Group walking historic trail from Swift Current to Fort Battleford

A group of people departed from Swift Current for Fort Battleford on Thursday morning by foot, a 273 kilometre trek.

273-km trail used by Indigenous travellers in pre-colonial times

Archival maps of the trail were transcribed to current maps to figure out the length of the trail, Henry said. (YouTube)

A group of people departed from Swift Current, Sask., along a historic Saskatchewan trail on Thursday morning. They are headed north — 273 kilometres to be exact.

Their destination is Fort Battleford, and six of the group have committed to walking the full length over an 18-day stretch.

The trail was used by Indigenous travellers in pre-colonial times and was re-established in the late 1800s once the Transcontenental Railway came along, said Hugh Henry, one of the hikers and a member of the Saskatchewan History and Folklore Society.

Though very little remains of the actual trail today, archival maps were studied, then transcribed to modern day maps as a reference point. 

"We'll be roughing it, for the most part," Henry said of the trek.  

The group will stop in towns along the way and will sleep in farm yards offered as a goodwill gesture from people in the area, Henry said. The group will also hold discussions with people who wish to know more about the history of the area.

At one point about two years ago, Henry and a friend walked the path used by the North-West Mounted Police to Fort Walsh from Wood Mountain, a 310 km trip which was completed in 21 days.

"It just seemed like a logical extension to try it again," he said, adding the Swift Current-Fort Battleford trail was about the same length. 

With files from CBC Radio's The Morning Edition