It took a total of 17 days to walk the Battleford Swift Current trail.
Members of the Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society, as well as a few others, set out to walk and mark the old trail, which was originally used in the 1890s. The group started their trek earlier this month on August 3rd in Swift Current and finished in Fort Battleford on August 20th.
The original trail stretches 192 miles or 309 kilometers long and runs through most of the West Central region.
Hugh Henry, Vice President of Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society, said they couldn't have asked for a better turnout on the hike, "It turned out very well. I think the participants were very happy and we got some nice surprises along the way in terms of local folks coming out and greeting us with water and goodies along the trail."
Most of the original trail is now farm and pasture land. Henry said they marked out roughly where the trail would be and followed it as closely as possible on the grid roads. "We did walk on roads for the most part, which were close to where the trail would have ran. We did go through a few pastures and when we did everyone tried to find evidence on the original trail, which we did on several occasions."
Henry said while they were walking, the group was really able to take note of their surroundings, "When you're walking, you get up close and personal. You're getting to see how the crops are developing and whats going on in the farming and ranching community."
- Walkers in Bad Hills (Hue Henry) Walkers in Bad Hills (Hue Henry)
- Walkers on the steps of Greenan Community Hall (Hue Henry) Walkers on the steps of Greenan Community Hall (Hue Henry)
- Walkers at a farmyard, South of Fiske, following a morning smudge (Hue Henry) Walkers at a farmyard, South of Fiske, following a morning smudge (Hue Henry)
The core walking group consisted of 9 members from Swift Current, Regina and even Montreal. Henry said they had another 11 people who joined the walk at some point for a day or two. He said they also had met quite a few local folks along the way, including residents of a hutterite colony.
Along the hike, the group stopped in at a few towns including Kyle, Fiske, Biggar and Cando. The walk ended with a program in Fort Battleford.
Henry said the closing ceremonies included some indigenous performers, "We had some dancers, indigenous dancers and drummers and singers. So they all performed together, which was very nice of them. It was nice to round things up at the end, bringing the cultures together and a few people talked about their connection to the trail and that sort of thing. So it was nice to finish the hike on a high note."
Henry said everyone can look forward to a video they are putting together of the hike. It will be posted in the next few days on the Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society Facebook Page.