Day 677: Lucky Strike

When Sophie had talked to another mother at the playground in Milk River the previous afternoon, she was advised that while she was in the area she ought to go to Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park and a ghost town near there called “Lucky Strike.” Following that advice, Sophie headed east with her group from Milk River in the direction of the park. Emma was back in school, so Sophie was leading the tour alone.

As its name implies, Writing-on-Stone Provincial Park features a magnificent collection of First Nations pictographs (images painted on rocks) and petroglyphs (images carved on rocks). The group spent most of the day hiking on the prairie and among the cliffs and hoodoos (rock spires),  viewing the First Nations images, and photographing wildlife. Afterward they headed north for a short visit to the ghost town.

Lucky Strike was named to reflect the enthusiasm of its early homesteaders, who began arriving after 1910, but it never developed into much more than a store, post office, and a few dwellings. Although it didn’t grow very large, it was once the subject of a picture postcard, perhaps a speculative endeavor that was part of a vain attempt to make it a tourist town.

The group went back to Milk River for the evening, and this time Sophie took Laetitia’s advice and went to a local bar. The bartender was familiar with Lucky Strike and pointed out that despite its small size, it was home to some famous people. There was Robert “Swede” Black, who was famous for developing the petroleum industry in the area. Perhaps “infamous” is a better word to describe “Mighty Mike,” a Lucky Strike native who as a rodeo cowboy and motorcyclist and was best known for his exploits as a ladies’ man. Mike’s story became Sophie’s limerick of the day.

In a mailstop that’s named Lucky Strike
Lived a man who was called Mighty Mike
He was known to the gowns
From the neighboring towns
As adept at a shag on a bike.