Seeking something to do was not the challenge in Clearwater and surroundings on the weekend of Sept. 9 – 11; making a choice was! While all activities were thoroughly enjoyable, I (like everyone else) regretted so many had been stacked up.
On Friday evening at Dutch Lake beach, announcing this year’s well-chosen ‘model’, Mayor Harwood said to Golden Gal, Marina DeNeef, “You know this beach very well.”
“I do indeed,” she responded. “I moved many wheelbarrows of sand here, after my ‘elves’ and I picked up endless buckets of broken glass left by thoughtless party-mongers.” As she accepted the sash, beautiful flowers from Avril’s Garden were presented to other deserving nominees Joanne Wright and Barb Ferguson. Pauline Gregory had, that very morning, gone flying off to visit relatives in Regina.
Sunny, hot weather had been carefully chosen for this year’s Canoe Regatta so getting wet felt good, though perhaps the volunteers for Rotary’s Dunk Tank didn’t want to be cooled off quite as often as they were! “Do you want to graduate?” teased CSS principal Alan Stel, as one of his students hit the target for the 5th time. RCMP’s Tyson Bruns, Fireman Kim Annis, teacher/councillor Brent Buck, and Elementary School Principal Mike Bowden climbed often, dripping wet, back onto the seat. “How much does it cost to sit up there?” asked several young lads.
By the time I’d finished my shift, I was ready for a dunk myself, but chose the lake. As two friends and I swam out of the way, a race was being announced. “You have to jump out of your craft when the bell rings,” participants were told, “and then get back in to finish the race.” Much good-natured yelling ensued, with only two canoes swamped and subsequently pushed or pulled ashore – full of water, not paddlers.
While we’d love to have stayed, another event pulled us up the Clearwater Valley Road to Trevor Goward’s unique property. This and another incredible (adjoining) donation of 65 acres will be part of a safe corridor for our wild creatures. As we walked in, guided groups were heading off to learn about dragon flies, lichens, snakes, birds and more. Kids paddled canoes through the maze of canals. More was happening in the Education Centre across the road. We missed so much by not figuring out how to be in two places at once! But we did tuck into the delicious Pot Luck supper and visited happily.
Ever since we’ve been here, our new buddies have spoken fondly of Bob and Hettie Miller. I was delighted to “almost” meet them in a film clip developed by their son Peter and his talented friends Frank Ritcey and Lloyd Bishop. Following that, anthropologists Dr. Marianne and Chief Ron Ignace gave detailed information about the original inhabitants of this area. Legends of the power of Coyote were matched with geological changes over the centuries.
Saturday was now over – but the weekend wasn’t! On Sunday the Clearwater/Barriere Bike Challenge to raise money for a Hospice House in Little Fort was up and running (so to speak). As I drove (note!) back and forth to photograph these intrepid cyclists, I heard them talking. Though cycling 30+ km, they still had enough breath to chat! A convertible making a U-turn near Little Fort held a waving Cathy McLeod, MP, here to support the event.
Of course the cyclists from the two communities met on a narrow section of road not far from a corner. “Kay! Move on!” warned Chris Newell, as a sudden surge of trucks and RVs hove into view – and into my viewfinder. “Please…” I did! The gathering at Little Fort Community Hall was most supportive – but small given the significance of the project ahead.
What a variety I experienced, but still missed so much. Maybe by next year I’ll have figured out a way to see everything …