The Amazing and True Story of Building the Bridge Over the Battle River

With snowmobiles in the winter…rafts in the summer…limited power equipment…and lots of heavy lifting—they achieved the impossible

In September 2017 we said goodbye to one of our crowning achievements—the bridge over the Battle River, also known as Low’s Crossing. After many years of service, the bridge was about to fall into the river. With a lot of planning and labour from our Trail Maintenance team, plus generous support from the landowner and his equipment, the bridge was taken down and moved over two Mondays. We told you the story here.

But how—and why—did the bridge get built in the first place?

If you were at the AGM in 2017, you would have seen the excellent presentation on how the bridge was built. It was presented by Gene Miskiw, the man who was involved at every stage and took all the photos.

Now Gene has written the complete story of building the bridge, and you can read it here.

This is a story about

  • Reuse and recycle: Where did all the bridge materials come from?
  • Safety with ingenuity: How Gene managed to transport the thirty-foot rods with just his van—and attract the notice of the highway police.
  • Wrestling with nature: From mosquitoes and bloodsuckers, to dangerous slopes, high water, and the freak snowstorm that obliterated their tracks and threatened to leave them stranded.
  • The wonder of nature: The moving story of a herd of deer.
  • Fun and adventure: How they had talk Stan into putting on a life jacket before getting on the raft.

Could a bridge like this be built today? Read Gene’s story and decide for yourself.

A day in the woods at Saunders Lake

For two of our members, Sunday just isn’t Sunday without a walk on the Waskahegan Trail.

Even on Thanksgiving weekend, Stella and Darlene managed to squeeze in a hike at the north end of Saunders Lake.

The leaves have turned colour, clusters of plump highbush cranberries remain everywhere, and the pelicans are still hanging around.

Thanks to Stella for scouting this hike. You can see more photos on Flickr.

Middle Battle River to Schnee Hill

It was a gorgeous sunny October day for the eleven people who came out to hike the 11 km trail from A60 westward to Schnee Hill.

Each year we try to schedule this hike at the end of the season, after the crops have been mown.  Otherwise, the trail would be another 2 km as we would have to go around a field.

There are still highbush cranberries on the branches and this is the best time to eat them fresh. The recent frosts have made them sweet, pulpy, and intense—every berry is a blast of refreshment and vitamin C.

Lunch was at the top of Schnee Hill. There are two ways to climb it.  You can approach it from the north side and go straight up, or you can follow the animal path, which starts on the north side and uses switchbacks running up the east side. Either way, climbing the hill takes only minutes. It’s not nearly as daunting as it looks.

Descending Schnee Hill on the animal trail

And it’s well worth it too. The grassy plateau at the top is irresistible for having a lie-down after lunch.

Thanks go to Lee for leading the hike and to Trail Maintenance for the great job clearing the trail, which hadn’t been done in two years. You can find more photos on Flickr.