More about the Mayerthorpe Trip

There’s a bit more about last night’s drive that I want to tell you about, but it doesn’t belong in the main article.

I was watching the weather forecast all day yesterday, and when I made the decision to go, it wasn’t very good, calling for wind and 2-4 cm of snow overnight. About 2/3 of the route was on a divided section of Highway 16, which was easy on the way east.
Alberta Highway 16 in the winter
The secondary roads, in this case Highway 751, were not quite as easy, but still okay, though I knew that night driving them would be a challenge, as there were deer and moose warning signs posted at intervals.
Alberta Highway 751 in the winter
These were the souvenirs I brought home – a pair for me and a pair each for Steve and Rachel.
Mayerthorpe Fallen Four Park pins
By the time I left Mayerthorpe, conditions were really quite bad, with fairly heavy snow and wind reducing visibility to 100 feet or so at times. Luckily I drove out of the worst of the storm in about 20 minutes. At 8:15 I got stopped by this train, and it must have been at least 2 miles long. Even with it going by at about 80 kmh, the wait seemed like forever – I started to worry that if Cathy looked at my Spot GPS tracker Web site she’d think that I was in a ditch, but as it turned out you can’t see that I got stopped at all.
A CNR train going by at night
It’s highly possible that I shouldn’t have been on the secondary roads I was on. That route is seen below, but Google Maps’ original suggestion (before I modified it to this route) was to continue east on Highway 16 and then straight north on 22. It may be time to start double-checking the routes that my car’s navigation system suggests – it’s really quite a poor system compared to the old Garmin we used to use.
Route from Hinton to Mayerthorpe
Just when I was starting to think that I was home free, about half an hour from Hinton, the snow started again, and got quite heavy at times. Luckily, traffic on the highway was very light, because with this powdery snow, trucks reduce visibility to absolute zero.
Snow falling on Alberta Highway 16
Some of you might have wondered why I made such an effort to get to the memorial. As well as having a couple of cops in the family, I have a 2-year degree in Northern Justice & Criminology, and served for a few years as an RCMP Auxiliary Constable in Whitehorse – that’s me at the far right in this photo from the summer of 1995. Although I’ve mentioned that a couple of times over the years, I don’t think I’ve ever posted this photo.
Whitehorse RCMP Auxiliary Constables, 1995

You might also wonder why I didn’t mention the crime, only the victims. It’s simply because that is the focus of the Fallen Four Memorial Park – they don’t mention it either. For those who would like to read the details, Wikipedia has a good summary entitled Mayerthorpe tragedy.

Because of my interest in policing, for the past 14 years I’ve maintained Honour Rolls for peace officers killed in the line of duty in the Yukon Territory and Alaska at ExploreNorth, and there are many articles about policing, both historic and current, on the site.

So, what’s ahead, you might ask. By the looks of the forecast right now, not much until I start the drive back home on the 11th or 12th. I’m glad that I got most of the exploring I had in mind done early, in the sunshine.
Weather for Hinton, Alberta

So, I’ll probably be quiet for a few days while I dig into some paperwork. ttyl 🙂


More about the Mayerthorpe Trip — 2 Comments

  1. Like all your articles, a good read. Was intrigued about the story, so read on… and interesting your personal connection. Does it get you out of speeding tickets now that you have some real power under your right foot?!