The building we were to stay in is the Officer's Dwelling House. Built in 1896, it is part of the national historic site and is furnished with artifacts from the late 19th century. We were given an orientation by Jennifer, one of the interpreters who works at the site. The orientation was to let us know which artifacts were not to be used during our stay, where the bathrooms and showers were and to introduce us to Harlen, the security man for the night. There were two bedrooms from which to choose, the Murray's room or their guest room. Since we truly were guests, we chose the guest room. The room was comfortably furnished with a double bed made up with good linen and thick Hudson's Bay woolen blankets.
|The Officer's Dwelling House|
We were shown how to use the Cobb grill to cook Sarah's salmon and baked potato. I had beef stew which was already prepared and waiting in a hot crock pot. Along with the salmon and stew we had home made biscuits and freshly made apple pie.
|Dinner is served|
The weather improved remarkably soon after we arrived. The rain stopped and the sky cleared just enough to create a very dramatic appearance as the lowering sun caused every cloud to be fringed with a bright ring of light reflected off the big lake. After a brief walk along the main street, that by 6 PM had rolled up the side walks, we returned to our cabin. We sat on the covered porch, relaxed and watched the ever changing play of light on the water of Lake Stuart and the mountains beyond. For the time we could imagine We were back in 1896. We felt very lucky to be able to experience this unique place in this way.
|Relaxing on the porch|
Jennifer returned at 7 AM to cook our breakfast. The showers and bath rooms were in the main visitor reception building. We were given keys to the building during our orientation. It was nice to have a full size shower. Breakfast of orange juice, coffee, sausages and pancakes was served at 8 AM. Jennifer joined us for breakfast and conversation. She is a college student hoping to become a physician. Fort St. James is her home town and she plans to return to practice general medicine here. While she enjoys the bustling town of St. George, she misses the solitude of a place like Fort St. James. She told us that, like many rural towns, it is difficult to keep doctors. At least for now, the idea of returning as a doctor is appealing to her.
|Sarah with our hostess, Jennifer|
Leaving the fort, we returned to highway 16, the Yellowhead Highway, and headed west for the town of Smithers, a vibrant tourist destination at the foot of the Kathlyn glacier.