Beth Camp Historical Fiction

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

J is for Just Another Poem and a Little about Jasper House

Outside the white choke cherry 
blossoms so full this year,
the branches dip down.
No wind,
no rain
to end their beauty. 
At least not today.
That's the lesson
of this season. 
New life is fragile,
as is old life,
and yet the seasons turn,
another spring of pink and white,
of strength in small things.
Everything is going to be all right.

Spring at Manito Park, Spokane (Camp)
I had planned to write about Jasper House today, a way station in what is now in Jasper National Park, Canada. Road construction prevented us from stopping at the actual site where no trace of the house remains, but we saw the mountains and encountered a snowstorm in August. 

Back in fur trading days, the brigades stopped at Jasper House to trade canoes and boats for pack horses on the trek across the Rockies.

In the 1840s, you might have met Colin Fraser here, a former bagpiper for Sir George Simpson, the head of the Hudson's Bay Company, who traveled across Canada to visit these far flung posts, and announced his arrival with a skirl of music. 

Fraser lived at Jasper House in a two-room cabin, one for all comers, and the other for his family, his Cree wife and nine children. Paul Kane visited here in 1847 on his trek to Fort Vancouver and "got an Indian" to make him a pair of snowshoes for the crossing of the Rockies. His words. I do not think he paid for the snowshoes with money, for Kane traveled very light. Maybe he exchanged a painting for them, for his gift was valued highly.

Paul Kane, "Sketch of Jasper House" 1847 (Source WikiArt)

Have you wondered what happened in the places you've visited in years gone past? One delight of writing historical fiction is digging into research.  Discover what others have written by visiting other blogs in this A to Z Blogging Challenge.