It had been too long since we’d gone on an abandoned adventure.
Life has been getting in the way. Shep and I moved twice since August, one to Summerland and two months later into West Kelowna.
And then real drama struck. Shep became very ill and I almost lost my precious boy.
While he was recovering from surgery, I cuddled with him and promised an adventure as soon as we ready.
Hurray! He got his staples out on Friday and we started plotting (read: Googling) areas in our new habitat.
Sunday morning, we set out … bound for Oliver, B.C., to find the historic Haynes ranch and the former townsite of Fairview. And don’t you wish I was about to tell you that story and show you those pictures.
I will. But not today.
Once we got to Kaleden, we hung a right and busted for Keremeos, taking the long way — er, scenic route — to Oliver.
And that scenic route did not disappoint.
Yellow Lake, I was told by a (somewhat inebriated) fellow casting his line into the lake, is a popular spot for flyfishers and ice fishers. It’s stocked with Kokanee salmon and rainbow trout.
Since we aren’t fishers, we used the dock for a photo op.
Hmmm … it looks like Shep might even be posing. Don’t worry. He returned to his old self later in the day, having no patience, refusing to look at the camera and harumphing off in front of me.
On we went to Keremeos. A little town from the Wild West deserves its own day of adventure, maybe when it’s warmer.
We took the bypass and cruised through the Cawston, a small community south of Keremeos. According to Wikipedia, it’s named for R.L. Cawston, a pioneer rancher and magistrate who settled in the area in the 19th century.
We starting to get hungry. I started to tell Shep about a stop at A&W in Osoyoos when I had to stop.
Not one, but two abandoned, derelict homes … one right after the other. My heart jumped, and I pulled our great Escape off the highway.
I couldn’t get any closer, since it sat behind a locked gate.
I was a bit apprehensive about the other property. I saw a No Trespassing sign but the gate was swung open.
Wide open. Invitingly open.
Like a Welcome sign.
A broken window offers a peak into the house. A bedroom, strewn with boxes and refuse.
Trust me, I wanted to climb through the window and see what else this lonely house held. But my best bud was waiting patiently in the truck.
There was also a bit of fear around someone storming up behind me and yelling “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE?”
Not in the mood to get arrested, I snapped off a pic of (what I think was) the chicken coop and hauled ass.
Now at home, I learn the two properties are significant to the history of the area. Michael Kluckner, a Vancouver-based artist and writer, is fascinated by the abandoned and ghostly areas of British Columbia.
He researched the first farmhouse and learned it was the Elton home, built in 1910,
Ralph Elton was born in India where his father was a colonel in the British army, moved to England as a child, and subsequently migrated to southern Alberta where he lived before settling here. Although one can imagine his house as the centre of a large “spread,” Elton in fact owned just eight acres around it, with another eight of pasture in the hills behind. On his little farm he had apple trees, chickens and horses, but his main source of income was work on the roads.
The gate that kept me from getting closer keeps lookie-loos from entering McCurdy ranchland.
According to the Keremeos Museum’s website, Daniel McCurdy moved to B.C. from Ontario in 1884. The next year, he went back to Ontario to bring back his family: wife, Louisa, and children Sarah (7), Sam (5) and Robert (3).
The other house, of course, was the second McCurdy homestead, built in 1895.
I just hope I don’t run into any of the McCurdys on my next trip through that way … cowboy justice doesn’t look kindly on trespassers.