The dictionary defines Luck as “The force that caused things, especially good things to happen to you by chance and not of a result of your own efforts or abilities.” Seems to fit the Ranger’s writing abilities! Coincidence is “a remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection.”
Here it is mid- January, 2018 and we in Ontario are experiencing both the coldest and mildest month of recorded history! With this see-saw of weather is it any wonder I am having a problem on writing my next post which is due within twenty-four hours? One minute I am experiencing ‘brain freeze’ the next I am suffering from premature ‘spring fever’ neither of which is offering an appropriate topic choice for this post. After reviewing several of the over two hundred and seventy five posts written by the 2oldguyswalking team…are there any topics we have not covered yet? I became aware of how many of the Ranger’s posts were made possible by either luck or by coincidence.
An early example of luck was my first visit to check out the Purdy Grist Mill in Castleton for a possible post. What a great old building this was. Anticipating the long process of finding out who owned this property and arranging an appointment for a possible visit for some pictures of the interior seemed daunting. A stroke of luck, spotting the owner nearby, I boldly trespassed onto the property and introduced myself and the Bushwhacker and explained what we were up to. The owner, Mitchell seemed very happy (and proud) to give us a rare tour of his mill building. After taking many photos and garnering some rare historical facts we left anticipating a great post. Upon failing to get a response for permission to use certain information in a post, had Luck deserted us? Seems not…we wrote a very successful post without the interior pictures and using only public domain information.
A latter post had a lot of luck involved. We had a comment from a reader Sara, who after reading our post on the Camborne Ski Club was interested in possible information on the now long closed Northumberland Forest Ski Club. I was well aware of this ski club, but had literally no information on its history. While doing the Google thing which was about as knowledgeable as I, my friend Lee dropped by with a local history book, “Cobourg 1798-1948” which had a few tidbits of information on the club, now I finally had something to work with. My next task was to obtain some pictures of the Chalet located on County Road 45, currently used by the Cobourg Scouts. As this is private property (which we always respect), and was fenced with a locked gate, pictures were going to be hard to get. Sometime later, while returning to Port Hope from Fenella, I decided to return via Hwy. 45 instead of my usual and shorter County Road 9 route. Talk about luck, on passing the chalet I noticed the gates were wide open! As there was no sign saying “Ranger, stay out!” I completed a quick ‘U’ turn and from the parking lot obtained some great pictures of the Chalet and former ski runs. I now had enough information to scribe a short post. Northumberland Forest Ski Club
Shortly after this post was published, we had a comment on our site from a local historian, Phil who had a wealth of information and pictures, a complete history of the NFSC and was kind enough to give us permission to use for an up-dated post which turned out to be a very well read post for us. Update On The Northumberland Forest Ski Club
Another example of both coincidence and luck was our recent post about the Woodley Saw Mill in Tyrone. This opportunity for a post was almost missed…twice! The Ranger first learned about this mill from a neighbor of the Woodley’s at the Welcome Agricultural Museum. After learning of our interest in grist and saw mills, he suggested we should check it out. Eventually, after procrastinating for some time, and a visit with Google, we learned that this was a viable saw mill operation in regular use. At this time we had no idea about the historical designations of the Woodley Saw Mill, Barn and Home or the ghost town of Buffalo located on this property. Thinking this would be a good spring project we almost forgot about it.
A few weeks later on a whim, we decided to do a drive-by on one of our regular Wednesday outings. After a tour of the area and a stop on a deserted side road for a ‘call of nature’ we decided to proceed up a long drive-way, was this private property? No, can’t be, there was a large, attractive sign attached to an antique truck on a lawn planter advertising “Woodley’s Saw Mill.” After nearing a house and a large barn but seeing no sign of a saw mill or property owner, we were about to do a ‘U’ turn and leave. Before we could do this, a Jeep approached from nowhere and an extremely affable gentleman (without a shotgun) introduced himself as Jim Woodley. I am reasonably sure that if it was not for the ‘call of nature’ we would have left the property just before Jim arrived home and would have missed this opportunity of a life time for a great post. Woodley’s Heritage Sawmill
As Jim was very busy, he granted us permission to wander the mill property and take about a hundred photographs. This water-powered saw mill is amazingly still in operation but was down for repairs at the time we were there. After being invited back a few weeks later, Jim took the time to relate more of the family operated mill history and see some on-going repairs he is working on. A highlight of this visit was the escorted tour of the ghost town Buffalo, located on his property where most of the sawmill building originated and later moved to its present location. Water powered mill and a ghost town together, what more could the Ranger ask for? Oh yeah…another post or two yet to come about a ghost town and an actual water powered saw mill for our readers to enjoy.
The latest example of coincidence and luck was a recent post Hamilton Township Vistas
which was about several of Hamilton Township’s most impressive hill top vistas. In this post, I almost neglected to use a picture of my two sisters Sharon and Barbara taken from the top of Lean’s Hill now known as the Ski Hill. To my surprise both sisters were thrilled to be included in the picture. As luck would have it, a gentleman from Canmore Alberta had been reading our posts for some time and he recognized both sisters as former public school friends. In a comment to the 2oldguyswalking site he thought he might know the Ranger’s true identity! I immediately knew his name! Robert Lean, we had been best friends from the one-room school days in Camborne and lost track of each other for over half a century! We have been exchanging emails and pictures for several months now and there is a chance he might venture east this spring for a visit. Lost Friend Found. What a great reunion this would be!