Sunday, October 16, 2005


Nature Reclaims All.......

Riverton is situated along the Icelandic River, just before it empties into Lake Winnipeg. The town is diked, and has been for years, due to the wild fluctuations on Lake Winnipeg that used to happen. Nowadays, Manitoba has hydroelectric projects at the north end of Lake Winnipeg, and on it's outlet, and they can regulate the water level to a degree. I have lived here 20 years and it has never flooded, but the last couple of years it has been extremely wet, and the water levels are as high in the fall as they usually are in spring. Emergency Services Manitoba decided this Fall to do some maintenance on the dikes along Lake Winnipeg, in case we have a lot of snow this winter. A construction crew has been working down-river from my house, grading clay onto the top of the dike. I decided to follow the dike, and go see the work that was being done. I took my camera with me. I would be going past Northway Aviation's old Float Base on my way.

I was employed by Northway Aviation from 1990-1999 and flew from the Float Base in Riverton from 1990-1996, until they moved their operation to Pine Dock. I hadn't been to the old Float Base in awhile, and when I arrived there, I couldn't believe how nature had taken over. As I stood and surveyed the area, many memories returned. Cross-winds on the river, flying the Norseman, all the pilots I worked with, doing Float Ratings, drinking beer in the evening sitting on the dock, watching the carp spawn, finding "Otter" (live fur-bearing ones) scat on the docks in the morning. I had a picture in my mind of how it used to be, and I wandered back in time..........

The old Flight Shack! Posted by Picasa

2 main fixed docks, and a few hundred feet of floating docks. Posted by Picasa

Riverton saw many young "piss and vinegar" pilots like James "Buzzard" Johnston get their start. Posted by Picasa

Beaver QQG flew thousands of hours from the Icelandic River in Riverton, MB. Posted by Picasa

Noorduyn Norseman CF-GUE routinely woke the town up at 5 AM on summer mornings, as her P&W 1340 CI engine "wailed" at full power, trying to make the aircraft defy gravity! Notice the 10 IMP Gal. gas kegs in the foreground. These enabled even the Cessna 206, 185, and 180 to have a full load onboard when heading north. Posted by Picasa

CF-UKN flew thousands of canoers onto Manitoba's famous rivers, such as "The Bloodvein". Posted by Picasa

All sorts of strange "cargo" was flown from the Float Base in Riverton. Posted by Picasa

Fall time was my favourite time to fly, and we did flying for many successful moose hunts, as pictured here. I am wearing the green hat, and the late Jim Johnson, friend and Northway Aviation owner, is to my left. Posted by Picasa

My mind snapped back to 2005, as a boat carrying American goose hunters went whizzing by on the river. I surveyed the remnants of the old Float Base, and concluded it somewhat resembled an "archaeological ruin". It certainly was overgrown, and the old Flight Shack was gone.

Our old 100/130 (and later 100LL) AVGAS tank. Posted by Picasa

Willows reclaim the old Base. Posted by Picasa

This used to be the main ramp to the floating docks, and is slowly returning to nature. Posted by Picasa

This is how the south fixed dock looks today, wind and water taking their toll. Posted by Picasa

The north fixed dock still protrudes above the river. Posted by Picasa

Riverton can be seen way upriver in the background. Posted by Picasa

All the planes and floating docks are gone. Posted by Picasa

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Posted by Picasa

Hey, the old "shithouse" is still standing, although as I got closer, I could see it was about to fall into it's own hole. Posted by Picasa

I left the old Float Base, and continued on my way. I sure have a lot of good memories, and made a lot of friends, at the old Float Base. I guess that is the most important thing. Within a couple more years there won't be much that will be recognizable that a Float Base ever existed here. Nature had reclaimed the "Sphinx" for hundreds of years, until it was rediscovered and dug from the sand, so it won't be difficult to "absorb" the old Float Base. Yes, Nature always has, and always will, call on the "Seminole Wind" to reclaim all........................

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