April 1, 1917 Open Water Joe Creek

April 1, 1917

1917 Open Water Joe Creek

It got up into the mid-forties today. I decided to go to Joe Lake to sketch. Even though it’s getting warmer, both Canoe and Joe Lake will be covered in ice for a while but the streams and creeks are beginning to open. Potter Creek has opened up and so has Joe Creek. Joe Creek runs only about 300 yards before it goes into Canoe Lake. Potter Creek on the other hand runs about a mile, from where it starts from Potter Lake and drains into Canoe Lake.

The dams are holding back the spring waters. At this time of year, you can hear the roar of the water flowing over. The dams were put in by the lumbermen, to raise the water levels, to join the lakes together to make the log runs easier. From Canoe Lake, the logs would run into into Bonita Lake, Tea Lake and then into the Oxtongue River.  By the time the rail came through the park, the Gilmour brothers had already gone bankrupt and Mowat Village was fast becoming a ghost town. Fortunately, the tourist trade started to pick up and that gave the village a limited new life. But it was never anything like the glory days during the lumber era. Despite Shannon’s best efforts to turn Mowat Lodge into a tourist resort, you couldn’t shake the feeling that something was abandoned here.

In the spring, its the creeks and streams that dominate the soundscape. In the summer, it’s the lakes, the sounds of the waves lapping and the distant roar of the wind, but in the spring, it’s the creeks and stream close up.

I chose a good place to sketch on Joe Creek, just below Joe Lake Dam. Once again, it’s the birches that dominate the scene. When the water level of the lakes were raised b by the dams, it killed all the trees that were close to the shore. In many parts of these lakes, just off the shores, there’s an dead army of pines standing in the water, or toppled over. Right close to the shore (these trees were cut and taken away), the birches moved in.

I wasn’t that far away from the railway tracks where I was sketching. I could see the bridges. I could feel the rumble of the trains. The first class went by, so did a freight. Another was a troop train, I knew that because I could hear them singing and cheering. I wondered if they could keep that noise up until they reached Halifax. In a couple of days, I’ll flag a freight and pay a visit at the Park headquarters by the Highland Inn.

I’ve been here just over a week now. I’m settling into a daily routine with my sketches. I started to think about the letters I need to write. One to my father. I should write Winnie. I’m sure she’s upset that I didn’t stop in Huntsville. My sister out West, and Florence too.

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