Nov 092012
 
CLC 2-6-0 locomotive

A mishmash is a jumble of things blended together into a nice mixture. The mishmash of articles includes subjects like an old steam locomotive, an evergreen that looses its needles, rock ovens used by railway construction crews and a nice little waterfall.

1) West Canadian Collieries #1 is located near downtown Blairmore in the Crowsnesst Pass, next to the CPR line. Sitting at this same spot for close to fifty years this locomotive formerly worked at a coal mine here in the valley. Built in 1914 by the Canadian Locomotive Company in Kingston Ontario, the engine was purchased by the City of Winnipeg Light and Power department and later transferred to the Greater Winnipeg Water District railway (the GWWD). Finally in 1920 it was sold to Hillcrest Collieries here in the pass, this company later being known as Western Canadian Collieries.

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Spending the rest of it’s career in mining, it toiled away in obscurity until the late 1950s. Abandoned in a shed at the mine site the locomotive was later donated to the city of Blairmore in the mid 1960s. Surrounded by a fence, it’s hard to get a clear picture of the locomotive. It could use some TLC too and the cab in particular is looking a bit rough. This picture is from May 2012.

2) Evergreens or conifers as we all know keep their needles throughout the winter. One exception to this is the Larch, a species that acts like a deciduous tree and drops its needles each fall. Also referred to a as Tamarac (in the area anyway), this species seems to thrive best in colder and moist climates or at higher elevations. In fall the colours of the trees are stunning and large groves of them makes for an amazing show. The Larches seen here were spotted along the abandoned CPR rail line near Cranbrook and this tree is quite common in the area. Taken in November 2011.

3) Also seen along the same abandoned CPR line is the rock oven shown in the next picture. Located along the Isadore Canyon trail (the name given to the abandoned line), these were built and used by the railway construction crews during the building of the railway. The line was abandoned in the 1970s after a realignment and the ovens long forgotten.

Later the old roadbed was tuned into a recreation trail and the ovens become known again. Suitable for hiking or biking, the easy trail takes you east of Cranbrook. Following the highway for a bit it later plunges into a small valley, well away from any civilization or noise. The ovens are located in this section. The trail is named after Chief Isadore, a member of he Ktunaxa (Kootenai, Kootenay) band who lived in the area in the mid to late 1800s. This image was snapped in November 2011.

4) Troll Falls is a nice and easy destination in Kananaskis, a beautiful water fall that plunges into a shallow pool. Located very near the Nakiska Ski Hll the trail in makes for a nice stroll. It’s easy to access and is wide and gentle and no trouble at all. Simply start from the parking spot at the power lines below the ski hill and head north checking with signs along the way at every junction. You can’t miss it and it’s only a couple kilometres in. Seen in October 2011.

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5) The last picture seen here shows the amazing views up the Little Elbow River valley. Taken on our overnight backpack into the area, this lonely valley is located far from any civilization. The only signs to let you know you are not alone is the trail itself and the campground.

The route in is an old fire service road, no longer open to traffic and now used by bikers, hikers and horse back riders. Our destination was the Romulus back country campsite, an amazing peaceful place where you can get away from it all. It’s just you, the mountains, and a steak grilled over an open fire. The campground is located near the bare slope in the mid foreground, on the far right of the picture. Taken in July 2008.

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CLC 2-6-0 locomotive

Western Canada Collieries #1 in Blairmore Alberta.

Larch tree

A Larch tree turning in the fall.

Rock ovens Isadore Canyon

Rock ovens along the abandoned CPR line near Cranbrook BC.

Troll Falls Kananaskis

Troll Falls, an easy destination in Kananaskis.

Elbow River valley

Deep up the Elbow River valley (actually the Little Elbow River).

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Mr Harold Bulna
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Mr Harold Bulna

I worked on the Canadian Pacific Railway prior to the realignment of the Isadore Canyon line. Back then we never called this section by that name and refereed to it instead as “the ramparts”. Named for the mountains just to the east. It was a nice place to open the windows and catch some air. The grade here was slight and the train would coast through the cuts. It was a pleasant part of the line with lots of wildlife. Speed here would be about 25 mph.

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