Fort Walsh, North West Territories (before Saskatchewan became a province)
My son, JJ and I visited Fort Walsh in July of 2011. The Cypress Hills are Canada's highest land elevation east of the Rocky Mountains. Fort Walsh, which is located in the Cypress Hills, was part of the Old Forts Trail which ran from Fort Benton, Montana up to Fort Edmonton, Alberta and other places.
To get to Fort Walsh, we had to go down this hill, across the valley, and up a steep, winding road. This road with hairpin turns is so steep, you're advised to unhook your trailer/camper and leave it in a designated parking area for that purpose. Once you get to the top of the hills, you cross the wide plateau you see at the top of this photo. After several kilometres, you find the visitor's centre with the actual fort down in the valley below.
We took a bus from the visitor's centre down to the fort where two young Mounties greeted us. They really look young and yet this is the age of most of the recruits back in the 1870's which this fort represents.
This is the fort guardhouse, of particular interest to me because of my story. If you look closely into the cells, you'll see they are only the length of a bed - or a mattress - and back then, people were smaller and those beds were short!
This is an authentic cooking tent for when they were on the road. Inside is a box stove where the staff created cinnamon buns as a treat for us visitors. (Small piece, but great taste.)
An exciting part of the day was this mock trial using visitors as law-breakers. Very entertaining. The Mountie presiding over the court was an excellent actor and kept the crowd in stitches. This staff operates on a minimum staff and I was amazed at the multi-tasking and role-playing of these members. Not to mention once court is over, he does a quick change out of his uniform and into civilian clothes and then drives the bus.
This is a scale model of Fort Walsh. They have a legend with little buttons that you push and a red light will glow to show the corresponding building. Excellent workmanship but I didn't get the modeller's name.
We missed the bus after we finished taking photos and instead of waiting an hour for the next one, JJ and I walked back up the hill. As you can see, it's about a mile up. That was my exercise for the day on top of all the other walking around.
We left Fort Walsh behind and drove a few kilometers across the plateau to Conglomerate Cliffs to take a few photos from the top of Cypress Hills looking east...