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post #1 of (permalink) Old 02-18-2017, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
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When I worked for the BC forest service in Golden BC from late '85 to early '88 I was fortunate to spend serious bush time in places like Blaeberry-Howse pass and Wood river-Athabasca pass. At the the time I was aware of the historic significance of these, and other routes through the Rockies and always vowed to return to explore them for my own enjoyment. That's never happened, maybe it never will. With that in mind I finally took to reading all of a book called "Forgotten Highways - wilderness journeys down the historic trails of the Canadian Rockies" by Nikki Brink and Stephen Bown.

This is a concise, well written account of the historic treks some great western explorers; David Thompson, John Palliser, George Simpson and Mary Schaffer. The book recalls their tremendous struggles with the landscape, the weather and hostile Native tribes as they forged routes across the Rockies before BC became province and under threat of American expansionism. After providing the reader with a historic background the authors recall their own expeditions across these very same and very much abandoned trails. Having been to some of these places it was quite enjoyable to see them from the writers' perspective.

This is a worthy read. I sometimes think a book like this should be part of our early grade high school curricula. It's available on amazon.ca
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post #2 of (permalink) Old 02-19-2017, 03:01 AM
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This is very nice post & super info.
It also rekindled interest in old project of mine --backpack from Icefields to Maligne lake (been only to Maligne Pass)
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post #3 of (permalink) Old 02-19-2017, 04:23 AM
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This is very nice post & super info.
It also rekindled interest in old project of mine --backpack from Icefields to Maligne lake (been only to Maligne Pass)
^^^ I've gone from nigel creek near the Banff boundary through to maligne lake and on-wards across the skyline trail (10 days/147km). If you need any specific info please feel free to ask

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post #4 of (permalink) Old 02-19-2017, 01:43 PM Thread Starter
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Penguin ... wow that's a serious trip. However, i must ask, where is your big, picture filled trip report, with route plot?? LOL, or did I miss it?? I'd love to read it!

Zeljkok .... the exploits of Mary Schaffer when she pioneered the route to maligne lake are so inspiring. What an incredible woman she was, so far ahead of her time and so courageous. If she hadn't done that it's likely Maligne area would not have been put back into the park.

One of the best parts of the book is the writer's account of being at the "Committee Punch Bowl", the lake at the summit of Athabasca pass (it exists as a place on Google Earth),. I traveled there in a helicopter doing a fire reconnaissance after a lighting storm in 1987. It's an incredibly historic place where, for decades in the early 1800's, the voyageurs would stop on their way to the Columbia river via Wood River. Two old log salvage guys working on Kinbasket lake told me they were there in the 1950's and saw ghosts of men in buckskin clothes. One of the old guys said the first thing that happened was they heard someone speaking french in the woods. .... scared the crap out of them

Such cool history!

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post #5 of (permalink) Old 02-19-2017, 10:10 PM
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Funny coincidence you mention this book as I tuck into the last chapter. Agree with all points! The bit on Howse Pass was of most interest when I got the book but the whole thing is a great read.

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post #6 of (permalink) Old 02-20-2017, 02:38 PM Thread Starter
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Funny coincidence you mention this book as I tuck into the last chapter. Agree with all points! The bit on Howse Pass was of most interest when I got the book but the whole thing is a great read.
Agreed. The book really makes we want to get back to Howse pass. Maybe one day

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post #7 of (permalink) Old 02-20-2017, 03:25 PM
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Penguin ... wow that's a serious trip. However, i must ask, where is your big, picture filled trip report, with route plot?? LOL, or did I miss it?? I'd love to read it!
You're right I haven't posted up a big report! I think at the time I got busy and forgot; but better late than never right? Maybe I will try to put that together this week!

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post #8 of (permalink) Old 02-20-2017, 06:31 PM Thread Starter
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You're right I haven't posted up a big report! I think at the time I got busy and forgot; but better late than never right? Maybe I will try to put that together this week!
Certainly hope you do put up a TR on that trek. Such an accomplishment for you and a treat for the rest of us to read it and see the pics. That's what makes CT worth logging on to

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