Saturday, October 01, 2016

Mysterious Powell Lake by Carla Mobley

Mysterious Powell Lake by Carla Mobley
I live on Powell Lake in Coastal BC. Wayne and I came here on vacation in 2000 and purchased our float cabin in 2001. Since 2008 it's become our home.

I'm fascinated by the history of our region. And for the history of my lake, Carla Mobley's Mysterious Powell Lake, published by Hancock House in 1984, is the best.

I got my first copy at the Powell River Historical Museum. Unfortunately, I loaned it and never got it back. I searched for a replacement and finally found one at AbeBooks.

Lower Powell Lake from Chippewa Bay
The book begins with a timeline from George Vancouver's 1791 expedition, through logging and mill development, and ending in 1976 when the Anderson's sawmill sold.

At first, the people and places were unfamiliar to me. After living on the lake for fifteen years, a second reading has a whole different meaning. The most memorable chapters are about places I've visited.

Root cellar at the head of Powell Lake
"Nick Hudemka: Portrait of a Hermit" - Nick had several cabins around the lake where he logged, trapped and hunted. One was at the head of the lake where, "he planted root gardens and had a root cellar." I visited an old cabin site at the head and wondered if it might be the remnants of Nick's place. In his later years, he lived in a float cabin at Second Narrows where he enjoyed "the wilderness, the call of the loons, the bears, the eagles." I know how he felt.

Rupert's Farm, the old Palmer Ranch
"Olsen Valley: Memories of a Lost Community" - Olsen Valley is between Powell Lake and Theodosia Inlet. It's a fertile place where farmers grew produce to sell to logging camps and in Powell River. At Theo, cattle grazed on the 40-acre Palmer ranch, sometimes called Rupert's Farm. There are still a few structures and rusting vehicles.

Last standing cabin in Olsen Valley
In the valley, there were homesteads, a post office, and a schoolhouse. Not much is left. Most of the buildings were burned in 1972 to prevent hippies from moving in. I've seen an old cabin that may be the one where "Rolandi sold his rights to Jack Harper ... People still talk about the way Jack used to drive his Model T right to the cabin door."

Olsen Valley homestead foundation
There's also a large cement and rock foundation of one of the homesteads right next to Olsen Creek. Artifacts have been unearthed and are on display, a testament to the good life these pioneer families enjoyed.



The upper snow cabin made from yellow cedar.
"The Snow Survey" -- Each year the  Powell River Mill would send a team up to the high country at the head of Powell lake to measure the snow level. In the early years, it took several weeks so a snow cabin was built at the 3000' level. It was built in the late 1930s out of sturdy, long lasting local yellow cedar. Wayne went to the upper show cabin with our friend John in 2005.

Lower snow cabin on Powell Lake.
We all visited the lower snow cabin right on the northeast shore of Powell Lake in 2006. It could still be used in an emergency.

The book includes many tales of early Powell Lake characters and legends. If you live in or visit Powell River, this is a great book to read and keep in your personal library. That's where this one's going, and if you ask to borrow it the answer will be ... well maybe, but make sure you give it back!

Carla Mobley lives in Powell River and is an active author. There's even mention of another book about Powell Lake. I sure hope so, I love hearing stories about years gone by. -- Margy

18 comments:

  1. How lovely to read all about your lake. We love books about our area too.

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    1. I always try to read about places I plan to visit, and especially where I live. - Margy

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  2. I like to read books about the history of where I live. very neat, Margy

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    1. Carla lives here in town, but we've never met in person. We did meet her daughter who worked for a printing company in Victoria. She helped us print one of Wayne's early books. - Margy

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  3. It is interesting to read about where you live!

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    1. We have lots of local writers, and many do write about this region. - Margy

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  4. Sounds like some interesting history! Those bits of earlier settlement evidence in the landscape always fascinate me.

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    1. Me too! And I'm glad there are people in town who remember the history and are willing to share it. - Margy

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  5. Looks like another great book - it is so neat that you can identify some of the places and have been to visit them.

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    1. I do hope she writes the sequel. - Margy

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  6. It sounds a most interesting place to live and one in which new discoveries might be found any day.

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    1. It's nice to have friends who have lived here for many years to guide me through the backcountry. - Margy

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  7. thankfully our planet has more of those places

    Have a nice ABC-day / – week
    ♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ (ABC-team)
    http://melodymusic.nl/abc-wednesday-19l/

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    1. We think our backcountry is national park quality. - Margy

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  8. Unique environment. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. This place has just captured us. - Margy

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  9. A fascinating history and great photos of this beautiful area.

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    1. I was a history major in college, but seeing it up close makes it more meaningful. - Margy

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