Sitting peacefully in the middle of the R.M of Eldon is a quiet island with a loud history. A local told us about this little spot and we were so intrigued we took an afternoon to do some hiking. Hey, don’t judge—anything that isn’t flat, to us, is hiking. We weren’t sure what to expect when we rolled up to the gate. We parked in the field and respected the signs that indicated walking access only. And boy are we glad we did! When you crossed the Texas gate, it was like entering a different world.
It was one of those places that feels rich in history. When you stand at the top of the hill, looking out over the island and the North Saskatchewan River, you can almost hear the echoes of the trading posts and all the people that would have been passing by on the river in the 1700’s. Between 1785 and 1793, the small island hosted as many as five fur trading posts. The Hudson Bay Trading Company, the North West company and a few private traders all had trading posts there over the decade. The competition would be fierce, and the river would have been busy with trappers travelling to trade their furs. This day, if we stood quietly on the hill, we could hear a dog barking at a farm across the river and we knew that when business was booming, the sounds from Pine Island would carry on the wind.
It wasn’t a windy day, surprisingly. It was one of those days that is windless, or the wind is hot, and it feels like it’s been summer for months instead of just days. You could see the leaves popping out on the fluffy trees – bright green behind our sunglasses. The wildlife was varied as we wandered the hill. We have never seen so many hawks in one area, searching for their next meal. Zuzu thought moose poop was a tasty treat and we even saw wolf scat along the path to the river. We could have been wary of the wildlife, but it felt like one of those places where the animals would leave you alone because it felt like a sacred place. On our way back to the car, a yearling moose came lumbering up the hill, was shocked to see us and skittered right into the bushes. Can we talk about how well they can camouflage? A huge moose peeking out at us from a small gathering of trees with barely any leaves on their twigs and neither of us could spot it once he had decided to be scarce.
Let’s be honest—we got lost going there. We followed the directions on the R. M. of Eldon’s website but took them too literally and ended up in the back of some farmer’s field before popping onto the road we were actually supposed to be on. If anyone is interested in checking out this historic site, or some of the others to be found in the R. M. of Eldon, check out the list HERE. (Just be sure to follow the curve in the road that looks like a road, don’t drive straight down the road that looks like a road you should not be on.)
And of course, we finished off our adventure with some take-out at Lou’s and Sue’s in Maidstone. We gorged ourselves on burgers while parked quite conspicuously along a side road (since eateries aren’t currently hosting sit down experiences, we hope everyone who slowly drove by while we stuffed our faces full of fries understood our predicament). Then we drove home before we ended up in a hiked- too-much, ate-too-much slumber.
We’re still confused about where Silver Lake is… we drove along the Silver Lake Regional Park road twice and did not see the lake, but to be honest, we weren’t really looking. Maybe that will have to be our next adventure!