I hadn't planned to post this until tomorrow, as I had anticipated I'd be gone for most of the day today. However, best laid plans of mice and men and all that, here I am.
A little background on the place I went to visit today. Nicolle Flats Nature area is situated in the Buffalo Pound Provincial Park, in the Qu'Appelle Valley, about 90 kilometers or so from the city of Regina, and about 30 kilometers from the city of Moose Jaw. The nature preserve is named after an early settler, Charles Nicolle. The family homestead is accessible along the trail from the far end, which is where I started my adventure.
And an adventure it was, in more ways than one. I should mention that I often get lost when I first go to a new place. That happened again today. Before I left this morning, I checked online to be sure I knew where I was going. I didn't print off the map, certain I would be able to find my way. There would be signs, right? Well, there were some but not enough to get me where I thought I was going. Finally giving up on my spotty memory, I turned to Google maps. With spotty internet service in the valley, I managed to drive a little bit further than I originally planned. Since I didn't specify I wanted to go to the provincial park entry, Google maps sent me to the far end of the trail. As it turned out this was a good thing.
There are several trails that one can take - the one I started on took me to the homestead. From there I looped down along the Dyke trail and cut across to the Valley trail to get back to the car. It was about 3.5 kilometers in total. I hadn't planned to do such a short loop but could not locate signage to direct me to the Nicolle Flats trail that would have led to the start of the trails off the homestead property. Again, this was proven a good thing.
The first trail took me up a decent incline, where there were a couple of benches to overlook the marsh. From there I headed further down into the valley to the homestead.
The information below indicates the homestead was settled on in 1903 and has had no human inhabitants since 1959. The house is built of fieldstone, with each stone gathered by hand, then loaded onto wagons to be brought to the building site. Another article I read revealed the stones were loaded into wheelbarrows and pushed up slanted boards to reach the higher floors. That would have taken some brute strength!Also still standing is the foundation for the barn.
From the same vantage point, this is the start of the marsh boardwalk.
At one point there was an opening in the reeds with some shorter plants.
I had company while I tried to outwait the rain. This little swallow seems to be looking skyward, saying "enough" or may it is simply enjoying it's shower.
I did walk to the door of the church but did not try to open it. I have since learned, the church is still used for the occasional wedding and baptism, but has otherwise been unused since 1959. It may very well have been open, as vandals would simply break in anyway. The church and graveyard are maintained by the direct descendants of the early congregants.
Not so, this headstone for Charles, born 1849 and died in 1918. I was able to find more information from a photo in the Findagrave website.