Barkerville / by Craig Roberts

Just got back from a recent family vacation to the Northern reaches of our province; I've never actually travelled farther than 100 Mile House myself, despite the fact that I was born, raised, educated and have resided in British Columbia for my entire life. I've evangelized the value of exploring your own backyard to my kids, and this year we decided to spend some time doing  just that. One of the stops we had planned was the historic Barkerville township, just northeast of Quesnel, B.C; this area is steeped in so much mid-19th century gold rush history and lore that it propelled the settlement of British Columbia and this country's move to Confederation.  It's pretty cool when you think of all of the characters that were attracted to this region while following the gold from California, you can almost visualize them as you wander the buildings of the town site.

That former significance now makes this a National historical site, where the summer attracts a great number of tourists and a talented group of reenactors to bring the history alive. One of my favorite areas was the working 'Cameron & Ames Blacksmithshop'; all of the site's metalwork, from horseshoes to the iron windows bars, is hand wrought at this shop.  I was drawn to the fire stoked with black coal and the massive bellows used to bring it to life, and spent some time watching the artisan below working through the scorching noon summer heat in the shop.

The first image below faithfully captures the power of the blacksmith forging the metal hot from the fire, for one of his artistic projects (available for purchase in one of the town site's retail shops).

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2010-08-04 045_047a

This next image provides a wider view of the entire blacksmith shop area; the handle he is holding with his left hand controls the large bellows which are located just behind the fire pit area.

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2010-08-04 044

In addition to the historical significance, I find there is something unique being around old building and objects, their unrefined textures developed over decades spent in the elements; the last image below caught my eye as the iron wagon wheels and their noon shadows formed a Venn diagram of sorts, with aging wood as their backdrop .

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2010-08-04 133
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