Ghost Towns and Rhubarb

 

I wrote this a few days ago, but didn’t have a chance to post it. Am now home.

My residency at Pukaskwa has been so enjoyable; sad to say it is almost over. In addition to more hiking around the park, I spent a day in the area going to ghost towns (I can’t resist them) – Jackfish and Coldwell. Coldwell had an old dredge in the water and a tiny old graveyard that had obviously been visited by bears recently and regularly. Jackfish was an adventure that required walking along the railroad tracks overlooking the Superior. The ghost town is inaccessible by road, except possibly an ATV but even then I think it would be treacherous. The walk was beautiful, though – large pebbly and sandy beaches and the smell of trains. There were remains of a cement silo and water tower, a cluster of abandoned houses and outbuildings, and lots of mossy foundations. There was also a strange little set-up of rusty metal bowls on a rusty table by an old wooden bench in front of the foundation of an old cabin. Everything seemed arranged as if it was for a painting, except for “Private Property” signs posted all over the place and a phone number for more info. There were a few empty but not abandoned cabins around as well, and a path through some woods that led between them, and up to the railroad.
I was also happy to find abundant and abandoned rhubarb patches at both ghost towns, and so have been making lots of stewed rhubarb over the fire.

 

I’m just starting day 3 as the artist-in-residence at Pukaskwa. It’s been a really amazing time, divided between hiking around giant lichen-encrusted boulders and forest, and meeting with people to talk about art and leading an workshop on making prints.
The workshop was yesterday, and actually the most enjoyable workshop I have ever led. Lots of different people came, and it was really interesting to see how artistic and different the prints they made came out. Parks Canada staff took a bunch of pics of it, so I will put those up soon. Here are pictures of two trails I have hiked on so far – Manito Miikana and Bimose Kinoomagewnan.