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  • Writer's pictureRuth Mcbride

Who were those Seven Persons?

We woke up this morning later than we wanted to. I got up and looked at Richard’s phone in the kitchen and it was already 7:30am! There was no chance we were going to leave by 7:45am since we had slept in ‘til 7:30am. Oh well. No point scrimping on sleep!

Last night Richard had attached Jerry to Newman and since Richard showered last night, it was only me who had to shower. I turned the water on in the shower and oh oh! NO WATER CAME OUT! I had to call Richard in from outside and ask him what was wrong, since we were connected to water at the RV park. Richard told me that the temperature was -7C overnight and since our heated hose was not plugged in, everything was frozen! Great. That meant that I would have to use our onboard water instead, which we were trying to conserve since we are BOONDOCKING tonight....Richard turned on the water pump and I was able to have a low water pressure shower.

As I was showering, Richard was putting our hoses away and pulling the jacks up in Newman. I quickly toasted us some hot crossed buns and made a breakfast plate for Richard and we left Fort Steele RV Resort at 8:18am. That is about as fast as we could have gotten ready this morning, given the lack of water in Newman!

At Fort Steele RV Resort. It was definitely not our view in Fanny Bay all winter, but it was nice to have a private spot with no neighbours, and an easy pull through site to exit the RV park on the ring road in front of our lot.

As we drove through Fernie, B.C. We had to take some photos for our neighbour in Lighthouse RV Park - Jim and his wife Daniele. They have been gone from Fernie for quite some time, so we thought they might be homesick!

We didn’t go downtown Fernie, but I’m sure its nice. No time. Got to roll!

Our last tunnel of the trip! Near Sparwood, B.C. Richard’s son Jonathan works near here in Elkford, B.C. for Teck as a heavy equipment mechanic. It’s a long drive from Cranbrook to get to work!

The roads were great today driving through the mountains and we were very happy that the traffic was also very light, given it was Easter Monday. The temperature was about +8C and sunny.

Mount Tecumseh near the Crow’s Nest Pass. The Crow’s Nest was our last mountain pass we had to get through and it is not a difficult pass at all, with very straight roads and a gradual uphill climb to the summit.

“Rivers born in Canada’s Rockies carved passes eastward to Hudson’s Bay or westward to the Pacific. This one was long used by Indians but not shown on maps until the Palliser Expedition of 1860 and only then from hearsay. Michael Phillips blazed a trail in 1873. He was the first white man to cross the Canadian Rockies from west to east through an unexplored path.” The elevation in the Crows Nest is 1,358metre or 4,455 feet. The pass is located in southeast B.C. and southwest Alberta, and is the southernmost rail and highway route through the Canadian Rockies. It is the lowest-elevation pass in Canada south of the Yellowhead Pass. The ‘Crow Rate’, as the subsidy agreement came to be referred to, was eventually extended from CPR’s Crowsnest Pass railway line to apply to all railway lines in western Canada, regardless of corporate ownership or geography, creating artificially low freight rates for grain shipments through the Great Lake ports. The rate also correspondingly limited industrial growth in the western provinces as it was cheaper to produce items in Eastern Canada and ship them west under the ‘Crow Rate’. This ‘Crow Rate’ subsidy was finally abolished in 1995.

Stunning mountain vistas. We knew we were going to miss these views as we left B.C. It’s already happening. We miss the mountains!

And then we hit Alberta!

We weren’t sure what the roads were like. It seemed like there was some ice on the road and there was definitely something blowing across the road.

Blowing snow across the road. Richard slowed down as we passed through this area and then the roads cleared up.

In Alberta the temperature dropped to -2C and a lot of white stuff was on the ground!

We saw a herd of Buffalo as we drove along in Alberta. Blue sky, nothing but blue sky do we see!

We started seeing signs for this town in Alberta called ‘Seven Persons’. Richard joked and said “So if we go there do they change the name of the town to ‘Nine Persons’.

Before we reached ‘Seven Persons’ we had to go through this City. As soon as we started down the hill I knew we were in Lethbridge, Alberta!

Lethbridge, Alberta is very hilly.

Lethbridge is famous for this water tower which is also a restaurant called ‘The Water Tower Grill’. Apparently it is still open. We didn’t stop for a meal though.

The next thing we knew we were in ’Seven Persons’, Alberta. I was very curious to understand why such a strange name for a town? ’Seven Persons’ was founded by Cyril Ogston in the 19th century. It was part of the migration of Latter-day Saints leaving the U.S. in an attempt for religious freedom as the U.S. created laws that did not let them practice polygamy, and in some cases banned them from voting or holding office, merely for being part of a religion that taught the practice, without regard to their personal actions. But there are conflicting stories on how ‘Seven Persons’ got its name.....

Another story of how ’Seven Persons’ got its extraordinary name came from a very remarkable Indian legend or tradition: that seven white men were found dead outside their tents on the creek. While it is much more probable that they were massacred by a band of Crees or Blackfeet, the Indian legend is that they were mysteriously stricken dead by the fiat of the Manitou for venturing into territory belonging strictly to the Red man. Ever since the scene of this occurrence this place has been known to the Indians as ‘the-place-where-seven-persons-were-found-dead’. This was afterwards abbreviated and the place called Seven Persons. George Dunn, an old time trader who hunted and trapped with the Indians between Medicine Hat and Swift Current, said the Cree Indians gave currency to a story that seven men were drowned crossing the creek in very high water during the spring-time flood, hence the name which was given to commemorate this old-time tragedy. The name given by the Blackfeet Indians was ‘Kitsuki-a-tape’ which being interpreted means in the English tongue, ‘Seven Persons’.

Whatever the true story is behind the strange name of the town, there are only 232 people living in 92 dwellings in this very small hamlet. The question I have is “Do they still practise polygamy in town?” We didn’t stop though to find out. LOL!

We finally stopped for diesel fuel in Medicine Hat, Alberta around 2pm. I found us a Husky/Esso gas station just as the Hwy 3 we were travelling on, met the Trans Canada- Hwy 1. While Richard was filling Newman up with diesel fuel at $1.18 a litre, I quickly made us some lunch. For Richard a warm roast beef, cheese and red pepper wrap that I warmed up in the microwave, with extra cheese and veggies and dip. I had leftover quinoa salad with some roast beef on it. Richard preferred to keep driving, rather than to take a break for lunch, so after a quick 15 minute fuel stop, we were back on the road headed to Swift Current, Saskatchewan.

If you have never driven across Canada one of the most boring drives you will ever have is in Saskatchewan, especially when nothing is growing!

Some excitement! A train!

Nothing but bald faced prairie.

The driving weather was great and since traffic was light, we made great time and arrived in Swift Current at our favourite (I’m really joking here) Walmart in Canada.

Since we arrived at Walmart early enough, we got the ‘primo’ spot along the side of the parking lot. Richard put out our orange cones on the other side of Newman, so no one would bang into us. It was nice to arrive at our destination for the night, with lots of daylight left to enjoy the rest of the day. I had a big 1.5 hour workout in Newman, while Richard had a nap. After I went back to our bedroom to do my cycle training, Richard did his stretching on the floor in Newman’s living room. It still amazes me how much room we have in Newman to be able to workout and have two people live in a small space! I was thinking today about how much space we will have in our home when we get there and I’m sure it will feel weird to have so much room to move around in!

We walked over to Walmart to pick up a Saskatchewan Roughriders long sleeve t-shirt for Richard. The last Roughriders shirt we bought for him, the last time we were here, shrunk in our onboard washer/dryer.

Richard won’t wear this shirt ’til he gets home and then we can hang it up to dry when we have a washer and a dryer, instead of a combo unit.

We had a great meal in Newman after visiting the Swift Current Walmart. We had a pretty healthy dinner of salad, homemade chicken vegetable noodle soup and a pizza bun each. We feel good about the 690 km we drove today and we will be heading out pretty early tomorrow for Brandon, Manitoba. We are staying at the same campground, in the same lot, that St. Stephen and Karen stayed at last week; Meadowlark Campground. The weather is supposed to be sunny and 16C in Brandon, so we hope to be at the campground in time to set up our chairs and enjoy some outside time after we arrive!

And now we finally have some idea of how the town of Seven Persons, Alberta got its name!

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