Swift Current to Battleford Trail
310 km in 18 days: Walking the Swift Current - Battleford Trail
"Getting to know the landscape by walking through it was a powerfully intimate experience. This might be hard to explain to someone who hasn’t participated in a walk of this kind, but when you walk through a place, you engage with it using all of your senses."
The SHFS sponsored a trek along the route of the historic trail, Aug. 3 to 20, 2017. It was organized and led by SHFS Board member, Hugh Henry. Nine people walked most or all of the 310 km (200 miles) and an additional eleven walked between a half day and three days.
Public presentations on the trail history were held at Kyle, Fiske, Biggar and Cando. Local folks were invited to share their knowledge and stories as well. About 130 people attended these programs.
Read the full trail walk report here.
"You don’t just see the landscape, the way you might through the windshield of your car; you hear the birds and the wind, you smell the sage, you feel the dust and the heat of the sun. Moreover, you experience place with your body as you walk. A hill isn’t just a hill; it’s something you feel in your legs and back as you ascend or descend."
“The walk gave me a chance to think about the events of 1885. That history is still hot, still controversial, especially around Battleford. And thinking about the different users of the Trail—the soldiers marching to Fort Battleford, for instance, or the Métis freighters who brought the Trail into being—helped me realize that the stark divisions between the ways that different groups view that history have their roots in the events of that history, in the events of the 1870s and 1880s, and that those events continue to shape our ways of seeing each other.”
Pictured at left: Dallas Roan, Traditional Dancer, at the closing event for the Walk.
"I’ve lived in Saskatchewan for almost 20 years, but my life in Regina has given me few opportunities to make connections with people in rural areas of the province...Hearing the stories of ranchers and farmers was an important part of the walk for me."
Community engagement event at Kyle.
Blisters are loyal
they come again and again
like blue grama grass
One of the ways that participants of the Swift Current – Battleford Trail walk maintained a light spirit and kept their minds off of aching feet and joints, was to compose and share haikus.
Read more haikus composed on the trail here.
The walk was featured on CBC Radio's Morning Edition (August 3) as well as Golden West Radio (August 29).
"Trail walk to take place from Swift Current to Battleford" (Prairie Post, July 21)
"Trail Walk from Swift Current to Battleford" (West Central Online, August 3)
"Group walking historic trail from Swift Current to Fort Battleford" (CBC News, August 4)
"Walk retracing historical Swift Current – Battleford Trail route" (Southwest Booster, August 10)
"Historic trail travelers stop in Cando, Battleford" (Battlefords News-Optimist, August 23)
Group Finishes Trail Hike from Swift Current to Battleford (Swift Current Online, August 30)