By Harold (Harry) Hinkelman

I was fortunate enough to read the “Raush Valley” story by Rob Mercereau from Dunster, BC published in 2021, and it brought back memories of when I worked for Otto Anderson in the spring and summer of 1946.

This was the last year that he had a portable sawmill at the mouth of the Raush River and the Fraser River which he then sold to Hystad from Valemount, I believe.

Me and my friend, Robert Dingwal (Snooky), were hired in McBride and Otto took us out onto the old highway that is now Hinkelman Road. This was out between the Beaver Bridge and King Creek and from there we walked through the bush to the Fraser River. Otto had a boat there where we started across the river, close to his camp and sawmill.

We both worked in the mill cutting spruce logs into lumber that had been logged a couple of miles up the Raush River and then driven down to the mill. We sawed this into lumber until we ran out of logs, as this was the end of his ownership of this tract of timber.

Otto then took us, a team of horses and a crew consisting of Harry Hinkelman, Snooky Dingwal, Slim Welsh and one other man plus the owner of the horses, Jack McFarlan, up the river to the small camp that Otto had set up on the west side. Jack owned the property next to the mill as a small ranch.

We then proceeded to skid all the remaining logs of spruce into the river to drive them down to the mill. Some of these logs were so big that they had to buck them into 8-foot lengths, but they were still too heavy for the team of horses to pull to the river so we had to just leave them. What a waste!

This took us a couple of days or so and then we broke camp and started a log drive down the river to make sure that the ones that got hung up on rocks and sandbars, etc., made it back into the river. This was very dangerous work, and we were very glad that Jack McFarlan did all the bad jobs as he had done this many times before. Some of us were working both sides of the river all the way down to the mill where we then proceeded to cut them into lumber of different sizes that Otto sold to some outfit in Edmonton.

Otto then laid off all the crew except for me and Snooky Dingwal to finish the job of getting the remaining lumber up to the rail siding and into a boxcar. He had a small cat and trailer that we loaded up and took it up to the rail siding. I guess he had tallied up the last couple of stacks of lumber as we did not have to, just haul it up the hill and load it into the rail car at the top.

This was the end of that job for me and Snooky, so we went back to McBride. Otto later moved to Blue River.

About the author:

Harold E. Hinkelman’s family moved from Vancouver B.C. in April of 1939 to McBride. Harold went to a one room, log cabin school called the Beaver River School, with cousins Lloyd Jeck and his sister. Hinkelman’s dad did not like life in McBride, so after 6 years, they went back to Vancouver where Harold stayed and grew up for the next 8 years.

The last job his dad had was in Tete Jaune working for Erling-Neargard & Johnny Loseth until October 1947. He worked with Bob and Henry Hauer at Erling in Tete Jaune and was asked to go in with them on their new venture but turned them down.

He then went back to Vancouver. When the new highway was completed, they named the old roads after the oldest residents living there. His uncle Art Hinkleman is why it is called Hinkelman Road.

Harold (Harry) Hinkelman will be 96 years old in November 2023. He says anyone wanting to get in touch with Harold can phone him at 604-546-0160.