’s Life. Fifteen minutes prior a friend also offered … ‘May the blessings of the Lord be upon my wife and I;’ curiously a Catholic had migrated toward Mennonite fellowship. Many blessings were a part of this day – photographs, a chance meeting with an old friend, a reminder of shared mortality, a tow from the ditch from a willing hand; I am grateful.

      We’ve still got snow; and, it looks like you’ve got a head start on spring. Take care … 😉

    • Good day, Donna:

      The snow and the day were relatively warm; I suppose it would be more like a snow-day at school – no wind, the temperature between 0 and -10. And, the ice on the ice bridge starting to melt … early signs of spring, way back in February.

      Good schtuff! Thanks for looking in. 🙂

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