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The Rockies of Canada : a revised and enlarged edition of 'Camping in the Canadian Rockies', with more… Wilcox, Walter Dwight, 1869-1949 1900

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          Mount Assiniboine. THE
Rockies of Canada
Ube Umicfterbocfeer press
THE Rocky Mountains of Canada offer much to
those who love the study of nature or enjoy
the rougher life in camp with its attendant
hunting and fishing or the exercise of mountain climbing. No other mountains in the world combine with
greater charm the gentle beauty of placid lakes, of
upland meadows gay with bright flowers, or the vast
sweep of green forests, with the stern grandeur of
rugged cliffs, snow fields, and magnificent peaks
which are characteristic of these Canadian Alps.
The encouraging reception given to his previous
work has led the author, after several seasons of exploration in this fascinating region, to rewrite and
enlarge Camping in the Canadian Rockies. Since
the appearance of that volume he has visited many
new and interesting places and secured many photographs which should give a better idea of this new
pleasure-ground. The commencement of serious
climbing by travellers from this country with Swiss
guides, and by several noted climbers from abroad,
has furnished material for a separate chapter on
'Mountaineering." Other special chapters are devoted to a discussion of " Camp Life," " Hunting and
in 4£iaEZ££
Fishing," and of that very interesting tribe, the
" Stony Indians."
The work is illustrated by photogravure and halftone plates from original photographs by the author.
In books where natural scenery makes an important
part, good photographs give a clearer idea of the
country than word painting, however faithful, and
with the knowledge of this fact no pains have been
spared to get the best possible effect in every detail.
The illustrations are selected from a large collection,
and represent many toilsome climbs and foot journeys, made under the heavy and sometimes dangerous burden of a camera, when repeated visits to
favoured spots year after year have not always met
with success, and, owing to smoke of forest fires,
or the accident of clouds and storm, there was often
no reward for patient effort.
Two maps accompany the text; one a special
contour map which shows the details of the country
near Lake Louise, and the other a general map of
the Rocky Mountains compiled from all the best
maps hitherto published, supplemented by several
recent sketches.
The author wishes to make, in this place, grateful
acknowledgment to all those who, by kind suggestion or valuable information, have made this work
more complete than would have been otherwise
W. D. W.
Washington, D. C, June, 1900. CONTENTS
I—The Rockies of Canada
II—Lake Louise  .
Ill—Its Environment
IV—Paradise Valley
V—Mt. Assiniboine
VI—A Second Visit
VII—Camp Life
VIII—The Bow Lakes
IX—The Saskatchewan
X—The Athabasca
XI—The Middle Fork .
XII—Sources of the Vermilion
XIV—Hunting and Fishing
XV—The Stony Indians
Index     ....
*5 "i
Mount Assiniboine  .       .       .       Frontispiect
Banff Springs Hotel	
Bow River and Cascade Mountain   .
Lake Louise and Mount Lefroy .
.     16
Lake Louise and Mount Victoria
.     28
Lake Agnes	
In early July, f8pj>.
.     36
Discovery of Paradise Valley    .
Mount Temple from the Saddle
Camp in Paradise Valley ....
.     60
Mount Assiniboine	
Lake Aline	
Bill Peyto	
.   118
Camp at Little Fork Pass ....
.   128
Mount Balfour	
Upper Bow Lake	
Looking south.
Upper Bow Lake	
Looking west.
Source of the Little Fork of the Saskatchewan
Storm in Little Fork Valley
.   182
VII photogravure Illustrations,
Moraine Lake	
Mount Hector and Slate Mountains .
From summit of a mountain near Little Fork Pass, 10,125 feet in attitude
Mount Lefroy and Mount Victoria   .
From Pope's Peak, 9825 feet.
The Waputehh Range	
Looking across the range from near Hector.
Mount Sir Donald, from Eagle Peak.
Head of Rocky Mountain Sheep
In the Enemy's Country	
Mount Lefroy   ....
Mount Assiniboine from the East
South Side of Mount Assiniboine
On the Continental Divide
Breaking Camp
Our Camp at Moraine Lake
Fortress Lake, Looking West
Fortress Lake, Looking East
Mount Forbes from Survey Peak (8000 Feet)
Summit of the Baker Pass
Consolation Valley   .
Sketch of a Part of the Rocky Mountains between the Kicking Horse and Vermilion
•                          •                          •
•                                    •                                    «
•                                    •                                    «
•                                    •                                    f
•                                    •
.   122
•                                    •                                    •
•                                    •
.   172
00 Feet)   .
m                          •                          «
•                             •                             a
From a rough survey by the author.
Pass between O'Hara and Prospector's Valleys
O'Hara Lake and IViwaxy Peak
O'Hara Lake	
Head of Rocky Mountain Goat
A Typical Stony Indian   ....
A Stony Indian Mother and Children
Maps In pocket at end
IX  ft J
THE western plains of Canada, rolling in gentle
undulations of hill and dale, extend east a
thousand miles to the wheat fields of Manitoba, south to the arid plateau of Colorado, and
north to the frozen regions of the Arctic and the
Barren Lands. They appear to have no definite
limits except on their western border where the
Rockies rise out of them like rugged shores from a
great sea.   The herds of innumerable buffaloes which Zhe TRocfcies of (Cana&a
formerly roamed here have disappeared through the
criminal slaughter of the white man's rifle, though
the Indians remain as a last relic of primitive Western
life and their roving bands of horsemen give a dash
of life and colour to the monotonous plains. For a
score of miles or more there is a region of quiet
beauty where the foothills make a borderland between plains and mountains. Here rivers fed by
melting glaciers and snow freshets in the mountains
make their way eastwards on their long journey over
the plains. Their terraced valleys are covered by a
thin turf which is brightened, at least in early summer, by prairie flowers, while the higher places are
crowned with groves of a rough-barked evergreen
called the Douglas fir. The Rockies, like an impassable rampart, terminate these hills and show a
multitude of snowy peaks extending north and south
beyond the limits of vision. These mountains have
on their eastern side a rocky escarpment with jutting
headlands towering in abrupt cliffs thousands of feet
above the plains.
The great system of the Pacific Cordillera, which
is generally called the Rocky Mountains, commences
far south in Mexico and sweeps north to Alaska.
The alkaline valteys of Nevada and the glaciers of
Alaska, the cactus of Arizona and the evergreen
forests of British Columbia mark the diversity of
climate in a mountain system of such vast extent,
while the granite domes of the Sierras, the bare and
lofty summits of Colorado, and the snow-covered Characteristics of tbe IRocfcies
dolomites and quartzite ledges of the Canadian
Rockies illustrate the possibilities of mountain
There are many reasons why the Rockies of
Canada are interesting to the mountain climber and
explorer. They have only recently been made accessible. Though these mountains have not the
absolute height of those in Colorado, their apparent
grandeur is greater because the valleys are both deep
and narrow, richly forested and frequently guarded
by cliffs which are precipitous for three, four, or
even five thousand feet. Such rock walls are sometimes adorned by clinging trees and bushes or beautified by sparkling waterfalls playing at the mercy of
changing breezes in their dizzy fall. Above are snow
fields and hanging glaciers which often awaken
thunders among the mountains by avalanches of ice.
There are besides many lakes of blue or bluish-green
colour, some of them hidden in the solitudes of evergreen forests, others enclosed by rugged cliffs, or
exposed on the open expanse of upland meadows,
and so they add beauty to their grand environment.
In comparison with other ranges of the world, the
Canadian Rockies are unusually interesting. The
Andes of Ecuador, Peru, and Chile have mountains
from twenty thousand to twenty-three thousand feet
above sea-level, or nearly twice the height of the
greatest peaks of southern Canada. The highest
mountains in the world, the Himalayas, reach such
stupendous altitudes that no human being may hope,
4 4
Zbc IRocfcies of Canaba
in the immediate future at least, to reach their summits on foot. But these great ranges lie in parts of
the world somewhat remote from the beaten tracks
of travel. Whymper's description of the Andes in
Ecuador and Fitz Gerald's of those in Chile show
that the lack of vegetation on their higher parts
gives them a bare and dreary aspect. Sven Hedin's
account of the Kuenlun and other ranges in Central
Asia proves that they are likewise comparatively
bare of forests and that their grandeur is not accompanied by beauty. The Caucasus and Alps, especially the latter, alone equal or surpass the Canadian
Rockies, because they have scenic grandeur of snow
fields and forests combined with historical interest.
The Canadian Rockies have no single peaks or
groups^ of mountains so far discovered equal to the
Jungfrau, the Matterhorn, or Mont Blanc. Their wild
and secluded valleys echo neither to the tinkle of
bells nor the call of horn. Their interest depends on
natural beauty added to the fact that their solitudes
are as yet unfrequented by travellers. Where many
of the larger rivers and mountain ranges remain as
yet unexplored, every side valley offers some possibility of discovery. The mountaineer likewise
standing on the windy summit of some high point commands a view, not of a limited circle of mountains as
in Switzerland with the sea and plains beyond, but
of a chaotic upheaval where countless peaks and
ridges extend in every direction beyond the utmost
possibility of vision —four  hundred  miles to the
^fflffi£Vi^rgJ'^'iri£iMV^ft IwVi ti' l^ff^!^V^fWK^^vVresfffng
^Ctt^U *Xbe IRational park of Canaba
Pacific, a thousand towards the Arctic, a thousand
and more southwards.
All this region was practically an unknown wilderness before the completion of the Canadian Pacific
Road. This undertaking was formally begun on the
20th of July, 1871, when British Columbia entered
the Dominion of Canada and on which day the first
survey parties commenced work. Eleven different
routes were surveyed across the several ranges of
the Rockies before the work of construction began.
In 1880 the Government seemed unable to make any
progress in so vast an undertaking and gave over its
control to a private corporation. Under new management, what was at that time the longest railroad
in the world was soon an accomplished fact, and in
1886 a new region was opened to mountain climbers
and travellers.
Places of unusual interest and beauty were then
chosen among the mountains, of which the chief is
Banff in the Canadian National Park. This reserve
is similar in aims and government to our Yellowstone
Park, and covers at present 260 square miles, and has
a prospect of a much greater extent in the near
future. A small body of the North-west Mounted
Police is stationed here to enforce the game laws and
keep order generally. Their exploits with rebellious
Indians and desperadoes on the plains make the
theme of many exciting tales. They wear a scarlet
uniform, Wellington boots, and a small circular cap
gayly tilted to one side of the head.   Their duties are 6 Ube Itocfties of Canaba
easier now than a few years ago when there were
laws in force against the sale of whiskey, for many
desperate attempts were made in those days to
smuggle in stimulants, which were regarded necessary to stave off the rigours of a severe climate. The
thirsty inhabitants of Banff met with some success,
though in the process many bottles were smashed
and many barrels were rolled into the Bow River.
Whiskey is easily obtained by everyone now, and
the people have accordingly lapsed into temperance.
The village of Banff consists of a few scattered
houses and stores, with the necessary schoolhouses
and churches for the enlightenment of the people,
and several hotels for the entertainment of summer
guests. Some excellent roads and bridle-paths lead
through pine and poplar groves to places of interest,
such as the hot sulphur springs, the Spray valley,
and Lake Minnewanka.
From the summit of Tunnel Mountain, which is
exactly one thousand feet above Banff, a very good
idea of the surrounding region may be had. The Bow
River comes from the north-west, passes through
the village of Banff, and after forcing a passage between great mountains, flows east to the plains,
which are concealed by intervening ranges. Southwards, for many miles, may be seen the green valley of the Spray River, an unbroken mass of forest
enclosed by long ridges, one of which, Mt. Rundle, is
nearly ten thousand feet high and towers a mile above
the Bow.    To the north-east is seen the end of
LS Banff Springs Hotel.
V: II   Banff
Minnewanka Lake, beyond a series of gravel ridges
which are relics of the glacial period.
About one mile from the village, on an eminence
overlooking the junction of the Bow and Spray rivers,
stands the Banff Springs Hotel. The Bow River
makes a fine cascade between rocky walls just below
the hotel, which latter is a comfortable place with
accommodations for a large number of guests. The
verandas command, from a considerable height, a
magnificent view of the foaming river, while a vista
of snowy peaks almost unrivalled on this continent
is seen in the distance through a gap in the nearer
limestone cliffs.
Several years ago, two gentlemen decided to ascend Cascade Mountain, one of the highest peaks of
the neighbourhood. Instead of taking such advice
as was offered, they would have it that a course over
an intervening ridge was preferable to any other.
They started out with the intention of returning
within twenty-four hours, but instead mysteriously
disappeared for three days. Then they returned,
much to the relief of their friends, who were by that
time alarmed for their safety. It appears that they
had been lost in a region of burnt timber where they
had wandered hungry and hopeless till some fate
led them to a place of safety. No one knows how
far they went or where, but it is certain that upon
reaching the hotel they retired to their rooms and
remained there the greater part of the ensuing week.
In the early summer of 1899, 1 made a camping
i 8
Zhe IRocfeies of Canaba
trip from Banff to Lake Minnewanka, or the Devil's
Lake, and along its north shore to the chain of pools
beyond. This lake, which is ten miles long, though
very narrow, is like a bit of the Mediterranean set
between high mountains. An excellent trail, much
favoured by the Indians, follows the north shore. On
the second day we passed the end of Devil's Lake
and made camp finally by the borders of another
small lake, in a place almost surrounded by mountains
but commanding a view of the plains towards the
east. Our camp was located in a meadow where
innumerable wild flowers blossomed, and among
them meadow rue and wild onions grew together.
A few white blossoms — albinos — were mingled
among the purple heads of the wild onions. These
and the other mountain flowers were slowly drowning under the rising waters of the lake, which was
fed no doubt by underground springs from the
This is the valley of the Ghost River, a strange vale
of limestone formation where no streams flow. Torrents descend gullies and waterfalls dash over the
vertical walls of this canyon, but each one of them
disappears as it enters this Ghost River valley. It is
supposed to have been the ancient valley of the Bow,
of which these small lakes and the larger Minnewanka are relics of the former channel. A few miles
to the east, the mountains end abruptly, and this entrance upon the plains is called the Devil's Gap.
What with a gap, a large lake, and a mountain a Sn Incibent of Unbian TOarfare 9
short distance to the north, called the Devil's Head,
named after him, his Satanic Majesty seems to have a
mortgage on all this region. All the large rivers of
the north-west enter upon the plains from these kinds
of openings which are calted gaps. They are in reality noble thresholds or vestibules between the rolling
plains and the mountains.
This Devil's Gap was the route by which Sir
George Simpson entered the mountains in 1858 on
his journey which he claims was the first overland
expedition around the world from east to west. In
this part of his journey his train, consisting of forty-
five horses and a large number of packers, was guided
by an Indian named Peechee. The guide Peechee
seems to have possessed great influence among his
fellows, and whenever, as was often the case, the
Indians gathered around their camp-fires and gossiped about their adventures, Peechee was listened
to with the closest attention. Nothing delights the
Indians more than to indulge their passion for idle
talk when assembled together, especially when under the soothing and peaceful influence of tobacco—
a surprising fact to those who see them only among
strangers, when they are usually silent.
A circumstance of Indian history connected with
the east end of the lake is mentioned by Sir George
Simpson, and illustrates very well the nature of
savage warfare. A short time previous to his arrival,
a Cree Indian and his wife had been tracked and
pursued by five Indians of a hostile tribe.   At length
! IO
Zbe ttocfciee of Canaba
they were discovered and attacked by their pursuers.
Terrified by the fear of almost certain death, the
Cree advised his wife to submit without making any
defence. She was possessed of a more courageous
spirit, however, and replied that as they were young
and had but one life to lose they had better exert
every effort in self-defence. Accordingly she brought
down the foremost warrior with a well-aimed shot.
From very shame her husband was forced to join the
contest and mortally wounded two of the advancing
foe with arrows. There were now but two on each
side. The fourth warrior had by this time reached
the Cree's wife and with upraised tomahawk was on
the point of cleaving her head when his foot caught
in some inequality of the ground and he fell prostrate.
With lightning stroke the undaunted woman buried
a dagger in his side. Dismayed by this unexpected
slaughter of his companions, the fifth Indian took to
flight after wounding the Cree in his arm.
One of the most interesting excursions in the
vicinity of Banff is a boating trip up the Bow River
and through the Vermilion lakes. This part of the
Bow valley above the falls is flat and the river is here
wide and deep, with a comparatively moderate current. A small stream half a mile from the boat-house
leads to the Vermilion lakes, and on pleasant summer days is alive with canoes and boating parties.
The stream comes from two shallow lakes not far
away, and the voyage thither is full of interest. In
places the waterway is too narrow to permit of the i
Bow River and Cascade Mountain,    Ubc Vermilion Xafces
use of oars and you must paddle between tangled
bushes and marsh grasses, dodging meanwhile the
overhanging branches of willows and alders.
On these lakes there is an excellent opportunity
to study some of the characteristic features of the
Canadian Rockies. The surrounding mountains are
covered with evergreens, part of that great subarctic
forest which sweeps down from the north and
clothes all Canada and the northern States in a garment of sombre green. The trees are spruce, balsam-
fir, and pine. On the sunny south-facing slopes
there are a few large Douglas firs which penetrate
the lower mountain valleys from the foothills, but do
not live at much higher altitudes than that of Banff,
which is forty-five hundred feet above sea-level. The
open glades are filled with small aspen poplars, willows, and birches, which are practically the only
deciduous trees. These live only at the lower altitudes, but the spruces and balsam-firs cover the grey
limestone mountains to a height of nearly three thousand feet above this valley. The red squirrels and
chipmunks surprise the visitor by their tameness.
Many of the wild birds are likewise very tame, and
I have seen a number of finches engaged in picking
seeds from bushes within two yards of where I was
■ :t
LAKE LOUISE is near the Bow valley, about
forty miles from Banff. Who first discovered
the lake or whatever became of him is lost to
history. It is probable that venturesome spirits came
to this wild spot during the early years of railroad
building, or possibly when the first surveyors ascended the Bow valley.
The earliest record of a visit that I have been able
to find tells how, in 1882, Tom Wilson was camped
with a pack train near the mouth of the Pipestone,
when some Stony Indians came along and placed their
teepees near him. Not long after, a heavy snow-
slide or avalanche was heard among the mountains
12 Earliest Visits to lafte Xouise
to the south, and in reply to inquiry one of the
Indians named Edwin, the Gold Seeker, said that the
thunder came from a "big snow mountain above
the lake of little fishes." The next day Wilson and
Edwin rode through the forests to the lake of little
fishes, which was named subsequently for the Princess Louise. The Indian told of two smaller lakes
higher on the mountain side to the west, one of
which, called by him the " Goats' Looking-Glass,"
is now known as Lake Agnes.
This region being away from the main routes of
travel, and surrounded as it is by a knot of high
mountains, no one hoped to find a pass in this direction, and no mention of it is made in the records of
the earliest explorers. Somewhat more to our purpose is the fact that the place is now well known
and Lake Louise may be reached with little effort.
Some time before 1890, a rustic inn was placed on
the swampy shore of the lake, and a waggon road
was made to open communication with the railroad
at the little station of Laggan. In this way the first
travellers came to Lake Louise. But one day in 1893
this log building caught fire, and burned to the
ground, so that there were no accommodations and
very few visitors that summer. However, with a
friend I spent two weeks of that season, camping out
in a tent among the tall trees near the shore, and in a
small way we commenced our earliest explorations
of the neighbourhood, which was at that time comparatively new.
' ;*wk»*1
3be IRochies of Canaba
The new chalet stands on a ridge near the water
edge and gives a splendid, and possibly the best,
view of the lake. The extreme length of this interesting body of water, which is shaped like the left
human foot, is one mile and a quarter, but from the
magnitude of the mountains on every side it appears
at first glance to be a mere pool. The primitive
simplicity of a virgin forest is shown in its densely
wooded shores and the tangle of bushy banks where
fallen trees, mossy in decay, are half concealed by
underbrush and flowering shrubs. A narrow margin
of angular stones and rounded boulders marks the
shore line. From this the bottom drops away very
suddenly to great depths, but you may see large
stones under the water and water-logged hulks of old
trees swept long ago from their positions on the
mountain sides by avalanches.
Lake Louise has the enduring attraction of nature
in one of her grandest and most inspiring moods. It
is a deeply coloured lake between wooded slopes,
which sweep upwards on either side in unbroken
masses of green, to barren cliffs above tree line. On
the left the forest growth ascends more steeply to
the base of a grand precipice, while farther down the
lake a massive pile of fallen rocks rests against the
mountain base and dips abruptly into the water.
Mt. Victoria, a giant of the continental watershed,
stands square across the valley end beyond the lake.
Its brilliant ice fields make striking contrast to the
dark forests and shadowy cliffs encircling the lake. Swamp jfiowers
In early morning and during calms after a storm, the
placid surface reflects the precipices and hanging
glaciers of the distant Mt. Victoria, and brings that
picture of Alpine grandeur in pleasing proximity to
the beauty of spruce-lined shores and richly coloured
water. These mountain outlines are so harmonious,
and the colour changes so exquisite, that Lake Louise
is a realisation of the perfect beauty of nature beyond
the power of imagination. Though surprisingly attractive to the new arrival, Lake Louise, like many
another beautiful phase of natural scenery, grows in
impressiveness when experience has given a true
idea of the distance and magnitude of the surrounding
The swampy shore before the chalet makes a
fine display of wild flowers even in these times when
a new set of visitors comes every day to tear them
up. Every spot in these mountains has its characteristic plants according to the nature of the ground and
its altitude above sea. There is at this end of the
lake a low and swampy shore, reeking with surface
water from cold springs, unable to escape through
the clayey soil beneath. Yellow violets and several
species of anemones thrive here together with a considerable number of greenish orchids, and the fragrant
lady's tresses, but by far the most beautiful flower is
the yellow mountain columbine, a near cousin to the
scarlet variety of our eastern rock banks. There are
several shrubs, of which red-flowered sheep-laurel
and white-tufted Labrador tea are most conspicuous,
*iir -    fTF°* i6
Gbe iRocfties of Canaba
1    lit   :
■IE) *  ■. M
m m \ 1
the leaves of the latter being covered underneath
with a rusty down. In the retirement of partial forest
shade the beautiful white-flowered rhododendron
grows. This bush has tender leaves of an oval
shape, and is decorated in spring with large bell-
shaped flowers, which hang their white corollas in
artistic clusters among the foliage. In June you will
find them in bloom near Lake Louise, but the bush
grows higher on the mountains also, and there they
blossom in July, or rarely in August. As in many
other mountain plants, the succession of flowers
throughout the summer season comes from the lowest valleys upwards to higher altitudes. The scrub
birch, Betula glandulosa, has no flowers except inconspicuous catkins, but its long black wands and
small round leaves soon become familiar to every
visitor to these mountains, for this bush is rarely
absent from any mountain meadow.
A rather rough trail closely follows the north shore,
and with perseverance you may arrive at the far end
of the lake. New mountains appear as you proceed,
and the form of the lake, which from the chalet
seems like a round pool, changes apparently into a
long and narrow body of water. Through a vertical
opening in the cliffs at the head of the lake, Mt.
Lefroy looms in the distance, crowned with a helmet
of perpetual snow and hanging glacier. The extreme
end of the lake is guarded by a vertical cliff. The
trail ascends to avoid a pile of stones which have
fallen from above, and so traverses a grassy slope, Lake Louise and Motmt Lefroy
■-■ ' -
.   ■ ft is r
>iie ofstoaes  •■ - hfcfi" -have
> traverses a jSK -- - ■ s one.   XCbe £rail near tbe Xafce
where the blue sky above is portrayed in the petals
of the most perfect forget-me-nots that I have ever
seen. Their cheery yellow eyes and bright blossoms
decorate tall branching plants, and make a pretty display throughout the entire summer.
Then the trail descends directly towards the cliffs,
winds among great spruce trees, and enters a place
of sombre and perpetual twilight, made by overhanging cliffs and forest depths. This is a marvellous
revelation of the stupendous grandeur of these Rocky
Mountains. The cliffs are disposed in horizontal
layers of a hard and shiny quartz sandstone, stained
red and orange transversely by iron, and vertically
banded purple and black, where oozing waters drip
from the trees above. Throughout the first three
hundred feet the cliff rises sheer, or overhangs in
some places where large blocks of this world masonry
have fallen and left natural arches. On the higher
places spruce trees cling with precarious foothold,
their trunks parallel to the cliff, and so measuring the
inspiring height of the precipice. The lapping water,
a few yards below, touches the base of a pile of
immense rocks, heaped in confusion as they have
fallen from the crags, whence danger seems to
threaten as you approach.
Emerging from this place of solemn grandeur, the
trail leads down to a flat meadow at the head of Lake
Louise. Here marsh reeds and white-tufted cotton-
grass grow in the sand and gravel which a muddy
stream has carried down to the lake from a glacier a
illS 3be IRocfcies of Canaba
mile or more up the valley. This is in fact a delta,
which is slowly growing as the coarse materials are
added to the shore, while the finer sand and clay rush
out in a tongue of milky water to defile the blue lake.
About a quarter mile of the ancient lake basin has
been filled in, but as this has no doubt required all
the thousands of years since the glacial period, and
the lake itself is exceedingly deep, many ages must
elapse before the lake entirely disappears.
It is almost impossible to continue the journey
around the lake, as the inlet stream is rather difficult
to cross, and the south side of the lake for nearly a
mile is nothing less than a tremendous conical pile
of stones resting against the mountain side. This
place is well worth thorough exploration in a boat.
Some banks of snow, left by winter snow-slides, often
remain till August, in one or two shady spots near
the water. The rock-slide is composed of small and
large fragments disposed in unstable equilibrium, at
an angle of about forty-five degrees, and descending
below the water at the same angle, so that at two
hundred feet from the shore the depth is about two
hundred feet. These rocks are richly coloured with
lichens of various shades. Part of the slide is covered
by birch and willow brush. Even a few spruces
have ventured to grow in this perilous place, though
the green vegetation is everywhere scored by narrow
bands of bare ground, showing where rocks and
snow-slides have swept resistlessly through. In fact it
is rather dangerous to approach very near, even in a Colour of lake Xouise Mater
boat, as stones, which travel at great speed, may fall
at any time from the cliffs. Above the slide an almost perpendicular wall of rock ascends more than a
thousand feet, and then rises less abruptly till it ends
in the summit of Fairview Mountain 3300 feet above
the lake.
The usual colour of Lake Louise, which varies considerably according to the effect of sunlight, is a
robin's-egg blue. Tyndall says that this blue colour
of glacial water and lakes, like that of the sky, is due
to infinitesimally small particles of matter held in
suspension. The water is very clear in early spring,
but the incoming stream brings down a muddy freshet
from the glacier during July and August, so that a
milky colouring then appears and lasts till the frosts
of October. The lake finds an outlet near the chalet
in abroad and shallow stream, but after a few hundred
yards this changes to a boulder-strewn torrent where
it begins a rapid descent of six hundred feet to the
Bow River. The deepest place in the lake is
230 feet, and this is near the rock-slide. With
a long rope and a piece of iron pipe I got some
mud from the bottom where the water was two
hundred feet in depth. This mud is the very
finest rock dust ground up by the glacier, which
settles to the bottom century after century, where it
remains as a fine clay and upon drying turns to a
white powder. At certain times the surface of the lake
is covered by a kind of yellow scum that on examination proves to be pollen from the spruce forests. 20
$be IRocfcies of Canaba
W ■
1 ml
The temperature of the water, coming as it does
from a glacial stream and melting snow, is very cold,
and the highest point reached in August is 57 degrees, which is about the average daily temperature
of the air for this month, at Lake Louise. There is a
spring near the chalet which pours out a little stream
of sparkling water only five degrees above freezing,
and I found another at the north end of the lake only
one and one-half degrees above freezing. Nevertheless in this very coldest water some brown confervas grow.
Small brook and rainbow trout live in the lake,
but the fishing is not very exciting, as the countless
flies and moths that are blown upon the water in the
daily south wind supply an abundance of food. No
reason is apparent why large fish are not found here
as in other similar lakes in these mountains, but
possibly the fine mud in the water makes a poor
habitat for lake trout.
Nature rarely permits perfection, and the wonderful beauty of Lake Louise is somewhat balanced by
mosquitoes which swarm from June till the middle of
August. Newcomers are most annoyed, especially
those from Europe where mosquitoes are scarce, but
old-timers are practically immune from their attacks
and from any poisonous effect of their bites. Several
different species of mosquitoes are found here, and,
not to go into the scientific names, they may be
classed as small grey ones and large brown fellows,
some that fly on silent wing, and others—the worst Some flnsect pests
of all—that announce their pestiferous presence by
persistent singing. Fortunately the nights are cold
enough to make them retire after about nine o'clock.
Another insect pest is a large horse-fly appropriately called the "bull-dog" from its ferocious bite,
which feels like a fiery spark. They are among the
toughest of all insects not protected by a case as
beetles are, and fly away unharmed after receiving a
hard blow of the hand. These bull-dogs frequent
all the lower valleys, and appear during the warm
summer days, when they drive horses nearly frantic.
Their instinct leads them to bite only rough things
and so leave your face and hands alone. Thus they
spend most of their time prodding your clothes in
vain and testing the rough hide of a horse, but they
sometimes make mistakes.
The bull-dogs and wasps wage continual warfare,
and this species of fly, which invariably gets the
worst of it, would certainly disappear if the wasps
were not so few, or the flies not practically inexhaustible. Their miniature battles are most interesting. Sometimes you will see a wasp pursue and
capture a fly in mid-air, whereupon the contestants
fall to the ground and for a moment it is impossible
to follow the movements of either in their mad
buzzing circles. From the whirling centre of motion
come legs and wings, and in a brief moment the fly
is powerless, shorn of every means of movement by
the sharp jaws of the wasp. Finally the wasp cuts
off the head of its helpless victim and leaves the 22
Gbe IRocfcies of (Eanaba
lifeless body that it may continue the chase. These
acts of the wasps are assuredly cold-blooded and
murderous, for the victim's body is neither eaten nor
carried away for future use. Some old family feud
must be at the bottom of it all.
Simplicity of chalet life at Lake Louise and perhaps even more the adventures on the mountains
beget a ready acquaintance, which often ripens into
lasting friendship. It is a study in human nature to
watch the new arrivals day by day, and to observe
the effect on each of the superb view which appears
where the road emerges from the forest. Some
people are overawed and stand on the lake shore in
silent wonderment, while the majority exclaim "This
is the most beautiful scene I have ever looked upon."
A few, after a brief glance at the lake, hasten into the
chalet for something to eat, thus balancing their
hunger for material things and their love of nature,
in uneven scale, but giving a testimonial at the same
time to the value of mountain air as an appetiser.
Many interesting people are found among the
visitors, while the good cheer and hearty comradeship that reign in this simple place are contagious.
At evening a large fireplace is heaped with pine logs,
and a fire is kindled which throws light and cheerful
warmth against the chill of frosty nights. Then
amid curling smoke and the clink of glasses the mishaps of the day are related. Often, too, you may
hear, from travellers who have visited the remotest
parts of the earth, perhaps thrilling accounts of Summer Climate at tbe Xafce
leopard, and tiger-hunts in the jungle, blood-curdling
tales of treachery and massacre, or daring exploits
in the Indian wars.
In May or early June the ice breaks up, and the
forests near the lake are free from snow. The summer climate is cool and the highest temperature ever
recorded is 78 degrees. The altitude above sea,
as near as I could determine from a series of barometrical observations, is 5643 feet. The nights are
always cool, and sometimes a frost occurs even in
July or August. At daybreak the lake is usually
placid and reflects, like a great mirror, the mountains
and wooded shores, but so soon as the summer sun
has tempered the frosty air the breezes begin to stir,
at first imperceptibly in gentle zephyrs, which touch
the motionless water some distance down the lake.
Then rippled places appear, enlarge very quickly,
and presently make a continuous band across the
lake. One end of the lake may thus remain under
the influence of wind for an hour or more while the
other is quiet, but the strength of the breezes continues to grow as the sun gains power, till at noon
the entire lake is almost invariably covered with little whitecaps. The wind dies away after sunset,
and by midnight a frosty calm settles once more
upon the lake. Then the roar of the glacial stream,
a mile and a half distant, unheard by day, becomes
plainly audible in the quiet night air.
The approach of storms is announced by wisps
of cirrus cloud which move from west to east and
M 24
Cbe IRocfties of Canaba
presently make a hazy veil which partially obscures
the sun. A soft wind blows from the south-west,
while the smoke of forest fires increases and adds to
the bluish haze. Sometimes this smoke is laden
with white ash-flakes, which may have travelled
hundreds of miles from fires on the Pacific coast, or
in the Kootenay country, and the distant mountains
often withdraw from sight in a bluish obscurity.
The first rain usually commences in a thunder-storm,
which comes crashing through the mountains with
its accompaniment of wind and hail, leaving the
forests moist, and the peaks hung with clinging
mists. A violent storm at night among these mountains is one of the most inspiring phenomena of nature. A continuous roar from the forest, stirred by
the gale, mingled with the crash of conquered trees,
is momentarily lost in thunder, echoed and rolled
back from rock cliffs and mountain sides. A hoarse
murmur, which is not the roar of ocean surf, but the
lesser voice of a small mountain lake lashed to fury,
comes from the shore.
The gloom of these night storms is followed by a
period of calm, not less impressive in majestic revelations. At such times dawn shows the clouds low
on the mountains, sulking, as it were, before the
coming victory of the sun. The rising sun awakens
uncertain movements in the motionless mist, and
causes moist air currents to ascend and form new
clouds, while others descend in counter currents,
spin out into wisps of fog, and disappear again like Xigbt Effects anb Colour Illusions      25
cloud ghosts into thin air. Suddenly a mountain,
covered with a mantle of fresh snow, appears above
the rolling masses, and the sun, breaking through,
pours a shaft of light that in its long pathway leaps
from mountains and clouds to fall into the lake.
Changeable breezes make ripples on the calm water,
then cease, only to breathe upon another place like
the last dying gasps of storm.
The first two or three days after a severe rain are
more beautiful than any others. It is impossible to
tell or paint the beautiful colours, the kaleidoscopic
change of light and shade, under such conditions.
They are so exquisite that one refuses to believe
them even in their presence, so subtle in change, so
infinite in variety, that the memory fails to recall
their varying moods. I have seen twenty shades of
green, and several of blue, in the waters of Lake
Louise at one time. Sometimes in the evening,
when the quantity of light is rapidly diminishing,
and the lake lies calm, or partly tremulous with dying ripples, marked vertically by the reflections of
cliffs and trees, there is a light green in the shallowest water of the east shore, a more vivid colour a little
farther out, and then a succession of deeper shades
merging one into another by imperceptible change,
yet in irregular patches according to the depth of
water, to the deep bluish-green and blue of the middle lake. The eye wanders from place to place and
comes back a few moments later to where the brightest colours were, but no doubt they are gone now,
i 'I       I
Cbe IRocfcies of Canaba
1 w
and the mirror surface is dulled by a puff of air, while
the sharp reflections have been replaced by purple
shadows, or the obscure repetitions of the red brown
cliffs above the water. It may be that a day, a year,
or possibly a century will pass before those identical
glories of colour will come again.
Among many marvellous effects of light and colour,
one that occurred on a September afternoon remains
distinct in my memory. The sky immediately overhead was clear, but massive clouds were brooding
above the snowy crest of Mt. Victoria. A mysterious calm pervaded the cool air, and the water lay
tremulous with that gentle motion which is the final
pulsing of ripples before utter quiet settles on a
sleeping lake. The distant valley and the farther
reaches of water were obscured by a gloomy shade
of motionless clouds. An arching band of light
bathed their edges in brilliant silver, overleapt the
dark curtain, and descending, fell into the abyss of
water near the north shore, to develop there a poisonous looking green colour, intensely strong in comparison with the darkness beyond. The sun's rays
breaking through the clouds threw light on various
parts of the lake, steeping in vivid sea-green the
tawny reflections of iron-stained cliffs and the brilliant yellows of autumn willows and larches, only to
bury them again in shadow. The lake seemed like
a great basin filled with liquid under magic spell,
where the quietly changing sunbeams resembled
an enchanter's wand, which at the lightest touch an October IPistt to Xahe Xouise
produced wonderful colourings and weird effects in
the uncertain light.
I once made an interesting visit to Lake Louise in
October. The previous September had been a month
of disagreeable weather and continuous snow-storms.
Then followed, as often happens in the Canadian
Rockies, a month or more of bright weather which is
the true Indian summer and has peculiar charms of
its own. I could not resist the temptation, as the
morning train approached the station of Laggan, to
improve an excellent opportunity for another study
of Lake Louise. Sunrise had been unusually brilliant and there was every prospect of a fine day.
After breakfast at the station-house I set forth on
the hard frozen road towards the lake. I carried
lunch in my pocket, and an ever faithful camera
strapped to my shoulders, while for a companion
I coaxed an idle dog to accompany me. The air was
cold, and the feeble October sun had not as yet
struck into the forest and removed the frost from
moss and fallen leaves. In somewhat less than an
hour I arrived at the lake. All was deserted; the
chalet closed, the keeper gone, and the lake restored
to primeval solitude. Of insect life there was none,
for the busy swarms of bull-dogs and mosquitoes
had been annihilated by nights of frost, or else were
hibernating till another season. Most all of the
flowers were withered and frost-bitten, the deciduous
bushes, but lately decked in gay autumn colours,
were scattering dead leaves on the ground, while the
sir t
Gbe IRocfties of Canaba
J   E
larches far up on the mountains marked a band of
pale yellow between the green spruces and the bare
slopes above tree line. However, the greater part
of Rocky Mountain plants are evergreen, so that the
spruces, balsams, and pines, no less than the undergrowth of heaths and mosses, find a way of defying
winter by wearing a garb of perpetual summer.
The lake rested motionless and half lighted by
the early morning sun. There is rarely much sky
colouring at sunrise or sunset in these mountains.
The dry atmosphere, especially at this season, has
little power to dissolve the white light into rainbow
hues and produce those deep and richly varied colours
which occur in lowland regions or on the sea. The
tints are pure, clear, and cold like the air itself. They
are merely delicate shades or colour suggestions
which recall those faint but exquisite hues seen in
topaz, transparent quartz, or tourmaline crystals, in
which the minutest trace of some foreign mineral has
created rare spectrum colours and imprisoned them
there for ever. This morning the snowy mountain
tops were tinted a clear pink beautifully contrasted
against an intensely blue sky.
My breath rose straight upwards in the calm air.
The mirror surface of the lake was disturbed by some
wild fowl — black ducks and northern divers — which
frequent the lake at this season. Their splashings
and the harsh cries of the divers came faintly over
the water. It seemed strange that these familiar
haunts could become so fearfully wild and lonely Lake Louise and Mount Victoria. ^^v^LJMMMkJa^
jen i!   Hn avalancbe from fll>t Xefros
merely because man had resigned his claims to the
place. Suddenly a wild, unearthly wail, from across
the water, the cry of a loon, which is one of the
most melancholy of all sounds, startled me and
abruptly ended my reverie on solitude.
Accordingly I walked down the north shore of
the lake with the intention of going several miles up
the valley and taking some photographs of Mt. Le-
froy. The flat, bushy meadows near the upper end
of the lake were cold, and all the plants and reedy
grass were white with frost. The towering cliffs
and castle-like battlements of the mountains on the
south side of the valley shut out the sun and promised to prevent its genial rays from warming this
spot till late in the afternoon. In the frozen ground
I saw the tracks of a bear, made probably the day
before. Bruin had gone up the valley somewhere
and had not returned, so there was the possibility of
making his acquaintance.
I was well repaid for my visit by seeing a magnificent avalanche fall from Mt. Lefroy, a rock mountain which rises in vertical cliffs between two branches
of a glacier encircling its base. A hanging glacier
rests on the highest slope of the mountain and forms
a vertical face of ice over two hundred feet thick at
the top of a precipice. At intervals, sometimes of
days or weeks, masses of ice break from the hanging glacier and fall with thundering crashes to the
I was standing at a point about two miles distant
■w»- '4
£be IRocfcies of Canaba
when, from the vertical ice-wall, a fragment of the
glacier, representing its entire thickness, broke away,
and, turning slowly, began to fall through the airy
abyss. In a few seconds of continued silence, for no
sound had yet reached me, the heavy mass struck a
projecting ledge, after falling half a thousand feet,
and there was shivered into innumerable pieces and
clouds of powdered ice, as though it had been rent by
some great explosion. Simultaneously came the
first thundering roar of the avalanche. Then for two
thousand feet more the greater masses of ice led the
way, leaping from ledge to ledge, some of them whirling round in mid-air, while others shot downwards
like meteors, trailing behind snowy streams brushed
off in their awful flight. In a long succession of
white curtains resembling a splendid waterfall, the
smallest particles followed after. The loud crash
which signalled the first destruction of the icy mass
now grew into a prolonged thunder, mingled with
explosive reports of bursting fragments as they
collided in mid-air or dashed against projecting parts
of the precipice. It was like the sound of battle,
where the clash of arms and the sharp crack of
rifles are accompanied by a continuous roar of
The north face of Mt. Lefroy is a practically vertical cliff twenty-five hundred feet from base to top.
Imagine then a precipice sixteen times higher than
Niagara, at the top of which stands a hanging glacier crevassed into yawning caverns, ever moving
11- a Marnina of Winter's approach
resistlessly forwards and threatening at any time to
launch tremendous masses of ice into the valley
below. Such avalanches are among the most thrilling
spectacles of nature. The majestically slow movement of these masses as they commence to fall is a
measure of much greater heights and depths than the
eye, deceived by the clear mountain air, can at first
appreciate. The first movements of these avalanches
proceed in total silence, and the ice may fall a thousand feet or more while the sound is travelling the
intervening distance, to awaken echoes among the
cliffs and startle the mountaineer. I have often
noticed that the thunder of avalanches from Mt.
Victoria requires twenty seconds to reach the chalet,
so that by that time there is often nothing but a
white cloud to indicate what has occurred.
I got back to Lake Louise again about one o'clock.
A local breeze made a narrow lane of ripples in the
midst of a surface otherwise perfectly calm. This
was one of those rare days when the lake is undisturbed by wind at midday under a clear sky, for the
wind generally comes and goes with the rising and
setting of the sun. The morning chill had been
tempered by the October sun and a few forest birds
were flitting silently among the trees, but the flowers
and butterflies of summer were no more. It seemed
the last expiring effort of autumn, when at any time
a sudden storm might wrap the landscape in snow
and bind the lake with ice. Even at this warmest
time of day the feeble sun rays seemed unable to  CHAPTER III
THE environment of Lake Louise is wild and
rugged. The snowy mountains seen beyond the water, Mt. Victoria and Mt. Lefroy,
form part of the continental watershed and are
among the finest peaks of southern Canada. The
spur ranges make a complex knot of splendid mountains towering from four to six thousand feet above
the valleys. These latter abound in lakes and forests
in striking contrast to the bare rocks and dazzling
snow fields of the high altitudes. The forces of
nature have made here a wonderful combination of
gloomy gorges and tremendous cliffs, limestone
pinnacles, and crevassed glaciers.
To explore this chaotic wonderland, then but little
known, and to learn something of the neighbouring
valleys and mountains, a party of college men was
33 Wi
Gbe IRocfcies of Canaba
organised in 1894, and met at Lake Louise in July.
One member of our party was an enthusiastic
hunter, another eager for the glories of mountain
climbing, one was a disciple of Daguerre, while the
two others were ready to join almost any undertaking whatever. Yandell Henderson, Lewis Frissell,
and I were the first to meet at Lake Louise, but we
had not been there long before our spirits were
cheered by the arrival of our friend George Warrington. After a few preliminary excursions had been
made, to get in condition for more arduous trips,
Samuel Allen, with whom I had made several
mountain ascents in previous years, completed our
party towards the middle of July.
A common purpose helped the unity of our work,
which was to explore the region immediately around
Lake Louise, to ascend some high peaks, and to obtain photographs of the scenery. Through Warrington's ingenuity in contriving a winding reel, the lake
was sounded and then mapped and contoured.
Henderson added to our larder by his skill with a
rifle, while the rest of us climbed mountains and
made maps.
Our first excursion, and one that nowadays is
very popular with visitors, was to Lake Agnes. A
trail leaves the chalet, and by a course of zigzags
through the forest ascends the sloping mountain
west of the lake. The tall coniferous trees cast a
cool shade and shut out the mountain world till an
ascent of a thousand feet has been made.   An older Blpine flowers
trail then leads off to the right and presently comes
out on a bare slope, swept of trees years ago by a
winter snow-slide. A wonderful view is here disclosed. Mirror Lake, a small pool, is several hundred
feet below, shut off from breezes by an encircling
forest and a great cliff called the Beehive, whose tapering form and horizontal bands of red and grey
rocks suggest its name. On the right of the Beehive, Lake Agnes appears, partly concealed by Ly-
all's larch, and from it comes a cascade that dashes
over rocky ledges down to Mirror Lake. Mt. Lefroy
and Mt. Aberdeen across the valley seem far higher
than they did twelve hundred feet below. Where the
avalanche has swept away the forest trees, a growth
of bushes and herbs has restored the green colour to
the mountain side and added beauty to it by means
of a multitude of Alpine flowers. The great mountain anemone, showing rigid white flowers, and compound leaves divided again and again into fern-like
tracery, grows here among the rocks. It should be
called the snow-flower, for it is the first to awaken
at the touch of spring and bloom at the edges
of melting snow-banks. I have seen their bursting buds surrounded by an inch of snow ready to
open in to-morrow's sun. Sometimes the great
anemone blossoms in August or September on Alpine highlands, where perhaps the snows of winter
have been unusually deep, and a false spring comes
in autumn when the belated meadows are at last
uncovered.   This   plant bears a tufted  bunch of
i 36
3be Rockies of Canaba
plumed seeds which, at full development, is twelve
or eighteen inches above the ground, and these tas-
seled heads make a conspicuous display in every
high mountain meadow.
Somebody has said that edelweiss and Scotch
heather grow on this slope. There are two plants
resembling them, one an antennaria, and the other a
heath called bryanthus, which has small purple
blossoms remarkably like the Scotch heather. Why
does not somebody import the seeds or roots of the
Swiss edelweiss and plant them here ? Then, as in
the Alps, lovers can risk broken limbs to show their
devotion. These Canadian Rockies have the grandeur and beauty of the Alps, but need their romance
and poetry, picturesque mountain villages, cattle
pasturing on the upland meadows, or the calls of
the shepherd and yodel to awaken the forest echoes.
The trail, which is soon lost among the attractions of this place by anyone not devoting his attention to it, appears again on the farther side of the
avalanche track. It makes a dizzy course along the
face of moss-fringed cliffs, glistening in places with
spring-water. Spruce trees have established a footing wherever there is the slightest opportunity, often
on the very edge of the precipice, so that their
spreading branches lean far out from the cliff, and
their bare roots, like writhing serpents, are flattened
in narrow fractures of the rocks. These wooden
anchors have safely outlived a thousand mountain
storms and may see as many more. i ,
Lake Agnes.
In early July, i8q$.
i a the
ler.   Why
:uis of th|
jhen, as in
!--;-^w their
: grand-
.  cattle
.   calls of
l<| echoes.
ftp attrac-1
■  : atten-
of the
ng the
Mil with
I   ! a foot-
i   :y, often
i that their
e cliff, and
|p flattened
c wooden
jcc ms I»
S '  - \ 4  Xafce agues
Lake Agnes is a wild tarn imprisoned by cheerless cliffs. At one end there is a narrow fringe of
trees, but the lake on either side is bordered by
barren angular stones, where nothing grows. Its
northward exposure and the towering walls of a
great amphitheatre keep out the sun and allow the
snow to linger here all summer. One year the ice
did not melt away till the end of July, and a thin
sheet of ice often forms on clear summer nights. I
have seen the lake covered with winter ice again in
October. This lake is about one-third of a mile in
length. The water is green, and, coming as it does
from melting snow and springs, is so clear that the
rough bottom may be seen at great depths. It is
almost the only rock-basin lake that I have seen in
the mountains and, like all other lakes that have not
been sounded, it is fathomless.
The solitary visitor to the lake is soon oppressed
with a sensation of utter loneliness. All these surroundings are desolate and a perpetual silence reigns,
except for the sound of a rivulet falling over rocky
ledges on one side. The faint pattering, echoed by
opposite cliffs, seems to fill the air with a murmur
which is faint or distinct at the mercy of fickle
breezes. The elusive sound starts from every side,
or dies away into nothing, and seems almost supernatural because the ear is powerless to tell whence it
comes. The shrill whistle of a marmot, the hoary
badger of the Rockies, often breaks this unwonted
silence in a startling manner.   Once a visitor to the
if I
3be IRockies of Canaba
lake cut short his stay and hurried back to the
chalet upon hearing one of these loud whistles, which
he thought must be the signal of robbers or Indians
about to commence an attack.
Many excursions of interest may be made on this
mountain side, but none commands a finer panorama
of the surrounding region than the top of a rock
buttress called the Little Beehive. This is half a
mile north of Lake Agnes and is merely a knob upon
a greater mountain. Vertical precipices form the side
towards Lake Louise, but there is a flat top of several
acres extent covered with a most beautiful growth of
the scraggly Lyall's larch, whose feathery needles
merely filter but do not interrupt the streaming sunlight. A generous share comes to the huckleberry
bushes and Labrador tea which grow underneath.
They need all they get, for it is a long way north
here, besides being seventy-five hundred feet above
sea-level, where snow falls every month of the year
and the air is warm only at midday. To the northwest you may see a lake near the source of the Bow
River, Mt. Hector, towering like an uplifted castle
eleven thousand feet above sea-level, standing between this valley and the Pipestone, then far away
eastwards beyond Pilot Mountain (formerly a landmark for the surveyors) thirty miles down the Bow
valley, and finally a nearer mass of giant peaks to the
south-east and south, which are strangers to us yet,
together with the now familiar peaks of Mt. Lefroy
and Mt. Victoria.   I have never seen this glorious
j- - £be Victoria ©lacier
ensemble of forests, lakes, and snow fields surpassed
in an experience on the summits of more than forty
peaks and the middle slopes of as many more in the
Canadian Rockies. And the best part of it all is,
that a most indifferent climber can easily reach this
place and, with care, a horse might be led to the
Before our party was complete, Henderson, Fris-
sell, and I made an excursion to Mt. Lefroy, which
gave us more caution ever after and nearly resulted
fatally for one of us. After crossing the lake in a
boat, we ascended the valley for a mile to the end of
a glacier which is the source of the Lake Louise
stream. This glacier is formed from two branches,
one of which fills the valley between Mt. Aberdeen
and Mt. Lefroy, while the other comes from a narrow
canyon called the Death Trap. Thus Mt. Lefroy
stands like a precipitous island in a sea of ice. We
crossed the muddy glacial stream and after climbing
the sharp-edged moraine descended upon the glacier.
This glacier is about three miles in length by half a
mile wide. Its upper part, or neve, is comparatively
clear, but many stones cumber the ice at its lower
end, increasing ever towards the snout, till at length
this dirtiest glacier of the Rockies ends dismally and
indefinitely, buried beyond recognition in a confused
moraine. The burden which the glacier carries is a
mass of limestones and shales, which have fallen from
the cliffs up the valley and are being slowly transported to the terminal moraine.    You may walk
im half a mile over the lower glacier and not once touch
the ice under this covering of stones. There is one
large pile of shale blocks, which have been apparently
dumped upon the glacier all at one time, in which
some of the stones measure fifteen or twenty feet in
Passing the ice-pillars, with their protecting caps
of stone, streams gliding silently over the glacier surface in polished channels of ice, and the dark crevasses, into some of which these streams fall with a
hollow roar, we came, after an hour of walking, to
the foot of Mt. Lefroy. There is a snow couloir
on the north side of this mountain which seemed to
offer a possible way up a precipice about seven hundred feet high. Above this precipice there is an
easier slope to the summit, and we thought that,
once arrived there, nothing could prevent our ascent
of the mountain. An exploration was accordingly
begun of this couloir in an effort to see how far it
was practicable in view of some future ascent. The
snow slope, which was comparatively easy at first,
soon increased to a pretty stiff angle four or five
hundred feet above the glacier, and it seemed better
to try the rock cliffs on one side. We were now enclosed by limestone cliffs disintegrated by frost. It
was in fact one of those narrow and precipitous
gulches of the Canadian Rockies which are most
dangerous to climbers. On either side of us there
were overhanging walls, decayed limestone pillars,
tottering  masses  of broken   stone  with daylight
aea •^^
ui  an accibent on flDt Xefro?
showing through the cracks, and a thousand rocks
resting threateningly balanced and apparently ready
to fall at a feather's touch. That we were not dismayed at this hopeless prospect proves that we
were more audacious than prudent.
At length when reaching upwards for a handhold,
with a boost from below and my face against the
limestone, I saw a large and dangerous-looking stone
poised above us. "Fellows, we must look out for
that stone," said I, "and not let the rope touch it."
A moment after, Henderson and I were above this,
climbing another rock ledge, when we heard the
grinding sound of the large stone moving. We
turned in time to see Frissell falling. The rope tightened and held him on a ledge ten feet below, but the
tremendous stone, which must have weighed a ton,
was rolling over and coming down upon him. For
a brief but awful moment, helpless and immovable,
as in a frightful dream, we saw the stone leap out
into the air to descend upon our poor comrade, but he
made a desperate movement, pressing hard against
the cliff, and escaped the full force of the blow.
Then the whole place resounded with the hollow
rattle of falling stones as they danced in a shower of
death below us.
We found that Frissell could not stand, one leg
being perfectly helpless, while he was so dazed by
the shock that he fainted twice in our arms. We
were many miles from assistance and it was after two
o'clock.   Uncoiling the full length of the rope, one
e.j 42
Cbe IRocMes of Canaba
end was fastened round his waist, and the other
round mine. With an ice-axe buried to the head in
the snow as an anchor, I paid out the rope and lowered our helpless friend fully fifty feet. Then Henderson went down and, anchoring himself in like
manner, held him while I came down. This operation, repeated a number of times, brought us soon
upon the comparatively level glacier. Removing my
coat for him to lie on, I started to the chalet for aid.
Heedless of crevasses, over the crumbling moraine
and rough stones to the trail around the lake, running at all times except in the very roughest places,
I covered in seventy minutes what had required three
hours to walk in the morning. Arrived at the chalet
completely exhausted, I hoped to find sufficient aid
there to make up a relief party, but, as ill luck would
have it, only Joe Savage, the cook, was at the chalet.
Mr. Astley, the manager, and two Indians, Tom
Chiniquay and William Twin, were on the mountain near Mirror Lake. So while Savage got poles
and canvas ready for a litter, I commenced a tiring
climb for the others. Coming at length upon William, where he was cutting out a trail, I addressed
him in the Indian way of speaking English : I William, three white men go up big snow mountain.
Big stone come down—hurt one man. I think Tom,
Mr. Astley, you, all go up snow mountain—bring
white man back." William asked, " Kill him ? " but
his face showed anxiety till I told him that our friend
was still alive, though he must hurry.   Dropping his a Heturn for aib
axe, he ran off for the others who were higher upon
the mountain, while I returned to the chalet and
made ready some food and whiskey. Thus a relief
party of four was soon started.
On the back of an Indian cayuse I galloped away
to Laggan and telegraphed for Dr. Brett to come from
Banff. Then to division headquarters, " How much
for a special engine from Banff to Laggan ? " The
reply was in terms too high for our purse, and I
arranged for a hand-car crew to bring up the doctor.
The distance is thirty-six miles and there is a stiff
grade with a total ascent of five hundred feet.
Meanwhile the rest of the party on the glacier,
seeing me disappear about three o'clock beyond a
swelling mound of ice, were left to pass the tedious
hours in lonely contemplation. On a hot summer
day a glacier is a fairly comfortable place abounding
in cool breezes and bright sunshine. A decided
change, however, takes place immediately after the
sun disappears, as it soon did here, behind Mt. Victoria. Ice-needles formed on the pools, the genial
breezes ceased, and a penetrating draught came
down from the higher places. The long hours
rolled by and still no sign of aid appeared. In
imagination they recounted the possibility of its
never arriving, thinking that I might have fallen into
a crevasse, or sprained my ankle while on the
moraine, and that no one would ever think of coming to them. At length in desperation they made a
plan to leave the glacier by the shortest way, at
t, '•
u§ whatever risk to life or limb, rather than die of cold
on this cheerless sea of ice, but before such plans
were carried out they discovered, with a field-glass,
a boat leaving the far end of Lake Louise. In half
an hour the boat had crossed the lake, and then for
an hour or so no further sign of help was seen.
Suddenly four moving figures appeared like black
dots in the distance and they knew that a rescue
party was coming at last. At seven o'clock, or more
than four hours after the accident, our injured companion commenced his journey to the chalet in a
litter hastily constructed and which, at best, only
served to lift him a little above the ground. William
observed his woebegone appearance and heard his
groans with concern, but with true Indian lack of
tact, frequently during the painful journey entertained the invalid as follows : fi You think you die ?
Me think so too."
While Frissell was regaining health and strength
we made several expeditions to the adjacent valleys,
and, among others, one of them proved the most delightful that I have ever taken in this region. We
as yet knew nothing of the mountains east and
south of Lake Louise. Certain glimpses of a valley
beyond Mt. Aberdeen and Mt. Lefroy had been caught
in our various climbs, but they gave only imperfect
ideas of the geography of all that region. To push
our exploration into this new and doubtless attractive
place seemed a most desirable thing. Our plan was to
explore the Lefroy glacier and force a passage, if
■XXI ascent of a Snow pass
possible, over a snow pass eastwards, where, no
doubt, all this unknown region would lie before us.
Accordingly one day near the first of August our
party of four might have been seen traversing in
Alpine fashion the ice-fields near Mt. Lefroy. This
entire valley, which is more than seven thousand
feet above sea-level, is filled with glacier ice and perpetual snow. From the entire absence of trees or
vegetation of any kind it is impossible to judge distance and heights of mountains in this place. It is a
veritable canyon, of magnificent though desolate
grandeur, with the bare limestone slopes of Mt.
Aberdeen on the north, and on the other side the
north face of Mt. Lefroy, which has a total height of
nearly four thousand feet from the glacier. At the
valley end there stands a curious pointed mountain,
shaped like a bishop's mitre, and on either side of
this there is a col, or snow pass, one of which we
hoped to ascend.
As we were marching over the glacier, which
was covered with snow and therefore somewhat
dangerous, Warrington, who was third on the rope,
suddenly broke through the frail bridge of a crevasse.
11 could hear," he afterwards told us, "the noise of
snow falling under my feet and the gurgling of water
at the bottom of the depths over which I was suspended." We pulled him out of this dangerous
place without anyone else getting in, and reached
the foot of the snow passes without further accident.
The one on our left seemed easier of slope than the
'"fen 46
Zbe IRocMes of Canaba
other. It was very soon apparent that we had a
considerable amount of work before us. Allen led
the way cutting steps in the snow, for the slope was
very steep and we had no desire to slide into one of
the great crevasses which made the place formidable. We crossed some of these treacherous
caverns by means of snow bridges, but others we
were compelled to pass around, and in such places
had inspiring views of blue grottos hung with
dripping icicles. From the darkness of these yawning death-traps came the sound of sub-glacial
streams. j|E|
After three hours of slow and tiring work we had
climbed only one thousand feet. It was a cloudy
day with a damp and cheerless atmosphere, and at
this altitude of eight thousand feet there were occasional showers of hail and snow. Chilled by the
long exposure and the necessary slowness of our
progress, every member of the party became silent
and depressed. It seems to me that the circulation
of the blood has much to do with the mental state
and that courage depends in a large measure on the
pulse. The panting soldier will face a cannon's
mouth, but dreads unseen danger when chilled by
night watching.
To judge by our surroundings alone, we might
have been exploring some lonely polar land, for our
entire view was limited by high mountains covered
with glaciers and snow and altogether barren of
vegetation.   At such times you wonder why you
111? 2>iscot>er\> of a mew ©alie?
came. Why not stay at home and be comfortable ?
Every climber feels such temporary repulses, when
the game is not worth the candle and he decides
once for all to give up mountain climbing. - Like the
ancients vowing sacrifices and temples to the gods
in the thick of battle or on the point of shipwreck,
which vows they forgot very speedily when they
arrived at safety, the mountaineer forgets his resolves under the genial influence of hot Scotch and
a comfortable camp. These Rockies have many surprises for the explorer, and there was one in store
for us.
We sought temporary rest on an outcropping
ledge and tried to regain some strength by eating
lunch. The summit of our pass now seemed only a
short distance above, but we had been deceived so
many times on this interminable slope that we put
no faith in our eyes. Recommencing our climb at
a quicker pace, for the slope was easier and we
were most anxious to see the view eastwards, we
were soon near the summit. The last few steps to a
mountain pass are attended by a pleasurable excitement equalled only by the conquest of a new
mountain. The curtain is about to be raised, as it
were, on a new scene and the reward of many
hours of climbing comes at one magical revelation.
Arrived on the summit of our pass, 8500 feet above
sea-level, we saw a new group of mountains in the
distance, while a most beautiful valley lay far below
us.   Throughout a broad expanse of meadows and
I i*   jS
1* ■
■i ***9"
N   §$
ijf H
1 j -   |1
ikjg ^^m 48
3be IRocfcies of Canaba
open country many streams were to be seen winding
through this valley, clearly traceable to their various sources in glaciers, springs, and melting snowdrifts. With all its diversity of features spread like a
map before our eyes, this attractive place was seen
to be closely invested on the south by a semicircle
of high and rugged mountains, rising steeply from a
crescent-shaped glacier at their united bases. The
encircling mountains extending then to the left,
hemmed in the far side of the valley in an irregular
line of peaks, to terminate, so far as we could see, in
a double-pointed mountain with two summits about
one mile apart. The strata of this mountain had
been fashioned by ages of exposure into innumerable
forms of beauty, like imitations of minarets, pinnacles, and graceful spires. The mountain itself resembled a splendid building, with nature as architect, the
frost and rain for sculptors. Its outlines showed a
combination of gentle slopes and vertical ledges like
the alternating roofs and walls of a cathedral. On
one side of this mountain, where nature had evidently striven to surpass all other efforts, there rose
from the middle slopes a number of slender stone
columns, apparently several hundred feet high. They
were strange monuments of the past which had survived earthquake shocks and outlived the warring
elements while nature continued her work. Compared with these columns, the pyramids of Egypt,
the palaces of Yucatan, and the temples of India are
young, even in their antiquity. rffffi
Discovery of Paradise Valley. ,     le#;
lis about
ea a
••s€ke   ©iscover? of a IRew IDailes
At the time of our arrival on the summit, a sudden
change took place in the weather. The wind came
from another quarter, and the monotonous covering
of grey clouds began to disclose blue sky in many
places. The afternoon sun poured shafts of light
through the moving clouds, and awakened bright
colours over forests, meadows, and streams.
This beautiful scene opened before us so suddenly
that for a time the cliffs echoed to our exclamations
of pleasure, while those who had recently been most
depressed in spirit were now most vehement in expressions of delight. A short time before no one
could be found to assume the responsibility of such a
foolhardy trip, but now each member of our party
had been the proposer of this glorious excursion. We
spent a half-hour on the pass, and divided our work
so that while one took photographs of the scene,
another took angles of prominent points for our map,
and the rest built a cairn to celebrate our ascent of
the pass.
It was decided, by each one no doubt to himself,
but at any rate by the party unanimously, to explore
this new valley whatever should be the result.
Though it was late in the afternoon and there was
small chance of reaching the chalet that night, the
desolate valley behind repelled, while the new one
seemed to bid us enter.
Fortunately, a long snow slope led far into the
valley from the pass. This we prepared to descend
by glissading, all roped together, because one or two Gbe IRocfties of Canaba
of our party were undergoing their first Alpine experiences. The slope was pretty steep, and we were
just well under way in our descent, when someone
lost his footing and commenced to slide at such speed
that the end man was jerked violently by the rope,
and lost his ice-axe as he fell headlong. With consternation very evident on their faces, our two comrades came rolling and sliding downwards, head first,
foot first, sometimes one leading, and sometimes the
other. Their momentum was too much for the rest
of us and, even with our ice-axes well set in the soft
snow, we all slid some distance in a bunch. Owing
to the complicated figures executed in our descent, it
required several minutes to unwind the tangled ropes
in which we were caught. Then a committee of
one was appointed to go back and gather the scattered hats, ice-axes, and such other personal effects as
could be found.
In a short time we had descended fifteen hundred
feet to the valley bottom. We had thus in a few
moments exchanged the cold and dreary upper regions for the genial warmth of summer. Humboldt
says : " In the physical as in the moral world, the contrast of effects, the comparison of what is powerful
and menacing with what is soft and peaceful, is a
never-failing source of our pleasures and our emotions. " By our rapid change of altitude we had passed
through all gradations of climate from polar to temperate, and now found ourselves surrounded by
meadows of rich grass, gay with the wild flowers of Exploration of a Bells btful IRegion
midsummer, and open groves where squirrels were
chattering, and the wild conies and other rodents
were staring at us as we passed along. There were
not a few mosquitoes in evidence also.
We followed a small stream and saw it finally
grow into a river. Pursuing our way with rapid
steps, like adventurers in nature's fairyland, where
every moment reveals new wonders, we came at
length to an opening in the forest, where the falling
stream dashed among great stones strewn in wild
disorder. They were colossal fragments of sandstone
hewn by nature into angular blocks and poised one
upon another as though they were ready to fall from
their insecure positions. After several hours of walking, the stream became a large, muddy torrent which
swung from right to left every hundred yards or so,
and was now too wide and deep to cross.
The tremendous cliffs of Mt. Temple, one of the
highest of the Canadian Rockies, guard the east side
of this valley. For the space of three miles its precipices present an uninterrupted wall of rock, four
thousand feet from base to top and a total height of
five thousand feet from the valley. Henderson and
I led the way, and at length lost sight of the others,
who preferred a slower pace after such unusual exertions. In the early evening we came to a swampy
place, beyond which we recognised the broad opening of the Bow valley. Here we waited some time
for our friends, who were a long way behind, and
then at length wrote a note and fastened it to a pole 52
£be IRocfcies of Canaba
in a conspicuous place. It read : I? We are going to
climb the ridge to the north and try to make the
chalet to-night. Advise you to follow us." On the
top of the pole we cut a slit and pointed a splinter of
wood in the exact direction we were to take.
Having accomplished these duties in the best
manner possible and in spite of innumerable swarms
of mosquitoes from the swamp, we walked at our
best speed, not relishing the prospect of a cheerless
bivouac overnight after our long fast. Encountering
the usual obstacles of fallen timber, we reached Lake
Louise, by good fortune, at eight o'clock. After
shouting in vain for someone to send over a boat,
we forded the stream and entered the chalet, where
a sumptuous repast was prepared forthwith and to
which we did justice after our walk of twelve hours'
Our friends did not appear till morning. It seems
that they discovered our note, but decided not to
take our route as they thought it safer to follow the
stream to the Bow. This, however, proved much
farther than it appeared, and they had not proceeded
far before they became entangled in a large area of
fallen timber, where they were soon overtaken by
night and compelled to give up all hope of reaching
Lake Louise till morning. In the dark forest they lit
a small fire, and were at first tormented by mosquitoes, and later by the chill of advancing night, so
that sleep was impossible. The utter weariness of
exhaustion, embittered by hunger and sleeplessness,
...- -L.
aiir Inbian Sarcasm
amid clouds of voracious mosquitoes, was only offset by the contents of a flask, with which they
endeavoured to revive their drooping spirits and nourish the feeble spark of life till dawn. Fortunately
the nights in this latitude are short, and at four
o'clock they continued their way to the Bow River,
which they then followed to Laggan.
A week later, a little column of smoke was seen
rising from the woods toward the east, and from Laggan it was reported that a large area of the forest was
on fire. Some pointed the finger of scorn at us and
held our party responsible. William Twin, our
Indian friend, said, "Me think two white men light
him fire," to which we replied that this was impossible as the fire had broken out nearly a week after
our visit. William then met our arguments with
this sarcastic fling: " Oh no, white man no light
fire.   Me think sun light him."
A gang of section men with axes and water-
buckets was immediately despatched from Laggan
to fight the fire, which, thanks to the weather, did
not prove very serious and was extinguished in two
THE beautiful place which had been discovered
in such a delightful way we called Paradise
Valley. Our route will never be popular except with mountaineers, and comparatively few will
see this valley from the Mitre col. The lower end
of Paradise Valley can be seen to better advantage
from an elevated place called The Saddle, a part of
Fairview Mountain, east of Lake Louise. An excellent trail has been made and you may now ride there
on the back of an Indian pony in an hour. The
Saddle is an upland meadow between a craggy elevation on one side and the great conical mass of
Fairview Mountain to the north. This alp, beautified
by waving grass and bright flowers, alternating with
scattered groves of Lyall's larch, is so elevated that
54 Mount Temple from the Saddle, fSMPLE — WE
fe -___ YHE
I Paradise'
ar ex-
iW Will
it end
If I   a -<<io   iL/v*\^lI
LI SVi v.
Lfe* ■ &
ill XO llrS 1
and b-
of Lyall'i
:gy ele-
iass of
Vt with ~~
~ I. I -~*-_  an Tttplanb flDeabow
it commands an inspiring view of the Bow valley
and of Mt. Temple. The latter is a splendid mountain (the highest seen from the Canadian Pacific
Road), and is surpassed only by the giant Mt. Assiniboine to the south, and by those great snow
mountains, Forbes and Lyell, near the source of the
The meadow dips gently southwards, suddenly
breaks up into rocky crags, and then drops abruptly
fifteen hundred feet to the bottom of Paradise Valley,
where the stream resembles a narrow band of silver,
winding in sinuous course through the forests.
Standing on one of these flat-topped ledges, where a
stone from the hand drops one hundred feet before
touching the cliff, you may enjoy one of the most
inspiring views in the Rockies of Canada. A small,
blue lake rests against the base of Mt. Temple, somewhat elevated above the valley, hemmed in by forests,
and sparkling with diamonds when the sun is south.
It is more than five thousand feet from the water of
this lonely pool to the top of Mt. Temple. A glacier,
free of all dirt-bands and stones, for there are no
cliffs above to scatter rock-falls upon it, crowns the
mountain, summit and, at intervals, makes ice avalanches when its hanging edge breaks away. These
avalanches are infrequent, but the roar of ice in its
fall of several thousand feet may be heard at Laggan,
six miles distant.
One route to Paradise Valley lies over this Saddle,
but a far shorter way is through the forests from Lake
1 56
Gbe IRocfties of Canaba
Louise to the mouth of the other valley, which is
only three miles distant and on about the same level.
We decided to make a camping expedition into this
region and explore it at leisure, so we procured three
or four horses at the chalet and made ready some provisions and blankets. It would not have required a
very large book to contain all we knew about packing
horses at that time. They say the Bedouins pack
their camels in a singular manner by winding thongs
round the animals' bodies, packs and all, and at their
journeys' end simply cut the fastenings, whereupon
everything comes loose. Our horses must have been
packed in a similar manner, but at all events we knew
absolutely nothing about the " diamond hitch."
Allen and Henderson said they would go ahead
and get a camp settled near the end of Paradise Valley. To help drive the horses, two Indian boys were
engaged, but on the second day, after a hearty breakfast, they deserted. Frissell and I came along "in two
days with another horse and some auxiliary supplies.
I shall never forget that night when we were searching for the camp. We had been leading the horse,
an obstinate old brute, more than six hours through
the pathless forest, and had arrived at length not far
from the valley end, where, however, there was no
sign of a camp. A stormy night was coming on and
a fine drizzle commenced to wet the underbrush.
We untied the rifle and fired several shots as a signal
of distress. Hollow echoes from the forest gloom
and the long-drawn repetitions farther and farther
i  ■' Graversina tbe patbless fforest
away mocked our despair. The poor old cayuse
was a picture of silent misery with his head hanging
down, the rain dripping in streamlets from ears and
mane, and his body steaming with moisture. We
prepared to make a night of it in the wet forest with
no tent to protect us, no axe to cut fire-wood, and
little chance of cooking anything, though there were
some cold canned provisions somewhere on the
horse unless they had fallen out of his packs. I put
on a "slicker" and made a last search for the camp
in a rapid excursion up the valley. Some large
whitish stones loomed through the darkness and
several times deceived me into the idea that they
were our tent. At length I found the place on the
farther side of a stream and gave a shout. There
was no fire before the camp, which made it so difficult to find. In another hour the horse had been
brought up and a fire made, large enough to dry our
clothes and cook a fine dinner. The next day was
spent in cutting fire-wood and boughs for beds, to
say nothing of making camp generally comfortable.
Several trips were made afterwards between the
lake and camp to replenish our stock of blankets and
provisions. As might be supposed where the explorers were inexperienced and the country unusually
rough, some remarkable things happened on these
journeys. There was a spot about two miles within
the valley entrance that always put our patience to
a severe test. On one side of the stream was a place
made fairly impassable by fallen trees crossed two or
i: H
M 58
Gbe IRocfcies of Canaba
three deep. The other bank, which we were compelled to take, was covered by an unusually dense
forest, where a tangled underbrush and fallen timber
partially concealed the pitfalls of a moss-covered
rock-slide. There were deep holes between the
stones, and in many places underground streams,
which we could hear gurgling beneath our feet, had
washed out the soil. To lead a horse through this
place required considerable skill and courage. Without guidance the poor beast would stand motionless,
but to choose a path while leading him was a precarious occupation, for the very first hole was enough
to frighten the animal so that, instead of going more
carefully, he usually commenced a wild rush till he
fell. In these frantic struggles we were occasionally
trampled on, while the packs were smashed against
the trunks of trees or torn off altogether.
Our usual manner of procedure was to have one
of our party ahead to select rapidly open places in
the forest, while about twenty-five yards behind
came another whose duty it was to find the pathfinder, and if possible improve on his route. Then
came the horse led by a third, while the rear of our
little procession was brought up by two others
charged with the responsibility of picking up whatever articles fell out of the packs.
The following incident, which is related merely
for the sake of historical accuracy and to show the
possibilities of the country, is offered with no fond
hope whatsoever that anyone will credit the tale. a flbaweilous Somersault
It happened that we were pursuing our way through
the woods in our usual manner, when the leader
came to a tree which leaned over the trail at an
angle. It was small enough to be limber, and large
enough to be strong. Moreover, it was too low for
the horse to pass under, and too high for him to jump
over. Approaching the slanting tree, the leader saw
the pack-horse rear in the air and prepare for a jump.
He thought it best to get out of the way, but in his
haste stumbled and fell headlong into a bush.
Meanwhile the horse, a stupid old beast, prepared
for the effort of his life, and with a tremendous
spring jumped high in air, but unfortunately his forefeet caught in the tree, which swung forward a little
with his weight, and then returning like a spring,
turned the animal over in mid-air. The poor beast
fell on his back about five yards farther on, and remained motionless as death, with his four legs pointing towards the sky. But this was not all, for the
tree swung back violently and caught one of our
party on the nose, fortunately at the end of its
swing, but with sufficient force to knock him down.
When our two friends had recovered, we turned our
attention to the horse, which had not yet moved.
"He is dead," cried a voice. We rolled him over
nevertheless, whereupon he got up and seemed
none the worse for his experience except for a more
than usual stupidity.
Though our camp life was not so comfortable as
further experience has shown to be possible in these I
$be IRocMes of Canaba
F        K
mountains, still there was the enthusiasm of early
exploits and a certain romantic atmosphere to all we
saw and did that perhaps lessens with riper experience. In the first place our surroundings would
have appealed to any lover of nature. The upper
part of this valley is hemmed in by an encircling line
of mountains, and abruptly terminated to the south
by a bare precipice which rises in a wedge-shaped
peak called by us " Hungabee," or the chieftain.
Falling away into a moderate depression, the cliffs
rise again on the right into the lofty summit of Mt.
Lefroy. A curious glacier, shaped like a horseshoe,
lies at the base of this semicircle of mountains.
The glacier ends in a high moraine ridge, and below
this for a mile or more the valley abounds in delightful meadows and open groves, interrupted at
frequent intervals by level tracts, pools of water, and
quiet rivulets, or, where the country is more broken,
by noisy glacial streams. The meadows were at the
height of summer glory and bright with the scarlet
painted-cup and red-purple epilobiums mingled in a
wild clash of colours.
There are several species of epilobium in the
mountains, of which the commonest is a tall plant
with a long raceme of flowers. It is called the fire-
weed, for it appears most abundantly in the desolate
wastes of burnt timber lands, where its bright flowers
enliven the black and grey monotony of charred
trees. In late summer it sends forth a multitude of
cottony seeds, which are borne away through the Camp in Paradise Valley
=nni liICI
; m
eds. which a
j$je chieftain
iit of tM
% axiifc beloj
^ounds in' df
water, arr
ire* &r61ier-
were at th
'all   pi ':
%$ the fke-
Se desolate
it flnwpr*
ui  Ciiarrcu
iultitude ot
.ugh the   Gbe Tapper j£nb of parabise IDallep     61
air for miles, sometimes over high mountain ridges,
to other valleys. There is a smaller and more
beautiful plant of the same genus, which is only a
few inches high and bears a few conspicuous flowers, magenta-purple coloured, that harmonise with
nothing except perhaps the green of its own pointed
leaves. It prefers the pebble-lined borders of mountain streams, or the dry bed of some old channel where
a little gravel offers a foothold between water-worn
stones, to the rich soil and verdure of meadows.
This flower, like Grieg's music, recalls mountain
pastures, and suggests in its discordant beauty of
colour tones his wild, bitter-sweet harmonies.
The altitude of all the upper part of Paradise Valley is approximately seven thousand feet above sea-
level, which, in this part of the Canadian Rockies, is
the normal tree-line. The terms tree-line and snow-
line are inexact, and vary greatly according to situation. In secluded valleys that face north, the upper
limit of tree growth is sometimes below seven
thousand feet. But where the valleys are broad and
sun-exposed, spruces and larches grow as high as
seventy-five hundred or even seventy-six hundred
feet above sea-level.
All the valleys of these mountains are covered
with heavy coniferous forests. There is a certain
dignity in these tall, straight trees, which seems suitable to the cold northern wilderness, though the
effect is monotonous as compared with the variety
of tree forms found in the deciduous forests of the
}l\ '■f"B»«.^j«to"»
Gbe IRocMes of Canaba
Appalachians, the Green, and the White mountains.
Only five kinds of trees compose by far the greater
part of the forests in the summit range of the Canadian Rockies.
The white spruce (Picea Engelmannii) is found
everywhere throughout the mountains from the lowest altitudes to the highest limits of tree growth. It
is from forty to one hundred feet in height and from
one to three feet or more in diameter. In heavy forests the outline of this tree is very narrow, as the
higher branches, especially, project but a little way
from the tapering stem. These lateral branches show
a tendency to slope downwards, possibly the better
to shed the burden of winter snow. In dark forests
the lower branches die away and are often hung
with black and gray beard-lichens. In places where
the forests are somewhat open and protected from
snow-slides, the spruce has live branches from the
ground to the terminal bud, and the tree then assumes the form of a symmetrical spire. I counted
four hundred rings in an old spruce stump near Lake
Louise. This tree was less than three feet in diameter, but it sometimes exceeds four feet, and by the
same ratio of growth such trees should be between
five hundred and six hundred years old.
The balsam spruce (Abies subalpina) has about the
same range as the white spruce, but is less common.
At a distance it is hardly to be distinguished from
the spruce, but the bark on branches and young
trees is raised in blisters which contain a drop or two
nEkSBO Gbe Spruce anb Balsam
of balsam. This balsam exudes from the bark wherever it is bruised. At first it is a very clear liquid,
regarded by old trappers and woodsmen as a certain
cure, when brewed with hot water, for colds and
throat trouble. On exposure to air it slowly hardens
into a brittle resin, which the woodsman melts into
pitch to seal boxes or mend leaky canoes. The
camper-out makes his bed from balsam boughs, as
they are more springy and less rigid than those of
the spruce. The blunt and soft leaves of the balsam
are likewise much pleasanter to the touch than the
sharp spruce needles.
There are two kinds of pine — the black pine
(Pinus Murrayana), a small and slender tree which
cannot endure very high altitudes, and the white-
barked pine (Pinus albicaulis), which is found on
rocky slopes at greater heights. The black pine extends over considerable areas, and alternates with
spruce when fires destroy one or the other forest.
The white-barked pine has an open branching trunk
and is rather scarce in these mountains.
The most interesting and by far the most beautiful conifer is Lyall's larch (Larix Lyallii). It resembles the eastern tamarack, but is restricted to the
summit range of the Rockies, and its southern limits,
probably in Montana, have not yet been determined.
I have never seen the larch in any of the Saskatchewan or Athabasca valleys, and the farthest north that
I have observed it was on the slopes of Mt. Hector,
eleven miles from Laggan.   It rarely lives at altitudes 64
Gbe IRocMes of Canaba
below six thousand feet above sea-level. The extreme range of altitude of this tree might be safely
placed between 5600 and 7600 feet. Lyall's larch is
very beautiful, having a rough, grey bark, irregular
and heavy branches, and a foliage of soft needles
arranged in tufts like green brushes. Its appearance
among the spruces as you ascend is a certain indication that you are approaching tree-line, where it
forms scattered groves on all the higher ridges and
meadowy uplands. Its growth must be extremely
slow, as I have counted thirty rings in a branch only
three-fourths of an inch in diameter. The wood is
hard and brittle, and after a heavy snowfall the
branches often strew the ground in a painful ruin.
Thus the tree has an irregular and gnarled appearance as a result of its ceaseless battle with snowstorms and gales. Probably no other tree in the
world endures such stress of weather. Not till June
or July does the snow entirely disappear from the
ground in its usual habitat, and if the winter has
been unusually severe the drifts may remain all summer. Its tender buds burst in June and the needles
are fully developed in early July, but they are frequently covered with ice or snow during the summer,
and in fact I have seen them covered with light
snow in a freezing atmosphere for nearly three successive weeks in July and August. Then, no matter
how hot the summer has been, the snow begins to
fly again in September at these high altitudes, so
that the larch has an active growing period of only
it Gbe X$ail's Xarcb
two or three months in the year. Nevertheless their
trunks are frequently more than two feet in diameter,
which seems to indicate that they attain a very great
age in spite of the vicissitudes of climate. Those
larches that grow at the highest altitudes have a
curious development not found on trees a few hundred feet lower. The tufts of needles spring from a
hollow woody sheath, which is sometimes more than
an inch long on the high-altitude trees, while elsewhere this development is not present.
In October the larch needles fade, and during
autumn mark a band of pale yellow on the mountains. The Lyall's larch is a constant source of delight to the mountaineer, and adds much beauty to
those higher valleys and slopes where the deep forests end and the perpetual snows first appear. Its
rough bark and crooked branches, adorned with a
scanty foliage, make a light shade and show the
blue sky beyond. In such places, contrasted with
the cliffs and snow fields of the mountains, it lends a
charm to their grandeur.
The Douglas fir (Pseudotsuga Douglasii) is the
largest conifer of the eastern or summit range, but is
only found on the foothills east of the mountains or
in valleys which are less than five thousand feet
above tide. Here it is found in company with the
aspen poplar (Populus tremuloides), and the cotton-
wood (P. balsamifera), which when well seasoned
makes the finest camp-fire possible and gives out no
smoke or sparks whatsoever.
fti .
By 66
Gbe IRocfcies of Canaba
There was not much game around our camp in
Paradise Valley, though we saw tracks of mountain
goats while on our various excursions. There were,
however, numerous small animals, one of which, a
kind of rat with a bushy tail, tried to run off with
various metal articles and did considerable damage
during our absence from camp by gnawing our camera cases and leather straps. We frequently saw
and heard the great hoary marmot, or whistling
badger, which always remains at a safe distance, but
startles the solitary wanderer by its sudden and exceedingly shrill whistle. Porcupines also lived in
the open woods, one of which we killed and ate
when we were hard up for provisions. They are
hardly eatable, though the Indians regard them
highly as an article of food. A most interesting
little rodent is one that, at first, we called the
seven-thousand-foot rat, because he invariably puts
in an appearance at this altitude. This is the pica, or
tailless hare, a squirrel-like animal, which infests dry
meadows and the tumbled masses of rocks where
slides have come down from the mountains. They
have sufficient curiosity to make them narrowly
watch your approach, till at length, overcome by
fear, they dart away among the stones. The pica's
only music is a dismal squeak, but they are so characteristic of upland parks and lonely though beautiful
valleys, that the mountain climber comes to associate
them with some of his finest experiences and so to
love them.
■ : : v 'i
-^a Cbe IDalle? in XKIIInter
Our chief adventures in Paradise Valley were the
successful ascent of two unclimbed peaks, Mt. Aberdeen and Mt. Temple, an account of which will be
given elsewhere. At the end of summer we had
pretty well explored about fifty square miles around
Lake Louise and were enabled to make a map of this
beautiful region.
One by one the members of our party were compelled to bid farewell to the glories of the Rockies.
I remained later to finish some details of survey
work, and early in October made a final expedition
with Mr. Astley to bring back our tent from Paradise
Valley. A light snow covered the ground in protected places, and the large stream of Paradise Valley
had fallen so much that its rocky bed proved the
safest route for our pack-horse. On our way we saw
a fine herd of mountain goats, a species of antelope
like the chamois of Switzerland.
Our camp was buried in snow, the ridge-pole of
the tent broken with the heavy burden, and everything so much changed in appearance that we had
trouble at first in finding the place. The murky air
was filled with falling snow as we rolled up the
frozen canvas and blankets, while the mountains,
half concealed by the approaching storm, showed
vague outlines, and from the thickening gloom came
the indefinite roar of distant snow-slides.
We reached the lower end of the valley by nightfall, where in this altitude a fine rain was sifting
through the spruce needles, and here we made camp
EM 68
Zbe IRocfcies of Canaba
in a dense forest. A crackling camp-fire, built of
great logs, drove away the chill and dampness of a
rainy night. The tent, our clothes, and the mossy
ground were soon steaming, while the glare of our
fire gave a cheerful light to the dark forest. Snow
was falling in the morning, and squalls were sweeping through the valley and across the flanks of Mt.
Temple, but three hours' travel through the cold
swamps and snow-covered underbrush brought us
to the chalet.
A few days later I climbed to Lake Agnes to hunt
the mountain goats which frequent the place. The
lake was nearly covered with ice, while the snow
was already two feet deep, and I was compelled to
seek shelter behind a cliff, for there was a driving
wind, bitterly cold, and full of hail. CHAPTER V
ONE of the highest mountains of southern
Canada is Mt. Assiniboine, which lies
about twenty-five miles south of Banff.
This remarkable peak attracted the surveyor's attention very early and its position was determined as a
prominent landmark long before it was visited. Dr.
Dawson saw it from the White Man's Pass and
named it after a tribe of plains Indians.   So far as I
have been able to discover, the first person to reach
69 ;o
Sbe IRocMes of Canaba
the base of the mountain was Mr. R. L. Barrett, who
visited it with Tom Wilson in 1893.
The reputed interest of the mountain, and the surrounding region, which was said to be dotted with
numerous lakes, made me decide to arrange for a
visit during the summer of 1895. Fortunately it was
the intention of Mr. Barrett, who was then at Banff,
to revisit Assiniboine with his friend Mr. J. F. Porter,
and upon comparing plans it was evident that mutual
advantage would come from combining our forces.
There were to be two separate parties, with men
for each, travelling as one. Thus we were ready
at any time, in the event of disagreement as to
routes or plans, to separate and take our several
The sixth of July was the date determined upon
for our departure. In the meantime we made frequent trips to the log house of our outfitter, Tom
Wilson, who was to supply us with pack-horses,
guides, and our entire camping outfit. Many years
previously Wilson had packed for the railroad surveyors and was regarded one of the best packers in
the North-west. He has a remarkable memory for
the details of any country that he has ever seen and
is, moreover, peculiarly alive to special points of
interest or attractive scenery in the mountains, a
quality that is conspicuously absent in the majority
of the people connected with the North-west.
July commenced rainy and cold, but our arrangements went forward without interruption.   Wilson's Hnecbotes about £ari$ Surveyors       71
place was a scene of busy preparation during the last
two or three days. Pack-saddles, piles of blankets,
tents, and ropes were to be seen here and there,
while bags of provisions and canned goods of all
kinds were ready for final assortment. Rashers of
bacon and bags of flour made the bulk of our provisions, while the smaller packages contained dried
fruits of several varieties, cereals, sugar, tea, and
coffee. Pots and pails, knives, forks, and spoons
were collected in other places, while our men, who
were already engaged for the trip, were bringing
order from a chaos of articles, and making sure that
the saddle-girths, head-ropes, and hobbles were in
good condition, the axes sharp, and the rifles bright
and clean.
I It is all very well," said Wilson one night after
we had been talking over the possibilities of our trip,
"to travel with maps, or a guide, and you will have
no trouble, but I remember some strange things that
have happened in these mountains. When the surveyors were searching for the best route across the
Rockies, Major Rogers sent a party to explore the
Kananaskis Pass. The man in charge of this party
was to find, if possible, a way to the Columbia, but
at the summit of the pass he came to a stream which
flowed in a direction east of south. He retreated
after he had followed the stream a short distance, as
its course made him certain that he was still on the
eastern slope of the range. But he was at the head
of the Elk River, which flows into the Columbia by
? I 72
3be IRocfcies of Canaba
way of the Kootenay, and so, without realising it,
had crossed the divide.
"Major Rogers himself," Tom resumed, "was
upon one occasion more completely turned round
than that, trying to cross the Selkirk Range. He
started up the Beaver River from the Columbia and,
turning up Grizzly Creek, struck the headwaters of
the Spilimichene, till at last he came out again on the
Columbia, seventy miles from where he started in,
and on the same side of the range."
Our route to Mt. Assiniboine lay through the
Simpson Pass, and thence down the Simpson River
to a certain place where an opening in the mountains
to the south would lead us to this giant of the
Rockies. Our journey began on the sixth of July,
though the day was wet and showery. Our four
men with nine horses started before noon for our
first camp at Healy's Creek, about six miles from
Banff Barrett, Porter, and I came later, on foot, and
after a mile or so of good road, plunged into the
difficulties of a bad trail in a burnt timber country,
and left the last sign of civilisation behind. In a
drizzling rain we made our way over charred logs
and through wet brush, hunting for the trail most
of the time.
We came at length to Healy's Creek, a large
stream that comes roaring out of the mountains from
the west and drains the Simpson Pass to swell the
Bow River. We shouted across and soon saw Peyto,
one of our packers, coming at a gallop through the a IRain? Camp If
brush. Chiniquay, an Indian cayuse which he rode,
had to carry us one by one across the creek, which
was rather deep and swift. The three tents of our
camp had been prettily grouped under some spruces.
Everything was in order and the cooks were* preparing supper upon our arrival. We were labouring
under many of those imaginary evils which by some
are supposed to make camp life intolerable, soaked
through by a long tramp in wet brush to reach
a rainy camp. Nevertheless we were all happy, as
our clothes were soon drying around open camp-
fires, where a fine supper was served. Then we
rolled up in blankets laid on balsam boughs and
realised that, at last, our^ journey to Assiniboine was
I Breakfast is ready," was the cheery shout that
interrupted our dreams the next morning. The rising sun was struggling through uncertain bands of
clouds and all the meadow flowers and grass were
sparkling with pendent diamonds of rain and dew in
the early light. Peyto and Edwards had long since
driven our horses into camp and in an hour the men
were busy packing. Our march commenced at
eight o'clock, Peyto leading, the bay and Pinto — our
best pack-horses — next, and then our several men
interspersed among the animals in Indian file.
We crossed a mile of flat country and, turning
southwards, commenced to ascend among the high
The interest of our march was much increased by i   1
Cbe IRockies of Canaba
the number of flowers that were to be seen as we
went along. In damp, mossy woods we saw the
round-leafed orchis, a very pretty plant with a single
green leaf and a raceme of rose-purple flowers. It is
quite common throughout the mountains. A rarer
flower and one of exquisite beauty was also seen,
the Calypso, a northern orchid named for the beautiful goddess who fell in love with Ulysses. The
single blossoms are shaped somewhat like those of
the species called lady's - slipper, and combine a
showy display of pink, purple, and yellow colours.
There is a small patch of green timber half a mile
east of Laggan station where this flower may also
be found, but it is very scarce elsewhere.
After a march of six hours we made camp in the
deep valley of the north fork of Healy's Creek. While
the men were putting things in order, it was discovered that Edwards's axe had been lost some time
on the day's march. In view of the long journey
before us and the possibility of considerable trail cutting, this axe was indispensable to our progress. He
saddled his horse and started back, saying that he
would not return till it had been found. Contrary
to our expectations, he did not return that day nor
for a period of nearly two weeks.
Our camp was only a few miles from the Simpson
Pass, and the next day we reached it in an hour.
The summit was covered with snow, and many of
the drifts were fifteen or twenty feet deep. The altitude of this pass is 6884 feet, and the entire summit
■M 2)eep Snow on tbe Simpson pass
and the mountains several hundred feet higher
are covered with trees. The unusual amount of
$now in July was the result of a long and stormy
winter followed by a backward spring. The day of
our visit was warm, and the snow was being fast
reduced to slush, under the influence of a mild south
wind. The pass has no decided slope for a mile or
more, but is broken up by rocky ridges and interspersed with small lakes. When our descent began,
the first warm southward slopes were already free
of snow and covered with banks of beautiful Alpine
flowers. There were only two or three species in
these snow-lined flower-gardens, but the multitude
of blossoms made up for the lack of variety. The
great white anemone and the yellow Alpine lily
(Erythronium grandiflorum) were in all stages of
bud and blossom, revelling in the balmy breezes and
a wealth of sunshine. Our heavy-footed horses
trampled down myriads of blossoms in a ruthless
destruction, regardless of the beauty round them,
but glad to get into a place where there was hope
of grass. We had crossed the great divide and
passed from Alberta to British Columbia. An Indian
trail led us down by a stream which, at first a mere
rivulet from melting snow, had now become a brawling torrent. This stream ran into the Pacific Ocean.
The woods became deep and dark with sombre
trees of great height, among which the trail wound
deep cut in the loamy soil, and led us at length
away from the noise of falling water into the forest
i ■
A 76
£be IRocfcies of Canaba
silence. The day's march ended at the Simpson
River, where we camped in a level place beside many
Indian teepee-poles.
July 9th. The entire Simpson valley in this part
is an unbroken forest. Several thousand feet higher,
bare limestone cliffs rise above the mass of green,
making a picturesque contrast, but there is little perpetual snow in sight from the depths of the valley
bottom. Our line of march lay near the Simpson
River, which is a very rapid stream, and we followed
its banks for several hours. During one of several
river crossings one of my pack-horses was lamed in
a mysterious manner, but no attention was at first
paid to what seemed a trivial accident. However, in
a few minutes we made a final crossing before we
should ascend the opposite mountain side to a distant valley opening. Barrett said this was the route
he had followed with Wilson in 1893. The stream
had been safely crossed, and we were trying a short
cut to the trail which Peyto had located just previously on a trip of reconnaissance, and while floundering through a soft, mossy wood, the horse recently
lamed fell in a rough place. The poor beast could
not get up till his packs were removed, and then it
was seen that his leg was broken. It required but a
few minutes to remove his saddle, and then, after the
other horses were led away a short distance, Peyto
ended the unfortunate animal's life with a rifle
Barrett said it was not far to a pretty lake where £nb of an Ejrbaustina flDarcb
there was an excellent camping place and good feed
for the horses. Leaving the river at an altitude of
about forty-five hundred feet, the trail ascended by
a succession of steep pitches through a green forest
of pine and spruce. After we had been on the
march for six hours we found ourselves entering a
high valley much encumbered by rock-slides which,
though easy enough for us to walk over, were very
trying and dangerous to the horses. It was impossible to camp in this vicinity, and after an exhausting march of three hours more and an ascent of fully
two thousand feet from the Simpson River, we made
camp in a delightful place near a stream. Some
bushy meadows promised fine feed for our horses
and the adjacent woods gave us fire-wood. Even
our weary pack animals when their saddles were removed rolled on the ground in delight and scratched
their backs before running off to the meadow. Axes
were at work cutting fire-wood and poles, so that in
the hour while our cooks were preparing dinner the
three tents were placed in position and camp put in
order for the night.
Our valley was hemmed in by mountains which
presented a continuous barrier on either side for
many miles. The scenery resembled that of the
Sierra Nevadas — smooth cliffs dotted here and there
with trees or clumps of bushes, and ornamented by
waterfalls so high, and so distant from us, that they
resembled silver threads waving from side to side in
the changing breezes.    Sometimes a stronger wind
m a
i tflll
Zbe IRocfcies of Canaba
held them suspended for a time in mid-air, or swept
them away altogether in a cloud of spray.
Opposite our camp, and at a considerable height
above it, there was a formation upon the mountain
like a rock fortress, where nature had built a nearly
perfect representation of a medieval castle. One
might easily imagine that these sharp pinnacles and
rocky clefts were ramparts, embrasures, and turreted
fortifications. But the wild goats, marmots, and
picas were the sole owners of this castle.
July ioth. From a small lake near our camp we
caught a dozen trout in the morning while our men
were coming up the valley. It appeared that a few
miles would bring us to the valley's end, where a high
pass seemed to terminate the ascent. Filled with
hope of getting our first view of Mt. Assiniboine
during the day, we were on the march at an early
hour. Lyall's larch and scattered snow-drifts indicated our increasing altitude. The snow soon became
so deep that only with the greatest difficulty could
we make any progress whatsoever. On several
occasions our horses had to struggle through long
stretches of snow, five or six feet deep, and in such
places we all went ahead and trampled out a pathway
for them. Finally a long bare ridge, well exposed
to wind and sun, offered us a fine route through
the unbroken snow fields and led us to the summit.
As the slope began to fall away in the opposite
direction a new world lay before us. It was a desolate valley of burnt timber, beyond which appeared
B .
i CMP a Burnt {Timber Camp
a richly coloured lake, girt by green forest and overhung by a barrier of snowy peaks. Above this
rough range, the sharp crest of Mt. Assiniboine was
faintly seen through the smoky atmosphere, for
forest fires were raging somewhere in spite of the
rainy season. We descended into the valley and
camped in burnt timber near a small stream.
That our men and horses might rest after the
long marches of the last four days it was decided
to spend an entire day at this place. There was
little of the picturesque in our environment of burnt
timber. However, this camp has for some reason
made one of the pleasantest impressions upon my
Our tents were placed among some trees killed by
fire. The ground was made comparatively smooth
by rolling away the charred logs, cutting the bushes
that had grown up in recent years, and strewing
upon the ground branches from trees of the new
generation. In a swamp near us a number of birds
were nesting and calling their mates. The camp
was upon the edge of a bluff overlooking a bare
ravine, where a stream ran swiftly in a timber-
choked channel, and gave the encroaching bushes
endless rhythmic movements, as the splashing water
touched them. A gentle south wind coming up the
valley soothed us to dreamy slumbers. The stronger
gusts awakened shrill vibrations in the dead and
splintered trees, or carried away the torrent's roar in
frequent alternation of sound volume.    The smoke 1\
Zbc TRocMes of Canaba
If I
feS   ft 5
bathed the mountains in hazy blue, and once, coming in greater thickness, nearly concealed them altogether and softened the sunlight to a mellow glow.
The thunder of repeated ice avalanches, or the
loud reports of stones falling upon the mountains,
where summer was loosening the frost, several times
disturbed my siesta. The dreamy rustle of windblown grass and the varying sound of the torrent
were, however, like an endless slumber song. From
a bushy copse in the swamp near our camp two
white-crested sparrows sang the entire day and part
of the night a plaintive little air of five notes
(C, D, E, E, C, of which the two E's are eighth notes,
while the rest are quarters) repeated six or seven
times a minute. The last note is somewhat faint
and flat. This feeble and pathetic outpouring of
music from happy creatures seemed to accord with
the barren forest ruin. It is difficult to understand
the exquisite pleasure that often comes from such
chance associations. There is something wonderfully
beautiful in the idea of a pretty melody repeated
throughout the long summer in the heart of a wilderness where, in the waste of charred trees and waving
fireweed, the music of one little bird stirs the heartbeats of but one other creature, its mate.
July 12th. We marched east for two hours, finding a route among the fallen timber as well as we
could. At length a steep ascent brought us by a
waterfall to a grove of larches beyond which a beautiful lake appeared.    The transformation from the
Ml Impressive \Diew of assiniboine
waste of burnt timber was immediate and complete.
A well-marked trail led around the winding shore on
our left, the other side of the narrow lake bejng
hemmed in by rock-slides and cliffs. The last ice of
winter was drifting before the wind, and the water
was covered in several places with a kind of slush,
made of innumerable slender ice-needles. These
gave a faint sound like the rustle of silk as they
rubbed one against another in the ripples. The
trail led us by the lake for half a mile and then, leaving it, ascended a rocky ridge through a grass-lined
opening. Another lake was immediately disclosed,
and beyond it mighty Assiniboine.
The majestic mountain, which is a noble pyramid
of rock towering above snow fields, was clearly reflected in the water surface. Such a picture so suddenly revealed aroused the utmost enthusiasm of
all our party, and unconsciously everyone paused in
admiration while our horses strayed from the trail
to graze. Continuing once more, we traversed some
open places among low ridges covered with beautiful
larches. We passed through a delightful region
which descended gently for half a mile to a treeless
moor, where we pitched camp. Behind us was a
clump of trees, before us Mt. Assiniboine, and on our
left a lake of considerable size, which washed the
very base of the mountain and extended northwards
in the bottom of a broad valley.
We remained here for a period of two weeks.
The altitude of this place is seventy-four hundred feet. M
3be IRocfcies of Canaba
k 1
ps 1
This is considerably above the usual tree-line of these
mountains, though there were a considerable number
of spruces and larches not only at the level of our
camp but several hundred feet higher. I attribute
this to the open character of the valley, which receives
a considerable amount of sunshine, and so collects
sufficient heat to raise the level of possible tree
growth above the normal. Mt. Assiniboine was almost due south from our camp. The distance in a
straight line was more than a mile to its base and
nearly three to its summit. Two diverging spurs
from Assiniboine enclose this valley. To the north
it expands into open places, interrupted in part by
scattered tree clumps, but covered generally with a
low, bushy growth. The smaller trees which grow
in the open are dwarfed and distorted by their ceaseless struggle with cold. Even at the borders of thick
groves the spruces often show a regular line of
branches, like a trimmed hedge, as though no single
branchlet would venture into the cold air beyond its
The higher dry ground is uneven and hummocky
from the burrowings of innumerable picas and marmots. These are a variety of Parry's marmot, sometimes called the red-bellied ground squirrel, which is
considerably smaller than the siffleur, or great hoary
marmot, so common in these mountains. The wolverenes have dug into their burrows and by throwing
out piles of dirt and great pieces of turf have added
to the roughness of the region.   In the meadowy Mount Assiniboine. tfrjfi of tt
fi&f$Hk nuflr
^L      jimj   £M
oo    'ochrece
. :  oooioe )
The distam
.^SS-Sft^SXUl-?..-V\.   ^
f     -3    02:    ;
yo the iort
n the m<   a Strange Xafce
and swampy places where our horses pastured, two
miles north of camp, some curious action of frost has
converted the ground into a mass of low grass-
crowned hummocks with bare soil between. Altogether I have never seen a region which is more
tiring to the pedestrian than this, because of these
endless inequalities of the ground, which are half
concealed by dwarfed trees and a tough underbrush.
The large lake near the position of our camp has
some peculiar features. At the time of our arrival a
strong wind was driving cakes of ice down the lake
amid whitecaps. The lake seems to rest against a
small glacier at the foot of Mt. Assiniboine where it
gets a large part of its water-supply. A large stream
enters it at the opposite or north end, and several
others come in at various points, but we were surprised to find no outlet. This, however, explained
the rapid change in water level which we had noticed. The lake was rising at the rate of several
inches every twenty-four hours. There were indications on the shore that the water had at some
comparatively recent period been ten or twelve feet
higher. Where do the subterranean waters escape ?
Perhaps the curious nature of a valley north of our
camp may throw some light upon this subject.
Peyto had put our horses in a meadow two
miles from camp. He made frequent visits to the
place while looking after the horses, and upon one
occasion made a trip of six or seven miles down the
valley. The streams from these meadows run north-
j 11 |f
j 84
Cbe IRocfcies of Canaba
wards, disappear into the ground, reappear several
times, and finally vanish altogether. In this valley
a mile or so farther on is a curious lake set in a limestone basin. One or two small streams enter it, and
a number of air bubbles rising through its clear water in several places indicate subterranean springs,
but there is no outlet. Then for three miles no
stream or sign of water is visible in this weird valley
of curious limestone hills covered with a few trees.
At the base of a great hill, however, where the
valley bottom drops suddenly six or seven hundred
feet, a number of springs gush out, and this we discovered later was the source of the Simpson River.
Everything seems to show that the waters of the
last lake, the meadows beyond, and perhaps also the
large lake at the base of Mt. Assiniboine are carried
in underground passages to make these springs.
The whole region is a limestone formation and
abounds in caves and sink-holes.
It has been mentioned that on the second day's
march one of our packers, Edwards, had gone back
to find a lost axe. At every subsequent camp, therefore, we had left a supply of provisions and information about the route we were going to pursue.
More than ten days had now elapsed and nothing
had been heard from him. Peyto's fertile imagination conjured up visions of his having been drowned
in Healy's Creek, and I must confess that we were
all somewhat worried. It seemed best to send Peyto
back on a fast saddle-horse, to make inquiries at fIDeasurement of tbe fIDountain
Banff, and improve the opportunity of bringing out
another horse to replace the one that had been shot.
Meanwhile, as Mt. Assiniboine seemed a serious
problem for even a well-equipped Alpine party, we
made no attempt to climb the mountain. We contented ourselves with a number of lesser mountain
ascents, and from several points between eight thousand and nine thousand feet high obtained splendid
views of the giant of the Rockies.
There were, unfortunately, no surveying instruments in our outfit, but I determined to get a rough
approximation on the height of Assiniboine. I used
my camera tripod for a plane table and made a
little alidade by adjusting two upright sticks to another with a straight edge. The upright sticks were
threaded with horse-hairs. Taking a piece of linen
thread about fifteen yards long I set up stakes and
laid out a base line. This thread was carefully measured when I reached Banff. With these crude instruments I plotted out and found the horizontal
distance to the top of the mountain, and repeated
the operation several times. For the vertical angles
I set up a table and a basin of water. I had a large
piece of celluloid as a substitute ground glass for my
camera, and on this a straight line was ruled and
made to coincide with the water surface. Then two
needles were used as sights, and the vertical angle
to the mountain top was indelibly scratched on the
celluloid and measured later. By adding the result
thus determined to the altitude of our camp, I got 86
Cbe IRockies of Canaba
*ll I
11,680 feet for the total height of Mt. Assiniboine.
The result obtained by the Topographical Survey
of Canada from angles taken at a distance is 11,830
feet. This, no doubt, is very nearly the exact height,
and the comparative agreement of my result is
probably due to several errors cancelling themselves
out and so giving a better result than the instruments deserved.
One day, about a week after leaving us, Peyto
galloped into camp with another horse, some additional provisions, and our guide Edwards. The latter said he had followed us for four days' march,
when he lost our trail and returned to Banff.
Shortly after Peyto's arrival, Barrett and I projected a plan to see the south side of Mt. Assiniboine. As the country was very rough, it was
impossible to make the trip with horses, so we prepared to try it on foot. We were going into a country that in all probability had never been visited by
any white man. We each carried a single blanket
and food enough to last three days. These burdens
were made as light as possible, for the success of our
expedition would depend ki a large measure on the
rapidity of our movements. My camera, several
cups and knives, a small hand-axe, and a few other
articles which seemed absolutely necessary were
distributed among our packs.
On the 26th of July, Barrett, Peyto, and I started
on this expedition, which, though attended by considerable hardship, eventually proved most valuable
7 a Deep Dalles
and interesting. At eight o'clock we bade farewell
to those at the main camp and said we should return
on the third or fourth day. We walked three miles
to the north-east, through open country, which rises
gradually to a pass eight thousand feet above sea-
level. On the summit of this a deep valley lay before
us, very heavily wooded and nearly filled by three
lakes, one of which is three or four miles long, while
the two upper ones are smaller. The water of each
is differently coloured, one yellowish green, another
blue-green, and the other blue. All are fed by a
stream coming from a glacier on Mt. Assiniboine
which presently appeared on our right.
We descended two thousand feet into the valley
and took a short rest by the blue waters of the middle lake. The air was oppressively hot and we
struggled amid the pitfalls of very large timber, making slow progress and tormented by myriads of mosquitoes. We crossed this narrow valley between
the two upper lakes and found a fallen tree that
served for a bridge over the stream. Then ensued a
difficult scramble up the opposite side of the valley,
which made us climb again nearly the entire two
thousand feet of our first descent. This hard work
ended suddenly when we found ourselves in a comparatively level valley, beautified by meandering
streams, open meadows, and a few small lakes. On
the summit of a pass where the water turned in the
opposite direction we ate lunch and took an hour of
rest beside a rock-girt pool.
1 i w
Zbc IRocfues of Canaba
This was the end both of the green timber and of
our pleasant surroundings, for shortly after resuming
our journey we came to a burnt forest. It seemed
that the entire valley had been utterly devastated by
afire which had swept through this region apparently
not many years before. Many of the trees had been
completely destroyed, while the youngest had been
charred and warped into arched poles with their tops
touching the ground. Ledges of sandstone and
quartz had been splintered by the intense heat into
sharp-edged fragments which covered the ground.
The direction of this desolate valley soon changed
sharply to our right and we felt that a corner of Assiniboine had been turned. There was no sign of any
trail and it is very doubtful if the Indians ever used
this route among the mountains. The fallen timber
became denser as we progressed. The monotony of
our travel was interrupted by our coming to a sudden
pitch or descent of the entire valley where there was
an abrupt fall of about five hundred feet. Arrived
at the bottom of this, we had not walked far before
another appeared, similar to the first, only far deeper.
The mountains, which were very high on either side,
seemed to rise above us to far greater altitudes as, in
rapid descent, we reached lower levels.
The burnt timber continued without interruption.
Our passage became mere log walking, as the extra
exertion of jumping over the trees was worse than
following a crooked course on top of the prostrate
trunks.    This laborious and exceedingly tiresome
iJyu  11
1 jlj
']    j
li a TKflaste of fallen Cimber
work lasted for three hours, and at length the charred
trunks, uprooted or burnt off near the ground, and
crossed in every direction, were piled so high that we
were often ten or twelve feet above the ground, and
had to work out our puzzling passage with considerable forethought. At five o'clock our labours ended.
We made camp by a stream which seemed to take its
source near Mt. Assiniboine. The only good thing
about this place was the abundance of fire-wood,
which was well seasoned, required but little chopping, and was already half converted into charcoal.
Under the shelter of an overhanging limestone ledge
we made three lean-tos by supporting our blankets
on upright stakes. Black as coal-heavers from our
long walk in the burnt timber, seeking a refuge in
the rocky ledges of the mountains, and clad in uncouth garments torn and discoloured, we must have
resembled the aboriginal savages of this wild region.
Some thick masses of sphagnum moss, long since
dried up, gave us a soft covering, to place on the
rough, rocky ground. Our supper consisted of bacon,
hardtack, and tea. Large flat stones placed on a
gentle charcoal fire served to broil our bacon quite
successfully, though the heat soon cracked the stones
in pieces.
We were now on the Pacific slope and, as we believed, on one of the tributaries of the north fork of the
Cross River, which flows into the Kootenay. The
aneroid indicated that our altitude was only forty-
seven hundred feet above the sea, and showed that M
Gbe IRocfties of Canaba
I 1
we were nearly three thousand feet below the level
of the camp we had left nine hours before. At eight
o'clock, though it was still light, we retired to the
rough protection of our shelter with a fire burning
near us. Overhead the starless sky threatened rain,
which fortunately did not come, while the clouds
and our lower altitude made the night comfortably
On the following day everyone was ready to proceed at an early hour. Hitherto in our journey around
Assiniboine we had turned to the right wherever any
valley or pass gave us the opportunity. Thus we
were making a circuit of its several spurs and keeping
as near the great mountain as possible. However,
no view had been obtained of the main peak after
leaving the valley of the three lakes, where we
looked upon its north-east face. This first bivouac
was beside a stream of moderate size, coming out
of a valley at right angles to the one we had recently followed. It seemed altogether better to
explore this, that we might keep as near as possible
to Assiniboine and not find our view cut off by any
intervening mountain range. With practice a very
fair idea of the length of these mountain valleys may
be had by observing the size of streams and the
amount of water they carry. This one seemed to
indicate a valley between eight and ten miles in
We were on the march about seven o'clock and
began to ascend the stream.   Our plan was to follow jfoiieb b\> a CuM>e*Sac
the valley as far as practicable and see what would
develop, but beyond that everything was indefinite.
Clouds covered the entire sky and touched the
mountain tops, but the worst sign of bad weather
was that they constantly settled to lower levels.
We had this one day, however, to see the south side
of Assiniboine, and were resolved to take our chances,
though they seemed much against us.
We traversed the unending burnt timber by first
scaling far up to avoid a canyon and then coming
down to the stream, where at length there was
better walking. About ten o'clock we sat down on
the bank to rest a few moments and to eat a lunch
of hardtack and cold bacon. In the fresh mountain
air even this rough fare was most appetising after
our tramp of three hours amongst fallen trees.
A most encouraging change of weather now took
place, for a sudden gleam of sunlight called our attention upwards, where to our great relief blue sky
appeared and the clouds seemed to be dissolving
Once more taking up our various packs, we pushed
on with renewed energy. On the left or south, was
a long and lofty ridge of nearly uniform height, on
the right a stupendous mountain wall of great height,
the top of which was concealed by the clouds. This
impassable barrier seemed to curve around at the
head of the valley, and, turning to the south, join
the ridge on the opposite side. This then was a
cul-de-sac, or  " blind"  valley without an outlet. M
I  i
There were two courses open to us. The first was
to wait a few hours, hoping to see Mt. Assiniboine,
and return to camp the way we came. r- The second
was to force a passage, if possible, over the mountain ridge to the south and so descend into the North
Fork valley, which we were certain lay on the other
side. The latter plan was preferable, as we would
have a better chance to see Mt. Assiniboine, and the
possibility of returning to camp by a new route.
After a short discussion, we selected a favourable slope
and began to ascend the mountain ridge. In memory
a great number of obstacles loomed behind us—two
high passes, dense forests, and that endless valley of
dead timber where the trees were crossed in bewildering confusion. Hope built a pleasing air-castle
in striking contrast to this picture. We were now
climbing to its outworks and, should we succeed in
capturing the place, a new and probably interesting
route would lead us back to camp — so extravagant
is hope — perhaps by nightfall. Thus with a repellent force behind us and eager desire to complete our
circuit of the mountain, we were resolved not to
retrace our steps.
The slope we were now ascending was at first
comparatively gentle. We passed several red-coloured ledges containing deposits of iron ore, while
calcite and carbonate of iron were visible everywhere
and made a brilliant surface of sparkling crystals
over the dull limestones. In the valley below, two
lakes appeared as we ascended, one of which was Ibope anb Bespair
literally covered with floating trees, the result, no
doubt, of a winter snow-slide.
In an hour we had come to the apparent top of
our ridge, though hope hardly dared suggest that it
was the true summit. As one after another we
reached a commanding spot, a blank look of despair
stole over the face of each. No word was spoken,
but that silent gaze meant our defeat. To our dismay, a vertical wall of rock appeared and rose five
hundred feet above us. Thus all our fond hopes
were suddenly defeated and we turned perforce, in
imagination, to a weary retreat over the many miles
of prostrate tree trunks that intervened between us
and our camp.
The main object of our long journey was, however, at this time attained, for the clouds lifted and
revealed the south side of Mt. Assiniboine, a sight
that probably no other white men have ever seen.
I took my camera and descended on a rocky ridge
for some distance in order to get a photograph. Returning to where my friends were resting, I felt the
first sensation of dizziness and weakness, resulting
from unusual physical exertion and a meagre diet.
I joined the others in another repast of raisins and
hardtack, taken from our rapidly diminishing store
of provisions.
Some more propitious divinity must have been
guiding our affairs at this time, for while we were
despondent at our defeat, and engaged in discussing
the most extravagant routes up an inaccessible cliff, our eyes fell on a well-defined goat trail leading
along the mountain side on our left.. It offered a
chance which we accepted. Peyto set off ahead while
we were packing up our burdens. Having already
passed several places that appeared very dangerous,
what was our surprise to see him now begin to
move slowly up a slope of snow that appeared nearly
vertical. We argued that if he could go up such a
place as that, he could go anywhere, and that where
he went we could follow. We hurried after him
and found the goat trail wide and the worst places
not so bad as they seemed from below. The snow
ascent was very steep but safe enough, and after
reaching the top, the goat trail led us on, like a faithful guide, showing us the way. We could see only
a short distance ahead because of numerous ridges
and gullies. Below us was a steep slope roughened
by projecting crags, while, as we passed along,
showers of loose stones rolled down the mountain
side and made an infernal clatter, ever reminding us
not to slip. At one o'clock we stood on the top of
the ridge nine thousand feet above sea-level, having
ascended forty-three hundred feet from our last camp.
The valley of the north fork of the Cross River
lay far below, covered with green forests, which
gave a pleasant invitation for us to descend. Galloping down a long slope of loose scree, with a shower
of rocks following us, we came to rough limestone
gullies where unstable footholds suggested caution.
Then ensued several hundred feet of bare rock-slides,   Descent into IRortb iforft ©alle\>
where among the lichen-covered stones the highest
Alpine flowers appeared, and then very soon tufts of
grass and green slopes, with a few dwarfed trees.
Their increasing size, the warm air, and at length a
deep forest indicated our rapid descent. A final
slope, where copses of birch and a few small maples
showed that we were on the Pacific side of the
range, led us through a garden of bluebells, asters,
and painted-cup to a meadow by the river. Here
we paused to admire our surroundings and feast on
wild strawberries. In this place we were four thousand feet below the ridge from which we had recently gazed on Mt. Assiniboine.
This was the north fork of the Cross River, no
doubt the same stream by which we had camped on
our journey to Assiniboine, and the same that takes
its source in small lakes near our camp.
Near the river we found a trail, the first we had
seen so far on our way around Assiniboine. After
an hour of walking we came to a number of horses,
and soon saw on the other side of the river a camp
of another party of gentlemen, Messrs. Allen and
Smith, who were exploring this region, and had been
out from Banff twenty-four days. We forded the
river, and found it a little over our knees, but very
A pleasant half-hour was spent at this place while
we enjoyed their hospitality and related our adventures. Then, "hitting the trail" once more, we
walked rapidly in a supreme effort to reach camp 96
Zbc IRockies of Canaba
I HI til
& i
that night. The valley held a straight course for
about six miles and then swung round to the north.
We had turned three corners of Assiniboine. Burnt
timber now came again in evidence. As we had
been walking almost continuously for the past fifteen
hours, we were so fatigued that a very slight obstruction was sufficient to cause a fall, and every few minutes some one of the party would tumble headlong
into the burnt timber. We were too tired to lift
our feet over roots and sticks, but there were barely
enough provisions to last another meal and we were
anxious to get as near headquarters as possible. At
ten o'clock the light in the northern sky failed us,
and further progress being impossible, we selected a
fairly level place among the charred logs for a bivouac. After a last meal of bacon and hardtack, we lay
on the ground round a large fire. Thanks to a mild
night and extreme weariness, we slept soundly during
the few hours of darkness, but were again on foot at
four o'clock. We marched into camp at half-past
six and found the cooks building the morning fires
and ready to prepare breakfast.
This was without doubt the first circuit of Mt.
Assiniboine. By pedometer, which, however, measured every one of the countless logs we had jumped
and a thousand devious turns, the distance was fifty-
one miles, and this we had done in less than forty-
eight hours.
After a day of needed rest, our winding train of
horses left the beautiful site of Mt. Assiniboine to an £;baustina flDarcb
commence our homeward journey, and there were
many unexpressed feelings of regret at saying farewell to these scenes of beauty and grandeur. We
followed the Simpson to the Vermilion River and
the latter to the Vermilion Pass, and after seven days
reached the Bow River at Castle Mountain.
IN the summer of 1899 I made another visit to
Assiniboine. Messrs. Henry G. Bryant and
Louis J. Steele were anxious to see this noble
peak, and for my own part, the exploration of new
routes to and from the mountain was a sufficient
incentive to make the trip. It was first proposed to
take a Swiss guide and make some attempt to climb
Assiniboine, but we were unable to obtain the services of one for such a length of time as our journey would require. Nevertheless, we carried in our
outfit some rope and three ice-axes, with the idea
of making at least a reconnaissance of its lower
slopes under our own guidance. Wilson suggested
a shorter route than by the Simpson Pass, one that
should follow a branch of Healy's Creek and lead to
98 fDeabows on tbe Continental 2)ft>ibe
the summit of the continental divide, where there
is a level and open expanse above tree-line. On
these elevated meadows, it is possible for horses to
travel with ease in any direction.
On July 23rd, about noon of the second day out
from Banff, our party might have been seen on an
Indian trail that runs through a dark forest, overlooking a narrow valley, and commands, through
the trees, inspiring views of the height and depth
of mountain grandeur. The trail led persistently
upward, sometimes in pitches so steep as to worry
our heavily burdened horses, till at length the
larches began to appear, and gave a sure sign that
open country was near. Presently the slope became gentle. Marching through open meadows and
between larch-crowned ridges, we soon entered a
delightful upland. We could see the peaks of distant mountains rising above the open country, while
all the low regions were hidden from view. An excellent trail (as is always the case when there is no
urgent need for one) led us gradually above the region of larches till we were surrounded by banks
of Alpine flowers, and snow-drifts lingering from a
stormy winter. Far to the south a sharp mountain
of striking outline rose above the meadowy expanse.
It was Mt. Assiniboine.
We made camp by a small lake which was dotted with several rocky islands and enclosed by stern
cliffs where a few half-dead larches were standing,
or their ancient hulks, bare of bark and bleached IOO
Zbc IRocfcies of Canaba
by the exposure of centuries, covered the ground.
Bryant, who was familiar with the interior of Labrador and Greenland, said the place lecalled those
barren regions. The day of our arrival was one of
brilliant sunshine, while great cumulus clouds were
suspended in the blue vault above. The green
meadows and rolling hills from which we seemed to
command a view of the entire world were veritable
gardens of wild-flowers growing near drifts which
nearly gave us snow-blindness. Summer was just
coming to this upper world, and all nature was alive.
Springs and streams were carrying away the snowdrifts and turning to snow-white foam again, as they
fell over ledges to lower levels and other meadows.
Butterflies floated across our paths, flies and bees
were gathering honey from the flowers to scatter unconsciously the pollen of the anemones and the
heaths, while even a few birds visited this high region to prey upon the innumerable insects which
were enjoying their brief summer.
Brief indeed it was, or at least interrupted for a
time. Clouds gathered in the night, and the next
morning a cold rain was falling and soon turned to
snow. The upper hills began to whiten, and presently, the snow remained upon the ground near our
upland camp. The storm increased and shrouded
the nearer hills in gloom, shutting out our landmarks, for we were to travel that day in spite of the
weather. It was cold and cheerless work for our
men and us to roll up our wet and slushy tents and   a flDibsummer Snow-storm
keep our blankets dry while the shivering horses
were packed. Some were refractory and wild, so
that an hour was wasted in patient and artful
effort in the wet brush to catch two of them. A
large fire was kept blazing to bring back life and
warmth to our half-frozen fingers. We should never
have undertaken a march through a country unknown to every one of the party, had we not carried
an excellent contour map of the Topographical Survey, besides a compass and an aneroid. We were
like a mariner with an excellent chart, steering his
storm-beaten ship through unknown dangers.
At the very commencement of our march, all
spread out and tried to locate the trail, but the snow
was now deep enough to conceal every evidence of
this valuable guide. Regardless of this setback,
our horses were assembled and a plan made to pursue our way, relying on the compass and aneroid. It
fell upon me to take the responsibility of leadership,
so with map in hand, I preceded at some distance
and on foot, so that whenever a mistake was made
I could run back and direct the men and horses elsewhere. Our route, according to the map, lay for
several miles through an undulating country, which
was, in fact, the very backbone of the continent.
On one side was the deep valley of the Simpson,
three thousand feet below, and on the other side,
the streams which unite into Healy's Creek. It soon
appeared that with every mountain concealed from
view, and every high hill, even to the narrow circle 102
Cbe IRockies of Canaba
of snow-covered ground near us, shrouded in mist
and flying snow, the task of keeping a certain direction through the maze of ridges and impassable
snow-drifts was not easy. Several times we found
ourselves on the crest of a precipice, overlooking
the blackness of unknown depths, or, still more disheartening, near a lake or a stream that looked
remarkably like what we had passed long before.
Crossing many ridges of moderate height, we were
often caught between deep snow-drifts, when a retreat was necessary, or sometimes a perilous passage
over the snow was tried, but fortunately these great
snow-banks were hard in the middle and bore our
horses up, though they usually broke through at the
edges where the snow was only three or four feet
in depth. Thus we marched, closely surrounded on
every side by a thick and impenetrable gloom, in
which various forms of strange hills and cliffs continuously loomed before us, passed by, and disappeared.
At length, according to our map, we should come
to a ridge or pass about 7800 feet in height, where
certain landmarks, one of which was a small lake,
would appear if we were right in our calculations.
Hitherto the rolling nature of the country gave
no certain clue, nor offered determinate landmarks,
while our altitude was nearly uniform. Owing to
countless reverses and delays, we might have been
now quite turned round. It was therefore with the
greatest interest that we found ourselves ascending
to the crest of a ridge,.seemingly like one shown on a IDision of Strange mountains
the map, for the whole question would be settled
upon looking into the basin beyond.
Whatever interest there may have been to learn
our whereabouts was absorbed upon reaching the
ridge crest by a revelation of wild and gloomy grandeur that I have never seen equalled. Our little
band of men and horses were standing upon a
craggy ledge, where splintered rocks, frost-rent and
rough, rose through perpetual snows, making a
tower of observation, whence we looked out on a
mountain wilderness. Shifting winds were sweeping fog-banks and clouds far above the highest
trees of a forest-clad valley, now faintly discernible
through the storm. Yet they were below the crest
of our lofty pinnacle, where our storm-beaten band
of horses, steaming in moisture, stood darkly outlined against the pale mists. No gleam of light
broke through the lurid sky. The monotonous grey
of falling snow had given place to heaving bands of
clouds, for the storm was breaking. Then slowly
and mysteriously beyond a dark abyss rose a beautiful vision of mountains clad in new snow. Their
bases rested on unsubstantial fog, their tops were
partially concealed by clinging mists, and they were
apparently so far away as to seem like the highest
mountains in the world.
Overawed by these wonders of the breaking
storm, the nature of the immediate country was, for
a moment, forgotten. Then we formed a group
around the map, its folds now broken, and the paper io4
JLbc IRocfties of Canaba
* a
f h
a mass of pulp from melted snow, and with compass upon it, we hoped to prove that so far no mistake had been made. Some of the ridges appeared
as they should, according to the map, but a certain
lake was missing. We knew about where it should
be, but unfortunately no lake appeared. Descending a short distance to command a better view, I
saw a lake and shouted back the glad tidings. Bryant and Steele said it was a lake too, but they did it
so as not to hurt my feelings. I had been working
pretty hard for the success of the day's march, and
they wished to encourage me. What a lake that
was, to be sure! It seemed about ten feet across.
Two hot days might dry it away, or a bunch of
ponies could easily drink it up. So we had made a
huge blunder, and it was best to go down to the
woods and strike camp till another day. A last despairing effort led me to reconnoitre several hundred
feet below, when I came to an overhanging ledge,
and with wild joy beheld a fine little lake, nestling
dark and blue on the whitened mountain side.
Rapidly descending, our route lay along the shore
of the coveted lake, which was located at the level
of tree-line and was surrounded by the highest skirmishers of the forest. Thence we marched through
long, rolling meadows, in gentle descent to places
quite free of snow. Here the trail appeared, and led
us for miles along the very crest of the continent, by
other lakes and streams, some flowing to our right
into the Pacific, others, to our left, into the Atlantic. a perilous Descent
Here each swamp and ridge marked the sinuous
border line between East and West; between two
oceans; between British Columbia and the Northwest Territory.
The storm was rapidly breaking. Distant mountains were disclosed, and their snow-clad slopes were
flashed with beams of sunlight through dark clouds.
A sharp-crested mountain arose on our right, and at
its base was a fine lake three-quarters of a mile long.
Leaving this behind, we came to a desolate pass,
filled with great stones, snow-covered and barren.
This was the highest point of the day, and then
ensued a continuous descent into the Simpson valley.
Here we got beyond the limits of our map and likewise of the visible trail. After long and tedious
delay, we took our horses down a slope, not at all
to their liking. Our route lay through a gulch filled
with burnt timber, where the poor animals slipped
and rolled their packs over their heads in a desperate
descent of two thousand feet, until at length we
fairly tumbled into the Simpson valley. However,
an abundance of succulent grass for our horses, and
hot Scotch for us, soon mended things. We were
absolutely soaked through from our long march in
the storm and made a late camp in burnt timber.
The next day, which was sunshiny and warm,
found us at noon near the great ascent in the Simpson valley. At the base of this the river gushes out
in springs. At the top there is no water. Ascending the steep slopes of this abrupt hill, we entered io6
Zbe IRocfcies of Canaba
a valley that is almost unique in these mountains.
The whole place for three or four miles is a succession of weird hillocks of grey and whitish limestone
of fantastic form and outline. No springs or streams
water this "valley of the gnomes," as we called it,
though a struggling growth of small spruces adorns the
place and takes away its barren aspect. Our spreading line of horses appeared very picturesque as they
followed the winding trail, which makes many little
turns, or sudden pitches and ascents, among these
extraordinary mounds and copses. The termination
is at a small limestone-girt lake, which is about four
miles from our old camp at Mt. Assiniboine.
It seems to me that this strange valley has been
made by a tremendous catastrophe of nature. Opposite the great pitch where the whole level of the
valley suddenly rises nearly a thousand feet, and
also opposite the little limestone lake, where the
character of the country changes again, are notches
in the mountain ridge to the north, and it appears as
though a massive fragment of the mountain, three
miles long and from three hundred to five hundred
feet thick, had scaled off and fallen into the valley.
Above this lake the valley is lined with meadows
where deep streams flow over beds of black gravel
and then sink away and disappear. These waters
probably pass under the broken masses of limestone
only to reappear where the landslide ends.
Mt. Assiniboine suddenly appeared as we reached
the lake.   The distant peak was reflected in placid Seconb Camp at assiniboine
waters, which our thirsty horses disturbed as they
drank. It was now late afternoon and there would
have been suggestions of making camp were we not
so near Assiniboine. So we plodded on through
weary miles of beautiful meadow land upheaved in
countless hummocks, very tiring to ourselves and
horses. I kept far ahead of our party, and at nightfall lit a fire on the site of our old camp, shouting
back to their answering cries as they drove our horses
at a gallop through the woods.
The period of four days which we spent here
was full of interest to every one of our party, though
certain minor accidents had changed our plans. One
of our ice-axes had been broken by a horse falling
against a tree, and moreover, my knapsack, containing all my personal effects and various scientific
instruments, had totally disappeared. Campbell,
our packer, went back eight miles the next day, but
failed to find it. " Did you search carefully the long,
steep pitch," I inquired. " That is the only place I
did not go over," said he, "because I found the
trail on the other side and thought I would take the
chance on this one place.,! So he and I spent
the next day in further search and found my roll
upon the long slope, with a small burnt tree caught
in the straps, showing how it had been torn from the
pack.      m
While'Bryant and Steele were climbing the neighbouring mountains, which were familiar to me, I spent
the day in photographic work near the two summit
i in lakes, with one of which, Lake Aline, I was particularly anxious to succeed. This pretty sheet of water
is typical of many mountain lakes. They are found
near tree-line in a setting of larch trees and snowdrifts, which latter remain until July. Fed by melting
snow and cold springs, their waters are remarkably clear, often shallow, and usually not so highly
coloured as lakes of lower altitudes. Their chief
beauty lies in their mountain surroundings, their
comfortable banks lined with heather and larch trees,
and their sinuously artistic shores. Only on the
stormiest days are they without calms and reflections. The ripples on such lakes of small extent
require but a brief respite from wind to settle into
perfect calm, or to that more delightful stage, when
the water, still tremulous yet generally-smooth, gives
soft reflections of trees and clouds.
The day of my return for the lost knapsack was
spent by Bryant and Steele in an interesting manner.
They made a partial ascent of Mt. Assiniboine, reaching a height of ten thousand feet, and exploring the
snow fields, out of which rise the steep cliffs of the
highest peak. Turning southward from our camp,
they walked through open country to the base of the
mountain, where, with rope and the two remaining
ice-axes, they commenced a slow ascent of the snow
and ice slope which descends from the upper glacier
and rests on the lower. This ascent of seven or
eight hundred feet accomplished and a short but
difficult scramble over a water-worn cliff, led them to Lake Aline    a partial ascent
a wide expanse of unbroken snow, which they
traversed southward for two miles to the very base
of Assiniboine's highest pinnacle. A projecting spur
on an arete to the west offered an opportunity to
reach easily a considerable altitude and command a
view to the south. This they accomplished after
several hours' work and attained a height of ten
thousand feet. The forenoon of that day was nearly
perfect. There were clouds and signs of thunder
toward midday, and in the early afternoon they saw
a storm in the south, and another in the north-west,
which seemed to approach the mountain rapidly.
Descending in haste, they had just come to the top
of the last ice slope, when Steele's foothold gave
way, and he fell, dragging Bryant after him. There
was but one possible escape from a terrible fall. A
projecting rock of considerable size appeared not far
below, and Steele, with a skilful lunge of his ice-
axe, swung round to it and anchored himself in a
narrow crevice, where the snow had melted away.
No sooner had he come to a stop than Bryant shot
over him from above and likewise found safety.
Otherwise, they would have fallen about six hundred
feet, with serious, if not fatal, results.
The storms which were promised gathered in the
late afternoon and were followed by a night of rain
and wind. Next morning was one of foul and fickle
weather. Showers of hail and snow and gusts of
wind swept wildly through the valley and shrouded
the mountains from view.   Mt. Assiniboine seems no
3be IRockies of Canaba
to be a gathering place for storms. During our visit
in 1894, we had a week of bad weather at this place,
in the middle of July, and now again, at the same
period of the year, fresh snow covered the ground.
Before saying farewell to Assiniboine, some general remarks on this great peak would be in order.
Mt. Assiniboine is the culminating point of a part of
the mountains on the continental watershed. Five
spurs reach out from the central peak and cover an
area of about thirty square miles. Fourteen or fifteen lakes, small and large, nestle around its immediate base and supply the waters of three rivers, the
Simpson, the Cross, and the Spray. Above two of
the valleys the mountain rises abruptly six thousand
feet, but above the one on the north the total ascent
is only five thousand feet. Every side of this mountain is exceedingly steep, the east face being an absolute precipice, and the other two having slopes that
average fifty degrees. The rock strata are nearly
horizontal, and are eroded into many precipitous
bands which girdle the mountain, and these, together
with the disintegrated limestone and frequent fresh
snow, will make it a difficult prize for the climber.
In my opinion, the south face offers the best chance,
but it will require heroic effort to bring horses into
that waste of burnt timber, where in 1894 Barrett,
Peyto, and I made our foot journey. The north side,
where the mountain has the most striking appearance and has a remarkable resemblance to the Mat-
terhorn, will no doubt be the point of attack.   This jfour Different Koutes
side, moreover, offers the pleasantest position and
surroundings for a camping-ground.
Of the four routes to Assiniboine which are familiar to me, the one by which we returned to Banff
in 1899 is the easiest, and at the same time most
uninteresting. A gap in the mountains north-east of
Mt. Assiniboine leads to the headwaters of the Spray
River, and a rapid descent from the elevated plain
where our camp was to the bottom of the deep valley is the most attractive part of the journey. On
the right, one of the most stupendous cliffs in the
mountains towered above us as we followed the
trail through the forest. Then after a few miles we
came to burnt timber, which we traversed uninterruptedly for two days. Part of our route was through
the White Man's Pass, and the white men have
burnt up all the woods. However, the timber is all
standing between Assiniboine and the Spray lakes,
so that the travelling is excellent.
From the Spray lakes to Canmore the miners
have kept the trail in excellent condition for the sake
of the fishing, and in proof of this we marched
twenty miles on the last day of our journey.
The route over the Simpson Pass and down the
river is by far the longest and hardest way and requires five or six days' travel. By the Simpson and
up the river, through the weird and waterless Gnome
Valley, is shorter, but not advisable. Our route
along the high plateau region on the summit of the
Rockies is the most varied and interesting way to
A 112
Zbe IRocfcies of Canaba
Assiniboine, but there is a very difficult descent of
two thousand feet into the Simpson valley.
There is another possible way to reach Mt. Assiniboine from Banff, by following the south fork of
Healy's Creek. I saw a gap in the mountains as we
were descending the Spray, near its source, which
appears to offer a low pass into the region where
Healy's Creek rises. No trail is known to go up this
fork of Healy's Creek and I have never been able to
get any information from the Indians about a pass.
Theoretically this should be the shortest possible
route to Mt. Assiniboine, and the problem is a tempting one to some enterprising explorer with a week
to spare.
i en
If i
J / I
L. CHAPTER VII       7
CAMP life in every part of the world is affected
by environment. The kind of animals used
to carry the provisions and equipment depends on the country. In the Rockies of Canada the
only animal suitable to convey the explorer and his
outfit through the mountain forests and over the
swelling rivers that oppose his progress is the Indian
pony. Mules cannot be used in these mountains as
they are farther south because they lack courage in
water, and their small feet allow them to sink deeply ii4
Zbe IRocfcies of Canaba
I ill
in those swamps that the larger hoofed horse can
barely pass over.
Many customs of camp life in the North-west are
derived from the fur traders. The earliest explorers
and railroad builders have handed them down to the
sportsmen and mountain climbers of to-day. But a
new element is being introduced with the rapid increase of camping parties in the Rockies of Canada.
While bacon and beans continue to be the mainstay of camp fare, as of right they should, campers
are getting into the habit of carrying preserved fruits
and vegetables, and such other luxuries as make the
old-timers wonder at the change of customs. The
rugged simplicity and semi-starvation of old days are
passing. A guide once told me that upon a certain
occasion he called at a wayside house for a meal.
Seeing no pepper and salt to season the coarse fare,
he ventured the polite suggestion that they would be
appreciated, but was considerably startled when the
old woman held up her hands in surprise. " What
— luxuries !" she cried ; " pepper and salt—luxuries,
and all for two bits ? " An instance of a similar nature concerns a hungry traveller who was invited to
share a simple meal with a lone prospector. Nothing
appeared on the festive board but a generous supply
of bacon and mustard. The unfortunate guest, being
unused to the ways of the country, declared that he
did not eat bacon. "Ah, well," said his host, "I
am very sorry.   Help yourself to the mustard."
Camp life in the Canadian Rockies now affords a 1bow to Commence a Camping Crip     115
much greater refinement of comfort and variety of
eatables than ten years ago, just as camping out in
the Adirondacks and eastern Canada suggests steak
for breakfast, and even a newspaper not more than
three days old.
The number of camping parties that travel among
the Canadian Rockies every year is rapidly increasing. This manner of spending a vacation will soon
become more popular as the great pleasure-grounds
become better known. About one-half the number
of campers are sportsmen, and the rest are either
mountain climbers or explorers. Many, of course,
wander among these wilds for the mere love of nature, and for the simple and healthful life in the
evergreen woods, surrounded by mountains, running
streams, or placid lakes.
Imagine, then, that you intend to make a trip into
the mountains. You must first engage your packer
and cook, and procure saddle-horses and a full outfit of blankets, tents, and general camp necessaries.
There are agents at Banff, the general starting-place
for all expeditions in the eastern range, who will furnish you with horses, men, and everything needed
for trips of whatever length or nature, and thus relieve you of all responsibility. One of the most experienced outfitters is Tom Wilson, who packed for
the railroad surveyors many years ago. During the
summer season " Wilson's " is frequently the scene
of no little excitement when some party is getting
ready to leave.   Then you may see ten or fifteen
1 wicked-eyed ponies, some in a corral and the rest
tied to trees ready for packing. If the horses are
making their first trip for the season there will be
considerable bucking and kicking before all is ready.
Several men are seen bustling about assorting and
weighing the packs, and making order out of the pile
of blankets, tents, and bags of flour or bacon. The
cayuses are saddled and cinched up one by one, with
many a protesting bite and kick. The celebrated
I diamond hitch " is used in fastening the packs, and
the struggling men look picturesque in their old
clothes and sombreros as they tighten the ropes,
bravely on the gentle horses, but rather gingerly
when it comes to a bucking bronco.
A crowd of the business men of Banff, who usually
take about 365 holidays every year, stands around to
offer advice and watch the sport. Then the picturesque train of horses with their wild-looking drivers
files out through the village streets under a fusillade
of snap-shot cameras and the wondering gaze of new
arrivals from the east. But these evidences of civilisation are soon left behind and after a few miles the
primitive wilderness is entered. Some parts of the
mountains are more easily reached from other points
than Banff. Thus you leave the railroad at Castle
Mountain for the Vermilion Pass, at Laggan for the
Pipestone and sources of the Bow, and at Field for
the Ottertail and Kicking Horse rivers. In such cases
it is easier to meet guides and horses at these stations
and commence camp life there.   The maps of this Cbe Camper bis ©wn (Buibe
part of Canada give only a rough idea of the country
at best, while many parts of the mountains are even
yet a geographical blank. Then, too, the maps are
on a scale which does not permit of much detail, so
that what seems a short and easy journey on the
map often proves a struggle amongst bewildering
ranges of mountains when the trip is commenced.
Moreover, there are as yet no guides for these mountains, and the explorer must depend in general on his
own judgment in finding a way. This is done by
following the great rivers which, by their relative
position and direction, are always a certain clue.
The several ranges of the Rockies have an almost constant trend north north-west, and south south-east.
This fact, along with a general knowledge of the
streams and lakes, or information picked up from the
Indians, is the main reliance of the camper. Every
year the packers who go on such trips gain knowledge of the passes and trails, so that the day is
not distant when there will be efficient guides for
many of the most interesting excursions. However,
the necessity for self-reliance and the use of one's
own judgment in picking a way through the countless obstacles of these mountains are great sources
of pleasure.
The camper inexperienced in the methods of the
North-west, has much to learn. It is quite possible
that until the first camp is made he is quite ignorant
of what all those mysterious bags and boxes contain
which have been transported at great expenditure of horse-flesh and bad language a day's journey into the
woods. The pitching of the first camp is a revelation to the inexperienced. After a suitable site
has been chosen, with fire-wood and water conveniently near, and a meadow not far away where
the horses may find pasture, the men cut tent-poles
and the cook spreads his pots and pails round a
crackling fire. The pack-saddles and blankets are
usually piled beneath some large tree and covered
with a canvas sheet,—while another sheet covers
the bags of provisions. The cook soon has several
pots on the fire, stewing apples or apricots, making
hot water for tea or cocoa, or perhaps cooking the
omnipresent bean. Two boxes, called cook boxes,
stand near at hand, and they contain cans of condensed milk, all the spices and condiments, the small
tins of preserves and pickles that have been opened
or are in constant use, as well as the table dishes,
plates, knives, forks, and spoons, which are no less
necessary. It may be a week or more before the
numerous small bags tucked away in larger ones
have been sampled.
While dinner is preparing and the delicious odour
of frying bacon blends with the pungent smoke of
the spruce-wood fire, there is time for a little study
of our packers and cook. Who are they and whence
did they come ? Perhaps no more interesting character has ever appeared in this region than my old
packer, Bill Peyto. I made my first excursion to
Assiniboine with him and have travelled several
!    [1
fill Sill pe^to
hundred miles under his guidance. Bill is very quiet in
civilisation, but becomes more communicative around
an evening camp-fire, when he delights to tell his
adventures. His has been a roving life. The story of
his battle with the world, his escapades and sufferings of hunger and exposure, not to mention the
dreams and ambitions of a keen imagination with
their consequent disappointments, has served to
entertain many an evening hour. Peyto assumes a
wild and picturesque though somewhat tattered attire. A sombrero, with a rakish tilt to one side, a
blue shirt set off by a white kerchief (which may
have served civilisation for a napkin), and a buckskin coat with fringed border, add to his cowboy
appearance. A heavy belt containing a row of cartridges, hunting-knife and six-shooter, as well as the
restless activity of his wicked blue eyes, give him an
air of bravado. He usually wears two pairs of trousers, one over the other, the outer pair about six
months older. This was shown by their dilapidated
and faded state, hanging, after a week of rough
work in burnt timber, in a tattered fringe knee-high.
Every once in a while Peyto would give one or two
nervous yanks at the fringe and tear off the longer
pieces, so that his outer trousers disappeared day by
day from below upwards. Part of this was affectation, to impress the tenderfoot, or the "dude," as
he calls everyone who wears a collar. But in spite
of this Peyto is one of the most conscientious and
experienced men with horses that I have ever known. 120
Gbe IRochies of Canaba
In camp, Peyto always goes down to see his
horses once or twice a day even if they are several
miles distant, and I have even known him to look
after them in the depths of night when he thought
they might be in trouble. When the order to march
has been given the night before, our horses are
in camp at dawn. Quick and cool in time of real
danger, he has too much anxiety about trouble ahead,
and worries himself terribly about imaginary evils.
He sleeps with a loaded rifle and a hunting-knife by
his side. " Bill," said I, one night, upon noticing a
row of formidable instruments of death near me,
"why in the mischief do you have all of those
shooting-irons and things here ? " "I tell you," said
he, with an anxious look, " I believe this country is
full of grizzlies ; I heard a terrible noise in the woods
this afternoon, and besides that, they say the Koot-
enay Indians have risen. They may come into the
valley any night."
A picture of a train of horses crossing an angry
stream comes to my memory, and one animal has
put his forefoot through the head-rope and fallen
helpless as he is swept away by the torrent. Suddenly a man leaps from his saddle, and with a sharp
knife in hand, rushes out into a foaming swirl of
waters whence it seems impossible for anyone to
return alive. A flash of steel in the sunlight shows
the rope has been cut, and after a struggle the horse
regains the shore, dragging the man after. It was
Peyto !   On another occasion a fast freight, coming a Da? of Camp Xife j
suddenly around a curve, surprised two pack-horses
at a few yards' distance, but Peyto struck one on
the head, and seizing the rope of the other, pulled
the beast from the rails as the engine rushed by,
while everyone else stood immovable in a paralysis of fear.
The best idea of Rocky Mountain camp life might
be had by following in imagination the events of an
ordinary day. The first sound that usually awakens
you is the tramping of horses, the approaching shouts
and curses of the packer, and the tinkle of the bell
mare's bell as the ponies are driven to camp. The
packer's first duty is to get up at dawn and go after
the horses. They may be miles away or they may
have crossed a deep stream. After one of the tamest
animals has been caught, the packer rides bareback
and drives the others in at a gallop.
By this time the imperturbable early riser has
begun to make life miserable for his companions,
though it may be an hour before breakfast. There
is often found in camping parties one of those cranks
with an old saw — as false as was ever written —
about, "Early to bed," etc., to back him in his evil
ways. He is up at the crack of dawn, even in these
northern mountains where the sun shines eighteen
hours a day. The evening camp-fire, the hot punch,
and the good stories of adventure are all lost on him
that he may prowl around alone in the darkness and
frost of early morning, to the worriment of his
friends. At length, however, the cook shouts—"Breakfast is ready" — an announcement that was heralded
by the sound of the axe, the crackling of fire-wood
and the sizzling of bacon. A cold wash in a neighbouring stream or lake is a good awakener. Presently
everyone gathers around the "table," a piece of
canvas spread on the frosty grass and flowers. Porridge and milk, bacon and beans, hot coffee and
bannock or camp bread, with possibly some kind of
stewed fruit, compose the ordinary fare. The hour
immediately after is busy for all. While the packer
is "saddling up" the cook washes the dishes and
packs the small articles in his cook boxes. Open
tins are provided with rough-and-ready covers and
placed so their contents will not spill while on the
horse's back. The large bags are tied up and everything gradually becomes ready for packing. Meanwhile, you roll up your personal effects, toilet articles,
changes of clothes, and make ready your camera
and such scientific instruments as you carry. The
tents, which have been standing so that the morning
sun and wind may dry the dew or rain, come down
last of all, and are rolled up as side packs. Then
commences the real work of packing, which after
the first day or so becomes easier. The particular
pack for each horse is known, and everything is
systematised. However, the constant change in the
weight of bags, as provisions are used, requires
some little attention on the part of the packer, because one of the most important essentials of good   (Stories of j£ari£ nDornina
packing is to have the two side packs of equal
While the men are at work there is an opportunity to write up notes of the previous day. Frequently the frost or dew remains on the grass in
these deep valleys till marching time, though the sun
may have been shining for hours on the bare rocks
and snow fields of the mountain tops. The slowly
approaching rays creep over the forest, and at length
the sun appears above some mountain ridge and
pours a sudden flood of light upon the camp. I
once saw the morning sun thus suddenly strike
upon an upland flower-garden. A moment before
the white anemones were hanging their blossoms
and shrivelled leaves under the death-like touch of
frost. A sudden splendour of illumination poured
over the field as the sun rose above a mountain, and
in a moment, as if by magic, the frost crystals melted
away into pendant drops of heaven's own distillation.
Beads of clear water dripping from leaves and tinted
petals, made tremulous light flashings like the sparkle
of diamonds and rubies. The calm of night still
rested upon the field, and there was not the slightest
air motion. But the sunlight was at work, and in a
moment a leaf quivered, then another, and a drooping blossom made a scarcely sensible movement.
This was the commencement of a marvellous change,
for the hanging leaves began to straighten, the closed
petals of numberless blossoms expanded in the sunlight, and in a short time the whole field of nature's Cbe IRocfties of Canaba
M •-=  I
wild flowers was full of motion, and every plant
was quivering and leaping toward the life-giving
warmth. What an illustration of the power of sunlight ! And what vitality these Alpine plants must
have to survive several hours of frost in their midsummer nights!
The day's journey means many new experiences.
As the horses file along the narrow trail, the mountains seem to move majestically, changing their outline at every new point of observation, and showing
new glimpses of snow fields and rugged cliffs.
With every great bend in the valley, or upon each
pass ascended, there comes a long vista of strange
mountains into view. During the five or six hours
of the average day's travel, many incidents occur to
add interest to the marvels of scenery. Except
where the trail is very good the train ofhorses is not
driven without the exercise of patience. In bad
places their efforts are accelerated by torrents of profanity that shock the tenderfoot. The men claim
that pack-horses will not travel well unless roundly
cursed, because it is the only language they understand.
The monotony of riding an Indian pony during
the slow march of five or six hours as the poor beast
struggles over logs and through swampy places,
fighting bull-dog flies and grey gnats, is broken by
that endless variety and change of surroundings,
that are a source of delight in every part of these
mountains.   Sometimes the trail leads for a time
lo ©n tbe flDarcb
through deep forests where the mountains are lost
to view. In the cool depths of forest shade the
rhododendron grows, and the moist and mossy
ground is often dotted wfth the wax-like blossoms
of the one-flowered pyrola, or the pretty violet-like
butterwort, with its cluster of root leaves smeared
with a viscid secretion. Some stupid fool-hen, a
species of grouse, is more than likely to be seen in a
tree near the trail, and proves that her name is deserved, when the bullets fly. She merely cranes
her neck in stupid wonderment, till at last her head
goes off, and then there is a great flapping of wings,
but it is too late. The bird will, however, make a
fine dinner to-night.
From silent forest depths the trail no doubt leads
alongside a noisy stream, boulder-strewn, and
hemmed by willows and birch, or across some
meadow, gay with scarlet painted-cups, tiger lilies,
or forget-me-nots. Here the horses take hasty
mouthfuls of the rich grass, as they are hurried along
to the other side. Perhaps the border of a lake is
traversed, and while the splashing horses move willingly, there is time for glimpses of new beauty in
water colouring and reflected mountains and trees.
Stretches of burnt timber break the monotony of
the unending panorama at more or less frequent
intervals. Burnt forests, where the trees still remain
standing, are easy to travel, but usually the fallen
trunks are crossed three or four deep, and every
year adds to the number.   The procession comes
{ m r
Zbc IRocMes of Canaba
to a halt after a few yards of progress in such places,
and you often wonder what is going forward, but
hear only the sound of the axe for answer. " We
were surrounded," says one writer, "by muskegs,
burnt timber, and bad language," in speaking of
such a place, and it is impossible to travel far in the
Rockies without finding a similar environment.
The excitement of fording deep streams or noisy
torrents of the lower valleys is in greatest contrast
to quiet travel through some mountain pass where
an eternal silence reigns. Here, perhaps, there are
bare limestone cliffs, guarding a turf-lined pass, far
above the limits of trees. Scattered pools are collected in the inequalities of rocks. No sound of
bird or insect, of running water or woodland breezes,
breaks the oppressive quiet. The tinkling of the
bell and the tramp of horses give the only sign of
your passing through these desolate high valleys.
But when trails, either good or bad, penetrate it,
how can a country be unmapped or unknown ?
Perhaps in the same way that the natives have made
foot-paths through the deserts of Australia and the
jungles of Africa, the Indians of the North-west have
made trails through all the larger valleys of the
Rockies. These trails which, for aught we know,
may date from the era of primitive man, and so
represent some of the oldest of human foot-paths,
are used by the Indians on their hunting expeditions.
Before the coming of white men, they were used as
a means of communication between the Kootenay 0
Indians and the tribes that inhabit the plains, for the
bartering of fur, game, and horses. So all the important valleys and passes have well-marked trails
and the side valleys inferior ones, though it is not
always easy to find them or stay on them when
found. A trail is subject to constant degeneration,
for several reasons. Avalanches and snow-slides
sweep over it, and sometimes cover a long stretch
with broken trees and great masses of rock. New
areas of timber are burned over every year, and the
charred trees, after standing a few years, begin to
yield to the wind and storms and fall across the trail.
Rapid mountain streams often change their courses,
cutting away new banks and undermining many
places where trails were made. Even in the primeval forest the underbrush has a constant tendency
to choke these pathways, and aged monarchs of the
forest die and fall across them. No one ever cuts a
tree, if there is a way around, because every one
assumes, very selfishly, that he may never come that
way again. Thus the Indian trail is a narrow pathway, worn by the hoofs of horses, clearly marked in
open meadows or deep, mossy forests, but ever
winding and retreating to avoid a multitude of
obstacles and usually disappearing altogether when
most needed, and some steep cliff or avalanche track
or burnt timber seems to block the way.
A day's march is often attended by incidents
that give zest to the work of making progress.
Bucking ponies try to rid themselves of their packs 128
Cbe IRocfcies of Canaba
or riders. Packs come loose and must be adjusted,
and sometimes a panic is caused among the horses
when a hornet's nest is disturbed. Horses sometimes get beyond their depth in crossing rivers, fall
into muskegs up to their ears, or break a leg in fallen
timber. Familiarity breeds no contempt for these
agile Indian ponies, and new difficulties only cause
renewed admiration of their wonderful skill, in jumping logs with heavy packs on their backs, threading
the obscure trails and pitfalls of burnt timber, or
fording the icy rapids of mountain streams.
The length of the march necessarily depends on
various circumstances, though "camp rules" say
that six hours of trail work is all that should be done
in one day. There must be a swamp or meadow^
not far distant, where the horses may pasture, with
fire-wood and water near the camp site. Happily
the two latter requisites are almost invariably present in the Rockies of Canada. First the horses are
tied to trees, quickly unpacked, and sent off to their
well-earned liberty. While they are rolling on the
grass, joyful that another day's work is ended, the
cook builds a fire, and soon has hot water for tea
and other refreshments, of which the details are
unimportant, if things are served quickly, and many
times. What is the use of putting a man in a glass
cage, and taking his temperature and weight to find
the heat- and energy-value of various foods ? Let
him come to the mountains, walking and climbing
ten or twelve hours a day, and observe for himself. Camp at Little Fork Pass, wi
W oo ta|
In k -:■ ,1 -
tt€1 WfJg«t
ions foods   Choosing a Camp Site
After a hearty breakfast of oatmeal (a splendid food
for the sedentary) he will be ravenously hungry in
two hours, of cornmeal, after three hours, of bacon
and bread, in four or five hours, while pork and
beans will sustain him from six to ten hours and
give the utmost physical buoyancy and strength.
Tea has the greatest stimulating effect on utterly
weary muscles and nerves. Coffee, however, is
better in cold weather, and cocoa for an evening
drink around the camp-fire. In my opinion alcoholic stimulants should be used in camp life only for
their reviving effect after exposure to cold and
exertion, and never before or during any physical
One of the chief essentials of a camp, after the
question of wood and water has been settled, is a
piece of level ground. In certain meadows and
open places, the rich grass will afford sufficient bedding on which to spread the blankets, but usually
some bushes or stones must be cleared away, and
balsam boughs laid on the ground, to give the required comfort. The cook boxes, extra blankets,
cameras, scientific instruments, and small articles are
tucked away in the tents, where rain cannot injure
them, but most of the provisions are piled under
some tree and protected by a large canvas cover,
along with the pack-saddles, cinch ropes, and other
camp necessaries.
No one can travel far on a camping expedition
without feeling an interest in the Indian pony, upon $be IRocfcies of Canaba
which so much depends. The Indian pony, or
cayuse, probably owes its origin to a cross between
the mustang and the horses introduced by the
Spaniards in the conquest of Mexico. They are
small horses with very great endurance and ability,
combined with sufficient strength for all needful
purposes. Some of them have "glass eyes," or a
colourless condition of the retina, supposed to be
the result of too much in-breeding. They are raised
on the plains chiefly by the Indians, and their only
food throughout their days is grass. In winter, most
of the horses are driven from the mountains and pastured among the foothills, where they paw away the
snow and find abundant nourishment in the " bunch
grass." The hardest time comes at the end of winter, when the snow melts and freezes alternately.
Then the ponies must starve unless they are driven
in and fed by their owners.
There is as much diversity of temperament among
horses as among men. Some are nervous and intelligent, while others are stupid and obstinate. Horses
do not seem to do as much independent thinking,as
mules, and are slower in many feats of intellect. A
mule may be taught to travel miles alone over a beaten
route, but a horse will stop and eat grass at the first
meadow. They say a mule will walk over a trestle
bridge like a dog, while a horse will invariably fall
through before he has gone ten yards. But in swamps
and deep water, the horse is far superior. Almost
all cayuses are liable to buck and kick after a long Some THnusual pacMborses
period of rest. These bad habits may have descended from their primitive ancestors, in efforts to
throw off wolves' or panthers, but are now used
with effect on riders and packs. I have seen a horse
stand up and fight with his forefeet, and an old
bronco-buster once told me that he had had horses
rush upon him and try to kill him by diting and
Two of the most interesting pack-horses that I
have ever known are the "Pinto"and the "Bay."
The Pinto is a well-formed, graceful pony, with a
light chestnut coat and irregular white patches on his
flanks and chest. He has a long, beautiful tail and
well-formed head, but he is so quick and nervous
that I have never yet succeeded in getting a good photograph of him. This Pinto is tame and affectionate,
but afraid of any sudden movement, because, no
doubt, some former owner had abused him. The
Pinto is wonderfully intelligent, and as Peyto says,
"knows more than anyone else about the trails."
Sometimes we placed Pinto ahead and let him lead
the procession for hours. Anyone seeing such a feat
for the first time would find it quite incomprehensible.
Once Pinto, when thus leading, took a small branch
trail and left the well-defined open path. "You are
wrong for once, Pinto, and have been caught napping
at last," said I to myself. While the procession
moved on, I followed the main trail, and soon came
to a tree that had fallen across the trail and had caught
about four feet from  the ground.    While I was 132
Cbe IRockies of Canaba
examining this Pinto was about a quarter of a mile
ahead, once more on the main trail, having gone
round this unseen obstacle, unknown to any of us,
but probably remembered by him from some previous year. The Bay is Pinto's inseparable companion
and friend. The two horses are always at the head
of the line, and rarely allow any others to precede.
The Bay defers only to Pinto's unusual intelligence
and gives first place to him. Each of these horses
carries two hundred and fifty or three hundred pounds
on his back, while the smaller animals struggle with
less by an hundredweight. I once saw the Bay
clear a log three feet and ten inches from the ground,
of his own will, under a heavy pack. These intelligent animals know all the obstacles of the trail, what
two trees their pack will go between, what low
branches they cannot pass under, and at a gentle
word they hurry along, where an ordinary cayuse
will stop to feed, or when shouted at, will run off
into the bush. The Bay is the tamest animal I have
ever known, and often loiters about the camp and
pokes his head over one's shoulder as a gentle hint
for a taste of salt or sugar. His feet are never insulted
with hobbles, nor his head with a rope, for you may
walk up to him any time in the pasture and place
your arm round his great neck.
Old Denny is a horse of another colour, a shaggy,
thick-set cayuse, with a long coat and trailing fetlocks. No ambition ever stirs him to be in front, but
on the contrary, Denny never allows any animal to
111 be behind him, except the saddle-horse of some
swearing packer who is hunting him along. Denny
was born with an unconquerable tendency to be
slow, and though you shout till you are hoarse, old
Denny pursues his dignified way regardless. The
result is that this singular animal always gets behind
the procession, which he follows at his own sweet
will. I have seen old Denny come strolling into camp
half an hour after the other horses were unpacked.
However, he is a conscientious old fellow, and never
kicks or bucks or crushes his pack against trees. So
he was selected to carry the most perishable packs,
and has safely transported my valuable cameras hundreds of miles through the mountains. Peyto told
me that Denny once had a brute for a master, who
used to beat him terribly with a stick, till the poor
animal would fall to the ground. After that he was
taken to the coal mines at Anthracite, near Banff. In
the perpetual darkness, however, Denny refused to
work, in spite of the beatings and horrible cruelty
that the miners practice on their horses. He next
appeared as a pack-horse, and under the influence of
kind treatment, became one of the tamest of the
horses. Besides salt and sugar, which nearly all
horses like after a few tastes, he would eat bread,
flour, and even corn-meal, which, strange to say,
these Western ponies do not consider proper food for
No matter how wild your horses may be at the
commencement of the journey, they will become
Is 134
Cbe IRocfties of Canaba
gentle and tame with kind treatment. A little salt
every morning for a week will gain their confidence,
and will save, in many ways, far more than the
The afternoon after a day's march may be occupied in short excursions to adjacent valleys or points
of interest in the neighbourhood, so that the period
after dinner, when the long day ends and the camp-
fire lights up the forest, is the best time for stories of
adventure and for sociability. The best camp-fire is,
in my opinion, a big one, with great dry logs that
crack and blaze brightly and make but little smoke.
The Indians laugh at us and say, " White man make
big fire—sit far off. Indian make little fire,—sit close"
—right over it, in fact, with a few sticks, like a pile of
jack-straws—for a fire. The advantages are that there
is but little smoke and not much of a wood-pile to
cut. Of course there is a limit to size, and I have
seen fires where you had to make toast or broil a
grouse on a twenty-foot pole. A camp-fire on a dark
night always seems most cheerful in a deep forest,
when the cheery sparks soar away to meet the stars
and a ruddy glow illuminates the sombre trees and
picturesque figures grouped before the tents.
As the chill of night came on, we often had a
light supper, or in any event made a pot of hot cocoa,
and under the cheering influence of this, Peyto used
to harangue us on his adventures. With a jerk,
sailor-fashion, at his trousers, and a playful kick at
the fire, I can imagine him, standing in picturesque   pe^to's Experience
attitude to warm himself. " Well," says he, " did I
ever tell you about my journey up the Pipestone ? "
To our negative replies, he gives the story. " Some
years ago a fellow by the name of S., and I, thought
we would put in the winter on the Saskatchewan
and trap marten. I had got three hundred dollars
ahead, the only luck I ever had, and blew it all in on
an outfit. You see we had a pretty big grub-pile
besides a lot of traps, and it took a good many horses
to tote it all. I thought we would make a pretty
good haul by the way we sized up the country when
I was there two years before. So we started from
Laggan and struck for the head of the Pipestone. It
was late in October, and there was some snow in
the valley, but we could n't savey any such snowdrifts as we ran into near the summit. You know
they say the Pipestone Pass is the highest in the
mountains, and we were a long way above timber,
when it came on to snow and blow worse than anything I ever saw before. The snow was five feet
deep, and as it was our first time through, we did
not know that we could ever reach the pass. I got
out the shovel and cut a path for the horses, but I
give you my word, before we had gone a hundred
yards, the whole thing was blown full of snow again.
I threw down the shovel and we started for Laggan,
but by this time you could not see anything for the
snow and wind. Neither of us could tell where the
trail was.   I was riding Pinto, and says I to myself,
II guess the cayuse knows where we are better than I T,
Cbe IRocfcies of Canaba
1 i
do,' so I let him have his head and never said a
word, and you may not believe it, but that horse
took us right back to Laggan in two days."
" Some fellows did n't have such luck as you did,
Bill," said one of our men, "for an old prospector told
me he was coming down the Canoe River, and was
somewhere near the Big Bend of the Columbia, I
think it was, when he ran across an old camp, with
everything lying around loose, and three skeletons
on the ground."
This recalled the story of an expedition that went
out into the mountains and was never heard of again,
men and horses having apparently perished together.
Nothing less than a great snow-slide could so completely have annihilated an entire party.
One of the most exciting incidents of adventure
in these mountains occurred in the summer of 1896.
Two prospectors, named Temple and Smith, started
from Canmore by way of the White Man's Pass to
reach the Kootenay country. Having come to the
gorge of the Vermilion River, their two pack-horses,
overloaded and exhausted by long marches, could
proceed no farther. As a last effort, they built a
raft, and with their entire outfit commenced a voyage
down the river, after abandoning the poor horses to
their fate. It was not long before the raft came to
very rough water and was wrecked in the rapids of
the treacherous stream. The men reached the shore
after the greatest effort, but, unfortunately, each
on opposite sides of the river.   After considerable
J abventure of $wo prospectors
shouting, one to the other, neither would consent to
attempt to cross it, and the two separated in the heart
of the wilderness, having saved neither food nor
blankets from the wreck, nor firearms to procure
game. Leaving Temple to proceed west, Smith endeavoured to retrace his steps and find the horses,
but he soon lost all idea of locality and direction.
He wandered ceaselessly through the forests, slowly
dying of starvation, though after several days he
managed to kill a single grouse, which he ate raw.
At length after eleven days, overcome with weakness, his courage failed, and he lay down to die.
Just then he was startled by the loud whistle of a
railroad engine, a sound that restored for a time his
hope and strength. He came to a large river, which
was in fact the Bow, and on the farther side saw
some section men at work on the railroad. They
came over in a boat in answer to his shouts and rescued him from death.
At Banff, where he was taken to recover his
strength, he related the story of his sufferings and of
his lost companion, about whom nothing had been
heard. A relief party was hastily organised, consisting of the Rev. William Black of Banff, and a Stony
Indian (our old friend) William Twin. William, with
that wonderful power that the Indians alone seem to
possess, of observing the faintest signs, followed the
track of the rescued prospector up Healy's Creek,
over the Simpson Pass to the Vermilion River, and
thence to the place where the fatal raft had been 138
Cbe IRocfties of Canaba
wrecked. One of the horses was found here, and
then, crossing the river, he took up the trail of the
other prospector. With marvellous skill he led the
way, even where the hard ground or solid rock preserved no apparent footmarks. In one place he
crossed a river on a log-jam, saying, as he pointed to
the smooth logs: " Me see him trail—he go here —
he go here," and in fact footprints appeared in the
sand on the other side. The trail led them in two days
more to the stage road on the Columbia, and they surmised that Temple had reached safety, as indeed
was the case. Strangely enough, he had not mentioned their adventure or told about leaving his companion, who came so near perishing, and only escaped
death by the merest chance. CHAPTER VIII
THE Summit Range of the Rocky Mountains as
it extends north from the deep and narrow
valley of the Kicking Horse Pass, has a special name, the Waputehk Range, derived from a
word which, in the language of the Stony Indians,
means the White Goat. From the top of a mountain in this range the climber has on every side a vast
extent of ridges. In some places they rise into
peaks of great height, and in others they subdivide
into numerous spurs of lesser altitude. As usual
throughout the Rockies, each ridge has a precipitous
escarpment on the east, and a more gentle slope on
the west. No passes cross the range between the
Kicking Horse Pass, used by the railroad, and the
Howse Pass, thirty miles to the north. Then another long interval northwards to the Athabasca
Pass is said by the Indians to offer no route available for horses.    The ridges and peaks of these
L .
1 c 140
Gbe IRocftfes of Canaba
mountains reach a height of between ten and twelve
thousand feet.
Among them there are many large snow fields,
some of which are continuous for ten or fifteen miles
or more. This results from a very heavy snowfall,
as the westerly storms sweep over the lofty and continuous range, and also from the existence of extensive level benches and elevated regions. From these
snow fields glaciers descend into the valleys and
carry away the surplus precipitation from the higher
altitudes. The Bow River or south branch of the
great Saskatchewan takes its source in two lakes
which lie among the valleys of the eastern side of
this interesting range. I had learned about the wonders of this region from Tom Wilson, and my interest to see them was further increased by the fact
that few, if any, tourists had as yet been to the
Bow lakes.
I left Laggan on the fourteenth of August, 1895,
with Bill Peyto, Harry Lang, and five horses in our
outfit. The less said about the first eleven or twelve
miles the better. It is nothing but a continuous
burnt forest where much of the timber has fallen
and become inextricably crossed, and where the trail,
when most needed, invariably disappears under a
pile of logs. Though I had had two men cutting
out the trail for several days, it required two days'
march to reach the first Bow Lake, only a little more
than ten miles in a straight line from Laggan.
The trail leaves Laggan and winds through burnt  for ten or fifteen .miles-1
. a very heavy snowfall,
r terns - -• over the ioftylpfl con-
pid also | the existence-^' -xten-
o;nes and ; 'i& regions,- Rom the.,
glaciers $e3Ci*tfK$ into the valleys a
he surpl    pf#;   :«tion from tfte higher
pPK easgr   ;} Ie 0#
. sd about the wo
filson-,- and my intei •
increased by the fac^
.h as yet been t.o the
itfith of August, fSoo
o --. five horses in oid
^ «i#t t -o -en or twero.-1
king -but a continuous I
■ tl:   timber has talk j
HAMmI -.yhere the trail,
^appears under M
ted two men cuitiri h
O 11 fit 'hyi * V    §1 * S C      5 I Vj 1
res Laggan and winds 1   woods on the east side of the Bow. This valley
was once a proposed route for the railroad which
should cross the range by the Howse Pass. I believe the work progressed so far as the making of a
general survey to that pass, and building a tote-road
about twenty miles up the Bow. The trail, which
is the worst in the mountains, follows the old road
part of the time, and then wanders off into a trackless waste of burnt timber, for among other things,
the railroad men, no doubt, set the woods on fire.
The date of the fire can be pretty accurately determined by the age of the growing trees which
have since sprung up. There is very little left of
the old tote-road, and it is only evident in corduroy
places and old tumbled-down bridges over streams,
or the relics of former camps where wooden boxes,
tin cans, and rusty iron stoves have outlived storms
and weather to bear silent witness to the glories of
the past.
We had an excellent camp by the river, where
we caught all the trout that we could eat. The
river there is less than one-half its size at Laggan.
The next day Peyto and I visited the lake. We
caught the Bay, and made the intelligent old horse
carry us both at once across the river without saddle
or bridle. We then scrambled through the woods,
and over the gullies of former stream channels to
the lake. One branch of the Bow flows into the
lake and comes out a quarter of a mile below, while
the other continues straight on at some distance.
Bh 142
$be IRocfcies of Canaba
We followed the west shore of the lake, which is
about four miles long, and after a hard walk, came
to the other end about noon. At the upper end,
there is a flat gravel delta, sparsely adorned with
purple fireweed and scattered bushes, the seeds of
which must have come down in former floods.
The delta has a straight edge across the lake.
The muddy stream from the upper part of the valley apparently changes its course from time to time,
and so preserves a level gravel wash. We traversed
the delta and continued up the valley to a fine glacier,
where we made hot coffee and ate lunch. From
this point we could see Mt. Balfour, one of the high
mountains on the backbone of the continent, which
was literally covered with perpetual snow and glaciers. It was difficult to realise, as we looked up the
long and gentle slope of this mountain, that it rose
five thousand feet above us. The glaciers showed
the lines of flow very clearly. Six converging
streams of ice united to form the part on our right,
while that on the left descended steeply and made a
fine ice cascade. A waterfall poured gracefully over
a dark precipice on the opposite side of the valley,
and added a little life and motion to the dazzling
expanse of snow.
On the next two days we continued our journey
up the Bow. A feature of the Bow valley, in this
part, is the presence of swamps of a peculiar nature,
called "muskegs." The boggy ground, where the
peat-moss reeks with moisture, trembles under the
t.V \- flDushegs
footsteps of men and horses. Some of these muskegs are half a mile across and from a distance
appear to be flat meadows, where coarse grass and
reeds grow luxuriantly, and the monotony of the
level expanse is interrupted by clumps of scrub birch
and willow bushes. Men can traverse these in comparative safety, but horses have the greatest fear of
them, and with justice, because wherever the upper
surface of vegetation is broken through, there is no
foothold in the soft mud and water underneath.
Sometimes it is impossible to get the poor animals
out, though with encouragement and urging they
will struggle indefinitely, and in this respect they
are far superior to mules. The latter is a dry mountain animal, unfit for swamps and rivers. We had
considerable trouble in crossing parts of such muskegs, and in some places were compelled to cut
branches and corduroy a path for our horses.
Above the first Bow Lake the river sweeps around
the base of a long and partially isolated mountain,
called, on Dawson's map, Goat Mountain, which is
one of many others of the same name. The endless
repetition of such names as Castle, Cathedral, and
Goat mountains on the maps of this part of the
world, shows among other things the form or nature of the mountains and the lack of imagination in
those who gave the names. The altitude of the
first lake is about fifty-five hundred feet. From this
the valley ascends constantly, and the second lake
is probably eight hundred feet higher.   The green •^SgpK*
Gbe IRocfcies of Canaba
U :
timber commences near the lower lake and continues beyond the source of the Bow, which is about
fifteen miles distant.
The approach to the Cold Water or Upper Bow
Lake is full of interest. The trail leads out of a
stunted wood into open moors, diversified by rock
ridges and dry meadows in alternation. Above this
comparatively level place a precipitous mountain
stands on the west and shows a very fine escarpment which rises over three thousand feet from the
valley. One of those glaciers, characteristic of this
range, clings to the less precipitous parts of the cliff
and descends in a three-pronged mass, resembling in
outline the claws of an eagle. Soon after the open
country is reached, the Cold Water Lake appears in
the distance. In shape, size, and situation, it bears a
striking resemblance to the Lower Bow Lake, but
while the latter is comparatively uninteresting, the
upper lake is one of the noblest and most beautiful
of all those so far discovered in these Canadian
We crossed a wide meadow which led by a gentle slope to the shore. The beauty of water, trees,
and rugged mountains is here combined to make
one of the most charming situations. Our camp
was pitched on the border of a small lake, less
than half a mile in length, which proved later to be
a landlocked cove of the main body of water, and
separated from it by a narrow channel. In the distance, through this connecting waterway, a glimpse     Cbe Colb Water Xafce
of the larger lake appeared. Toward the east, the
small lake, upon which our camp was placed, contracts into a shallow stream, which falls a few feet
by a succession of gentle rapids and enters another
lake about three-quarters of a mile long. This rests
against the very base of the glacier-bearing mountain west of our camp. The shores of these smaller
lakes are very beautiful and varied. In some places
they are wooded rock banks, which rise a few feet
above the water, and are partially covered with the
drier kinds of mosses, huckleberry bushes, and various heaths. In such places the water is very deep,
and though quite clear, has a dark appearance.
Then, in other parts, the meadow lands come down
to the water by gentle inclination and terminate in a
low and sandy beach. Reeds and water sedges
grow in the shallows opposite such shores, and their
coarse leaves almost conceal the water by their luxuriant growth. The wind-swept grass of these
swampy shores flashing in the sunlight adds another
element of beauty to this interesting place.
For the purpose of fishing, we visited the narrows, where a deep channel connects with the main
lake. The winding and irregular shores present a
combination of swamp land, wooded banks and
stretches of water, which wonderfully enhance the
effect of the surrounding mountains. Opposite the
narrow channel lies a long point of land partly
dotted with small spruces and underbrush. It extends some distance into the lake and dissolves in a
C 146
Cbe Itocfcies of Canaba
chain of small rocky islands, some of which have
only two or three trees upon them.
This lake is between three and four miles in
length. The trail traverses the woods at some distance from the water to avoid a number of muskegs,
which make the bank very unpleasant for travelling
upon. The streams and springs spread over the
mossy ground and, following no definite channel,
convert the place into a muddy slough, which is
very tiring to horses. We did better by walking
along the narrow beach, sometimes, with our
horses in the shallow water for half a mile or
more at a time. The bottom is a fine, smooth
gravel, however, and gave the horses an excellent
We made camp about a mile from the upper end
of the lake. Peyto came back to camp that evening
with a five-pound trout which he had caught from
the shore. A stream which may be considered the
source of the Bow comes from a pass to the northwest, and enters the lake near the place where our
camp was situated. Here we caught a number of
bull-head or lake trout, but the largest weighed only
two pounds. There are probably fish of very large
size in this lake, and excellent sport could be enjoyed
with a raft or a boat. During the last fifteen years
this region has been almost unvisited. A large glacier
is seen to the west. It sends a muddy stream into
the lake, over a delta very similar to that of the lower
Bow Lake.   Peyto and I spent an entire day exploring Zbe little fforh pass
the glacier and its immediate vicinity. Not far
from the glacier the stream flows in rapids, through a
limestone canyon which is bridged in one place by a
great block of stone about twenty-five feet long.
The glacier has no terminal moraine, but comes down
to a thin knife-edge on level gravel. The lower part is
about half a mile in width, but it is a mile or two in
breadth higher up, where it descends, from more or
less continuous and extensive ice-fields, thirty or
forty square miles in area.
Open, treeless moors, abounding in irregular
mounds and depressions, covered with a scant growth
of grass, stunted willows, and a dwarfed underbrush,
extend in a gradually rising valley to a pass about
three miles north-west of the lake. Woods border
the valley on either side, but the lower parts, possibly
because they are too wet, are bare of forest, and a
broad and meadowy lane leads nearly to the pass.
The pass itself is a delightful region sixty-seven hundred feet above sea-level. The broad valley slopes
upwards in grand sweeps to the mountains east and
west, and insensibly downward to the valleys north
and south. Some very old spruces grow in scattered
clumps or singly throughout pleasant meadows where
myriads of mountain flowers make a bright colouring.
Rivulets come from melting snows on the higher
slopes or else burst from the ground in sparkling pools.
One of these springs poured forth a constant stream
of air bubbles, like a mineral spring. The trees are
symmetrical, especially those that grow in the open,
11 mm f\
Cbe IRocfcies of Canaba
JJiiif Bl
and the place resembles a carefully tended park rather
than a bit of the wilderness.
The view on the other side of the pass is one of
the most inspiring in the mountains. The slope
drops suddenly a thousand feet and discloses the
entire length of Bear Creek valley, or the Little Fork
of the Saskatchewan. This river takes its source in a
fine glacier, enclosed by high and rough mountains,
among which there are immense snow fields. From
two arched caverns in the ice at the end of the
glacier, a milky torrent issues, and after crossing a
gravelly flat, enters a large lake which lies below
your feet as you stand on the pass. This is Peyto
Lake. Its blue waters are closely girt by a very
densely wooded shore on every side. To the northwest a narrow valley stretches away in a straight line
nearly sixty miles, which leads the North Fork and
the Little Fork in opposite directions into the great
Saskatchewan. The course of the Little Fork or Bear
Creek is marked by a chain of ponds or lakes, which
carry the eye away in a grand perspective.
During the times of railroad building, or more
exactly, in the fall of 1884, James Ross, the chief of
construction, sent a surveyor up the Bow River to
ascertain if the Howse Pass would not be better
than the Kicking Horse Pass, which seemed rather
rough. About one week later, the surveyor sent
back word that he had struck the Columbia River,
thirty-five miles from the head of the Bow, with
easy gradients and everything favourable for the Upper Bow Lake*
Looking west. ey, or the LitaIe=Fork
iver takes its source uvaj
and rough mat
see snow fields.
j at the end of
;■.. and after crossing m
lake which lies beles
>ass.   This is Peyto '
.rsioi.   To the north-
sway in a straight line
ads tfo£ North Fork and
Erections into the- great
erf -ne Little Fork or Be -
nds or lakes, which
| - 5ding? e   o .: e
toss, the chief of
- to
... not be better
hi seemed - rather
he; surveyor sent
th e" Columbia-- Riv*
>ws with
nd everything favourable for tlf   B Surveyor's fllMstahe
railroad. The enthusiastic surveyor, however, had
reached the main Saskatchewan River, which is fully
fifty miles from the Columbia and on the eastern
side of the range.
ABOUT one hundred miles north of the railroad
lies the Athabasca Pass, famous in the early
days of the enterprising North-west Fur
Company. Alexander Mackenzie discovered in 1793
a pass across the Rockies by following the Peace
River farther north, but the Athabasca and Yellow
Head passes were apparently more popular, as they
were in the line of general travel, and offered a route
between the headwaters of the Athabasca and Columbia Rivers. In fact, no other passes were known
across the Rockies in those early times. For many
years two very high peaks, Mt. Brown and Mt.
Hooker, were supposed to stand on either side of flDt Brown anb fB>t Iboofter
the Athabasca Pass, and were believed to be the
highest mountains in North America. Even to-day
our best atlases place their height at about sixteen
thousand feet. When Ross Cox, in 1817, was beating a retreat through this region, from the little colony of Astoria near the mouth of the Columbia, his
motley crew, embracing many strange nationalities
and characters, found themselves surrounded by all
the grandeur of the Athabasca Pass. One of the
voyageurs, after a long period of silent wonder and
admiration, exclaimed: " I '11 take my oath, my
dear friends, that God Almighty never made such a
The botanist, David Douglas, travelled through
the Athabasca Pass in 1827 and gave the names and
the estimates of height to Mt. Brown and Mt. Hooker.
Of this region he writes as follows: " Being well
rested by one o'clock (May 1, 1827), I set out with
the view of ascending what seemed to be the highest
peak on the north. Its height does not appear to be
less than 16,000 or 17,000 feet above the level of the
sea. The view from the summit is of too awful a
cast to afford pleasure. Nothing can be seen, in
every direction far as the eye can reach, except mountains, towering above each other, rugged beyond
description. The majestic but terrible avalanches
hurling themselves from the more exposed southerly
rocks produced a crash, and groaned through the
distant valleys with a sound only equalled by that
of an earthquake.   This peak, the highest yet known 152
Gbe IRocMes of Canaba
in the northern continent of America, I feel a sincere
pleasure in naming Mt. Brown."
The investigation of the true height of such mountains in a region of which there are only vague reports, has a fascination to the explorer, and in 1893
Messrs. Stuart and Coleman made a journey from
Edmonton, by way of the Brazeau to the Athabasca,
in an effort to solve the problem. They encountered
great obstacles in the way of fallen timber, but succeeded, after heroic efforts, in reaching the pass.
There they ascended one of the two mountains which
were assumed to have such an unusual altitude, to
within a short distance of the summit, and found
that its height was only about 9000 feet!
The subject seemed worthy of further investigation, and in July, 1896, I started with Mr. R. L. Barrett with the purpose of visiting and measuring those
mountains. In order to add interest to our exploration, the route chosen was by way of the Bow, the
Little and North Forks of the Saskatchewan, which
was practically a new country, and thence, if possible,
by some pass available for horses to the Whirlpool
River, which flows into the Athabasca. The success
of our expedition depended on finding such a pass.
We could get no information about the region, as no
white man had been up there, and the Indians are
very indefinite in geographical matters. Moreover,
they have a superstition concerning the North Fork
of the Saskatchewan, and never hunt in that country.
We made preparations for a trip of at least sixty days,
11b! f
' -■ limit'
ii ©ur Iborses Jfall in a flDusfces
and took five saddle-horses and ten pack-horses to
carry our tents, blankets, and provisions.   Our men
were Tom Lusk, a Texan and an excellent packer,
Fred Stephens, a Michigan wood-cutter, who acted*
as second packer, and Arthur Arnold, our cook.
We carried in our outfit, besides thermometers
and aneroids, a steel tape for base lines, and a telescopic gradienter to measure vertical and horizontal
angles, and an excellent camera.
We left Laggan on the twelfth of July, and in
seven hours traversed all the burnt-timber country,
which makes a ruin of this part of the Bow valley.
Fred Stephens had been telling us of the terrors of
muskegs among the foothfHs east of the mountains,
where, he said, "a forty-foot pole would not reach
bottom," but on the second day of our journey the
muskegs of the Bow proved nearly as bad, if not
worse. We had been trying to cross one of these
in vain, and were beating a retreat. Barrett found a
short cut across a narrow swamp, and said it was
safe. Our horses followed, and before they had gone
fifty yards, four of them were down in the bottomless
swamp, with their heads and ears alone visible. We
headed off the rest in time, and then rushed to the
rescue of these poor beasts. They were all safely
recovered after half an hour's work, but we had to
make camp almost immediately in order to dry out
the various packs that had gone under water. The
accident, which seemed trivial at first, proved more
serious when the amount of damage was fully
mi** 154
Cbe IRocfcies of Canaba
' fit ;        f
understood. More than half our entire supply of sugar
had been dissolved, our tea and coffee soaked so as to
lose their flavour, and most of our baking powder,
which was to make bread of three hundred pounds
of flour, was absolutely ruined. The next day we
reached the Cold Water Lake, and from this camp, in
order to sketch out this region, Barrett and I climbed
Goat Mountain between the two lakes. We saw
a column of smoke in Bear Creek and were apprehensive that a serious forest fire had started in
that heavily timbered valley. To learn more of the
state of affairs, we only advanced our camp to the
summit of the Little Fork Pass, five or six miles distant. There it was plainly evident that a very extensive forest fire had started, and was sweeping up
the mountains under the influence of a strong wind.
There was no doubt in our minds that two prospectors, whom we had met a few days before, were responsible for the fire.
The apparent distance to the fire was about five
miles. The next day Barrett and Stephens took saddle-horses and went down the valley to investigate.
They returned late in the evening, much exhausted
from the long trip, but reported that the fire was
much farther a\yay than it appeared, and that they
had not reached it. This valley of the Little Fork is
so straight, and is seen from such a height, that its
length is very deceptive. There was a line of retreat
possible to us by following a trail behind Mt. Hector
into the Pipestone and then down the Siffleur to the
lliil I' Source of the Little Fork of the
Saskatchewan Rive? is so as
ie ries t    ; -
I'm ^between otfie two lakes® We
r Greek one were
Jste miles dj
-e.-e.. tritfTa vd
nee of a sir    ■  -      I
w% S\*y  -4*%* / i»~v
The next da
js and wen]
til        '   e fp
e long trip,
took sad
jniice exS|^|
mi the firi
oy roi   Cameness of a Milb Birb
Saskatchewan ; but this would involve a loss of nearly
a week's time. It seemed better, if possible, to force
a passage through the fire. So we descended into
the Little Fork valley and made camp near the stream.
While we were making this march an interesting incident occurred, which I will quote from my article on
" The Sources of the Saskatchewan," which appeared
in April, 1899, in the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, and also in the National Geographic
Magazine of the same month.
" As our horses were winding through a deep
forest, a bird appeared which resembled a pine bullfinch, flitting from tree to tree and following us
closely. Somewhat later, it gave the most remarkable instance of tameness that I have ever seen. Having followed us for about two miles, it waited in a
tree during the bustle and confusion of making camp,
but in the afternoon, when all was quiet, and some
of our men were asleep, the bird became exceedingly
familiar, walking on the ground near us and finally
perching on our extended hands. It was soon evident that the object of our visitor was to catch mosquitoes, which were hovering in swarms around our
heads. It pecked at a ring on my hand, at our needles,
and in fact any metal article; but the climax was
reached when by accident the bird saw its own image
in a small looking-glass which lay on the ground.
Then, with extended wings and open bill, it uttered
cries of rage and pecked madly at the glass in which an
enemy appeared.   Among the solitudes of mountain
8! ,;
i& I
Zbe IRocWes of Canada
-K • ;i.
forests, squirrels, finches, and whiskey-jacks often
show unusual confidence in man, but this particular
instance was remarkable, because the bird would
alight on our persons even after it had been
momentarily though gently detained several times
as a prisoner in my hand.
I Further investigation showed that it was possible
to get our horses through the fire, which had spent
its energy on a large extent of green timber; so after
three hours' travel from camp we came to the burning trees, where the fire was advancing slowly, as
there was a calm. Then came several miles of the
recently burned area, now changed to a forest of
blackened sticks, some of which were already fallen,
with here and there a column of smoke rising from
smouldering moss, and everything half concealed in
a snowy covering of ashes. At the other edge of the
fire there was more danger, and frequently some tree
would flash up and send a scorching heat toward us.
We were chiefly anxious that the packs should not
take fire and cause a stampede among the horses ; so
for a considerable distance we drove our animals
along the edge of a lake and frequently waded deep
in the water to avoid the heat of blazing trees.
" After an exhausting march of six hours we made
our camp in a muskeg, or swamp, about half a mile
from the fire. The wind, however, which had been
increasing for a time, began to carry the fire toward
us, and our situation soon became alarming when
some heavy timber began to blaze and the columns Surrounbeb b$ Burning Crees
of flame, shooting hundreds of feet into the air, made
a terrifying roar, which caused our horses to stop
feeding. At one time a funnel-shaped whirlwind
about two hundred feet high formed over the heated
area and remained there a few moments.
" At the rate of progress the fire was making, we
should soon have been surrounded had we not packed
up and moved a mile farther down the valley. The
second camp was made by the side of a considerable
stream, wide enough to stop the fire; but toward
evening cloud banners began to form at the peaks of
the mountains, and next day, after many weeks of
drought, rain fell steadily for ten hours and fortunately
extinguished for a time the fires that were destroying
this beautiful valley."
Forest fires have consumed about one-quarter of
all the timber land in the Canadian Rockies. Such
fires have of course been more frequent since white
men have visited the country, many of whom have
been indifferent about putting out their camp-fires,
or have, as is often charged to prospectors, criminally
set fire to these beautiful virgin forests for their own
private advantage. Such indifference to the incalculable loss in the destruction of magnificent forests,
and conversion of them into barren wastes of charred
timber, is incomprehensible to the lover of nature.
During the dry summer months, from the first week
in July to the end of September, the woods burn easily,
and the utmost care should be taken with camp-fires.
Most of the forests are very dense, and consist entirely
l ■
M 158
XEbe ffiocfties of Canaba
of coniferous trees, their lower branches dead and
seasoned, hung with grey moss and bristling with a
multitude of dry needles. The rough tree trunks
drip with balsam, and their scars are coated with
accumulations of resin.
Forest fires usually progress slowly, the moss and
underbrush carrying the fire along from one tree to
another. As the fire catches among the dry branches
of a fresh tree it sweeps rapidly upward with a loud
roar and sends a sheet of flames one hundred
and fifty or two hundred feet into the air for
two or three minutes. After the branches and
foliage have been consumed the fire smoulders
for a long time. In light forests and a calm atmosphere such fires are not very dangerous, but where
the trees are close and a high wind prevails, the
flames leap from tree to tree in great tongues of
flame. Sparks and brands carried heavenward by
a furious draught, created in great part by the fire
itself, start the flames in a thousand new places in
advance of the main column and accelerate its terrible
speed. Clouds of dense smoke and blasts of air,
like the breath of a furnace, precede the flame and
wither up the green vegetation in preparation for its
burning. Fires sometimes travel forty or fifty miles
an hour, and from them there is no escape for any
living thing— man, the wild animals, and even birds
all perishing together. Though the forests have been
more frequently burned since the arrival of white
men, there are abundant proofs that fires occurred JEvibences of prehistoric fires
even before primitive man came among them. Traces
of charcoal often appear where old trees have been
uprooted by storm in a virgin forest. Charcoal may
be found under the roots of trees near Lake Louise,
some of which by actual count of their rings are three
or four centuries old. I discovered a gravel bank
near the station of Cascade, a few miles from Banff,
which gave evidence of prehistoric forest fires. The
river has cut under the bank and left a vertical face
of clay and gravel, in which there are several thin
layers of charcoal fragments, and under each a band
of clay turned red by heat. These ancient fires were
no doubt, as is often the case nowadays, started by
lightning. After the forests have been burned over,
the trees begin to fall and soon make hopeless obstacles to travel. A crop of purple fire weed, raspberries, willows, and other deciduous bushes springs
up in a year or two in the dead timber. Young trees
also appear very soon, sometimes growing spontaneously throughout the burnt tract, or else encroaching from the borders of the green forests.
Pines replace spruce, and spruce replace pines almost
invariably, and make a rotation of species. However, in some regions the altitude is too great for pine,
and when the spruce forests are burned they necessarily replace themselves.
I will quote again from my article on the Saskatchewan as follows :
"We were now two days' journey down the
Little Fork valley, a distance of about eighteen miles
jfflM i6o
Cbe IRocfties of Canaba
I ft
in a straight line. We remained in camp the next day
to do a little survey work from a mountain to the east.
From this point, at an altitude of eight thousand feet,
the Little Fork valley appears straight, deep, and
comparatively narrow, with a number of lateral
valleys coming in from the west side and cutting the
mountain masses into projecting spurs. The strata
of the mountains are for the most part nearly horizontal, and the cliffs are frequently almost vertical.
There were six lakes in view from our survey point,
of which two, each about a mile long, were merely
expansions of the river, three were in lateral valleys,
and one lay far up the valley where the river takes its
source. The lateral valleys head in the summit range
to the west and probably have never been visited.
I The scenery is very grand near the lakes. A
striking peak about ten thousand feet in height, with
a precipitous rock face and wedge-shaped summit,
stands guardian over these lakes and, together with
the jagged mountains near it, helps to give a gloomy,
fiord-like appearance to the region.
I On July 22 we marched six hours, and reached
the Saskatchewan River. The trail is very good,
and runs for many miles through forests of splendid
timber, especially in the great valley of the Saskatchewan. At the forks or junction the Saskatchewan is a
rapid stream about 150 yards wide and apparently
quite deep, and the pure blue waters of the Little
Fork are soon lost to view in the muddy volume of
the main river.   The Saskatchewan valley is about
**gL Me IReacb tbe Saskatchewan IRiver    161
four miles wide at this point, the river itself flowing
between bluffs of glacial drift, and while the massive
mountains on every side are between ten thousand
and twelve thousand feet high, they are less imposing
than usual because of their distance. The main river
runs about north-east, cutting through the mountain
ranges, and taking its source to the south-west among
the highest glacier-bearing peaks  of the summit
"A very large tributary, which we called the
* North Fork,' comes in from the north-west and
joins the main river about one mile above the
Little Fork. This river is not correctly placed on
Palliser's map, nor was there any available information about the region whence it comes. Even the
Stony Indians who travel through these mountains
know little of this river, because, it is said, many
years ago one of their tribe was lost while hunting
in that region, and they think he was destroyed by
an evil spirit dwelling there. At all events, they will
take no chances in visiting that part of the country
j [ Our route to the Athabasca, however, lay up
this river, and our first duty was to find a ford
across the Saskatchewan. A day was spent in finding a safe place, as the river was in summer flood,
though not at its highest stage. Mr. Barrett, with
characteristic energy, discovered a ford about one
mile upstream, where the river spreads out among
low sand islands to the width of nearly half a mile.
II l62
Cbe IRocfeies of Canaba
u A sense of relief came when, the next day,
after fording the turbulent Little Fork, we had
crossed the main river, which is of great size at this
point, only thirty miles from its most distant source,
and were safely on its north side. Turning northward along a high bluff, we came in a short time to
the North Fork, which appears to equal the so-
called Middle Fork, or main river. About one mile
above its mouth the North Fork flows between
rocky banks, and there is a fall or rapid in a constricted channel blocked by immense masses of
fallen cliff, where the water surges in foaming
breakers and dark whirlpools. For a mile or so
above this fall there is a fine trail through a light
pine forest, and then comes a burnt area with trees
crossed in such confusion that it required two hours
to make half a mile, and we were so much delayed
here that our progress for the day could not have
been more than three miles in nearly six hours.
| On the following two days we advanced about
ten miles up the valley, having a trail wherever
there were green forests, but suffering much delay
from burnt timber and muskegs. On one occasion,
when marching along a steep bank of the river, a
pack-horse stumbled among loose logs and rolled
over into a deep pool. The horse was carrying over
two hundred pounds of flour, a burden that kept it
for a short time at the bottom of the river, but after
some violent struggles it came right side up and
climbed out.   No damage was done, however, as
. Cbe Stream ©ivibes
flour absorbs water only to a slight depth, and very
soon makes an impervious layer on the outside.
Ten miles up the river a stream from the west
unites with the North Fork. As the two streams
are about equal in size, we were at a loss which one
to follow in order to reach the Athabasca. In order
to get a more extended view of the country, an
ascent was made of a mountain which lies between
the two rivers. On the summit, at an altitude of
eighty-four hundred feet, it was seen that the western stream takes its source in a large glacier about
twelve miles distant. A fair idea of the branch
streams was given by the valley openings, but it
must be confessed that less is known about this river
than of any other source of the Saskatchewan under
discussion. As a result of this ascent, we were firm
in the belief that our route did not lie up the western branch. The other valley, however, seemed
exceedingly deep, and canyon-like, in the very short
distance that it was visible at all. Though the air
was smoky from forest fires, in spite of considerable
rainy weather of late, I tried some photographic
work, and during a brief but fatal moment, when I
was reaching for a plate-holder, the strong wind
blew my camera over and broke it badly on the
rough limestone rocks. The most fragile parts, the
ground glass and lens, fortunately escaped, while
the wood and brass work were in pieces. With a
tool box carried for such emergencies, the camera
was reconstructed after a few hours' labour, and did
II 164
Cbe IRocfcies of Canaba
excellent work later in the trip. Our men returned
in the evening, and reported that there was a trail in
the deep valley to the north-west.
I The next two days we advanced only about ten
miles because of the uncertainty of the trails, the
rough nature of the forests, and repeated crossings of
the river. Our progress was slow, in spite of our
custom of having one or two men explore and cut
out the trail for the next day as far as possible each
afternoon. In this place, the river is at the bottom of
a narrow valley, the sides of which are smooth precipices, adorned here and there by clumps of trees
clinging to the ledges. Streams and springs from far
above came down in delicate curtains of spray or
graceful waterfalls wafted from side to side by every
breeze. The flood of glacial waters sweeps over a
gravel-wash in a network of channels, with the main
body of water swinging from one side to another of
the valley and washing against steep or inaccessible
banks. This condition of things caused us to cross
and recross the stream almost constantly, and, though
the fords were in general not more than three feet
deep, the icy Waters ran with such force that our
crossings were not without excitement. In spite of
the best judgment and care of the packers, our horses
got beyond their depth several times and had to swim
across. As the saddle-horses are guided by riders,
they rarely lose their footing, but the pack-animals,
coming along in a bunch, confused by the shouting
of the men and the roar of the rapids, hesitate and
* Difficulties of 3forbing IRivers
often enter the river a little above or below the best
ford, and so get into deep water. Dangerous rapids
or a log jam below make such occasions critical, not
alone for the safety of the horses, but even for the
success of an expedition in case a large quantity of
provisions is lost. Pack-horses cannot swim very
far with their tight cinches ; and moreover the icy
waters of these mountain streams paralyse their
muscles very quickly.
" The trail at length leaves the river, and makes a
rapid ascent through forests on the east side of the
valley, so that in an hour we. had gained a thousand
feet. Through the trees we caught glimpses of magnificent scenery : the uniting streams in the canyon
bottom, the mountain sides heavily timbered or rising
into snow summits, and to the west an immense
glacier, which was the source of the largest stream.
The North Fork was rapidly dividing into its ultimate
tributaries. The sound of mountain streams falling in
cascades, the picturesque train of horses, each animal
cautiously picking a safe passage along the rocky
pathway; the splendid trees around us, our great
height, and the tremendous grandeur of the mountain
scenery, all helped to make our surroundings most
enjoyable. Above the sound of wind in the forest,
there was presently heard the roar of a waterfall, and
half a mile beyond we saw a large stream apparently
bursting from the top of a fine precipice and falling in
one magnificent leap down a great height. Through
a notch in the mountains, there was another fall visible
I  1
I   ff]
I w
I      1 jjjrtj
Ph-M If
Cbe IRocfties of Canaba
some miles distant fully twice as high as the one
near us. It was learned later that every stream descended into the canyon by a fall and succession of
"We camped in a beautiful wooded valley with
much open country at an altitude of sixty-three hundred feet above the sea. Near our tents was the
river, which at this place is a comparatively small
stream of crystal clear water. In the afternoon I ascended, with one of the men, a small mountain
which lay to the west of our camp. From this summit two passes were visible, one five miles to the
north and the other more distant and toward the
north-west. The view to the west was more extended. There was a large straight glacier directly
before us, the one we had seen earlier in the day,
which supplies the greater part of the water of the
North Fork. At least six or seven miles of this
glacier is visible, and it may extend much farther behind the intervening mountains. The glacier has no
terminal moraine, and slopes by a very even grade
to a thin knife-like edge, in which it terminates.
| The next day Mr. Barrett went off to climb, if
possible, a mountain over eleven thousand feet in altitude, north of our camp, while one of the packers
and I started to explore the pass to the north-west.
The other packer spent part of the day investigating
the other pass. This division of labour was a great
saving of time. At our conference that evening,
which did not occur till midnight, when the last
111 I   a pass into tbe atbabasca Country    167
member came into camp, it was decided that the pass
to the north seemed unfavourable as a route to the
Athabasca. Mr. Barrett failed in his ascent because
the mountain was more distant than it appeared.
The pass to the north-west was more favourable, and
on the next day we moved our camp so as to be almost on the summit. The last and longest branch
of the North Fork comes from a small glacial lake on
one side of a meadow-like summit and at the base of
a splendid mountain, a complex mass of rocky aretes
and hanging glaciers.
I Upon further inquiry we learned that the valley
as it descended to the north-west was blocked by a
glacier that came into it, and beyond that a canyon,
which made this route altogether out of the question.
A high valley on the right, however, offered the last
and only escape for us, and after reaching an altitude
of eight thousand feet our descent began into a valley
that we knew must be either the Athabasca or the
Whirlpool River, which flows into the Athabasca.
Thus the most critical part of our expedition, the discovery of a pass from the Saskatchewan to the Athabasca, was safely accomplished."
1 Hi
TO the south-west of the pass we had discovered was a group of very high mountains.
They were dome shaped and covered with
immense snow fields. We were now so far north
that a hope was entertained that Mt. Brown and Mt.
Hooker might be among them, but a rough measurement of one of the highest peaks gave an altitude of
only 11,500 feet. A rugged valley lies among them
and discharges a stream into the Whirlpool River.
It is surrounded by cliffs on every side, and at the top
there is an unbroken wall of glacier ice several miles
in length in the form of a horseshoe.
We had now been travelling nearly a month, and
on August 9th made our entry into the Athabasca
country.   On this date, sending our men and horses Slow 3ourne\> Down tbe Tfflibirlpool    169
ahead, Barrett and I remained behind in the hope ot
climbing a mountain to the north about ten thousand
feet high. The weather, however, was squally, with
frequent snow showers, while the higher mountains
were concealed by clouds. At noon we gave it up
and followed after our men, making a very steep
descent of two thousand feet into the Whirlpool
valley. Violent gusts of wind made the forests roar,
and carried clouds of dust over the gravelly valley
bottom.   The scenery in this region is magnificent.
On the 10th we marched down the valley in a
north-westerly direction. On one occasion, while
debating the best route, some of our horses commenced to drink at the river edge, while the others
crowaed them into the water, whereupon they all
swam across. They then began to graze unconcernedly on the other side. It was some time before
we could find a ford, and then we travelled a long distance on that side, for the country was as open as on
the other. I ascended to the top of a mountain about
three thousand feet above the valley in the afternoon.
From this I saw that the Whirlpool valley turned
slightly to the west between two long and monotonous ridges, and was much disappointed to learn that
it was at least twentv miles farther to the main
August nth. We marched five hours down the
valley through a desolate region of gravel washes
where the river flows in many channels. The burnt
timber is mostly standing and easy to travel, but uniform and unbroken ridges on either side of the
valley made our progress seem painfully slow. We
found great numbers of wild strawberries and saw
many bear and moose tracks. The cold weather of
the last ten days had lowered the rivers suddenly.
August 12th. The weather is clear and fine.
Marched five hours and made good headway, as the
Indian trail is well defined and the country pretty open.
We saw a bear and two cubs across the river, and
Barrett killed one of the cubs at long range. The old
bear got away, however. After camp was made I
ascended a mountain to the north, and got a fine view,
seeing the main Athabasca at last to the north-west.
August 13th. We were now on Coleman and
Stuart's trail, as they had come into this valley by
following a stream which enters from the east. They
had done an immense amount of cutting in the fallen
timber, and must have been greatly delayed. Many
trees have fallen since, and we had two men chopping
all the time. We got on the wrong trail after a two
hours' march, and made a vain attempt to cross the
river, but were finally compelled to pitch camp so as
to spend the afternoon in a reconnaissance. The
Whirlpool River has gained an immense volume of
water within the last ten miles, though no streams
of large size have entered it. The river is a roaring
rapid, fifty yards across and three feet deep. The
bottom is made of large quartzite boulders, a yard or
more in diameter and smooth as glass. No horse can
stand among them or even walk along the shore. IReacb tbe fBain IRtver
We found it impossible to cross, because in event of
a horse falling in midstream there would be no possible escape for the rider. In the afternoon our men
found a ford near the junction of the Whirlpool with
the main Athabasca.
August 14th. After exasperating delay and
trouble in fallen timber we were compelled to give
up Stuart and Coleman's trail. In six hours we
reached the Athabasca River. The heat was very
great and myriads of grasshoppers rose in clouds as
our horses tramped along through the burnt timber.
The country is overrun by a small growth of pines
which have been repeatedly killed by fire. The
slender, pointed poles lie crossed in every direction
and are very trying to the horses, as one end often
flies up and prods the horse, thereby making the
animal jump and run in terror.
We got our first view of the great muddy Athabasca from the top of a level terrace, of which there
are three in this valley. We descended a steep bank
near the junction of the Whirlpool and Athabasca.
As we approached the ford a large raven circled over
our heads, croaking dismally. We got across safely
in spite of the ill omen, and made camp in a small
patch of green timber. Our altitude here, according
to the aneroid, was only thirty-eight hundred feet.
Though it is difficult to estimate relative volumes of
water by the eye alone, it was evident that the
Whirlpool River is probably only one-fourth the size
of the Athabasca. s r g
On August 15th and 16th we turned due south
and followed the main river, marching six hours each
day. There was no trail, and we made our way as
rapidly as possible through burnt timber, where,
however, most of the trees were standing. Barrett
and I went ahead and quickly selected a route while
the men urged our horses along at a fast pace. Thus
we plunged along through ravines, up and down
steep banks, and around impassable wind-faHs, but
were frequently brought to a halt and compelled to
cut through heavy timber.
On the second day we crossed a large stream
which comes from the south-east and runs about
parallel to the Whirlpool River, from which it is separated by a single ridge of mountains. The water
was three and one-half feet deep and the stream was
seventy-five or one hundred yards across. This river
is nearly or quite as large as the main river, which
we continued to follow. Short pieces of an old Indian trail now appeared along the bank. In about
three hours after crossing the large branch from the
south, we came to a large lake, called by Coleman
and Stuart, | Fortress Lake." The Athabasca is not
more than half a mile distant. This lake lies in a
valley running east and west, or nearly at right
angles to the Athabasca.
This was the termination of our journey with
horses, which had required twenty-six days' marching
to accomplish. Ten days besides had been consumed
in various delays, incidental to forest fires, finding
i <
Ai   fortress Xafce
fords, and exploring valleys and passes through the
wilderness, parts of which were absolutely unmapped
and untraveiled before our expedition. At Fortress
Lake we were so near the Athabasca Pass that any
mountains, such as Brown or Hooker, could be
seen and measured from the neighbouring heights.
It remained now to lay out a base line and commence
triangulation of the surrounding region, but before
referring to this work, a brief description of the
neighbourhood is in order.
Our camp was in a grove of spruces near the lake.
The shore is flat and rather swampy, while the water
is shallow for some distance and very much crowded
with a mass of water-worn tree trunks. Some had
been stranded on the shore at a time when the lake
level was considerably higher, and others, having
become water-logged, were sunk in deeper water,
where they fairly covered the bottom and projected
their bare branches and grotesquely shaped roots
above the surface. The lake is about one mile wide
and apparently very long. I calculated the distance
to a sand-bank down the lake to be five and one-
quarter miles. A very imposing mountain lies on
the south side of the lake, and another on the north
rises more than five thousand feet above the water.
But where were Brown and Hooker ? Straight before us to the west, a massive glacier-bearing peak
seemed at first as though it might answer for one of
them. It was in the right place to be very near the
Athabasca Pass, and though its height did not seem Efrl ■ ■
Zbe TRocMes of Canaba
great, the amount of ice which covered its entire
east face and its distance may have deceived us.
On August 17th Barrett and I set out to climb the
peak north of the lake in order to discover the location of the highest mountains. We had a long and
tiresome walk, through a heavy forest, and discovered a very old trail, so much blocked, however,
by fallen trees as to be almost useless. After reaching a point about forty-five hundred feet above the
valley, the weather became threatening, and I set
up my camera at once and took a set of views
around the horizon. The clouds formed constantly
a few yards above my head, but I got the distant
mountains, though the smoke and gloom made the
results very poor. Barrett continued up the mountain, though the climb involved some rather perilous
work among rotten limestone cliffs. He reached the
summit, which is about ninety-six hundred feet high,
where the clouds shut out everything from view.
From my point, I could see an immense glacier, the
source of the Athabasca, ten or twelve miles to
the south. The clouds opened a moment and disclosed what appeared to be by far the highest and
finest peak that I had seen on the entire journey, ten
miles to the south-west. It was a wedge-shaped
peak, rising from a very long and precipitous wall of
rock, which seemed to be over ten thousand feet
The next two days Barrett and Stephens were
occupied in building a raft, on which we hoped to FTTTTTTiTi
Flttx 11111
flDcasuring flDt. Iboofcer
reach the other end of the lake. The sound of their
axes was continually heard among some well-seasoned
dead trees, about a quarter of a mile down the shore.
While this work was going forward, I measured a
base line. The only level place of any length proved
to be in the lake itself. I laid out a line of stakes in
eighteen inches of water and set up my gradienter at
either end. It was bitterly cold work in ice-cold
water. From my first short base line I calculated a
longer one, and then found the distance of the high
mountain, which we supposed might be Mt. Hooker,
to be a little more than seventeen miles. The working out of the final logarithms to get the height was
very exciting, and everyone waited impatiently, as
I added up the final figures. f Well, the mountain
is over twelve thousand eight hundred feet high,
anyway," said I, much pleased at the result, which
would make this the highest measured mountain in
southern Canada. The excitement of the calculation
must have been too great for accuracy, however, as
I found a moment later. In wandering around among
tangents and sines, I had gotten in the wrong column
somewhere, and after a hasty revision, Mt. Hooker
fell twenty-three hundred feet and came down to
ten thousand five hundred feet never to rise again,
and our enthusiasm fell with it.
Meanwhile Stephens and Barrett had built a fine
and seaworthy raft. Leaving Tom Lusk in charge of
our main camp, on August 19th we piled our luggage
on the raft and commenced a voyage to the other end 176
Cbe TRocfcies of Canaba
of the lake. The raft was built of about ten large
logs, fifteen feet long, firmly bound together with
ropes, which, shrinking in the water, became very
tight after a short time. Branches were laid crosswise to keep our blankets and provisions above the
water, and this pile of stuff made a place for two of
us to sit upon. The other two sat on boxes forward.
Each of these managed an oar which had been
roughly hewn by Fred Stephens. Some crosspieces
nailed together and to the side of the raft with steel
spikes, which we had brought for the purpose, made
oar-locks. Our raft, with four of us, carried a burden
of more than a thousand pounds. Many speculations
were made as to the time that would be required to
reach the other end of the lake, and these ranged all
the way from six hours to three days. After saying
farewell to Tom Lusk we sailed at 6.40 a.m. Our plan
was for two men to row in alternate turns of exactly thirty minutes. The heavy raft moved with
surprising and pleasing speed, as the logs were
pointed at both ends. We made a straight course
and kept near the south shore as a protection against
the wind. The water of this lake is very clear, but
there were a number of small cray-fish to be seen as
we went along, and I have observed that this is
usually a sign of the absence of fish. It is indeed a
surprising fact that this splendid body of water has
no fish. It is only forty-two hundred feet above
sea-level and abounds in food, for we saw thousands
of moths and grasshoppers floating on the water. an Interestino iDo^age ©own tbe lake  177
The scenery is very fine, and those of us who
were not engaged in rowing had an opportunity to
study the forests and mountains on either side of the.
blue lake. In about three hours we passed the
mouth of a large stream, which comes from a glacier
several miles south of the lake. A wind sprang up
about ten o'clock and roughened the lake, but we
were well protected by staying close to the shore,
while on the opposite side, we could see the white-
caps running. Sometimes our course led us very
close to the rocky shores, which were covered with
a growth of immense spruces, or in places, where
snow-slides had swept the forest away, there was an
impassable jungle of spreading alder, willow, and
birch bushes. Our steady progress was a constant
source of delight, when we thought of the infinite
obstacles an overland scramble on such a shore
would have presented.
After the fourth hour of rowing we approached
a small island having a single tree upon it. We
passed through a narrow channel between it and the
shore. Here the lake makes a turn to the left, and
so brought us against the full sweep of the wind,
which was driving a heavy surf through the narrow
channel between the island and the rocky shore. It
so happened that Arnold and I had just finished our
half-hour of rowing and should have changed, but
the wind and sea had become suddenly so rough
that it seemed perilous to move around. In fact, for
a time, we were a little doubtful how the old raft
!      I
Cbe IRocfcies of Canaba
would behave. The waves swept over her decks,
but, fortunately, could not reach our luggage, which
was on an elevated platform. The end of the lake
now appeared not more than a mile and a half distant, and as we approached, the water became
quieter. After five and a quarter hours of rowing
our trusty craft began to glide through a growth of
water-weeds and rough equisetums, and finally
scraped upon the sandy shore of the western end of
Fortress Lake. We were delighted with the place,
which was a hard, level bank of gravel, covered with
an open growth of evergreens.
Circles of Dryas, a rosaceous plant, which spreads
over the ground from a common centre, and puts
forth a margin of leaves and blossoms at the outer
edge of the circle, covered the gravelly ground. We
caught a number of small frogs and fried their legs
for luncheon. In the afternoon, I laid out another
base line in the lake as at the other end, and continued survey work on the nearer mountains.
It rained hard in the night, and though we had
no tent, and were sleeping on the ground, we managed to keep dry by covering ourselves with rubber
and canvas sheets. The weather was so thick with
smoke and clouds that nothing could be done in survey work the next day, and it looked as though we
should be defeated in this purpose, as our time was
limited by our provisions, both here and at our main
Friday, the 21st, fortunately broke clear and calm.   flbeasuring a Ibigb HDountain
Arnold and I took the raft and rowed to a point on
the north shore of the lake, and then ascended a
mountain 8450 feet high. I carried my camera and
surveying instruments. On the summit of this
mountain, which is a long ridge, I built two cairns
about half a mile apart and took angles on the high
triangular peak to the south and also on Mt. Hooker.
The amount of work necessary in signalling, building cairns, which should be visible from the valley,
taking notes of angles and photographing, delayed
us, so we did not commence our descent of four
thousand feet until half-past six. We narrowly escaped being overtaken in the woods by darkness,
but reached the raft just at nightfall.
I spent the next day triangulating the two cairns
on the summit of the mountain we had climbed.
My final results gave me 11,450 feet as the height of
this peak, which is higher than all others within a
radius of many miles. The other high mountain,
which we supposed to be Mt. Hooker, proved to be
10,505 feet. The results from the two short base
lines at a distance of nine and seventeen miles showed
a difference of less than two hundred feet between
them. The results were based on a height of 4175
feet for Fortress Lake, which depended on comparisons of my two aneroids, with simultaneous observations of a mercurial barometer at Lake Louise, one
hundred miles distant.
On the 23rd, Barrett and I left camp in a final attempt to see and photograph these mountains from
f i I
V :' 1 i8o
Cbe IRockies of Canaba
a nearer point, and for this purpose we set out down
the Wood River valley. We crossed the Wood
River, a swift, clear stream, which comes from Fortress Lake, and we had all we could do to keep our
footing. A larger, muddy stream comes down a side
valley, less than a mile from the lake, and joins the
Wood River. After that it was impossible to cross
and we remained on the south bank. We walked
about eight miles down the valley, and encountered
in some places a jungle, very similar to those of the
Selkirks. The Oregon grape and mountain ash,
which are characteristic of the western slope of
the Summit Range, were abundant, and even the
prickly Devil's Club appeared, much to our regret.
There was no path except one about six inches
wide, and no blaze marks on the trees, so that this
is, in all probability, nothing but a game trail. We
reached a place at length where the Wood River begins to descend into a canyon. Through a valley to
the south, the great triangular peak rose, dimly outlined in the smoky air, but making one of the grandest mountain views that I have ever seen. Because
of our low altitude, this peak rose nearly eight thousand feet above us. May not this be the secret of
Douglas's false estimates on Brown and Hooker ?
We reached camp at one o'clock, and made luncheon of corn-meal, bacon, and stewed apples, which
were the last provisions we had. Our men had
rigged up two poles on the raft, and were prepared
to stretch a large canvas sheet between them.   In a Iforceb flDarcbes anb Sbort IRations    181
stiff wind we set sail and made wonderfully rapid
time down the lake, which is about eight miles long,
so that we reached the lower end in three and three-
quarters hours without the use of oars.
We had now been out forty-four days, or three-
fourths of the time for which our provisions had been
calculated. Moreover, in the accident to our horses
in the muskegs of the Bow, much of our food had
been destroyed. An anxious calculation was made
of every article of food left, and though we had required five weeks to reach this place, we found provisions enough to last us only fourteen days. Two
meals a day, and light ones at that, were the regulations put into effect at once. We marched from four
to seven hours every day for the next thirteen days,
and reached the Upper Bow Lake, where, to our
great joy, we met a party of friends, from whom we
procured a number of luxuries, of which we were in
great need. Barrett here left me to join the other
party in a trip behind Mt. Hector to Banff through
the headwaters of all the streams entering the Bow
from the north, an interesting journey of about seventy-five miles, which I had made some years before.
After having been two months in the wilderness, I
reached Laggan on the 8th of September while the
first autumn snows were falling. A WINTER TRIP TO THE SASKATCHEWAN — GLACIER LAKE
OF the headwaters of the Saskatchewan there
remained but one tributary to be explored.
Owing to an attack of typhoid, my plans
to visit this region in the summer of 1898 were postponed till late autumn, in fact when winter had virtually commenced. For this trip I had nine horses and
engaged Bill Peyto and Roy Douglas.
" It seemed almost foolhardy," to quote again
from my article on the Saskatchewan, "when on
October 12th, against driving snow showers and a
cold wind, we set out from Laggan and once more
resumed our toilsome march through the many miles
of burnt timber northward, as it were, into the very
teeth of winter. Through constant snow-storms —
for the headwaters of the Bow are a breeding-place
for bad weather—we passed the Upper Bow Lake,
the divide beyond, and got six miles down the Little
Fork on the third day, as a result of forced marches. Storm in Little Fork Valley &t^mmPi  p^te
ind Roy i •■ uses   ©lacier Xafce
During the following night there was a curious
creaking sound of the tent rope and a sagging of the
canvas, and in the morning our prospects for a successful trip were very gloomy indeed, with ten inches
of new snow on the ground. Not wishing under these
circumstances to get farther away from civilisation, we
remained in camp all day. By afternoon the snow
ceased, and the next day we were again on the march.
The snow was fifteen inches deep in the Little Fork
valley, but only half that depth near the Saskatchewan, which we reached on the sixth day.
| On October 18th we crossed the Little Fork and
turned westward into a region that promised to be
full of interest. The weather, which had been cloudy
and threatening for some days, now gave signs of
improvement by the appearance of blue sky in the
west, and soon after the high mountains up the
Middle Fork were bathed in sunlight, the dazzling
light on the snow-covered landscape being very
cheering after the days of gloom and storm. The
trail penetrates a forest on the south bank and, frequently coming out on the river, allows views of the
wide, log-strewn gravel-wash, the work of summer
1 About five miles up the river a valley comes in
from Glacier Lake, and our camp was placed on a
point of land between the confluent streams. The
Saskatchewan at this cold season is clear as a mountain spring and shallow enough to be fordable on
foot.   In summer, however, it is a raging flood that O i"i
XCbe IRocMes of Canaba
makes the region of Glacier Lake very difficult to
reach. From our camp I set out in the afternoon to
see the lake, and found it in an hour, though not
without a hard scramble through deep snow and
fallen timber. The view was well worth the labour
expended. The lake, which is three or four miles
long, is beautifully set among high peaks, and at the
farther end a snow mountain sends down a glacier
nearly to its level. The setting sun, sinking into a
notch of the distant mountains, poured shafts of light
through grey, misty clouds and tinged their edges
with a pale-golden illumination. The lake was nearly
calm and reflected the beautiful picture of mountain
and sky from a tremulously moving surface. The
water, by retreating from its summer level, had exposed a wide margin of mud-covered boulders and
slippery logs—the trunks of trees carried into the
lake by snow-slides,—but in the distance the forested
banks seemed to press close upon the water. There
was something wonderfully impressive in the awful
solitude of such a scene under the spell of evening
I From what had been seen of the country I decided that it was important to reach, if possible, the
summit of a high mountain that lay to the east of
the lake, which from its position would command a
comprehensive view of the whole region and also
surely reveal Mt. Forbes, which was somewhere
west of the lake, according to Palliser's map.
I Accordingly I was afoot the next morning at nine an iBjrbausting Snow Ciimb
o'clock, with a camera on my shoulders, ready for
the ascent. The mountain appeared to be about
seventy-eight hundred feet in altitude, or in round
numbers three thousand feet above our camp. The
weather was bright and cold, nor was there a cloud
in the sky, and it proved by far the best day of the
trip. It appeared that the walking would be better
on the other side of the Glacier Lake stream, and
after some ineffectual attempts to bridge the river by
felling trees, Peyto carried me across on his back in a
shallow place, and so the climb was commenced
with dry boots. In less than five minutes a fine
trail appeared, which saved a great deal of labour
and considerable time in getting to the lake. The
trail at length diverged to the east toward the mountain and went in the right direction until the altitude
was six hundred feet above the lake, effecting a great
saving of energy in forcing my way through the
underbrush. The sunlight was painfully brilliant on
the snow, which was fully a foot in depth at seven
thousand feet. At this altitude, in a last clump of
spruce trees, I hung my camera to a branch and took
a short rest, as the climb so far had been very
I After a pause often minutes the sharp air urged a
recommencement of the ascent. The brilliant glare
of an hour previous had given place to a somewhat
cloudy sky, as a belt of heavy cirrus was drifting
along over the mountains in a great line running
north and south.   The sun shone through it feebly,
w 186
Zbc IRocfcies of Canaba
and was surrounded by a halo. I soon began to
have doubts of my ability to succeed in the ascent,
as my strength began to fail under so much exertion
in the deep snow. The bushes, rocks, and other
inequalities of the ground were buried, so that I
frequently stumbled and fell. Moreover, it now
became apparent that the size of the mountain had
been much underestimated, for the heights on the right
rose tremendously even after an altitude of seventy-
five hundred feet had been reached. The inclination was very steep, and the glare of the now returned
sun on the vast expanse of snow, and the absence of
anything to fasten the eyes upon for relief, produced
a curious sensation of dizziness, due perhaps in part
to exhaustion. I felt, however, the importance of
reaching the summit, as it meant practically the
success of the entire trip. Moreover, the extraordinarily fine weather on this critical day of the trip
seemed too providential to be lost from any lack of
exertion or ambition.
"Summoning, then, all my resolution, I made reasonable progress for a time, but soon, in spite of
every eager desire for success and ambition to reach
the summit, the contest between will-power and
tired muscles became doubtful, as the snow grew
deeper with higher altitude, the slope steeper, and
the far-off summit seemed no nearer. Every few
yards of progress was invariably terminated by a fall in
the snow, and it seemed better to rest for a moment in
whatever position chance had it than to get up at once. IDiew of flfot fforbes
"A little later a view appeared that in itself well
repaid the labour of the climb. On the right was an
expanse of spotless snow, exceedingly steep, vast in
extent, and dazzling in brilliancy. Its rounded contours were sharply outlined against the sky, but
there was no interruption of stone or cliff in the
monotonous covering of snow, nor any scale by which
to judge of size or distance. The chief object of
interest in the view was a snowy, triangular peak
covered with ice, which now began to appear in the
west. The colours of rocks and cliffs in the distant
peaks and precipices seemed absolutely black in
contrast with the remarkable whiteness of the snow
surface on all sides. Overhead the sky was intensely
blue, but marked by distinct wisps of white cirrus
cloud, spun out like tufts of cotton into shreds and
curving lines.
"At an altitude of eighty-eight hundred feet, or
more than four thousand feet above our camp, I at
length reached the summit of the mountain crest.
It was necessary to walk along the crest a quarter of a
mile to reach a somewhat higher point, which was the
true summit. The snow along this mountain ridge
was in many places three or four feet deep, and, mindful of the terrible Alpine accidents caused by cornices, I
kept well away from the edge, below which it seemed
to drop sheer several thousand feet. From intense
frost my gloves were frozen so stiff that notes and
sketches had to be done with bare hands.
" The most conspicuous and interesting part of the ee^"
Cbe IRocfties of Canaba
whole vast panorama was the lofty summit of Mt.
Forbes, beyond the valley of Glacier Lake. This
mountain and another about ten miles to the west
were the two highest peaks in sight, and each is
probably between thirteen thousand and fourteen
thousand feet in altitude. Glaciers of very large size
come from these mountains and terminate a few miles
above the lake. The whole valley of the Saskatchewan to its upper end and in the opposite direction for many miles below the mouths of the North
and Little Forks was clearly visible. There was a very
high rocky peak in a group of mountains east of the
Little Fork that occupies the position of Hector's Mt.
Murchison, which he calculated to be 13,600 feet
high. This mountain is hidden away in a group
that must be seventy-five miles in circumference,
and so it is rarely seen. There was a fine view to
the north, where a wild and desolate valley, thousands of feet below, was dominated by a castlelike mountain over eleven thousand feet high, cut
in ruins like ancient towers and battlements. Of
four plates exposed on this mountain only one was
successful, so I had a narrow escape from failing
altogether in getting a view of Mt. Forbes, which,
because of its great height, is veiled from view
by clouds and is frequently invisible for weeks at
a time.
I On Thursday, October 20th, the day broke grey
and unsettled, with the highest mountains touched
by   clouds.     We  continued our  march  up  the   ^Ultimate Sources of tbe <5reat IRiver    189
Saskatchewan valley, and urged the horses rapidly
over a level gravel plain at such speed as to make in
all ten miles. On the west side of the valley there is
a stupendous wall of rock between eleven thousand
and twelve thousand feet high, which terminates in
the giant peak of Mt. Forbes, a little to the north.
About four miles from our camping place there is a
group of curious rounded hills rising like forested
islands from the sea of gravel.
"There was a strong raw wind against us, and
because of our water-soaked boots, half frozen by
contact with snow, it was altogether too cold to
keep in the saddle long, and everyone walked most
of the time. We made camp in a miserable place
of stunted timber half killed by gravel which had
been washed over the place by some change of the
river's course not many years before. The river
here divides into three streams. The smallest, near
our camp, comes from the Howse Pass, less than
three miles distant; the other two come from a
valley to the south-east, each, curiously enough,
flowing on opposite sides of a flat valley. In the
afternoon I walked some three miles up the valley to
where the lesser stream comes in from the west,
and as it heads at the base of Mt. Forbes, I followed
it a mile or so farther, till presently the current became rapid, the valley narrow, and the water closely
hemmed in by rocky banks, so that walking was
very difficult. The snow was a foot deep in this
little valley, where the sun and wind could not exert Iff
Zbc IRocMes of Canaba
their influence as in the open. The stream on the
other side of the valley is larger and comes from a
glacier several miles distant. This whole region was
very thoroughly examined last summer by Messrs.
Baker, Collie, and Stutfield, who not only explored
the large glacier, which is supposed to be ten or fifteen miles long, but went up the other stream several
miles to the base of Mt. Forbes, in the hope of
ascending it. The flood of waters that sweeps down
here in summer from the long glacier has cut channels three or four feet deep, lined with immense
boulders, across the whole bottom of the valley.
This is the chief stream or source of the Saskatchewan.
"During the night the wind came up in fitful
gusts; the stars were no longer bright points, but
foggy spots seen through a thin mist; bands of
cloud swept along the mountain sides almost as low
as our camp, and at length the whole sky was overcast. The barometer was much lower at midnight.
By 1 a.m. snow began to fall, which was a cause for
no little apprehension, as we were far from the
4 j On Friday, October 21 st, the sky was still threatening, though very little snow had fallen. We were
on the march soon after ten o'clock, and reached the
summit of the Howse Pass in an hour. This pass
was made known to the traders of the North-west
Fur Company about 1810 by a man of the name of
Howse or Hawes, and was at one time much used by
the Kootenay Indians, who came over the mountains 2>escent of tbe Blaeberry
and bartered with the fur traders at a place
about three days' journey down the Saskatchewan,
now known from this circumstance as the Kootenay
Plain. This route is now impassable, as fire has run
through the forests in the lower part of the Blaeberry
valley, and the timber has fallen for many miles.
The pass itself is about eighteen miles from the
Little Fork and fifty-three hundred feet in altitude.
1 At this Doint we were seven days' journey from
the railroad by either of two routes,—the one by
which we had come, or another, which, by going
down the Blaeberry one day's march and then over
a pass to the south-east, would bring us to the Kicking Horse River, and so to Field, in British Columbia.
The latter route seemed preferable, as it v/ould be
through a new region.
"The descent into the Blaeberry is one of the
most trying exploits that the mountains offer. We
commenced to descend rapidly the channel of a
brawling mountain torrent, crossing from side to
side constantly, so that our horses were compelled
to climb up and down steep banks, to scramble over
immense logs, or sometimes to force a way down
the boulder-strewn bed of the stream. As there
was no trail, Peyto had to lead the way by whatever route appeared best, and in several places our
horses had to slide on their haunches down steep
banks forty or fifty feet high, jump into the torrent,
cross it, and then ascend a similar bank on the other
side at the greatest risk of accident and to the no
1 wmm 192
JLbc IRocfcies of Canaba
little trial of our own nerves. A trail appeared after
three hours of such labour, and we camped about
ten miles down the valley. It rained hard all night,
turning to snow in the morning."
This Blaeberry River flows west to the Columbia,
and was formerly much used as a route across the
mountains. In 1882, when parties were still exploring for a good railroad pass across the range, Tom
Wilson was sent on foot up the Bow to the Saskatchewan and thence by the Howse Pass down the
Blaeberry. This trying feat was only accomplished
after the last morsel of food was eaten on the road
and his clothes torn in the burnt timber. Again in
1887 Wilson took two gentlemen on a hunting trip
into the same region and tells the following story of
therr adventures:
f We lost our axe and got caught irrheavy windfall, where we had a very rough time, as no other
party had been over the trail for years. On one
occasion, to get around some bad timber, we had to
cross along a steep slope at the top of a cut bank,
where, if a man or horse rolled into the river he was
gone, as we were only a few feet above a narrow
canyon. I unsaddled the horses and led them over
one at a time. After the horses were safe, the two
hunters followed. The last was almost across when
his feet slipped from under him. He gave a yell and
grabbed a root that was sticking out of the bank.
He was stretched at full length and his arm was extended so that he had no chance to pull himself up.
k an anecbote of tbe pioneers
The rough gravel would have held him even if he
had lost his grip on the root. So at first we laughed
at him, but seeing the look of terror in his face I
shouted 'You are all right. You can't slide down
there.' f Who is trying to slide ? * said he. ' Bring a
A few weeks before my own trip, Messrs. Collie
and Baker had discovered a pass out of this Blaeberry
valley. It was our purpose to follow it, and under
Peyto's guidance we turned up a small stream which
enters from the south. A rough scramble over
boulders and gravel was followed by an exceedingly
steep ascent of a wooded slope. Snow lay on the
ground in shaded places^^nd as we ascended it became deeper. It was fifteen inches deep after we
had climbed twelve hundred feet. Our bearings
were by compass, as storms during the day shut out
any view of the mountains. By nightfall we were
nearly at tree-line and found ourselves surrounded
by unbroken forests. No suitable place for a camp
could be found on the mountain side, and in desperation we unpacked our horses in thick woods. Our
poor horses were turned loose in deep snow where
there was nothing to eat. Avalanches of snow fell
from the trees at every stroke of the axe and several
times put out our struggling fire.
In the morning eighteen inches of snow covered
the ground. Peyto had a hard tramp up the mountain for our horses, which had fasted the long wintry
night.   Packing up was trying work, as it was
iJk 1
Cbe IRochies of Canaba
impossible to get thoroughly warm, and even our
gloves were frozen. Every rope and canvas cover was
stiff with granular ice, making them weigh twice as
much as usual. While being packed, our famished
horses bit off bark and twigs from the neighbouring
Our camp had been high on a mountain whence
we could see the deep Blaeberry valley to the west,
while more to the south lay the pass which we were
trying to reach. We continued to make a traverse
of the mountain side, which was heavily wooded and
intersected by several ravines. We were just started
on our march when a thick snow-storm commenced
and shut out every landmark. The general slope of
the mountain and the compass were our only guides.
The steep-banked gullies gave us several exasperating climbs or forced us to descend long distances to
find a safe way across, and eventually one of them
compelled us to descend to the bottom of the valley,
running, fortunately, in the same direction that we
wished to go. It led no doubt to the pass, though
Peyto could not recognise any familiar landmarks in
the heavy storm. Another twenty-four hours of
storm would have made our position rather serious.
The snow was now over two feet deep and increased
as we approached the pass. Peyto and I went ahead
and broke a path for the horses, but even then some
of them lay down in the snow and groaned pitifully,
for they had had very poor feed throughout the entire trip and none during the past night.   Urging   1beap$ Snowfall anb a UKUntr? Camp   195
them on, we continued marching and were glad to
find the slope becoming more and more gentle, till
at length a level space with the clouds beyond
showed that the pass summit had been reached.
We made camp in three feet of snow and turned our
horses out in a meadow, where they got some grass
by pawing away the snow. Tall spruces surrounded
the meadow, which was a uniform white expanse
unbroken by any projecting branch or bush. Clouds
and occasional snow-storms made a wintry sky and
towards evening the sun broke through and cast a
cheerful light over a massive mountain to the west.
Our camp at this point was at the head of the
north branch of the Kicking Horse River, and every
step would now lead us nearer civilisation and to
lower altitudes. In three days, after having been exposed for more than two weeks to nearly constant
storms, we reached Field, where there was no snow
and even a few autumn flowers were in blossom. PLAN TO EXPLORE AN INTERESTING REGION — DESOLATION
A REGION that is sure to be popular in the
near future lies south of Lake Louise. For
many years it had been an object of my
ambition to explore this part of the Rockies, which,
though skirted on two sides by the railroad, was not
mapped in its interior. My plan to enter this region
was at length, in 1899, perfected.    More precisely it
might be described as the Summit Range of the
196 Co lEyplore an Interesting IRegion     197
Rockies between the Bow River on the east, the
Vermilion and Ottertail rivers on the west, the Kicking Horse Pass on the north, and the Vermilion Pass
on the south. It was my idea to skirt round the
outer edge of this nearly rectangular block of mountains, whose area was about three hundred square
miles, and to ascend every stream and valley which
offered a route into the interior.
To facilitate our progress through an unmapped
and trailless region, where good nature and patience
would, no doubt, be put to the final test in overcoming countless unforeseen obstacles, I reduced my
outfit to the minimum size. It consisted of one man,
Ross Peecock, upon whose good nature I justly
placed great reliance, and four horses, two of which
we rode.
We left the chalet at Lake Louise on the 13th of
August, and crossing the bridge which had recently
been made over the stream from the lake, left the
trail and entered the woods. Following a nearly
level traverse, we reached the mouth of Paradise
Valley in two hours. Our journey for the next two
or three hours was through swampy meadows or
heavy forests, till at length the slopes falling away
to the south, and glimpses of new mountains appearing through the trees, showed that Desolation Valley had been reached. The woods were open and
easy to travel. As we descended some gently sloping meadows, the grand range of jagged peaks on
the south of Desolation Valley came into view.   A
■; 198
Cbe iRocfcies of Canaba
v:.    $
few minutes later we were at the border of the
valley stream, which flows in shallow rapids over a
bed of rusty-coloured stones. We made camp higher
up the valley, where the stream expands to a width
of one hundred yards and makes a chain of pools
decorated with low islands. A strong south wind
and threatening sky caused us to put our tent up
quickly, as a storm could be seen coming over the
mountains, and in a short time a warm summer rain
was falling.
Showers fell during the night and developed into
a continuous downpour all the following day. It
grew cooler, and in the early evening a slight whitening of snow appeared on the flanks of Mt. Temple,
opposite us. About ten o'clock at night the rain
suddenly changed to snow.
A foot of snow lay on the ground in the morning and the storm continuing all day, added another
six inches by evening. This August snow-storm,
at an altitude of less than six thousand feet, is the
most remarkable freak of weather that I have ever
The snow-storm ceased in the night and by morning there were signs of clearing. The snow settled
rapidly, though there was but little sun. Overcome
by our enforced idleness of two days, I set out in
the afternoon for a tramp up the valley. Some years
before, Allen and I had seen a fine lake in this valley
from the sides of Mt. Temple, and I hoped now to
find it.   I walked about a mile and a half and came flDoraine Xafce
to a ravine, where a roaring cascade, encumbered
with logs and great boulders, comes out of the valley
to the south-east. I got across on a slippery log, and
after another mile, came to a massive pile of stones,
where the water gurgles as it rushes along in subterranean channels. Ascending a ridge about fifty
feet high, there lay before me one of the most beautiful lakes that I have ever seen.
This lake, which I called "Moraine Lake," from
the ridge of glacial formation at its lower end, is
about a mile and a half long. A green forest covers
the north shore, while the opposite side is overhung
by a high precipice. Two large piles of debris
from the mountains dip into the lake and encroach
upon its surface in semicircular lines. An imposing
cliff, like a Tower of Babel, makes a grand terminus
to the range of mountains on this side of the valley.
Beyond the water is a succession of high peaks rising five or six thousand feet above it, with a few
short glaciers among them. The water is very clear
and of the characteristic blue-green colour. A number of logs were floating on it in various places,
while others crowded the shore and raised the water
level by damming up the outlet stream. Part of the
water escapes by subterranean channels among the
quartzite and shale ledges of the moraine, and the rest
flows out at the north-west end through an immense mass of logs. I think these trees have been
stripped down by snow-slides and hurled into the
lake during some recent winter.
* T'^Tr
Zbc IRocfties of Canaba
At the time of my arrival the lake was partly
calm and reflected the rough escarpments and cliffs
from its surface. No scene has ever given me an
equal impression of inspiring solitude and rugged
grandeur. I stood on a great stone of the moraine
where, from a slight elevation, a magnificent view
of the lake lay before me, and while studying the
details of this unknown and unvisited spot, spent
the happiest half-hour of my life.
Elated with this beautiful discovery, I followed
the ridge, and after crossing the outlet stream, went
back to camp by a different route, firmly decided
that no time should be lost in moving our camp to
the shores of Moraine Lake. I related my trip to
Ross while we ate supper and picked the bones of a
grouse we had killed.
We were up at five o'clock the next morning.
The weather was beautifully clear and only six
inches of snow were left. A potentilla, a bushy
plant covered with bright yellow flowers, which
grew inside our tent, had cheered us for several
stormy days. Out of the thousands of flowers in
this valley, it alone had escaped the snow by the
chance of our tent's protection. However, one of
our hungry horses noticed the plant as the only
green thing in sight and quickly consumed it.
We reached the lake in an hour and made camp
a short distance down the left bank. The snow
was completely gone near its shore, because, for
some reason, much less had fallen here than farther
BH Moraine Lake ^_   ' V '   •*
Its flDarvellous Beaut?
down the valley. We spread our blankets on the
ground in the bright sun, to dry. While Ross was
putting things in order I hurried over to the moraine
ridge with my large camera and photographed the
lake. The effects were fine, and some misty clouds
were rolling over the high mountain peaks. While
I was at this Ross caught a fine trout, which we ate
for lunch. In the afternoon we walked to the other
end of the lake and, though the country was open,
were surprised to find that it required forty minutes.
From this end a narrow gorge may be seen across
the lake, above which is a hanging glacier and an
imposing snow mountain of great height. The
woods in this part of the valley had been burnt over
a long time ago. The new trees are about fifty
years old, so that the general appearance is that of a
green forest. Some of the trees destroyed by the
old fire were very large, as is shown by logs three
or four feet in diameter.
The mountains roared all day. Repeated avalanches of snow came from Mt. Temple, and the
long winding streams could be seen moving among
the cliffs, attended by a noise like thunder. In the
evening a considerable rock-slide fell on a slope
across the lake. Several great masses of stone came
off the mountain and descended in tremendous leaps,
making a ripping sound like that of a cannon-ball.
One of these struck a large stone and burst into
pieces with a loud report and a cloud of dust.
The site of our camp was delightful.   The ground 1
Cbe IRocfcies of Canaba
was smooth and hard and haol a slight slope towards
the water. The seasoned driftwood along the shore
made the best kind of camp-fire and the balsam trees
behind our tent gave us fine flat boughs for our beds.
From a large log in the lake, just in front of our tent,
we caught ten trout in the evening. We got a long
pole and attached two hooks to the smaller end. To
the other, we tied a line, and then giving the pole a
shove, it carried the hooks far out into the lake. In
a moment the pole could be seen to move and then
to swim away, this way and that, showing a fish
had taken the bait. We soon had all we wanted
and a great swarm of hungry fish appeared in the
clear water under our floating dock. They are a
kind of speckled trout, and the largest was seventeen
and one-half inches long, though none were less than
fourteen inches. We had fresh fish from the lake at
five minutes' notice for every meal thereafter.
A stream enters the valley about one mile below
the lake. It comes from the south-east beyond the
curious and impressive rock cliff, which we called
the Tower of Babel. On the 19th we started to
explore the valley whence it came. I carried my
camera, and Ross our luncheon and a pail in which
to make hot coffee. Just as we were off, the sun
came over the mountain and illumined our pretty
tent with a flood of light, while the dark lake and
cliff beyond seemed almost gloomy by contrast. We
scrambled over the log dam and the massive ledges
of the moraine, to the other side.   The woods were T
a IHeigbbouring Stream
moist with night dew ,and a myriad drops of water,
like rounded diamonds, were delicately poised on the
tender leaves of the white-flowered rhododendron.
No other bush holds so much rain or dew on its
foliage, and to avoid the showers we used long sticks
to shake them as we advanced. We climbed to the
base of the Tower of Babel in half an hour, and looked
down into a new valley. It was not far to the
stream, and in a short time we stood upon its bank.
Open woods made our way easy through this new
and pleasing region. Suddenly a long stretch of water
opened before us and disclosed a beautiful scene.
Beyond the pretty banks of the stream, lined with
birch and willow bushes, appeared in the distance
an Alpine peak, fringed with a narrow border of ice
near its tooth-like crest. In the middle distance on
the left stood a forest, while on the right, there was
an open grassy meadow. The shallow stream flowed
gently in an extended channel, where the quiet
surface, interrupted by stones or the ripples of slow
moving water, reflected the distant peak. Everything in these surroundings helped to make one of
the most beautiful pictures that I have ever seen in
the Rockies. I was very anxious for a photograph
of this spot, so while Ross lay on a mossy bank,
I searched for a good position and endeavoured
to group the bushy banks and mountains in harmonious lines. We were very much pleased with
the place, and Ross suggested that, since the other
was called Desolation Valley, we might call this
•.'.>.'i; 204
$be IRochies of Canaba
" Consolation Valley," a name that seemed quite
On the south side of this valley is a rock precipice, commencing with the Tower of Babel, and
then gradually increasing in height eastward, till it
terminates in the Alpine peak just described. The
face of the wall is more nearly perpendicular than any
1 have seen. Some of the cliffs, for nearly a thousand
feet, must have an angle of between eighty-five and
eighty-eight degrees, while the extreme height is
about four thousand feet from the valley.
We followed the stream for some distance and
came to a small lake. Beyond this was another, of
similar size, separated from it only by a narrow ridge
of stones. Leaving Ross at the first and telling him
to expect me back in two hours, I continued to explore the valley. The second lake rests against a
glacier which discharges pieces of ice and solid snow
into the water. Some of these were floating about
like small icebergs, and others were stranded on
rough stones of the shore. The ripples were flashing in sunlight, and some ducks were swimming
over the water. Among the massive ledges of this
old moraine a few birds were flitting about, and I
was delighted to hear again the plaintive song of the
white-crested sparrow. This was a characteristic
upland lake of the Rockies, where glaciers, moraine,
and forest made a perfect picture of Alpine beauty. I
walked round the lake to the music of rivulets and
the frightened squeak of picas through meadows of   alpine Xafces
flowers, recently covered by snow and beaten down
by storms, but as fresh and bright in colour as ever.
The blue sky above was flecked by snowy clouds,
and the sun's heat made frequent avalanches of ice on
the opposite mountain.
I climbed more than one thousand feet on the
ridge north-east of the lake, and saw two passes, one
opening to the east, and the other on the left, probably into the Bow valley. Later explorations would
solve these problems. As I was climbing, the sky
suddenly thickened and became threatening. The
air grew colder and seemed to be ready for snow, so
that as a sufficient height had been reached to command a view of the entire valley, I returned to the
lake where Ross was waiting. Here I had a delicious
lunch of bread, marmalade, and coffee.
We followed the stream bank and had an easy
trip back to our camp. In the evening we caught a
dozen trout to take with us on the next day's march,
for it was now necessary to continue our journey
towards the Vermilion Pass.
August 20th. The weather was threatening in
the morning. Bands of mist swept above the lake
and against the mountains, driven by strong winds
in opposite directions, making grand cloud effects.
We bade farewell to Moraine Lake about 10.30, and
followed the left bank of the stream, past our first
camp, to where this valley opens into that of the
Bow. Here we turned south, crossed the stream,
and commenced to ascend the ridge which faces the i m
Cbe IRocfties of Canaba
Bow valley. We soon got into a dense forest on a
steep slope, where very slow progress was made in
spite of much chopping of wood and urging of horses.
Thinking it best to get above the tree-line, we ascended, and for a time, had easy travel, but presently
came to a long rock-slide, which it was impossible
to get above or to cross. Nothing was left but to
descend and lose all our hard-earned climb. These
rock-slides are barren piles of broken, lichen-covered
stones of considerable size, easy for a man to scramble over, but impossible for horses. Several hundred
feet below we found a way for the pack animals, and
about evening, made camp in the woods on the
mountain side, 6600 feet above sea-level. On this
shady north slope some snow from the great storm
was still left. As we unpacked it commenced to
rain, and a drizzle continued until morning.
I had learned from Wilson that about opposite the
station of Eldon, there is an old copper mine and
several log shacks built by the miners, but abandoned
long since. As it was in an upland park of great
beauty, it seemed well to make it a camping place
on our trip. So the following day we ascended
wherever any obstacle appeared and gradually increased our altitude. Heavy timber and swampy
places with moss-covered rock-slides gave us great
difficulty. Ross and I led alternately, for it appeared
that the responsibility of finding a way through the
unending obstacles and of cutting trees entailed too
much labour for either one constantly.   Two hours of Slow progress
such work were enough to exhaust all of one's good
temper and patience. It was surprising with what a
will and dash either of us would commence to lead
the procession, and how, after a time, this gave way
to hopeless despair. Then from the front something
like this would be heard. " It is absolutely impossible to get through here. There is a rock-slide on
one side and the timber is piled five feet high on the
other." "Then why don't you go ahead?" came
from the rear. " Because I am standing on the edge
of a cliff twenty feet high." About such times we
simply changed leadership, and while one rested his
nerves, the other used his in making a slow advance.
About mid-afternoon we came to an old trail
which descended the slope and soon led us to groves
of Lyall's larch and upland meadows. The miners',
cabins appeared above us, and in half an hour we
were unsaddling our horses in this miniature deserted
village. Some immense larches covered the ridge
and the place was delightfully open and beautiful.
These Alpine meadows have a wealth of colouring
impossible to describe. In the short grass a multitude of antennarias grow ; their leaves covered with
a whitish down, which makes a silver sheen when
wet with rain and turns the drops to pearls. The
square-stemmed white and purple bryanthus revels
in these meadows, and above them the heads of anemones and the varied-coloured painted-cup, with purple, scarlet, yellow, white, or greenish flowers, make
a gay display of colour.   These are the commonest
1 '1
11 208
Wbe IRockies of Canaba
plants, but you will see bluebells, larkspur, valerian, forget-me-nots, and many others among them.
After the horses were turned loose and our tent
set up, Ross and I investigated the old shacks. They
were low houses about twelve feet square and built
of logs. Inside one of them were some rough
sleeping places, strewn with boughs. There were
two bags of flour and several others containing
coffee, beans, or sugar. In a rough cupboard, made
of a box nailed to the wall, were several dozen tins
of tomatoes, condensed milk, and various condiments. An iron stove was rusting under the leaky
roof, and the porcupines had played havoc with the
flour and other accessible food, much of which was
valueless. We took a supply of condensed milk,
sugar, corn-starch, and tomatoes, to eke out our pile
of provisions, and used some golden syrup, which
we discovered, to flavour our flap-jacks. Ross knew
how to make them remarkably light and wholesome.
The other shack was dry and in far better condition, but offered nothing to our purpose. Suspended
by a cotton string to a rusty nail in the roof, was a
case labelled " Five Hundred Detonating Caps," and
a few feet away on the floor was a heavy box labelled
" Powder," which probably contained enough explosive to tear a hole in the mountain and arouse
the natives from Banff to Laggan.
During the afternoon it rained, but in the night it
grew much colder and began to snow. The weather
was still dubious in the morning, though the sun a Beserteb flDinincj Camp
broke through the clouds by noon. I ascended a
ridge beyond the copper mine, which was not far
distant, to a height of eight thousand feet, and got
a fine view of the Bow valley from beyond the
Vermilion Pass to the river's source, a sweep of
about forty-five miles. In the afternoon I went into
a beautiful open vale, west of our camp, and after
climbing the ridge beyond, looked down on a fine
lake nearly a mile in length. It lay several hundred
feet below, and after a rapid descent through a thick
woods, I found myself by the shore. A small glacier and a barren pile of moraine debris were seen
beyond the lake, while the slopes on either side were
more cheerful sweeps of forests and green slides.
The shore is flat and mossy, and some purple asters
and bright castilleias made a pretty colouring among
the rough quartzite stones and broken timber lining
the water's edge. Two young ducks were playing
on the blue water.
The lake sends a considerable stream towards the
Bow and is joined not far from the lake by another
which comes from the open vale near our camp. I
crossed the outlet stream on floating logs, which had
drifted from the lake, and climbed a high ridge on the
other side. The top of this was a mass of tottering
cliffs, so much disintegrated by frost and weather
that they seemed dangerous to approach. From
this I saw another short valley, with several small
lakes, the lowest of which is crescent-shaped. After sketching the streams and mountains I descended
14 ii
: i?
JLbc IRocfties of Canaba
into the valley and then made my way back to
camp through the woods, trying to find a good
route for our horses. The last mile to camp was
up a beautiful torrent with grassy banks and noble
trees on either side. One spruce was more than
four feet in diameter. This whole region, for a mile
or more, is a veritable park of Lyall's larch, and
abounds in picas, marmots, and porcupines, one of
which I came upon as I approached camp.
Towards evening the weather thickened, and
showers of sleet and snow fell. The moon was a
little past full, and during the cold night, it broke
through the clouds and mists that were sweeping
over the mountains. The cliffs loomed dark through
ghostly and fleeting shrouds of fog, and the sharp-
lined shadows of the larches above us were thrown
in bright moonlight upon our ice-covered tent.
Rain in the morning made the fourteenth day of
almost consecutive stormy weather, which is past
all precedent for the month of August. Much delayed already by storms, it was necessary to make
rapid and long marches henceforth. However, a
new contingency had arisen,— our horses had disappeared ! Ross searched for them all the morning,
and returned about two p.m., saying he had been
nearly to Eldon, in the Bow valley, east of our
camp. Again in the evening we both set out, I up
the ridge, and Ross towards the muskegs and
meadows below our camp to the north. No sign
of our animals was discovered.     A curious effect ®nr Iborses Disappear
on our imagination was made by our trying to hear
the bell. Both of us fancied we could hear it, ringing constantly, in one direction or another, though
we could not agree upon the locality.
It was useless to waste more time hunting over
the vast extent of open country that surrounded our
camp, so I decided to send Ross back to Laggan, and
then by rail to Banff, for more horses, or another man
to find our own. Owing to the cold weather I had
no doubt we would be able to cross the streams
which come out of Desolation and Paradise valleys.
In the morning at eight o'clock Ross started for Laggan.
Left absolutely alone in the wilderness for the first time,
I spent the entire morning gathering fire-wood which
the miners had cut, and making camp comfortable and
neat. At night I banked the camp-fire, and in the
morning, after eleven hours, it was still burning.
August 25 th. Fog and snow showers were the
curtain raiser this morning. The continuous performance began at ten o'clock with a heavy snowstorm, accompanied by a rapidly falling barometer.
The best weather so far at this camp has been merely
a temporary cessation of either rain, wind, or snow.
My two pairs of boots and a pair of slippers are
alternately drying before the fire. When all are
soaked, I go to bed. This performance repeated
about ten times makes up a full day.
Ross has now been gone for two days, and I had
almost hoped he would return to-night. The barometer is rising steadily at last, and the highest peaks
1 212
Cbe IRocfcies of Canaba
II ill
are disclosed through clinging clouds. The sun at
evening shed a pale golden glow through the larches,
while to the east the mountains and clouds were
bathed in a rich purple light. From near our tent
the valley can be seen as it sweeps down in magnificent forest slopes, making a descent of about three
thousand feet to the Bow River, three or four miles
distant. The railroad can be seen nearly from Banff
to Laggan, and the " Imperial Flyer " is in view for
forty-five minutes, creeping apparently like a snail
through the valley. It is getting colder, and at
seven o'clock the tent is stiff as parchment with ice.
August 26th. The sun shone and the barometer
was rising. I could still hear that bell ringing, but
paid no attention to my fancies. However, it continued, and at length I imagined I could hear the
tramping of horses. Then the bell sounded louder
than ever. I got up, dressed hastily, and came out
of the tent just in time to see all our horses come
galloping into camp ! Ross would arrive in a few
minutes, no doubt, and I gave the horses salt, so
they would stay near camp. After a little, I tied
one to a tree and made breakfast. It began to snow
again and the barometer was falling. Why did Ross
not come, and where had the horses been all this
I climbed the ridge in the hope of getting a shot
at a sheep I had seen on a previous trip, or at least
of getting some ptarmigans for supper. I got neither
the sheep nor the ptarmigans, but thought I heard far  III!
•■'   "
(MM alone in tbe Wilberness
in the distance the sound of wood-chopping. Relief
at last! Ross and someone else were coming up
from Eldon and had horses with them, because they
were cutting trees fallen across the trail. I descended
into the meadow, where a coyote was hunting the
picas and marmots, and soon reached camp. All
was as I left it, so there was no relief after all. Ross
had been gone nearly three days, and it occurred to
me that he may not have reached Laggan at all.
What if he had sprained his ankle, or met with some
mishap in the timber and rock-slides of the pathless
wilderness between here and Laggan ?
I spent the afternoon writing notes, while snow
fell outside. About five o'clock I heard a shout, but
my imagination of late had been playing strange
pranks. A moment later I felt sure I heard more
shouting. I answered with vigour, and putting on
fire-wood, fanned it into a blaze. Presently shouts
again came out of the storm from the ridge above
our camp. I replied repeatedly, for it was snowing
hard, and a dense fog through which only the nearest trees were visible, and those but little beyond,
appeared like ghostly forms, enveloped everything.
Two riders emerged from the gloom, and I recognised Tom Lusk and Ross Peecock. I served the
men at once with an excellent camp dinner of bean
soup, broiled ham, tea, bannocks, and apple sauce.
For dessert I proudly set forth a newly discovered
dish made of cornstarch blanc mange and marmalade, flavoured with Scotch whiskey.   The dinner
ot Cbe Itocfcies of Canaba
was pronounced a great success, and the orange
pudding, especially, was praised by Tom, who
smacked the flavour of Scotch with gusto.
I told about the horses coming into camp, and
learned how Ross had reached Laggan in five hours
and gone to Banff by rail that day. Here he saw
Wilson, and returned with Tom Lusk, camping the
first night at Hillsdale. On Saturday they reached
Eldon and forded the Bow in four feet of water, as
the river is very high. The Saskatchewan at Edmonton is in great flood and carrying down houses
as a result of this abnormal weather in the mountains. It snowed so hard all night that the poles
bent and nearly let down the tent. In the morning
there were six inches of new snow on the ground
though the sun was struggling through the clouds.
The brilliant mountains and the larch trees, bending
their branches in submission to the burden of snow,
made a marvellous but chilly picture for midsummer.
Tom Lusk packed up and left us in the morning
as our horses had discovered themselves. The
newly arrived ponies and our own bit and kicked
one another, for cayuses recognise friends or enemies in every strange outfit. Tom left us with protestations of his unwillingness to go. It would
have been dangerous to our horses to travel through
the woods while there was so much snow, so we
remained in camp an entire day, and on the 28th set
out towards the Vermilion Pass, by traversing the
flanks of the mountains, as we had done hitherto. flDagnificent IDiew of tbe IDermiiion pass  215
We followed the Eldon trail for a mile and a half, till
we were one thousand feet below the level of our
camp and struck into the woods. Then ensued the
most miserable day's travel yet experienced. Slushy
snow lay deep in the heavy forest, which, though
green, was blocked by many fallen trees and moss-
covered rocks, very trying to our struggling horses.
The bush was wet, and our water-soaked boots
were very painful from cold. Being forced byrthe
nature of the slopes to ascend constantly, after five
hours' travel, we came to the crest of a ridge nearly
at tree-line. From this a magnificent view of the
Vermilion Pass was disclosed. Storm Mountain
and Mt. Ball stood in massive grandeur under a
cloudy sky on the further side of this great rent in
the continental watershed. A continuous green
forest covered the pass for a breadth of four or five
miles, sweeping up the mountains and into a fine
valley which appeared on our right. Into this we
planned to descend, and after a brief survey of the
mountains, I found a shallow gully apparently suitable for our purpose. Following the fresh tracks of
a bear, we urged our horses forward, and got safely
down to the valley bottom, making a drop of nine
hundred feet. Here, beside a fine stream, we paused
for a short rest. " This is God's country," said Ross,
as he looked around on the open meadow and green
forest which made such pleasant contrast with the
snowy region we had recently left. Our horses
were no less pleased than we, as was evident by
B ;
their looks and actions. We ascended the valley
through a succession of flat muskegs and woods,
and in less than an hour, came to a fine lake, where
we made camp. There was no trail, but a few blaze
marks on the trees showed that some trapper had
visited the place. After a hearty dinner and fourteen hours of work, we slept soundly through a
rainy night.
The weather was better in the morning, and
leaving Ross at camp I started to explore the upper
end of the lake and valley. This lake runs about
north-west and south-east and sends a stream into
the Vermilion Pass. It is half a mile wide and probably three miles in length. One of its most curious
features is a crescent-shaped dam of logs and tree
roots about one mile from the lower end. This extends from shore to shore, and probably marks the
shallow water made by some old glacier moraine. I
thought at first of naming the lake from this circumstance, but was unable to make anything euphonious
out of " log-dammed lake," while some of the possibilities seemed rather breezy and western. The
water, though otherwise pure and clear, is full of
black spots about the size of a pin head. Looking
more closely I saw that they were apparently the
larvae of some insect, armed with two propelling
flippers with which they move through the water.
Their general appearance was like the small grey
gnats which swarm in August and September.
Among them a few fiery red, spider-like creatures another Zarge Xafte Discovereb
were seen less frequently. From this unpleasant and
extraordinary circumstance, we could not use the
lake water, but found a fine spring near our camp.
The lake is full offish, of which Ross caught a number while I was on my tramp. They are speckled
trout, not so large as those in Moraine Lake. Their
gills are uncommonly red, possibly from irritation of
the larvae in the water. This lake at its lower end is
less impressive than others. Some high glacier-covered mountains appeared down the lake, but distance
detracts from their grandeur. A long ridge with an
even slope banded with light green where snow-
slides had swept through the forests extends along
the north side of the valley for several miles. A very
high and precipitous ridge guards the other side of
the valley and comes down close to the lake in some
I reached the other end of the lake in an hour
without difficulty. In one place a vertical cliff rises
out of it, but I found a narrow ledge, where, in water
up to my knees, I walked round its base. The cliff
continues to descend vertically below the water's
surface to unknown depths. A short distance beyond
the lake is a precipice with a glacier at the top, where
a stream makes a fall and then crossing a flat enters
the lake. Fording this stream I skirted around the
lake through a grove, of magnificent spruces and
climbed a grassy slope on the north. This was covered by turf and mountain flowers. Thousands of
bluebells, yellow composites, and several unfamiliar 2l8
Gbe IRocfcies of Canaba
i-  i 8
blossoms made this warm south-facing slope a lovely
garden. I came upon a porcupine and its young offspring browsing on the succulent herbs. The mother
gave me a nervous look and ran off, basely deserting
its little one. I was surprised at the spirit of the
little baby porcupine, which came at me and raised
its spines and tail in self-defence. I ascended rapidly
on an easy incline and soon began to get splendid
views of high mountains at the valley head. What
were these strange peaks ? The broadening view
tempted me to climb ever higher. I now saw the
lake in perfect outline, and began to get better ideas
of the streams and mountains.
At nine thousand feet I stood on the crest of a
ridge overlooking the Bow, but a higher peak rose to
the north. The rough limestones and the depth of
recently fallen snow made further progress rather
hazardous and difficult. A beetling precipice faced
the Bow, and a horrid chasm led down to one of
those short valleys near our camp at the mine.
Clouds were rolling over the mountains, momentarily
revealing new features. Suddenly Mt. Temple appeared to the north-west. The pass below me then
connects Consolation Valley with this one, and a
long ridge separates the two valleys from that of the
Bow. A gap breaks through the ridge at the head of
Consolation Valley and leads to the little lake near
our old camp at the copper mine. I could see the
south side of some of the jagged peaks, which stand
guardian over Moraine Lake, and among them lay an Explore 3wo IDalle^s
ice-field, two or three miles long which terminates
on a shelf above the long lake.
My sketching of streams, lakes, and mountains,
finished, I made a rapid descent to the valley. The
deep snow rolled up in balls, gathered speed and
burst below and around me as I glissaded down the
upper slopes. Then the iron nails of my boots made
a gritty sound on the sharp limestone of the bare
mountain sides till I came to the herbs and dwarfed
trees of lower level. An Alpine meadow, a rock-
slide, and the upper belt of larches led to the deep
spruce woods. The paths of winter snow-slides intersected these, where the spruces are swept away,
the bushes downbent and gnarled, and the broken
trunks of trees and great rocks hurled together in
chaotic ruin. Here grow the mountain ash, willow,
and great cow-parsnip. I was soon by the water of
the lake, rippling against its mossy log-strewn shore.
I reached camp by skirting the north shore and
crossed the outlet stream on a long dam of floating
trees, similar to the crescent-shaped one a mile from
the lake's end.
August 30th. We left the lake and descended
the valley for two miles. Leaving the stream we
turned to our right through the woods, in a direction
parallel to the Vermilion Pass, so that we might
enter the next valley to the west. We got very
high on the mountain and found ourselves in a
critical place among cliffs, where, by the most anxious manoeuvring, we finally led our horses to a
11 f r
2 20
Cbe ffiochies of Canaba
steep slope which we descended to the new valley.
I was nearly hit twice by large stones, which, set in
motion by the horses' feet, came rolling down through
the trees. After a march of four hours we camped
by a stream among some spruces more than one
hundred feet high.
It rained in the night and all the next day, turning
to snow later. On the following morning there
were twelve inches of snow on the ground, though
our altitude was only fifty-eight hundred feet. The
sun came out in the morning and made a great stir
among the trees. The silence of mid-winter was interrupted by the dripping of water, and the splash of
snow falling from the boughs. In the afternoon the
snow had settled so much that I set out to explore
the valley, in which there might be a lake. An hour
of walking proved there was no lake but only a flat
muskeg at the valley end. Among the crags and
boulders of the higher mountains a number of glaciers
appeared, though the clouds concealed them partially.
Three splendid buttresses project from the cliff on
the west side of this narrow cleft in the mountains,
which is a valley, five or six miles long, and of nobler
appearance than the other, but less interesting from
the absence of any lake.
On the 2nd of September we left this place
which we named "Rainy Valley" from the perpetual storms during our visit, and pursued our way
to the Vermilion Pass. I was surprised to see that
the stream from Rainy Valley turns to the west and
r-mL a prospector's Camp
and flows into the Vermilion River. We had been
then for several days in British Columbia without
knowing it. Near the pass summit, we took the
trail, practically the first one we had been on for
eighteen days, and followed the Vermilion River for
two and a half hours. The weather was warm and
fine and proved the first day without rain since
leaving Moraine Lake. A.broad valley presently
opened to the north-west, so we crossed the Vermilion River and climbed through the woods for a mile
or so, when Ross shouted out that he had found a
blazed trail. Rejoiced at this discovery we followed
it in a short descent to a swift, clear stream about
twenty-five yards wide. Some high and jagged
peaks, ten or twelve miles distant, reared their sharp
summits toward the blue sky and purple clouds of
evening. They were no doubt Hungabee and Delta-
form, the triangular giants at the head of Paradise
and Desolation valleys. The great volume of water
in this stream proved that the new valley was much
longer than any we had explored. We were delighted
at our entrance into this unmapped country, which
seemed full of promise in the way of discovery.
By the river we came to an old camp, where at
first a gruesome discovery seemed probable. Cooking utensils and articles of clothing were strewn
everywhere, while decayed provisions and rotten
skins of some animals gave every evidence of a hasty
departure, or possibly death by starvation. Piles of
copper, lead, and iron ore showed the nature of the Cbe TRocMes of Canaba
former campers. Half expecting to find a skeleton,
or some other evidence of disaster, as we poked
among these relics, there suddenly came to memory
a vague report of how, upon one occasion, Peyto and
another man were deserted by their horses somewhere in the mountains, though the exact locality
was surrounded by mystery. This then was no
doubt the spot. They had to walk back to the railroad and cross the Bow on a hastily constructed raft.
In midstream the raft began to dissolve away, and
the passengers, who were paddling for the opposite
shore with all their might, sank down into the icy
waters of the swelling river. With head and shoulders
above the water as the last sticks floated away, they
reached the shore in safety.
We camped on a hard gravelly meadow farther
up the river. A heavy dew fell in the cold shadows
as we set up the tent at five o'clock. The weather
was again dull in the morning as we marched up the
valley. Some teepee poles at various places showed
that the Indians hunt here for wild goats. Their
white wool appeared on the bushes, and near some
of the Indian camps we saw a great number of bones
and wool which the squaws scrape off the hides before dressing them into leather.
Leaving Ross to make camp, after we had gone
about six miles up the valley, I set out after lunch to
explore it further. The trail is very poor in the upper
part of this valley. After walking about five miles I
felt that it would be impossible to reach the end
.   J6nb of tbe tDalle?
before dark and decided to change my plan. If I could
cross the stream, which was here much reduced in
size, I could climb a long way on the opposite slope
and possibly see the entire valley well enough to
sketch it accurately. A log projected half-way across
the stream, from which I jumped into the water, and
with two or three running steps was on the other
side. I climbed the half-barren slopes rapidly where
grew some flowers recently uncovered by snows of
a winter avalanche. The yellow Alpine lily — one
of the earliest of spring flowers—was in blossom,
together with the white anemone, whose stamens
were all eaten off by insects, as a summing up of adversity. From a height of seventy-two hundred feet
at five o'clock, I saw the pass which leads into the
valley at Lake O'Hara. I recognised its curious outline from a trip made some years before. On the
north were the high mountains of the Desolation
Range near Moraine Lake, with Mt. Deltaform towering over all. A small lake lies part way up its
heavily wooded flanks, but its upper precipices of ice
and rock seemed very difficult of ascent. There are
about ten of these sharp peaks, between nine and
eleven thousand feet high, and as they are precipitous on the other side, and apparently very thoroughly guarded on the south and east, they will
make fine problems for future climbs. I reached
camp at dark, after thirteen hours of walking and
In the morning, we packed up and moved out of
.  I
mmApb i
awWw r
BMJtfJfil ';
MMMgf 1
3|        S j 224
Cbe IRocfcies of Canaba
<1 i
this, which we called " Prospector's Valley," from the
fact of our finding the old camp near its entrance. It
is about fifteen miles long, nearly straight, and covered
with green forests throughout. About one mile from
the Vermilion, the stream becomes narrow as it flows
between rocky walls. Then it plunges by a fearful
fall of about fifty feet into a dark canyon. The rocks
are white or yellow, but stained in places red or
black by iron. The clear blue water flows swiftly
over its white bed into a deep pool and then makes a
leap into the dark canyon with a roar that may be
heard for miles. After the junction of this stream and
the other that comes from the pass, the Vermilion
becomes a considerable river and made us choose
our fording-places more carefully. The stream that
comes from Prospector's Valley is larger than the
other. After marching two hours more we placed
our camp by an iron spring, which gives the name to
the Vermilion River, and lies between the two great
forks of the river. The river bubbles up in several
green pools, and flows over the ground, which is
stained yellow. The Indians burn this soil and turn
it to a bright red, when it is used as a war paint or a
simple rouge in times of peace.
September 5th. This proved the most unsatisfactory day of the entire trip. It had rained all night,
and the morning gave no promise of improvement.
Crossing the swamp made by the iron spring, we
followed certain blazes and a faint trail up the mountain side.    The trail became fainter and finally ended
Bill' Heal Source of tbe ©ermilion
in as thick a bush as I have ever seen. Leaving
Ross to cut his way through, I followed the blaze
mark to a prospector's claim. It was our purpose
to cross over a point of land to the main Vermilion
River, which comes in from the north-west out of a
broad valley. This was not the trail, and after two
hours' hard work we turned back through the wet
brush. It seemed best to follow the river and hope
to find the trail from a point near the confluent
streams. We did so, but could find no evidence of
the desired trail, and we camped in despair by the
river. Soaked through by a cold rain, our fingers
were so numb that we could hardly untie the pack
ropes or set up the tents. In an hour, however, our
camp was in order, on a bench near the water, and a
large fire was burning briskly. For the first time, I
was farther away from my object after making a
day's march.
We were near the two streams of the Vermilion,
one of which comes from the pass to the south-east,
while the other heads to the north-west. On Dawson's map, the latter is not sketched out, and is
called the ''Main Stream." One result of our investigations was our knowledge that the stream
from the pass is considerably larger and longer.
The stream in Prospector's Valley, then, is the real
Vermilion River, as this is the longest and most
voluminous tributary and heads near the base of
Mt. Hungabee. The exploration and sketching out
of these two streams was probably the most valuable 226
TObe IRocMes of Canaba
\ it;
geographical work of our trip.    The altitude at this
place is about forty-five hundred feet.
A cold rain fell all night, and snow lay on the
mountains less than one thousand feet above us in
the morning. I rode my saddle horse across the
river, for we were on the south side of it, and leaving Ross to pack up things, started to find the trail
which leads up the north-west fork of the river. I
soon found myself on a high clay bluff, overlooking
the north-west fork, which is a muddy stream. A
trail seemed to appear on the other side of the river,
but a scramble down the clay bank revealed nothing. Entering the woods I beat a way through the
wet brush, parallel with the stream, but was chagrined to find myself in a half hour by the other
river. Turning back, I resolved to keep a straighter
course, and frequently glanced at a distant peak for
my bearings. What was my surprise to find myself after a time again on the river bank. A second
look, however, added to my perplexity, for this river
was muddy and flowed to my left instead of right.
It was the north-west fork again, and in the clay
were my recent footprints. I had walked for an
hour in a circle, in spite of my earnest resolve to
keep a straight course. Many a time I have traversed the pathless woods for hours, and come out
within a hundred yards of camp without a compass, but the pride of past exploits was here utterly
fallen. The mountain towards which I was walking seemed enchanted and as far away as ever.    I Uiver IDivibes into fIDan? Small Streams   227
can offer no excuse for such poor woodcraft, except
that there was no sun, nor uniform slope of ground,
and the wet brush which had to be beaten before
me, distracted attention.
Following the bluff with jealous care, I came
upon the trail in a quarter of a mile. This I took
back till it led me to the iron spring, not two hundred yards from our first camp. No blazes on the
trees, and a heavy underbrush, concealed it from
view and cost us a day and a half of valuable time.
After three hours of work I returned to camp, cold,
tired, and disgusted, but happy that the trail was
found. We marched five hours and camped at 6.30
p.m., many miles up the north-west branch of the
Vermilion, in a poor place.
About one mile from camp we passed a fine
meadow the next day, where we gave our horses
thirty minutes to feed, because they had had a poor
pasture the previous night. Shortly afterwards a
large stream came in from our right and the trail
totally disappeared. While hunting around for it,
another stream was discovered, entering a hundred
yards beyond from the opposite side of the valley.
The river was rapidly dividing into small streams.
We discovered the trail at length up the stream to
our right. It took us away from the water and into
the woods, where a steep ascent of nearly one
thousand feet led us to a commanding spot.
The great valley of the Vermilion was visible for
more than thirty miles, an unbroken sweep of dark
B Hi I 228
Cbe IRocfties of Canaba
green forest. From the ridge on the west, which
intervened between us and Prospector's Valley,
several confluent streams made the one where we
had found the trail. One of these falls down a cliff
for some distance into a rock basin whence it spouts
upwards like a boiling spring or geyser about ten feet
into the air, then arching over falls one hundred feet
before striking the precipice. On the other side of
the narrow ridge, up which we urged our horses by
the steepest kind of a trail, was another cascade of
far greater height in the dark valley beyond. At its
head there lay the lofty mountains of volcanic rock,
Vaux and Goodsir.
An upland park of meadows and interspersed
groves made easy travel for several miles, till we
camped at sixty-two hundred feet on the summit of
the pass between the Vermilion and Ottertail. The
night was clear and frosty. In bright sunshine the
next morning we descended a thousand feet into
the Ottertail valley, and hoped to reach O'Hara Lake,
west of Mt. Victoria, by evening. However, we did
not allow for the countless vexatious delays of losing
the trail, which, in this narrow ravine-like valley, is
almost the worst I have ever seen. Much of the
time we beat a way through the timber without a
trail, but the many cut banks guarded by trees,
undermined by the water, and sweeping its rapids
with their branches, made us climb, and chop, and
ford constantly. After an exceedingly hard day, we
camped on a rough slide, where our horses had
—  Ml Cr?ing Descent of tbe ©ttertaii IRiver   229
scanty feed, and we, only so much room as was
necessary to place our tent upon. The snow of a
winter slide near us had but recently melted, and the
uncovered bushes were putting forth buds and tender
leaves. Delicate flowers were in brilliant blossom,
while hard by were the evidences of the end of
summer, making a strange contrast of springtime
fragrance and autumnal colours.
On the previous day we were disappointed not
to have arrived at O'Hara Lake, but now felt confident that on this day we should reach that charming
spot. I thought the next valley, opening to our
right, would be the one to follow, but the trail made
an aggravating turn, and landed us far up the valley
to the west, whence we could see Mts. Vaux and
Goodsir. The trail disappeared in the stream, and it
was half an hour before Ross found it, or another in
the woods. We followed it for a long distance, but
bands of meadow cut through the woods every
quarter mile or so, and in such places the grass,
willows, and alders grow rank, and a man on horseback is lost in the underbrush. The trail also disappears and must be found on the opposite side at
great loss of time. At length, in some uncertainty
of our trail, which was leading us too far north, we
camped in a rich meadow. Our horses revelled here
in the fine grass, which was waving in warm and
balmy breezes.
On the afternoon of September 9th, two roughly
clad men, one on horseback, and the other on foot,
ih might have been seen on opposite sides of a wide and
roaring mountain stream, pursuing their way through
the woods. Wherever an open space disclosed one
to another, curious signals were made by their holding up one or both arms. The river was the Ottertail, and the men were Ross Peecock and myself,
trying to find a trail and signalling whether any had
yet been found or no. In the evening one had been
discovered, and the prospects of to-morrow's march
were thereby improved.
The trail enters a valley of large size which opens
into the Ottertail at this point from the north-east.
From its position and direction, I hoped that it would
give us a route to the region of O'Hara Lake, the
source of the Kicking Horse River, where one day's
march would bring us to the railroad. A trip through
this delightful region seemed better than to continue
down the Ottertail to Leanchoil, especially as the
lower Ottertail valley has been burned over.
September ioth. The weather was still warm and
beautiful, and in an hour after starting we were on
the trail which takes up the new valley. Our horses
felt so good from their recent fine pasture that they
were nervous and excitable. It was hard to drive
them, and on one occasion two of them started back.
Running through the woods to head them off, I
stumbled on a log, and gave my right knee a terrible blow against a sharp stone. The pain made it
impossible at first to even shout to Ross, who was
following the trail.  When he came to my assistance, a painful accibent
it was some time before I could move, but I finally
got on my horse. As the inflammation got worse by
riding, I had to get off and walk. It was impossible
for me to drive the refractory horses, so while Ross
went behind I led. To make matters worse, the
trail disappeared, and Ross had to come forward to
locate it, which he finally did, some way up the mountain. After this Ross climbed down to the stream,
and brought up a hat full of its ice-cold water, narrowly escaping losing it all after a long climb by
slipping from a log. The cold allayed the pain somewhat, though my leg was so stiff at first, that I lay
down frequently for rest, and the next one hundred
yards were the slowest and most excruciating it has
ever been my lot to travel. However, the circulation
started up with exercise, and in a short time I began
to walk well.
The trail, after climbing some way, descends into
a fine open valley, where we made very rapid time,
by driving our horses up the clear stream, and crossing from side to side. In five miles we came to a
side valley on our right, which I had long held in
view as the one we should take. After countless
delays in beating the trail, we found ourselves, as the
daylight failed, at the top of a pass, where, on a single ridge of green, we were surrounded by apparently
impassable rock-slides. Westward, the wan green
sky was hung with ominous clouds, brooding over
a mountain, which, like a massive pyramid, filled all
the gap between west and north.    The trail was
11 Cbe IRocMes of Canaba
finally discovered over the rock-slide. Here the Indians had filled all the crevices between the stones
with smaller ones, and paved a safe but narrow path
among rough ledges. The south side of Mt. Victoria
lay in plain view before us, and at 7.30 p.m., after
ten hours of marching, we pitched our camp in the
darkness beside O'Hara Lake. Our tent was on
the identical spot where Wilson and I had slept on
bare ground in the fall of 1896.
In the morning the chickadees were singing and
calling to one another very sweetly among the
spruces. The mosquitoes were as numerous as in
summer, though the air was springlike. It was to be
a day of rest after our long and tiresome marches, for
we were now within six hours of the railroad.
O'Hara Lake was a favourite resort of a gentleman
of that name, who came here frequently some years
ago, and was probably the first tourist to visit the
place. If the six most beautiful lakes in the mountains were selected, this would certainly be among
them. Personally, I regard Lake Louise, Moraine
Lake, and O'Hara Lake as the three finest I have
ever seen. Each is between one and two miles long
and each has certain individual charms.
O'Hara Lake is surrounded by a noble amphitheatre, the cul-de-sac made by Mts. Victoria, Lefroy,
and Hungabee. The water and even the bottom itself are coloured a vivid, clear green. Not far from the
outlet, a pretty bay is made by a narrow point which
projects a line of trees into the water. Then it dissolves  Ur Beaut? of ©"Ibara Xafce
in a chain of rocky islets, covered in part with
moss, willows, a few dwarf spruces, and beds of purple-rayed asters. Beyond this miniature cape, the
shore sweeps out into the broader reaches of the
lake, and carries the eye to the cliffs of the farthest
shore, where the inlet stream makes a curtain of
water as it falls in cascades over dark rocks. At
night and sometimes by day, you may hear the
sound of the water distinctly, a mile or more distant,
as it is carried over the lake. I have never discovered
whether there are any fish in this lake or not, though
every condition is favourable to them.
The next day we marched six hours down the
valley, over a bad trail, and reached the railroad at
Hector. Here we traversed burnt timber for the first
and only time, of our thirty-one days' trip. When
near the valley end, a thunder-storm came up from
the west, and swept a curtain of hail and rain over
the mountains. A high waterfall on the side of Mt.
Victoria was stopped and blown back against the
cliffs by the strong winds. We left the wilderness
and passed out of the mountains while the raging of
storm and the roar of thunder bade us farewell. CHAPTER XIII
THE Rockies of Canada offer exceptional opportunities to the mountaineer. The time has
not yet come when the climber must travel
far into the wilderness to find peaks that have never
been attempted. There are hundreds of unclimbed
mountains within a few miles of the railroad, and it
may safely be said that mountaineering in the Canadian Rockies is now making its early history.
Few other easily accessible ranges in the world
possess the rare charm of the unexplored wilderness,
where each attempt is a reconnaissance for the best
route and every view is looked upon for the first time
by human eyes.   Perhaps because of this element mature of tbe IRocfc formations       235
of novelty, no great mountain is ever climbed twice.
Everyone prefers to attempt a lesser peak, that is
absolutely new, than to retrace some other party's
steps on a higher mountain. Two exceptions to this
rule are Mt. Stephen, at Field, and Mt. Sir Donald, at
Glacier, each of which now has the distinction of
several ascents.
The average height of the valleys is between four
and seven thousand feet above sea-level, and as the
greatest peaks are between eleven and thirteen thousand feet, the actual ascent of every mountain can
usually be made in one day, so that high-level camps
are unnecessary. It may be said that six thousand
feet is about the upper limit of total ascent necessary
to reach mountain summits in the Canadian Rockies.
Glacier and snow work is not dissimilar to that in
other mountain systems, but rock climbing has
special features of its own. The rocks in the Selkirks
are hard schists and shales, which weather into great
blocks and offer comparatively safe foot- and hand-
In the eastern or Summit Range, however, the
geological formations are utterly different. The
lower parts of mountains near the axis of the range
are usually Cambrian quartz-sandstones, which are
stable when broken, while the cliffs, though often
nearly vertical, abound in ledges and steps, which
make easy work. This formation, however, is only
found up to a moderate altitude, usually less than eight
thousand feet, and then only in the sub-range which
*        A
lit Cbe IRochies of Canaba
makes the continental watershed. The other parallel sub-ranges, of which there are five or six, and the
upper parts of every range, are formed of blue and
grey limestones and dolomites of the Carboniferous
and Devonian ages. Sometimes beds of shales and
clay-slates appear also in this formation. These limestones weather into abrupt and often nearly perpendicular cliffs on the eastern face of nearly every
mountain, while the western is usually a moderate
slope which offers a key to many otherwise difficult
ascents. When the strata are nearly or quite horizontal, however, the softer beds weather into vertical
cliffs, which make impassable zones round the
mountains. Such peaks assume a castellated appearance, and the cliffs are adorned with numerous sharp
pinnacles and rounded pillars, which bear a striking
resemblance to mediaeval ruins. The disintegration
of the limestones is very rapid, as may be seen in
the immense talus slopes, which have been piled
against the mountain bases since the Glacial Period.
Frequent rock-falls add daily to these great masses of
debris. The gullies on the high parts of the mountains are filled with unstable rocks and lined with
tottering walls ready to fall at any time. The danger
of falling stones and unsafe ledges is the greatest
which the climber will encounter in the Canadian
At Lake Louise, Field, and Glacier, the climber is
near the base of many fine peaks, and may use the
several inns as his starting-point, or at least consider possibilities of tbe Meatber
them his main camp. This is true of Banff, though
very few climbers will be tempted to make the tedious ascents of Twin Peaks and Cascade Mountain,
which do not offer sufficient compensation for the
labour required. Many fine mountains raise their
snowy summits at a distance from the railroad, and
to conquer them, a camping trip, with horses and
tents, should be planned. There are no huts as yet,
where the traveller may spend a night, except near
Lake Louise, unless we consider the occasional log
shacks of prospectors and trappers. A tent or even a
bivouac is usually far preferable to these damp, porcupine-infested places.
All the climber's work and the reward of his
labour depend on weather. That of the Canadian
mountains is no worse nor better than elsewhere.
The usual summer weather in June is cold and rainy,
and the rivers are in flood from melting snow, to be
followed in July by sunshiny warm days, interrupted
by brief thunder-storms. August is generally hot
and dry, but towards the end of the month, a week
or more of rain and snow frequently occurs, and this
storm marks the breaking of summer heat. September is a fickle month, and is usually stormy
and cold for a long period. Cool October is the
best month of all, though the days are short, and
even the midday sun casts long shadows in deep
valleys. The nights are frosty, films of ice form on
pools, and the mosquitoes and gnats no longer
worry the camper.   The rivers are low and can be
f.    :      9                 g|
ks xSsj]
it     M «j
I n
I Cbe IRocfcies of Canaba
easily forded, while the most distant mountains are
distinctly seen through the crystal atmosphere. The
only certain thing about the weather is its uncertainty, though in general, fine weather is the rule
and rain the exception. During rainy periods, the
short intervals of improvement, or the final clearing,
are the best of all, and the cloud effects are magnificent beyond description. There can be no finer
revelation of the sublimity of nature, especially
when seen from the craggy summit of some storm-
swept peak, than a view of rugged mountains partly
concealed by rolling clouds.
No doubt the earliest ascents of importance were
made by the railroad and topographical surveyors.
Between 1887 and 1892, Mr. J. J. McArthur climbed
nineteen mountains over nine thousand feet and
four mountains over ten thousand feet high. Among
the latter, the first ascended was Mt. Stephen, in
1887, and again in 1892. Wind Mountain, near
Canmore, and the fine peak called Storm Mountain,
near the Vermilion Pass, were ascended by Mr. St.
Cyr. All this work was for survey purposes and so
cannot be called mountaineering in the true meaning
of the term. Only such mountains were attempted
as could be climbed when encumbered by heavy
surveying instruments, and this resulted in their defeat on several peaks, one of which was Mt. Hector.
Almost immediately after the surveyors finished
their work for the time being, some ascents were
made by visitors to this new mountain world.   In  o ss s s _ • uat
Jtainy pefipds tfet
Wihe final --. -
jeyona descrip
i  : effecff
The-e eon b
Mi-ion e|t the so ' :       of Torture,
o;seen from-the triir\ sH
nit of soi
i\tvAxvWii\\   Si \<\ Vst
;0     MtVY*^
I j. M^tMi
m!^ thousand
if si as<
was n"
i88|j  a id again in   1892.   :M _
^: r0t% and the fine peak   1)
m m!the VeriTiilihrt PasSr^fe ■
"Ah this work was for sun
>tbe called mountaineering
lino . Only such mounts)
ments, and ft
TT   lllv'l I
;  as
m   a tour) mm
the summer of 1893, Mr. S. S. Allen and I were
camped at Lake Louise, with the purpose of making
some mountain climbs in that beautiful region. Our
two weeks' work resulted in capturing two mountains on either side of the lake, and being defeated by
Mt. Victoria after reaching a height of ten thousand
feet, and by Mt. Temple at ninety-eight hundred
On the latter attempt we started from Lake
Louise with one horse and a Stony Indian, named
Enoch Wildman. The horse carried a tent and
some provisions, about ninety per cent, of which
was canned duck, a wholesome though monotonous diet. We went to Laggan and followed a trail-
less course along the south bank of the Bow for five
or six miles towards the base of Mt. Temple and
then struck up through the forest of pine and spruce,
climbing ceaselessly till near nightfall, when we
reached the cliffs of the mountain, seventy-five hundred feet above sea-level. A violent thunder-storm
overtook us towards evening, and we sought shelter
at length near a lonely rock-girt pool, enclosed by
steep banks, a home for picas and marmots. On its
wind-swept surface were fragments of snow from
an undermined drift. It was quite dark when we
turned out our forlorn pony to graze on bushy heaths
and birches, the only vegetation among the barren
stones. There was no level place for our tent, and a
stone wall had to be built to support our feet and
keep us from sliding into the lake.   It was a wild
1* Cbe IRocfcies of Canaba
night of storm and wind. Showers of hail and rain
swept over us continually, and some of the more
violent squalls threatened to bring our flapping tent
to the ground. We had built a huge fire, for many
great logs cumbered the ground, and it roared like a
furnace and sent great flames this way and that
in the fickle gusts, but towards the dawn, which
seemed never to come, it died away into inert ashes.
The crackling of our fire gave place to the sound of
lapping ripples on the rocky shore. The light of
day revealed our wild surroundings. We were under
the northern precipice of Temple. A beautiful fall
descended in a series of cascades, a distance of about
one thousand feet, to enter our little lake. Sometimes the strong wind, blowing against the cliff, or
sweeping upward, made the water pause and momentarily hang in mid-air, suspended as it were on
an invisible airy cushion, till, gathering greater volume, it burst through the barrier in a curtain of sparkling drops.
Poor Enoch had suffered terribly from cold during
the night and begged our permission to return to Laggan, promising to come back the next day, "sun so
high," pointing to its place in the early afternoon.
He said in his broken English,—" No grass for pony
here,—too cold me,—no like it me." So we took
pity on him and sent him back to more comfortable quarters, while we rested in comparative quiet,
it being Sunday and stormy.
We  were  on foot  Monday morning  at  four a Scene of IRuoQeb Desolation
o'clock. The gloom of early dawn, the morning
chill, and a clouded sky had no cheering effect on
our anticipations. Our plan was to traverse the
mountain-side till we should come to the southeast shoulder, where we had once observed the
outline of an apparently easy slope.
At eleven o'clock, we had reached a height of
nearly ten thousand feet and came to a vertical wall,
about four hundred feet high, a barrier that completely defeated us. At the base of this cliff there
was a narrow slope of loose broken limestone, and
below this, another precipice. Utterly defeated in
our attempt by this impassable barrier, I walked
along the cliff base into a semicircular recess in a
last vain reconnaissance, while Allen took photographs of the scenery.
Here I had a few moments of quiet contemplation of a scene that in its awful solitude has left
a deep impression on my memory. Some great
stones, dislodged as I moved, fell with a grinding
sound over the edge, towards a narrow chasm,
three thousand feet below. A cold wintry wind
made a subdued monotone amongst the inequalities of rough stone and the overhanging cliff, and
brought up the dust and brimstone odour from the
crushing stones. Opposite was a pinnacled mountain stained red and grey, rent into thousands of narrow gullies or beetling turrets by the wear of ages.
It was a vast ruin of nature, a barren mass of tottering walls and cliffs, raising two lofty summits far
Si Cbe IRocfties of Canaba
upwards. Between lay a narrow, secluded valley,
so thoroughly enclosed by precipices that a small
lake in it was still covered by the granular, half-
melted ice of last winter. To the east and south a
wild and rugged group of mountains made a continuous range and rose into successive jagged peaks.
Over all the rough upheaval of mountains brooded
a gloomy sky with long furrows of dark clouds
moving majestically before the driving wind. Some
of the highest peaks were touched by clouds or
indistinct in snow showers, while the sun shot a
few beams of light through the gloom and swept
the ice and rocks with a weird illumination. Immense piles of debris rested against the mountain
opposite, at the base of which was a desolate valley
half filled with glacier and confused moraines. No
tree or green vegetation of any kind appeared in
all this barren scene.
Overcome at length by cold winds and our
hopeless prospects of further advance, we turned
back and reached camp by the middle of the afternoon. Here we found that Enoch had returned,
faithful to his word, and in a very short time we
commenced our journey to Laggan.
Next year, August, 1894, we were camped again
at the base of Mt. Temple, this time in Paradise
Valley. We were better prepared than before, as a
year's study of photographs had thrown new light
on a possible route up the grand mountain. On
the 16th, by way of physical training, we ascended jfinal Success
Mt. Aberdeen, which lies between this valley and
that of Lake Louise. The ascent of this peak, 10,250
feet high, was not difficult by the route we took.
Surrounded as it is by Mts. Lefroy, Victoria, Hunga-
bee, and Temple, which are among the greatest
peaks in southern Canada, the view is well worth
the climb. On the following day Allen, Frissell, and
I commenced the ascent of Temple. We were up
at four a.m. There was no trace of dawn, and the
waning moon, now in her last quarter, was low in
the southern sky, near the triangular peak of Hunga-
bee. The cold air was full of woody odours and
the smoke of forest fires. We crossed the frosty
meadows and came to a secluded gorge, filled with
massive boulders, looming dark in the early morning
light. This place lay between Pinnacle Mountain
and the south side of Temple. A steep ascent of
scree, where the unstable stones were sliding constantly, required the utmost caution. Sometimes
the mass of rocks would creep and grind ten or
fifteen yards above us at each step. Not far from
us was a place where a rock slide had occurred, and
it seems most likely that this unstable slope will
some day rush with a roar of thunder into the valley. The constant movement of the stones, and
the thought that our presence might be the last
straw, made us somewhat apprehensive.
At nine o'clock we reached the pass between
Pinnacle and Temple, and from a height of nine
thousand feet looked eastward upon that wild valley
j 244
Cbe IRocfcies of Canaba
of desolation which we had seen the year before.
The slanting sun-rays poured a flood of yellowish
light along the silent precipices on either side and
gently tempered the chill of morning. The air was
perfectly calm, and there was utter silence except
the clink of our iron-nailed boots on the rough stones.
Cliffs and broken stones were on our left, where we
had to force a passage; if anywhere. The lot fell
upon me to lead the party, and when the rope was
adjusted, we commenced work. For the next two
thousand feet it was merely a careful selection of
gullies and scree slopes, with occasional rock climbing. Our greatest anxiety was the number of loose
stones, which in spite of every precaution were
sometimes dislodged and threatened those below.
At a height of eleven thousand feet we had a discussion as to the better route of two that appeared.
One lay at our right and seemed easier, while the
other probably lay to our left, and though it was concealed from view, the previous study of photographs
convinced me that this would be the better route,
and it took some time for them to agree on that
point. A short scramble among flat shales and very
rough cliffs led us suddenly to the great south slope
of the mountain, and we knew our prize was all but
taken. At noon we reached the summit and stood
at the highest point then reached in Canada. The
air was calm and at about freezing point. The summit of Mt. Temple is a sloping mass of blue limestone, comparatively free of snow.   The south face
li if Ifirst Conquests b$ tbe appalacbian Club   245
is an unbroken snow-field and glacier, while the east
is precipitous. Gullies and ridges of decayed limestone descend from the summit nearly six thousand
feet into Desolation Valley, where we saw a fine
lake at the base of a precipitous range. We were
encircled by a bluish haze through which only the
nearest mountains appeared, so that we lost the advantage of a view from the highest mountain in a
circle of nearly one hundred miles diameter.
The members of the Appalachian Mountain Club
made their first high ascent and commenced serious
work by conquering Mt. Hector in 1895. Those
composing that party were Professor Charles E. Fay,
Philip S. Abbot, and Charles S. Thompson. They
had the energy to ascend the Bow Valley without
horses, under Tom Wilson's guidance, and with a
porter to carry a few provisions and blankets. Mr.
Abbot describes the view from Hector, which is
probably a little over eleven thousand feet high, as
one which " cannot be matched in any other mountain system in the world except in Asia."
During the same summer, Mt. Stephen was
climbed by members of the Appalachian Club,
though two ascents had been made previously by
J. J. McArthur, the government surveyor. Mr. Mc-
Arthur said, in speaking of a gully near the summit,
that to his surprise on the second ascent, "fully two
hundred thousand cubic feet of rock which formed
the western wall of this fissure had been displaced
and fallen into the amphitheatre below."   So rapidly Cbe IRocfcies of Canaba
was the upper part of the mountain falling away,
that it seemed probable that in a few years it would
become inaccessible.
The great snow peaks near Lake Louise now began to attract the attention of climbers. On August
3, 1895, Messrs. Abbot, Thompson, Little, and Professor Fay left the Lake Louise chalet and set out for
an attempt to ascend Mt. Lefroy. At noon they had
traversed the Victoria Glacier and ascended the narrow snow gorge behind Mt. Lefroy known as the
" Death Trap." Quoting from Professor Fay's article
in Appalachia for November, 1896 :
Almost before our eyes had taken in the wonderful prospect that opened so magically — the sudden plunge of the western gorge, snowless in its
upper half, its sloping sides and narrow bottom
lined with scree from the heights above ; the sea-
green lakelets at its foot, three thousand feet below
us; the pinnacle of Mt. Biddle leaping up like a
petrified flame and pricking the clouds that levelled
with the tops of Victoria and Lefroy themselves;
the remoter array of peaks unfamiliar in this new
aspect — Abbot had scanned the western side of
Lefroy, now for the first time clearly revealed to us,
and joyfully exclaimed : S The peak is ours !' And
surely his confidence seemed justified. From here
an unobstructed way was seen leading up to the
long summit arete, which still frowned nearly two
thousand feet above the pass. The vast mountain
side rose in a sloping wall, ice-clad for the greater
X Mount Lefroy and Mount Victoria.
From Popes Peak, 9825 feet. nvo-uo mlrei
%J* &***i
IIP  "V^* jfatai accibent on fiDt Xefro^
part, yet with here and there long upward leads of
rock that probably could be scaled, as the dip was
in the right direction."
Passing over the details of a long and labourious
climb as the party cut steps and slowly worked their
way upwards for four and one half hours, the interesting narrative goes on to say:
" Bidding Thompson and me to unrope and keep
under cover from falling stones, he [Abbot] clambered
some thirty feet up the rift, secured a good anchorage, and called upon Professor Little to follow. This
the latter proceeded to do, but while standing at the
bottom of the cleft preparing to climb, he received
a tingling blow from a small stone dislodged by the
rope. A moment later a larger one falling upon the
rope half severed it, so as to require a knot. As
danger from this source seemed likely to continue,
our leader had Little also free himself from the rope
and come up to where he stood. From here a shelf
led around to the left, along which Abbot now proceeded a few yards and discovered a gully leading
upward, unseen from the point first attained, and
this also he began to ascend. To Mr. Little's question, whether it might not be better to try and turn
the bastion on the shelf itself, he replied : \ I think
not.   I have a good lead here.'
" These were the last words he ever uttered. A
moment later Little, whose attention was for the
moment diverted to another portion of the crag, was
conscious that  something  had fallen swiftly past 248
Cbe IRocfcies of Canaba
9. ■
him, and knew only too well what it must be.
Thompson and I, standing at the base of the cliff,
saw our dear friend falling backward andj head-foremost, saw him strike the upper margin of the ice
slope within fifteen feet of us, turn completely over,
and instantly begin rolling down its steep incline.
After him trailed our two lengths of English rope,—
all we had brought with us,— which we had spliced
together in our ascent over the last rock slope in
order to gain time by having less frequent anchorages than were necessitated by the short intervals
of one sixty-foot line. As the limp body rolled
downward in a line curving slightly towards the
left, the rope coiled upon it as on a spool, a happy
circumstance amid so much of horror, for not only
did this increase of friction sensibly affect the velocity of the descent of nine hundred feet to the
narrow plateau of scree above mentioned, but doubtless the rope by catching in the scree itself prevented the unconscious form from crossing the
narrow level and falling over the low cliff beyond.
Had it passed this, nothing, apparently, could have
stopped it short of the bottom of the gorge leading up to the pass from the western side of the
Divide,— a far more fearful fall than that already
Abbot died a few moments after his friends
reached the place where his body in its terrible fall
had been arrested. Two days later the party returned, and with Tom Wilson and W. J. Astley Cbe Summit of flDt IDictoria
recovered Abbot's body, now partially covered by
recent snows and the edge of a snow-slide.
Another party was organised the following year,
and on the anniversary of Abbot's death Mt. Lefroy
was successfully ascended.
Two days later Dr. J. Norman Collie, Professor
Arthur Michael, Professor Fay, and Peter Sarbach, a
Swiss guide, climbed Mt. Victoria. Following the
same route as for the ascent of Lefroy they climbed
the Death Trap, which is now called Abbot's Pass,
and at eight o'clock reached the crest of this col.
Professor Fay writes as follows :
"The morning was exquisite, radiant with sunlight, and in this more exposed position the almost
tepid breeze of the canyon became the cool, brisk
promise of a gale. To our gratification it later subsided,—so that I may still report that I have never
experienced a heavy wind during any ascent in the
Canadian Alps. The view to the south was supremely grand through the pure sunlit air; but our
eyes turned from the soaring lines of Goodsir, Bid-
die, and Hungabee, to the bold wall never yet attempted which rises sheer on the right of the pass.
It was not the first time that its broken surface had
been questioned for a possible way of ascent."
Four hours later, after walking and climbing along
the sharp crest which makes the "very ridge-pole of
the North American continent," they reached, under
Collie's leadership, the summit of Victoria, of which
Professor Fay says:
I Cbe IRocfties of Canaba
"The summit is an ideal one. Discounting the
cornice crowning over towards the lake, there was
hardly more than comfortable room for our party.
Unlike that of Lefroy, no rock pierced the virgin
whiteness. To the north it fell away suddenly into a
deep depression filled with gendarmes, separating it
from a bastion, from which it seems hardly probable
it will ever be approached. Immediately to the west
a snow arete falls away less rapidly, rising again almost to our level in the most pointed snow peak I
have ever seen. The sides meet in the perfect apex
of an angle of less than eighty degrees. It seemed as
if its point would prick the palm that should be laid
upon it. But most majestic, even awesome, was the
portion of the view towards which our backs had
been turned during our ascent: soaring Hungabee ; the
hardly less amazing pinnacle of Neptuak, from behind
which peered sullenly the other peaks of the Wenk-
chemna group ; and, nearer at hand, the grand snowcapped pyramidal summit of Mt. Temple, rising
behind the ice-wall of Lefroy. While Dr. Collie set
up his mercurial barometer (it gave a reading of 11,400
feet), I put in commission the pocket-level. Of all
the visible peaks, excepting perhaps the distant Assiniboine and to the northward others still more remote, Temple was the only one rising to a higher
altitude than our own summit. Hungabee and the
I scalp " on the right-hand tower of Goodsir appeared
to be exactly at our level. To Lefroy it was a slight
angle of depression."
•^vy" Cbe Waputebfc 1Ran$e
Four of the greatest mountains near Lake Louise
had now been conquered, to say nothing of several
inferior and easily ascended peaks like Mt. Fairview
and Mt. St. Piran. Probably for this reason no less
than for their own attractiveness the attention of
climbers was next given to some of the giants of the
Waputehk Range, north of the railroad. Several expeditions were made over the extensive ice-fields at
the head of Bath Creek and west of the Bow Lakes.
Mt. Balfour, a snow-buried peak on the continental divide, eleven thousand feet high, fell before the attack of
Messrs. Nichols, Noyes,Thompson, and Weed in 1898.
The most recent excursions in the way of mountain climbing were those taken by Dr. Norman Collie
and Mr. G. P. Baker to the Saskatchewan River in
1897 and 1898 in search of Mt. Brown and Mt.
Hooker. The first trip, which was primarily for the
purpose of mountain climbing, was eventually made
to embrace exploratory and survey work.
"Our party," writes Dr. Collie, "consisted of
G. P. Baker and myself, P. Sarbach (a Swiss guide),
W. Peyto, L. Richardson, and C. Black, cook. The
weather was excessively hot and the mosquitoes
swarmed in countless thousands, making life miserable." Not an unusual condition of things in these
mountains. On the 24th of August they climbed Mt.
Sarbach, eleven thousand feet high, the last of the
Waputehk Range, lying between the Little and Middle Forks of the Saskatchewan. Speaking of Mt.
Forbes, Professor Collie writes : Cbe IRocfcies of Canaba
"On August 27th we arrived at the foot of the
valley leading to the glaciers we had seen two days
before from Mt. Sarbach, towards the westward.
Directly to the north of us was the peak we were in
search of. Later on, consulting Palliser's 'Journals,'
we found that this peak was not Mt. Murchison, as
we had supposed, but Mt. Forbes, discovered by Dr.
Hector, and estimated by him to be about 13,400 feet.
Mt. Forbes is certainly one of the highest peaks in the
Canadian Rockies, and must be close on fourteen
thousand feet. I have seen it on every side except
the north-west, and it always towers as a huge three-
sided pyramid at least three thousand feet above the
surrounding peaks, which are from ten to eleven
thousand feet high. The precipice on its eastern face
is more sheer than the western face of the Matter-
horn, and even after a heavy snowfall remains black
and forbidding. On its northern side the peak must
stand about seven thousand feet above the glacier at
its base."
The following year Messrs. H. Woolley, H. E. M.
Stutfield, and Dr. Collie commenced a more extensive journey into the same region.   The latter says :
"On July 31st, we started from Laggan, with
W. Peyto as our head man ; Nigel Vavasour, Roy
Douglas, and M. Byers, as cook, also accompanied us.
We started with thirteen riding and baggage ponies,
but within an hour of starting reduced that unlucky
number to twelve, for we had to shoot one of the
worst of the pack after it had broken its shoulder The Waputehk Range.
Looking across the range from near Hector. ffte HccMes of Canaba
bt : - ■■■ mt       oed at thi
K I-     tMnfln
setfti ot Later ,
e found that this | -
wehad ; so, bi !
■Hec s a&fl9tbM^
Mt. Forbes is certainly <
Canadian Rockies/ a i:
thousand feet, i have
b r nortlvv
'bes, an
be ajph
i highest peaks iti the
?e close on fourteen
i  i every side except
_MMllll   .0 ■"■'*«»e;
The precipice on its eastern face
.: western fade of the Matter-
lone . • ■   snowrai
.u&hm On its northern sidfj
tartd about seven thousand feel .="■ i
The following year Mess g Hj
Jtetfield, and Dr, Collie-^WWK
ppiourney into the sam&lljjj
^SttMuiy 3 ist we staftel  ?
Ah as our head miif
|s. ia|C Byers, astoofc, ;
sfVi'-H. L
thirt e.
H}< Willi
e   Roy
Sfed usj
. t'oeky
j of the
hpuldef  m i
1 iDiew of flDt. jforbes
amongst the dead timber. Instead of following up
the Bow Valley as we did in 1897, I determined to
reach the Saskatchewan River by way of the Pipestone Pass and the Siffleur Valley, in order that we
might investigate Mt. Murchison."
This peak was estimated at not " much over
twelve thousand feet high, if as much." Their most
interesting work was done much farther north,
between the sources of the North Fork of the Saskatchewan and the Athabasca. From the summit
of Athabasca Peak, in that region, which they estimated at about 11,900 feet, a magnificent view
was obtained. Speaking of this in the Geographical
Journal, Dr. Collie says :
" Mt. Lyell and Mt. Forbes could be seen far off in
the haze. But it was towards the west and north
that the chief interest lay. We were looking on
country probably never before seen by human eye.
A vast snow-field, feeding many glaciers, lay at our
feet, rock-peaks and snow-covered mountains were
ranged around it, whilst far away to the westward
we could just see through the haze the valley of the
Columbia River. This great snow-field, from which
the Saskatchewan glacier takes its rise, also supplies
the ice for another glacier at the headwaters of the
Athabasca ; whilst to the west we saw the level
snows bending over to flow down more than one
channel, feeding, when melted, the rivers that
empty themselves into the Pacific Ocean.
"A magnificent peak, that is probably near to
hit i m
Cbe IRockies of Canaba
fourteen thousand feet high, stood alone keeping
guard over these unknown western valleys. We
have ventured to name it after the Right Hon.
James Bryce, President of the Alpine Club. Some
few miles to the north of this peak, and also on the
opposite side of the snow-field in a north-westerly
direction, the biggest peak of all was seen. Chisel-
shaped at the head, covered with glaciers and ice, it
also stood alone, and I at once recognised the great
peak I was in search of; moreover, a short distance
to the north-east of this peak another, almost as
high, also flat-topped, but ringed round with sheer
black precipices, reared its head above all its fellows
into the sky. Here, then, we thought, were Brown
and Hooker. Rapidly I drew lines in all directions
to these new peaks on my plane-table, but hurry as
fast as I could, it was 6.30 p. m. before we started
down from the summit of this mountain, which we
have named Athabaska Peak. Its height by mercurial barometer is 11,900 feet. It was 10.45 when
we got back into camp, to find that Stutfield had
killed three if not four sheep. The provision question, therefore, was satisfactorily settled for some
time to come.
"The glacier that fed the headwaters of the Athabasca River we have called the Athabasca glacier.
Two days later we all three camped with sleeping-
bags as far up its right bank as possible, and in the
dark at three o'clock next morning started up the
glacier by lantern-light.   This glacier descends from
•;\ ascent of atbabasca peak
the snow-fields above in three successive ice-falls, the
last one very much crevassed. It was not till past
seven o'clock that we finally emerged on to the
snow-fields above. The day was warm and sultry,
making us all feel tired. For sevefal hours we
walked across the snow towards the high chisel-
shaped peak; to the westward Mt. Bryce sent its
three peaks high above us into the air. A double-
headed peak on the north hid the high rock-peak we
thought might be Brown (afterwards named Mt.
Alberta) when we were on the top of the Athabasca
peak. But the peak we were walking towards was
farther off than we thought, and as it seemed very
unlikely that we should get to the top of it that day,
we turned, after having looked down into a vast
amphitheatre that lay between the chisel-shaped
peak (afterwards named Mt. Columbia) and the
double-headed peak, or the Twins. This amphitheatre is the source of another branch of the Athabasca. To the south-east of where we were, and
almost on our way home, rose a great dome of snow.
After a hot and very tiring climb through soft snow
that broke under our feet at every step, we finally
got to the summit at 3.15 p.m. (i 1,650 feet). Although
we did not know it at the time, we were standing
on probably the only peak in North America the
snows of which, when melted find their way into
the Pacific, the Arctic, and the Atlantic oceans; for
its glaciers feed the Columbia, the Athabasca, and
the Saskatchewan rivers."
-^ifl Cbe IRocfties of Canaba
Climbing in the Selkirks began somewhat earlier
than in the Rockies proper. The reason apparently
is that the railroad runs nearer to the mountains in
the Selkirks and gives effects of height and grandeur
that are only obtained in the eastern range while on
camping excursions. Thus the Selkirks attracted the
first climbers, such as Green, Huber, and Sulzer, in
1887 or only one year after the railroad was in operation. The absence of trails through this grand but
rain-soaked range has, so far, confined the attacks of
mountaineers to peaks which are only a few miles
from the railroad. The remoter parts of this range
are less known than almost any part of the Rockies,
where from prehistoric times the Indians have kept
trails open in order to hunt and barter their possessions with other tribes. What grand' mountain-climbing possibilities the Selkirks may have to
disclose can only be judged by the comparatively
narrow strip already known.
The summit range has, however, more to offer to
the mountain climber. Some of the greatest peaks,
like Mt. Forbes and Mt. Assiniboine, have not yet
been seriously attempted, and no high peak outside
of Mt. Stephen has been ascended twice. There is a
group of mountains east and south of Mt. Temple
which have never been attempted and should prove
fine problems in rock and glacier climbing. Among
these are Mt. Hungabee and its higher neighbour
Mt. Deltaform, each of which is wedge-shaped and
very precipitous on every side that has been seen. Mount Sir Donald, fromiJEagle Peak
n 8&j or only oiieyr
join   The-abse e -,
-rhaineers to pet
:he   .ail road.
■   .; fcffjXgS
■  . _ ot and gran
-1 ern rang   ■   . - -■
h-? Selkirks r    -. ..-  -
:  oacia- \ sra-
:h are only jjffew miles
l|gf||jg^e of this.range
ruber.   Son
kid Mt A
Iphen has been.asc
mountains   .. t' a:
Wmm     p
sr olreir pos
*i-*—&s   Jfuture of fiDountain^Climbing
The high peaks of volcanic rock, Mts. Vaux and
Goodsir, between the Ottertail and Beaverfoot rivers,
and some of the sharp summits in the Van, Home
Range should soon attract attention. It would be
difficult to cover the entire field of mountain-climbing possibilities and the time is not ripe to go much
into details. Where each group of mountains has
charms of its own there is room for much choice.
One principle however seems universally true,—that
where the heart has been set on a particular region
no other has claims of equal importance. w
GAME in the Canadian Rockies is moderately
abundant. The chief wild animals, besides
black and grizzly bears, are moose, elk,
deer, caribou, sheep or bighorn, and the Rocky
Mountain goat. The several species belonging to the
deer tribe are very scarce and hunters rarely bag any
of this game. This scarcity is probably due to the
rather limited feeding-grounds in the narrow valleys
and perhaps, also, to long and severe winters.
About  1840, according to a statement of the
258 (Same animals in tbe fIDountains
missionary De Smet, the Stony Indians came from the
north and settled on the plains near the Bow River.
They always have been and are still inveterate
hunters, delighting in frequent expeditions into the
mountains, where they engage in wholesale slaughter
of big game. Fortunately, however, they have been
recently compelled to submit to certain laws, which,
if enforced for a few years, will make game much
more plentiful. The Indians believe in certain cycles
of about seven years when the various species of
game animals become alternately scarce and more
abundant, whether from disease or some other cause
is not known.
Among big game the animal most characteristic
of the Rockies of Canada and which, from its scarcity
in other parts of the country the sportsman is most
anxious to get, is the wild goat. This animal at a
distance has the general appearance of a goat, though
it is a species of antelope and more closely related to
the ibex or chamois of Switzerland. It is covered
with a dense coat of soft white wool, through which
a mingling of longer hair projects, especially on the
belly and stout legs. Both sexes have round, black
horns six to twelve inches long, slightly curved backwards and very sharply pointed. An adult animal,
when cornered, can put up a strong fight against enemies of its own size, and I have heard of an Indian
nearly losing his life in a close encounter with an old
male. A full-grown goat sometimes weighs more
than two hundred pounds.   The Indians kill a large fife
Cbe IRochies of Canaba
number of them every year for their flesh and hides,
which latter they tan into a soft leather. Nevertheless the mountain goat is very abundant and probably
actually increasing in numbers.
Its natural environment is among high and almost
inaccessible cliffs near the upper limit of vegetation, or
in the alps and meadows above tree-line. Rarely do
these animals come far below tree-line during the
summer. They are apparently slow and clumsy in
their movements and have a swinging gait like a bear,
a resemblance that at a distance is increased by the
fact that they hold their heads very low. In spite of
apparent slowness they run over the roughest rocks
at a rapid pace and climb with certainty cliffs that are
inaccessible to man. They run singly or in groups
of from three to seven during the summer months,
browsing upon the tender Alpine plants which grow
between seven and nine thousand feet above the sea.
In some of the lower valleys there are clay banks
containing minerals which they travel miles to taste,
and the number of tracks leading in several directions
show that such " licks " are much frequented.
My first goat was killed near the base of Mt. Assiniboine. West of our camp there was a long ridge of
nearly horizontal ledges for the first thousand feet or
so from the valley, while the rocks were more precipitous above. On our various excursions we had
noticed fresh tracks of goats, while the low spruce
and underbrush were in many places covered with
tufts of white wool which had been torn from the
■*«W   '   ■    ' ■   i.^ Cbe 1tocfc\> fIDountain ©oat
animals as they passed. However, no game had
been seen till one afternoon, when a goat was observed walking along the cliff a few hundred feet
above our level and not half a mile distant. Two of
us made off in pursuit, and after climbing to a higher
ledge, followed the innumerable gorges and rocky
spurs of the mountain-side in the hope of getting a
shot. But our game made better progress than we
and eventually eluded us altogether. After a three-
hours' hunt we returned to camp much disappointed;
but while we were at dinner the goat appeared again,
this time much higher on the mountain. My companion had had enough, and though it was getting
late I determined, after having been once baffled, to
have that goat if it was necessary to stay out all
night. The animal had scrambled down a number
of exceedingly steep places to a narrow shelf below
which was a vertical precipice that made him pause.
At frequent intervals he would look down as though
he wanted to descend the cliff, but there was not the
slightest foothold for even such a skilful mountaineer.
I watched the animal from the cover of some larches
with the purpose of fixing in my mind the outline of
a certain snow patch. I felt that the success of the
hunt would depend on knowing exactly where the
game was when I should come down for a shot.
The mountain goat must be stalked from above. Experience has taught them that their chief enemies,
bears and panthers, come from below. They pay
little attention to anything above them except to run Cbe IRocfcies of Canaba
to cover of some projecting cliff whenever stones
rattle down the mountain-side. After the exact outline of the snow patch that marked the position of
the goat had been fixed in memory, I set out to
scramble up the grassy slope, concealed from possible
view of my game. I climbed nearly a thousand feet
and then had a difficult scramble among some tremendous crags and rock fragments with dark caverns
and patches of treacherous snow between them.
Darkness was coming on rapidly under the shadow
of the mountain, and the north-western twilight was
fading, as it was nearly nine-thirty. The snow was
hardening under the frost, and some pools were freezing as I followed a gently descending ledge and saw
before me the well-marked snow patch, under which
the goat had been standing when I left the valley.
Pausing a brief moment to take breath after the rapid
climb, I worked over to the cliff edge cautiously but
not without disturbing some shaly stones, which
pattered down and rattled over the precipice. Aroused
by these stones, no doubt, I then saw the goat not
far below looking at me with a curiously sullen expression. I aimed, but had sufficient presence of
mind not to fire because the foresight of my rifle was
making circles around my mark owing to a combination of " buck fever" and the rapid climbing which
I had just done. It seemed a long time before I
could make proper aim, and then after a flash there
was a dull thud far below. Leaning over the cliff I
saw the goat at the bottom of the precipice rolling  7 a Successful Stalk
over and over down the mountain-side. After a
circuitous descent I reached the cliff bottom, and
found a large hole in frozen snow, where the goat's
body had struck after a fall of fully one hundred and
twenty-five feet. The poor animal was some distance
below, still alive though mortally wounded. I despatched the animal with another bullet, and at ten-
thirty started for camp.
It was now dark and the trees and rocks were
dimly outlined under the starlight. A precipitous
ledge below compelled a detour. Thinking that the
end of this had been reached I commenced to descend
a rather steep place which at first seemed easy
enough. By a succession of groping movements,
aided by projecting roots and stones, I lowered myself from one point to another till at length, with one
hand firmly grasping a young balsam, I found myself
hanging over a cliff supported by one arm. It was
impossible to tell how high the cliff might be, which
gave little encouragement to jump into the darkness
and risk a fall. Just then the rifle began to slip, and
a most tiresome struggle ensued to place it securely
with one hand while the other supported the entire
weight of my body. Though everything seemed
fairly safe in going down, the bushes broke or came
out by the roots as I tried to climb up, and the smooth
stones offered no grip to my fingers. Sheer necessity resulted in success at last after some desperate
efforts. Camp was reached toward midnight, and
around the blazing fire I told of my successful hunt. 264
Cbe IRocfties of Canaba
Peyto and Lang took a stout pole in the morning
and brought the goat down to camp, where the meat
was carefully dressed and laid away in a neighbouring
snow-bank. The meat of these animals is somewhat
like venison, though it has a musky flavour which is
too strong for many palates. However, in my experience, when the meat is broiled, or fried with bacon,
and well seasoned with salt and pepper, it is quite
impossible to say whether the cook has served goat
or the very best mutton. Goat meat should never be
boiled or stewed, as the musky flavour is then
In 1896 Mr. Barrett and I were camped at the
forks of the Saskatchewan, a seven-days' journey
into the wilds. Our camp was in a small canyon
near the turbulent Little Fork, and our tents' were
placed in an open grove of spruce on a flat gravel
bed. On the evening of our arrival Barrett and I,
accompanied by Fred Stephens, an experienced backwoodsman from Michigan, and a great hunter, walked
towards the Saskatchewan River. Leaving the point
where the Little Fork pours its small contribution
into the milky flood of glacial waters, we strolled
down the valley for a considerable distance, when
suddenly our attention was called to a large animal
upon the river-bank a mile or so distant. Stephens,
who had killed many bears in Montana, declared it was
a grizzly. A plan was made at once for Stephens and
Barrett, who had rifles, to follow the cover of woods
while I made signals as to the location of the animal.
| ^^E an Experience on tbe Saskatchewan   265
After twenty minutes I saw puffs of bluish smoke
and heards shots ring out from the forest, whereupon
our game reared up on his hind legs and ran towards
the hunters. No more shots were heard, the animal
disappeared among trees, and it seemed best to climb
a tall spruce to get a better view over the flat expanse
of the valley, and, if possible, have a look at the game
and hunters. Barrett and Stephens afterwards said,
however, that I was not up the tree for any other
purpose than to avoid the charge of a wounded grizzly
which was coming my way. It eventually proved,
however, that the supposed bear was nothing less
than a very large goat, which must have weighed
three hundred pounds.
This region is frequented by mountain goats, and
fresh tracks were to be seen on the Indian trail near
our camp. One day a kid walked along the crest of a
low cliff within a few yards of our camp. The little
animal showed no fear of us, and browsed the grass
as it sauntered along. When one of our men fired a
pistol several times it only looked startled for a
moment. I thought the action of the beast showed
supreme contempt for the shooting, which was indeed very bad. The fact of our seeing two goats and
many fresh tracks at this low altitude, which was
about thirty-five hundred feet below the tree-line,
proves that mountain goats sometimes endure the
warmth of the low valleys. On a hot summer day
the temperature might easily rise to eighty degrees
in such a valley, and if the goats remain below at Cbe IRocfues of Canaba
such times they must tolerate a much greater heat
than is supposed.
The abundance of goats in these mountains is
well proved by the ease with which the Indians kill
large numbers of them, and the very good bags
made by gentlemen who have made an earnest effort to hunt them. We killed three and saw, all
told, about fifteen on this excursion, where hunting
was only a side-issue and engaged in at rare intervals. Two Englishmen, Col. Melleden and Capt.
Chartris, killed six goats and five sheep on a three-
weeks' hunting trip in this locality.
One of the best places I know for the mountain
goat is the group of mountains around Lake Louise.
I have seen many of these animals every year in the
valley of Lake Louise or on the adjacent hillsides.
The magnitude of the mountains and the distance
require very sharp eyes to see the animals, though
the Indians can pick them out where the white man
requires a field-glass. They are not much hunted,
and are increasing in numbers in that neighbourhood. In October, 1899, the telegraph operator at
Laggan saw a large herd on Fairview Mountain, and
a few days later two Swiss guides saw fifteen or
twenty on one side of the valley near Mt. Lefroy,
and a solitary animal several miles distant the same
day. One of the most interesting experiences with
goats that has come to my experience occurred on
the day following. I had made an ascent of Pope's
Peak, a high mountain above Lake Agnes, which abveitture on a flDountain Climb
latter the Indians used to call the "Goats' Looking-
Glass," and, coming down from the cliffs and dangerous places of the peak to safer travelling, was
beginning to experience that comfortable feeling
which every mountaineer enjoys after a successful
climb when the last hard work is over. It was a perfect day of sunshine, with massive cumulus clouds
and the mountains distinctly outlined in clear air.
Having reached an altitude of about eight thousand
feet, I paused for a few moments to study the great
amphitheatre of mountains and the vast sweep of
the valley. My eye fell at once on three goats
browsing on Alpine herbs of a green slope. I was
in full view of them, and the nature of the mountain
was such that no concealment was possible. However, by way of experiment, I continued the descent
with ordinary caution, and, working over to the left,
came down upon them from above. They were altogether absorbed in their pasture, and unmindful of
the pattering stones which I disturbed from time to
time. Whenever all of them had their heads to
the ground at the same time, I ran some distance,
crouching under the cover of low bushes, and then
waited for another opportunity. The unwary animals paid no heed till, in wonder at their stupidity,
I stood up in full view, not ten yards distant from
the nearest goat! Even then I received only a sullen look from the old billy. He made a curious
picture as he flapped his ears constantly to drive
away the pestiferous grey gnats which swarm in
9m\ Zbe IRocfcies of Canaba
the autumn and which were bothering me likewise.
I reached for a large stone, and shied it at him ; but
he was so close that it went over his back. Then
they commenced to run. It is said that mountain
goats invariably run up-hill, even in the face of danger, but I was determined not to let them do so.
They wheeled to the left, and I likewise, running
over rough stones and through scrubby brush as
though my life depended on the chase. I got a
glimpse of the goats heading up, but I was still directly above them. They saw me and turned back.
Then for an interval they were lost to view, and in a
few moments they appeared in the valley bottom,
loping like wolves over the rough stones and up the
opposite slope, pausing to look around in terror before making a final dash for safety. It was not long
before they were at my level on the mountain opposite, and then they came to what appeared an
abrupt precipice. They seemed to spring into the
air and reach a foothold of some kind several feet
above them, pause, and leap again. They were not
content till they had climbed more than a thousand
feet to the summit of a rough crag called the
"Devil's Thumb," when they disappeared through
a little depression into the valley of Lake Louise
on the other side.
The Rocky Mountain sheep or bighorn has similar habits. This noble animal, though somewhat
scarce, seems to reach the best development of head
and horns in these Canadian Rockies.    I have never Cbe HDountain Sbeep
seen heads from Montana or the Sierras to compare
with the beautiful sweep of homs that is common to
sheep killed in these mountains. In speaking of the
bighorn John Muir says :
" The domestic sheep, in a general way, is expressionless, like a dull bundle of something only
half alive, while the wild is as elegant and graceful
as a deer, and every movement tells the strength and
grandeur of his character. The tame is timid, the
wild is bold. The tame is always more or less ruffled and dirty; while the wild is as smooth and
clean as the flowers of his mountain pastures."
Whereas the mountain goat is clothed in a coat
of white wool, the sheep has a thick pelt of stiff and
rather brittle hair which, in colouring, harmonizes
with the grey and brownish cliffs where he roams.
They are more wary than the goat, and require careful stalking. The mountain sheep is less abundant
than formerly because the Indians seek them persistently. Fine heads always bring a good price for
mounting, and this, in addition to their excellent
meat, makes them eagerly sought after.
I have seen the wild sheep only in one part of
the Canadian Rockies, though they live sparingly
throughout the higher mountains and especially in
the foot-hills and Coast range. One day, when we
were journeying to the Athabasca Pass, we found
ourselves far above timber on a lofty divide between
the Saskatchewan and Athabasca. While spread out
in single file, our  fifteen   horses  were  marching
ai Cbe IRocfcies of Canaba
through a rolling upland pasture in silence. Suddenly a bunch of wild sheep ran upon an eminence
not fifty yards distant to look at us. This was a
magnificent revelation of animal life. Twenty-seven
wild sheep proudly outlined against the sky ! Motionless they stood gazing at us in amazement while
we studied their graceful forms and curved horns
raised high in air. Every rifle was tied to the saddle,
as luck would have it, and a long march through rain
and wet brush had made unyielding knots in the
leather straps. While we were getting at the firearms a miserable pet spaniel, which had hitherto
proved utterly unfit to find or recover game, ran forward barking. With a sudden turn the whole band
made off, showing their white rumps as they bounded
away for miles over the hills.
We hunted them from our camp later. Fred
Stephens shot one at long range, but the animal
struggled away and fell over some cliffs where it was
impossible to follow. The next day two sheep appeared on the mountain five hundred feet above the
camp. They were looking at us intently, and no
doubt wondering what manner of creatures we might
be. Barrett and I made a long detour, and hunted
carefully all that day, but were not able to locate
them. We saw numbers of sheep on many occasions
in this particular place, which is never hunted by the
Indians because of a certain superstition about this
part of the mountain. A most interesting experience
occurred to Barrett one day when he was making a n
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"*V   Curious Instance of Cameness
lone mountain climb. It was the first and only time
for a month that he had failed to carry his rifle. Descending from the mountain he came upon a young
lamb, and presently saw the mother not far distant.
Neither appeared much disconcerted by his presence,
but moved slowly ahead as he progressed. The
lamb actually indulging in various friskings and
youthful evolutions at a few yards' distance.
Previous to our visit, which was probably the first
made by white men to this place, these sheep had
been seldom or never hunted, as the Indians got their
superstitions about the region years before. They
were accordingly in a state of primitive wildness,
which may account for these several instances of
tameness in one of the most wary of all wild animals.
Subsequently, however, several hunting parties have
reduced their numbers.
The moose, elk, and deer are very scarce except
in such low and broad valleys as the Vermilion and
Kootenay. Few except Indians succeed in bagging
these animals. However, most hunters are more
eager to get sheep and goats, and little effort has been
made hitherto in the way of killing these members
of the deer tribe.
Bears, both black and grizzly, are fairly abundant,
especially in the Selkirk range, where at Glacier three
or four have been seen on several occasions in one day.
An immense grizzly was shot at Lake Louise several
years ago within afew yards of the chalet, and a number
of animals are killed every season by the railroad men.
- 1 fr
C^   )
I   !
1      1
Cbe IRocfcies of Canaba
In seven or eight seasons of marching through
these mountain wildernesses, I have seen a bear but
once. It is not uncommon to see their tracks, but a
bear has acute hearing, and quickly withdraws into
hiding upon the approach of a noisy pack-train. The
Stony Indians attack them fearlessly. Though they
are inferior shots, two alone will open up on a
grizzly, and it is often said that they will fight a black
bear armed only with hunting-knives. The Stonies,
however, are incomparable hunters, and it is their
boast that like, Attila, "the scourge of God," beneath whose feet the grass died : "No game can live
where we hunt."
In the way of small game, there are several species
of grouse and ducks, which are more likely to fill the
larder of an ordinary camping expedition than big
game. The Richardson and Franklin grouse, with
the grey ruffed and Canadian ruffed grouse, are closely
related to the pinnated grouse or prairie chicken.
They live in the forests everywhere, and are so
abundant that they make a large and important item
in the way of fresh meat. These birds are excellent
eating, being juicy, tender, and well-flavoured. It is
hardly fair to call them "game," for they are easily
killed by shooting their heads off with a rifle as they
roost in the trees. I have taken six in half an hour,
armed with stones, though it requires practice to pick
them off at first. Black ducks, mallards, and teal are
found in such places as the Vermilion Lakes near
Banff, and on all rivers and lakes in the lower valleys.
— Cbe alpine ptarmigan
They used to swarm in large numbers at Lake Louise
in September and October, but have been less numerous in the last two or three seasons. The ptarmigan is an Alpine bird, found among the bare rocks,
eight or nine thousand feet above sea-level in the
summer months. Their summer dress is a pepper-
and-salt colour with wings nearly white, but in
winter is snowy white throughout, while their legs,
and even the bottom of their feet, are covered
with feathers, possibly as a protection against cold.
These birds are of the same size as the domestic
pigeon, considerably smaller than the grouse, but
similar in flavour. They will remain quiet, until one
shot is fired, and if this does not take effect, they fly
away out of danger, thereby showing superior discretion to their stupid cousins of the woods.
With the exception of goat hunting, it may safely
be said, that fishermen have better opportunities of
sport than the big-game hunters in the Rockies of
Canada. It may be broadly stated that every clear
stream abounds in trout if the waters are not too
swift. The distribution of fish in the numerous lakes
depends on many circumstances, some of which are
easily understood; as for instance the absence of
fish in lakes of very high altitude, or where a waterfall has made the ascent of streams impossible.
But in other rare cases, there are large clear lakes
at reasonable altitudes, having fine outlet streams,
where there are no fish. The most remarkable
place of the kind that I have seen is Fortress Lake,
1 1 Cbe Uocfcies of Canaba
seven miles long, which empties into the Columbia
Some of the rivers are glacial streams, carrying a
flood of muddy water from ice-fields of the high
mountains, and in these no fish can liye. Many
streams are rushing torrents or a succession of rapids,
swinging from right to left in rapid descent, for miles,
with no pools or eddies where a trout might find
rest. The upper Simpson and Vermilion are such
streams, though fine trout abound in their lower
parts. The Bow is an ideal river for mountain trout,
with many reaches of deep pools and eddying coves,
as it descends through its broad and flat valley, and
taking its source in two fine lakes, three or four
miles long, both of which teem with large lake trout.
Some of the best records in trout fishing have' been
made in these waters near the source of the Bow.
The lakes have only been tried from the shore, because the few parties that have visited them have
not had time to build rafts and try the deepest
places. Many trout have been caught near the
shores of the Upper Bow Lake, which run between
eight and twelve pounds. The lower lake also no
doubt abounds in large fish, though the only one I
ever saw was a two-pound fish I got with a fly,
after three minutes' fishing from its rocky south
To give some idea of the fishing in the upper
part of the Bow River, where it flows through the
muskegs at the base of Mt. Hector, I will first tell my Jfisbina in lakes anb Streams
own experience, and then give some more remarkable records made by others. One day our men
were having trouble getting the horses through a
muskeg, when, by way of experiment, I took a line in
hand with an artificial fly attached and dropped it
from an overhanging bank on the water of a deep
pool. A three-pound trout rose to the fly and was
soon landed. The next carried away my leader, and
I had to suspend operations, as our horses were well
ahead by that time. In the afternoon I tried some
pools above our camp, having no luck at all in some,
while others contained several trout. With a red
hackle I landed five trout averaging two pounds
each from one pool in less than three minutes.
On September 13 to 15, 1898, General Fred Pearson and Captain Dickerson caught the following
mess of trout between the upper and lower Bow
1 fish at 4\ pounds
1 at 8J pounds
n  a
(1  11
a    11
3    9i
1 - 9f
There is no doubt that these Bow lakes abound
in lake trout of considerable size. Wilson says that
the Indians used to get numbers of large fish when,
for some reason, they came into a small stream which
enters the lake from the north-west. These fish were
driven by shouts into shallow water, and so caught.
Where the stream flows out into the lake is a fine
lh Cbe IRocfcies of Canaba
place to fish, and when camped there we caught a
great number of two- and three-pound bullhead
trout. A camping party, which had just left, caught
fewer fish in the same place, but they were all
between eight and ten pounds.
The fish in each mountain lake have certain peculiarities of size or colouring. In Lake Louise the
trout are from one-half to one pound in weight, and
no large fish have ever been caught. They are brook
trout, similar, except in lighter colouring, to those
in the brawling outlet stream. Moraine Lake, east
of Mt. Temple, abounds in very gamy trout, the size
of which was quite uniformly between fifteen and
seventeen inches in length. So far as I know, this
lake had never been visited before the summer of
1899, when Ross Peecock and I camped there several
days. Here is a lake full offish, which we reached
in six hours' travel from Lake Louise, and that, too,
by driving our pack-horses through the pathless
woods. If a trail were cut through the timber,
sportsmen could no doubt reach this splendid lake
in three or four hours. This gives an instance of the
comparative wildness of the mountains, and their
wonderful possibilities in the way of sport, which
have not been developed hitherto. We found
another larger lake some ten miles further south,
which drains into the Little Vermilion Creek, where
the fish were numerous, but of smaller size, averaging
a pound or more. They resemble rainbow trout, but
were very highly coloured and their gills fiery red. ©n a IRaft at tbe Spras lakes
There is a lake about a day's journey from Banff,
in the valley of Forty Mile Creek, where sport is
impossible because the fish are too numerous. I have
never seen it, but old timers around Banff agree that
in this place several fish dash to the fly at one time,
so that after a few minutes, fishing seems more like
slaughter than legitimate sport.
One of the best places for lake trout is in the
Spray Lakes, a day's march from Banff. This is on
the route to Mt. Assiniboine, and on my second
journey to that region we camped by the largest
of them, called Trout Lake. Mr. Bryant and I got
on a raft, which the miners from Canmore had built,
and after paddling out into the lake, tried the flyfishing. Fish of one to two pounds rose to the fly,
and we soon got a large number for lunch. In the
afternoon we anchored the raft where a large stream
enters, and while Bryant used the fly I rigged up a
large hook and strong line, and after baiting with
a piece of fresh fish, dropped the hook over. The
current carried out fifteen or twenty yards of line
and swept the hook along the bottom, until, in a
short time, there came a violent tug, as though
a log had caught the hook. But this was a very
different pull, and I had to let out fathoms of line.
A big fish was on, and he was rushing madly in every
direction, sometimes coming nearer, when some slack
could be taken in, then away again, while the straining line whipping through the water threatened to
break at any time.   In fifteen minutes a lake trout
h 278
Cbe IRocfues of Canaba
that weighed fully nine pounds was landed on the
raft and killed. Three more were caught in the first
hour, one of which was a ten-pound fish. Bryant
got one with his trout rod, deeming it better sport
than a hand line, and so it proved. It was a twenty-
minute fight between a large fish, his line, and supple rod, which was bent double, and never recovered
the strain of that day. It was a glorious sight, as
the declining sun was playing over the broad waters
of the lake in the majestic calm of evening, to
hear the whiz of the line and the sound of the reel,
with our friends on the shore shouting : " Go it, old
man, hang on !" till at last another fine prize was
captured. We packed all our spare fish in a wooden
box in cold moss and had enough to supply the
hundred or more guests at the Banff Springs Hotel.
Roughly speaking, the size of trout in the Upper
Bow Lake, the largest of the Spray Lakes, and Lake
Minnewanka, near Banff, is proportional to the size
of the lakes themselves. Lake Minnewanka, or the
Devil's Lake, is eleven miles long, and the fish are
both numerous and of great size. A trout weighing
thirty-three pounds held the record up to 1896, or
later; but all records were surpassed by a fish caught
in 1899 by Dr. Seward Webb, which tipped the
scales at forty-seven pounds ! The total weight of
fourteen fish caught in this lake one day by two
sportsmen was forty-three pounds. Sixteen caught
the following day weighed forty-eight pounds, or an
average of about three pounds to each fish.   I have Cbe IRochles as a IResort for Sportsmen   279
heard that the Indians sometimes bring in fish of
unusual size from the Kananaskis Lakes and other
bodies of water remote from the railroad; but this
information is second-hand and like all such, especially in regard to fish, somewhat influenced by
Generally speaking, the sportsman should expect
to kill in these Canadian Rockies no big game outside of the mountain goat and sheep. With a well
directed effort in a proper region, especially if an
Indian hunter can be persuaded to assist him, he will
stand a very fair chance of securing sheep, and almost a certainty of bagging several goats. The
hunter will have to rough it, and may find the vicissitudes of mountain travel more trying than anything to be encountered in the woods of Maine or
eastern Canada. Moreover, the pursuit of these
mountain-loving animals requires steady nerves and
considerable practice in climbing. Such matters
add zest to the chase and the reward is fairly
For the fisherman there is an unopened wilderness full of fine streams and clear lakes, in the great
majority of which fish abound. Emerald Lake and
Lake Minnewanka are easily accessible ; but most of
them are as yet only to be reached by rough trails, or
by forcing a passage through the forests. The remote bodies of water are, of course, not supplied with
boats, and some, which are only three or four hours'
journey from the railroad, have never been fished ;
I Cbe IRocMes of Canaba
so that the sportsman, to get the best results, must
resort to rafts of his own construction, or carry a
collapsible boat. However, the waters of all these
mountain lakes are deep, and sometimes excellent
fly-fishing may be had from their rocky shores. HOME OF THE STONY INDIANS — INFLUENCE OF AN EARLY
THE Stony Indians, a tribe unique in their manner of life and ideas, live on the borders of
the great Canadian plains not far from the
base of the Rockies. They have few traditions.
Except that they are a branch of the Sioux, no one
knows whence they came; but during the last half
century at least they have held the foothills of the
Rockies for a home and have used the mountains as
a hunting-ground. The Stonies have the reputation
of being the fiercest fighters among the north-western tribes, and have cruelly punished their enemies,
the Blackfeet, in many encounters on the plains.
About fifty years ago, when the first explorers
came in search of a route across the continent, this Cbe IRocfcies of Canaba
territory was alive with savages. Each cloud of
dust in the distance, or band of horsemen scurrying
like wind over the plains, was a cause for instant
alarm, and no traveller was assured of safety except
in arms or the good will of the Stonies ; for the
Stonies then, as now, were friends of the white men.
Whatever may have been the cause of this friendship for the invading whites on the part of the most
influential Indians in the north-west, it is certain that
they owe much of their religious education to a godly
man, Mr. Rundle, a Methodist missionary, who came
among them about sixty years ago. To this day the
older members of the tribe cherish his name with
love and feel a bond of sympathy for all white men
through this good man's influence ; for, " Did he not
come among us," they say, "a poor man and go
away likewise, leaving us richer ? " It is partly owing to the impression of this early missionary's remarkable personality, but certainly also to some
native strength of character, that they have such unusually good traits. The Stonies are exceptionally
faithful; they cannot be tempted to steal, they are
true to their word, and, more incredible still, they
have an abhorrence of alcohol.
Their reserve is a beautiful place in the terraced
valley of the Bow River, near the little railroad station of Morley. The surrounding hills are covered
with a scant turf, only green during May and June,
soon to be parched by summer drought, and then
frost-bitten for half the year.    Clumps of rough
K/ In the Enemy s Country muc
£ it
■ r. it is
fmftntwtf^ffar-^?^3L dhe ^v
*/ P
ri<  : ; >*tS*S*E
Cbe Inbian IDiUage
Douglas firs crown the rounded hilltops or grow on
the sides of ravines, and every tree leans eastward
as a result of the unceasing west winds.
The Indian village is on a small plain among
wooded hills, about a mile from Morley. It is a collection of simple wooden houses which the Indians
have built for themselves, though some still use the
primitive teepee. During a recent visit I made my
first call on Tom Chiniquay, a chief's son, to take
pictures of himself and his wife. In his house were
tanned skins, beadwork and embroidery, as well as
illustrations and cheap prints from our periodicals.
In a cupboard were some iron tools and other evidences of civilisation. Chiniquay arrayed himself in
a gorgeous costume of ermine and otter fur, and put
on a magnificent head-piece of eagle feathers, with
the sharp, black horns of the mountain goat on either
side. After the ordeal, Chiniquay charged me a dollar for the privilege of photographing him, notwithstanding an old friendship between us. I have never
learned whether this charge resulted from the fact
that he is a chief's son, or because of a certain debt
at the "store" for which his costume had been
The relations between the Canadian Government
and the Stony Indians have been always happy. At
a great council of the tribes, held many years ago, in
which the Blackfeet, Piegans, Sarcees, Bloods, and
Stonies took part, a treaty was made with the Stonies
that " so long as the river flows " they are to receive
i Zbc IRocMes of Canaba
rations of beef, flour, tobacco, clothing, and money,
in return for the lands of which they have been dispossessed. The Stonies have behaved themselves,
the Government has kept its promises, and everyone
is satisfied.
There are three Stony reserves in the north-west,
but this one at Morley is the most important. At
this place there were 581 Indians in 1898, and by
natural increase 602 a year later. Though so few in
number, the Stonies have exercised strong influence on
the other tribes, due perhaps to their prowess in war;
and nearly every enterprise the Indians have undertaken, whether lawful or otherwise, has been a success if the Stonies joined and a failure if they did not.
Thus the Riel rebellion, in 1885, though serious for a
time, lost considerable importance when it was known
that the Stonies would not lend their assistance.
The Stonies have some cousins on the plains, the
Assiniboines, who are arrant knaves, liars, and horse-
thieves, with none of the good traits of their relatives,
and nothing in common with them except a similar
tongue. All the Indian tribes of these western plains
have become more or less united by a century of the
fur trade which brought them together in a peaceful
way. The Stonies, like the others, are scattered in
separate bands, the purest blood being at the Morley
reserve, amalgamated, however, with the mountain
Crees, and are at best merely shattered remnants of
a tribe that has been repeatedly decimated by war
and smallpox. Scbools anb Effects of Ebucation
There are three chiefs in this band, and upon the
death of any one, another is chosen by the Indians to
be approved by the Government. Numerous petty
marks of distinction—a larger house, or a more gorgeous costume on festal occasions—are the insignia
of their authority, which is not very great and is
limited to such matters as the choice of camping-
places on their marches, a weightier influence in
council, and leadership in time of war. One day of
my visit, Chief Chiniquay came to the agency on a
matter of business. There was nothing, however,
in his simple blanket costume and knife-belt to
distinguish him from the others. But such was his
dignity and reserve that no suggestion was made
to take his picture, especially as this chief clings to
the ancient superstition about the camera: that it
shortens life, or at least takes away some portion of
The Indians on this reserve have very good educational advantages. There are two day-schools
near the village and a boarding-school some six miles
distant, which has accommodation for about forty
scholars and is supported by the Methodist Church.
At each school the children are taught simple arithmetic, geography, and the English language. There
are also opportunities for special studies, such as
housework for the girls and farming for the boys.
The Stonies are ambitious for their children, because
education gives them standing among their fellows,
and they feel that ability to act as interpreters, read
w55SB5 j
fflfft I
222JJJS 286
Cbe IRocfcies of Canaba
the papers, or write messages home when on their
journeys is no small distinction.
But it cannot be said, in all fairness, that this
simple education is always beneficial. No race can
jump a thousand generations, or even a thousand
years, and feel no shock. Education tends to the
Indian's betterment in many cases, but frequently also
to his downfall. The study of farming is all lost on
the Stonies, because the climate of their country, situated two hundred miles north of Montana and four
thousand feet above the sea, is not favourable to the
cultivation of even hardy vegetables. Moreover,
they have a strong prejudice against agriculture, and
for them to dig in the ground is degradation. There
are, however, pleasing exceptions to this tendency to
relapse from education. Some of the young Stonies
speak English perfectly and show by their ideas that
they are not only ambitious but progressive.
The most surprising moral trait of the Stonies is
their sincere religious feeling, a result of early missionary work. They attend church voluntarily and
regularly, keep the Sabbath strictly, and even go to
the length of private prayer-meetings at home. The
Christmas festivities begin with a church service, and
even their names, such as " Job Beaver" or " Enoch
Wildman," which are sometimes acquired from personal traits or circumstance, also prove their familiarity with the Bible.
The Stonies show many of the paradoxes of a
savage tribe in a transition stage.   Striking contrasts A TYPICAL STONY INDIAN |f
.u? ©uaint Superstitions
of ideas often occur in the same individual, which at
times almost cause a distrust in his sincerity. Inherited superstitions take deep root in human nature,
and till we ourselves learn to disregard the new moon
over our right shoulder, thirteen at table, the bad
luck of Friday, and such petty self-delusions, whose
influence we feel for good or evil, we should not be
too severe in judging the Indian.
Some beliefs of the Stonies are, however, very interesting, and none more so than certain superstitions in regard to their hair, which, by the way, are
strangely like those of the Hawaiians and South Sea
islanders. A lock of hair in the possession of an
enemy is a cause for great anxiety, because therein
is believed to lie the power of life and death over the
victim. So strong is this feeling that even a good
Indian would shoot and kill, without a moment's hesitation, any one attempting to clip a lock of hair from
his head. Many of their beliefs, however, are harmless : such as the idea that each mouthful of salt takes
a year from life, and that it is very bad luck for a man
to touch any article of a woman's clothing. The
younger women are subject to strange cataleptic fits
and fainting spells, during which their bodies become
apparently lifeless and rigid as iron. There is little
doubt that the medicine men have a hypnotic influence which is the cause of much that is incomprehensible to the Indian mind. These sorcerers pretend
to drive away the evil spirits by charms, accompanied
by an unending beating of drums and mournful
«9 Cbe IRocMes of Canaba
chants, continued day and night, till the patient
either recovers, owing to unusual vitality, or dies,
which is more often the case. Much of this gross
superstition is dying out and now exists only among
the weaker individuals and women in the secrecy
and fear fostered by the medicine men, who, in any
event, receive large payment for their services.
The Indians have a superstition about minerals.
One of the first white men to prospect along the
Bow River was named Joe Healy. After much difficulty and many promises of blankets, flour, and tea,
he induced an Indian named Edwin, the Gold-Seeker,
to show him a place where there was copper ore.
The other Indians shook their heads and said the
spirits would be angry and that something would
surely happen to Edwin for disturbing the minerals.
But when autumn came, and the snow began to fall,
Edwin and his family had new blankets and plenty
of flour in their teepee. Then the others talked it
over and said : " Perhaps the spirits will not be
angry. We know where there is money in the
rocks, and when the snow goes we will show it to
the white man. Then he will give us horses, blankets,
and flour." But one calm night a few weeks later
some of the old men were grouped round a camp-
fire on the flats by the river, and Edwin was standing before them, telling about an exciting buffalo
chase. Suddenly he fell over almost into the fire.
The others rushed to help him, but he was dead!
Heart disease—the Indian agent said it was.   The *■>!
flDoralits of Unbian Women
old men smiled sadly and said : "In the springtime
when the snow melts we will not show the white
man where there is money in the rocks."
The Indians, though remarkably bad artists themselves, are very fond of music. They often come to
the agency to hear the piano or the graphophone,
the latter a marvellous invention of the white man
which they do not comprehend, and in admiration
say," We do not understand whether this is God or
the devil speaking."
The women are very strict in their ideas of morality and rarely or never travel alone. Unless her husband is present a woman will always leave a room
or teepee when a stranger enters. Though family
quarrels sometimes occur, the Stony women make
faithful and loving wives. Their position is higher
than among most Indians, as the family tie is not
easily broken, and labour is so divided that some of
the work is done by the men. The women dress
and tan the skins of moose, sheep, and mountain
goats, making them into the most beautifully preserved leather to be found in the North-west. They
have charge, too, of the family treasury, and no husband will ever close a bargain without first consulting
his wife. On hunting trips the women do the cooking
and set up the teepees, which require thirteen slender
poles stripped of their bark. To the men falls the
excitement of hunting no less than the labour of the
chase, which, among the heights of the Rockies, is
exhausting and often dangerous.
1 Cbe IRocfcies of Canaba
Strict abstinence from alcohol and other vices
has given the Stonies health and vitality that make
their numbers increase, while other tribes are dwindling away. But among all primitive peoples imported diseases find a virgin soil, and the Stonies
likewise have suffered terribly from measles, smallpox, and consumption. An old Indian acquaintance
of mine, William Twin, once told me pathetically
that he could sleep no more from thinking about the
death of his wife and children, and then added, "Only
one little boy left now — if little boy die, no longer
want to live, me."
The Stonies' welfare in peace and their lives in
war depend on their horses, and it is little wonder
that they take the greatest pride in them. For many
years past they have obtained good horses from the
Kootenay Indians in British Columbia, so that they
have always had the best animals of the western
tribes. They have recently imported eastern stock
to improve their undersized ponies.
They have few amusements, but are very sociable,
and nothing pleases them more than to recount their
adventures in a kind of gesture language which is
comprehensible even to a stranger. It is not uncommon to see an Indian on his knees, before an attentive group of listeners, carrying out in pantomime
every detail of some exciting adventure, and with
words half chanted and voice like one calling from
afar, relating the circumstances of hairbreadth escapes or deeds of heroism.   a Bear Stor$
Among many hunting stories, the following well
illustrates their courage: A young brave named
Susie was encamped with his family in the Porcupine Hills east of the Rockies. After hunting sheep
and goats all day, he was returning to his teepee and
upon entering an open forest glade came unexpectedly on a huge grizzly bear. He fired, though
too quickly for good aim, and only wounded the
bear in the fore foot. Walking backwards, and trying to get another cartridge in his rifle, he stumbled
on a log and fell. The bear jumped upon him before
he could recover. Then ensued a fight to the death.
The Indian turned on his side and seized the bear's
ear with his left hand. In the other he held his
Hudson Bay hunting-knife, a formidable weapon
like a small sword, and with this kept striking the
bear on face and neck. Biting and clawing, the
infuriated animal reared on his hind legs several
times in an effort to throw the Indian from him. At
length both contestants, weakened from loss of
blood, fell to the ground, when Susie, with a desperate effort, drove the knife between the bear's
shoulders, but had no strength to pull the weapon
out. Maddened with pain, the bear gave his head a
great toss and threw the Indian several yards to
one side.
On the following morning Susie's people began
to search for him. Within a few yards of the dead
bear the Indian was found and carried back to camp.
There they dressed his wounds and roasted the feet
ijTiMMij IP
Cbe Rockies of Canaba
i I'.
of the grizzly, that he might eat them and become a
mighty hunter, for by eating the bear's feet the
spirit of the animal would enter and give him courage. When asked what he thought about while
the fight was going on he said : "I was thinking—
why is a bear's ear not long like a deer's ? "
The great feast of the year is at New Year's. Every
effort is made by the hunting parties to get back
from the mountains before then, while those on the
reserves spend weeks in preparing magnificent costumes of fur and beadwork for this occasion. Upon
the festal day all the Indians of the reserve assemble
in two bands, each led by a chief. After a volley
from firearms, the two bands come together and pass
each before the other, while during the performance
of this manoeuvre every Indian—man, woman, of child
—salutes every other with a kiss. Thereupon they
repair to the largest house and have a magnificent
banquet, their white guests being first served with
articles of civilisation, while the Indians feast on
pemmican made of the meat of bear, moose, or sheep
mixed with fat, sugar, and wild berries. Then follow horse-races and manoeuvres of various kinds,
which, together with the award of prizes to the
best-looking squaws, and athletic contests, consume
the day. In the evening there is a ball with primitive
music, where the dancers are urged on by shuffling
of feet and an unending " Hi-i-i-i!" from the spectators, while the excitement increases till at length, as
in a tarentelle, the participants are ready to faint from
I;l Where tbe Stonies (Bet tbeir Courage  293
exhaustion. Though there is much that is uncouth
and savage in these gatherings, there is no disorder,
and the stranger will be kindly and hospitably entertained by his decorated hosts.
The Stonies give an example of what has been true
throughout the world's history,— that hill tribes and
mountain peoples have always been fierce, independent, and unconquerable. The Stonies get their
courage among the perils of the Rockies, where on
hunting trips they have to ford rapid and dangerous
rivers, or climb the precipices of the highest peaks
and face the cold and storms of dizzy cliffs where
the mountain goat and bighorn live. They have
physical courage to attack the grizzly single-handed,
or engage twice their number in battle. These
admirable qualities, with their honesty, sobriety, and
much that is best in civilisation, give a new hope for
all Indian tribes through their example.  APPENDIX
THE following information about trips to points of interest
near Lake Louise will be useful to visitors.
To those having but one day to spare, it would be
well to take a boat and visit the south end of the lake.
If this is done in the morning, the afternoon might be devoted
to an ascent of The Saddle, on foot, or with ponies. From this
point a magnificent view of Paradise Valley and Mt. Temple
may be had.
By those having two or three days, the following additional
trips should be made : (i) To Lake Agnes, and possibly the
Lesser Beehive ; or even an ascent of Mt. St. Piran. (2) To the
glacier, or beyond it to the end of valley and cliffs of Mt. Victoria.
A fair estimate of the time required by pedestrians, in good
training, to reach several points of interest will be given below.
Women and those not accustomed to walking will require one-
half more time than the estimates given.
From the chalet to end of lake by boat, 20 minutes ; by
trail, round lake, 25-30 minutes ; to bridge beyond lake by boat
and then by trail, 35-40 minutes ; to the end of glacier (follow
close to north side of stream to avoid rock-slide beyond bridge),
50 minutes ; to walls of Mt. Victoria, 1 hour and 45 minutes.
From the chalet to Mirror Lake (850 feet ascent), 25-30
minutes. (The trail divides a short distance from the lake.
The trail to the left leads to Mirror Lake and thence by the base
of the Beehive to Lake Agnes, the last twenty feet being too
steep for ponies or heavy persons. The other trail does not
pass Mirror Lake, but ascends sharply and comes down on Lake
Agnes from a higher slope. The scenery on this trail is better
than the other, but the last part of the route is impracticable for
horses.)   To Lake Agnes, 40-50 minutes ; to summit of Beehive,
295 296
Cbe IRocfcies of Canaba
ij hours. (It is better to follow the north shore of the lake and
then, skirting round the shore to the left, commence the ascent by
the steep grassy slope.) To summit of St. Piran, if hours;
return, 40 minutes. To summit of Pope's Peak, 3|—4 hours.
(Ascend amphitheatre beyond Lake Agnes and climb slopes to
the right till an altitude of seventy-nine hundred feet is reached,
where a diagonal gully is seen leading through first cliff. When
the top of the cirque is reached, find a route among broken
limestones on west side of peak to the top.)
From the chalet to The Saddle (1850 feet ascent), 50-60
minutes. (Walk from new hut in a straight line one hundred
yards to edge of cliffs for the best view.) To Saddle Mt, ||
hours. (From The Saddle this is a short scramble over great
ledges and at the top a thrilling view may be had into Paradise
Valley from a vertical precipice.) To summit of Fairview Mt.,
2 hours.    (One hour from Saddle.    Keep to the right.)
From the chalet, through woods to entrance of Paradise
Valley, if hours; to upper end of valley, 5 hours. (From there
to summit of Mt. Aberdeen 3! hours, or of Mt. Temple 5 hours.)
Through woods to entrance of Desolation or Wenkchemna
valley, 4 hours. (The openings of these two valleys are on almost
the same level as that of Lake Louise.) To Moraine Lake 5^, 6
hours.    To lake in Consolation Valley, 6 hours.
From Hector to O'Hara Lake with horses, first time 8 hours,
second 6 hours, on foot 5-6 hours. Returning with horses 5!
hours, on foot 4 hours.
From the upper end of Paradise Valley you may enter
Desolation or the Wenkchemna valley by high passes on the
north and south of Pinnacle Mt. The pass to the south offers a
quick route to the valley end, whence by a pass between Hungabee and Deltaform a descent may be made into Prospector's
Valley or the head of the Vermilion. A snow pass leads from
this into the valley of Lake O'Hara. Such a trip would require a
camp or bivouac in Paradise Valley, and again near O'Hara Lake.
All the passes are too rough for horses.
Moraine Lake and Consolation Valley may be visited from
Paradise Valley over these passes, or else by a traverse through
the woods from the chalet, north of Fairview and Temple. The
latter journey may be made with pack-horses by beating a way
through the woods on a nearly level traverse.    I think both appenbiy
passes at the head of Consolation Valley will be found possible
to cross on foot. The one to the south-east leads into a valley
containing a lake three miles long and full of fish. The other
leads into the Bow valley, and to a smaller lake near the miners'
huts opposite Eldon.
O'Hara Valley may be visited from Hector station. Follow the
north side of stream in a sharp ascent to the top of the valley opening. Find a log shortly after to cross stream, and follow around
south shore of the two small lakes. The trail soon crosses to north
side, but is lost in open burnt timber country. After a mile or so
it comes back in green timber to south side on a ridge above the
cataract. The trail makes several crossings in the next mile, and
is very hard to locate, but after that it remains on the south side
all the time. The trail leads to within less than a quarter mile of
the lake, but turns to the right to a pass into the Ottertail.
Equipment: —A tent with walls at least thirty inches high,
seven by nine feet, is a convenient size for two or three. One
four-point Hudson Bay blanket for each member of the party,
and a sleeping bag to go inside, made of some lighter blanketing.
A canvas sheet to lay bedding upon and keep out dampness or
cold. In setting up tent, select dry, smooth ground and face
tent so as to have probable wind sweep across the opening.
Smoke from fire will then be carried to one side. If ground
is rough or damp, cut balsam boughs, and make bed by commencing at upper end of tent and lay a row of branches with all
the stems pointing towards the open end. Commence second
row about six inches below, and have the natural arch of branches
placed convexly. If properly done, all the large branches will
eventually be at the bottom and a springy bed will be obtained.
Let each man have his own place to sleep in, and do not walk
on another's blankets at any time. In rainy weather, roll up
blankets to head of tent and use to sit upon. Sun and air
blankets whenever possible. A pillow may be improvised at
night from the bag of extra clothing, sweaters, or coats not in
use. Air pillows are very comfortable and portable. Have the
space at lower end of tent on either side reserved for boots,
cameras, leggins, and other articles of this nature, but keep an 1 U
Cbe IRocfcies of Canaba
open space for entrance and exit. If the tent leaks in wet
weather it is not properly put up. Have it tight and free from
wrinkles, and do not touch the canvas in rainy weather.
Personal effects: — One serviceable suit of strong material.
A canvas coat for wet weather. At least two pairs of strong
boots that have been broken in before the trip is made, well
hobbed with steel or Swiss nails. A pair of slippers or easy
shoes for camp. In fall or wet summer weather some kind of
heavy rubber overshoes and woollen socks are the only sure preventative of wet and cold feet. Army leggins or spat puttees
are almost indispensable. A light felt hat to shade eyes from
sun and snow-blindness. A heavy woollen sweater, with high
neck woven whole and long sleeves, is a most useful garment.
One or two pairs of buckskin gloves. Two or more changes
of underclothing of rather warm material and one of lighter.
Vaseline for boots and Tiands, lanoline for sunburn, shaving and
toilet articles, and a small, round looking-glass. A small kit of
tools, containing a file, gimlet, nippers, sandpaper, fish-glue,
brads and screws, is a handy thing if you carry cameras or
scientific instruments of any kind. Some kind of mosquito oil
containing tar and pennyroyal will be useful in calm weather,
or on fishing trips. Mosquito nets, or a yard of the material itself
to wind round the neck and face, will be needed in early summer.
Instruments: — An aneroid and compass are indispensable
for all exploratory work and mountain climbing. A prismatic
compass or regular plane-table and steel tape are best for rough
survey work. A small pocket thermometer and field-glasses
might be added to*the outfit.
Notes on breaking camp: — Get up immediately on announcement that breakfast is ready, and do not delay your friends or
the cook by taking an unusual time in dressing. After breakfast, put all your dishes neatly in one place where the cook can
find them without trouble. While the men are making ready,
roll up your blankets and tie them if they go as side packs,
otherwise fold and lay on ground. Arrange next your gunni-
sack of personal effects. Take some kind of lunch to eat on the
trail, no matter how short the march is'to be, or how little you
may feel like eating at the time. Prepare your lunch at breakfast time, and do not ask the cook to open up his boxes and
bags the last minute.    See that the cinches and bridle on your saddle-horse are all right a few minutes before all is ready to
Notes on making marches: — In midsummer, the outfit
should be ready to march at eight o'clock. This gives a long
day and the coolest part of it. Do not march more than six
hours except under unusual circumstances. In long, hot marches
it is sometimes best to break the journey by an hour's rest, during which time the packs are thrown off and the horses can
feed a little. A fire can be made and tea served. Otherwise the
men arrive in camp tired and hungry to find some of their hardest work before them. On the march, the saddle-horses should
be mingled among the pack animals, and each one in the party
should help drive one or two of them. Tie their heads up, if
they feed persistently along the trail and delay the outfit. Do
not frighten your horses if they run off into the brush, as they
get worse, each time. Remember that the packs are heaviest and
the horses' backs most tender at the beginning of any trip,
and that you can travel twice as fast coming home.
Notes on making camp: — Decide approximately about where
you want to camp, and tell the head packer to look out for a
good camping place within certain limits of time or distance.
Wood, water, and dry ground with a pasture near, are prime
requisites. When the horses have all been tied to trees, unsaddle your own animal and turn him loose unless he requires
to be hobbled. Treat your horse gently and kindly, and you
may walk up to him at any time. Never make a sudden movement to catch the horse or the reins. Move slowly and unconcernedly, so that your pony is unconscious of what is going on.
Camp should be made by two o'clock. This allows time for
the men to make a proper camp and do whatever cooking is
necessary, and also gives an opportunity for short excursions in
the region of your camp.
1793. On the 22d of July, Alexander Mackenzie reached the
Pacific coast in latitude 520 20' 48" after having crossed the
Rockies by way of the Peace River. This is the first recorded
overland journey across the continent of North America.
1809. Jules Quesnel, Simon Fraser, and John Stuart leave a ;oo
Cbe IRochies of Canaba
station in New Caledonia (now British Columbia) and descend
a river supposed to be the Columbia. The mouth of this large
stream proved to be three degrees north of that of the Columbia,
and was named the Fraser River.
1817. Ross Cox with a party of eighty-six persons, including
Europeans, Indians, and Hawaiians, leave the colony of Astoria
at the mouth of the Columbia, and, ascending that river, cross the
mountains by the Athabasca Pass. Some of the party, too weak
to continue the journey, retreat down the Columbia. The last
survivor from death by starvation was reduced to cannibalism.
1827. The botanist, David Douglas, ascends the Columbia
and crosses the Rockies by the Athabasca Pass.
1841. Sir George Simpson, on the first overland journey round
the world from east to west, crosses the mountains by the
Devil's Lake, Simpson Pass, and Kootenay River, under the
guidance of an Indian named Peechee.
1858. Gold is discovered in the upper waters of the Fraser
River. This leads to a rapid increase of population in British
Columbia and the building of waggon roads.
1857. The Palliser expedition is set on foot by Her Majesty's
Government. The three objects of this expedition were to find
a shorter route between eastern and western Canada, to explore
the western plains, and to find one or more passes across the
Rocky Mountains south of the Athabasca Pass, but still in British
territory. Besides Captain Palliser, who was in charge, the
expedition consisted of Dr. Hector, Lieutenant Blakiston, Mr.
Sullivan, and M. Bourgeau. On this journey Dr. Hector crosses
the Vermilion and Howse passes and discovers the Kicking
Horse Pass, so named by his men from the circumstances of a
severe kick which he received from his horse at a point near the
mouth of the Beaverfoot River.
1862. Viscount Milton and Dr. Cheadle cross the mountains
and descend the north branch of the Thompson River.
1867. The colony of Canada unites with New Brunswick and
Nova Scotia to make the Dominion of Canada. The Hudson
Bay Company sells its rights to the central and north-western
parts of British North America.
1871. British Columbia enters the Dominion of Canada, and
the first survey parties for a transcontinental railroad commence
IHN 1880. The Government gives up its efforts to construct a
railroad, and the enterprise is turned over to a corporation with
Sir William Van Home in control.
1883. Captain Rogers discovers a pass which now bears his
name, through the Selkirk Range.
1886. The Canadian Pacific Road is completed, and the first
through trains begin to cross Canada.
Mt. Stephen, 10,428 feet, by J. J. McArthur.
Cascade Mt., near Banff, 9796 feet, by J. J. McArthur.
Three   Sisters   (highest    peak), 9730  feet,  by J. J.
Mt. Bourgeau, 9487 feet, by J. J. McArthur.
Storm Mt., 10,330, by St. Cyr.
Fatigue Mt., near Simpson Pass, 9667, by J. J. McArthur.-
Wind Mt., near Canmore, 10,100, by St. Cyr.
North   end  of  Castle   Mt.   Ridge,   9546,   by J.   J.
Station south of Mt Hector, 9830, by J. J. McArthur.
Station north of Mt. Hector, 9885, by J. J. McArthur.
Panther Mt(Lat. 510 31,' Long. 1150 40' W.), 9565, by
J. J. McArthur.
Peak north of Cascade Mt. (Lat  510 21' 30", Long.
1150 31'), 9560, by J. J. McArthur.
Bonnet Peak.   At headwaters of Cascade River and
Baker Creek, 10,260, by J. J. McArthur.
Peak  south-east from Hector station, 9525, by J. J.
Station 18 on North Branch Kicking Horse River, west
of Mt. Balfour, 10,400, by J. J. McArthur.
Mt. Owen, in Ottertail Range, 10,000, by J. J. McArthur.
Mt Aberdeen, 10,450, by L. F. Frissell, S. E. S. Allen,
and W. D. Wilcox.
Mt. Temple, 11,607, by L. F. Frissell, S. E. S. Allen,
and W. D. Wilcox.
Peak north of Little Fork Pass, 10,150, by W. Peyto
and W. D. Wilcox. uf'j i (
Cbe IRocMes of Canaba
1896. Mt Hector, 11,205, by P S. Abbot, C. E. Fay, and C.
S. Thompson.
I     Peak between the Saskatchewan and Athabasca rivers,
10,000, by R. L. Barrett and W. D. Wilcox.
1897. Mt Lefroy, 11,115, by J. N. Collie, H. B. Dixon, A.
Michael, C. E. Fay, C. L. Noyes, C. S. Thompson,
H. C. Parker, J. R. Vanderlip, and Peter Sarbach.
1 Mt. Victoria, 11,260, by J. N. Collie, A. Michael, C. E.
Fay, and P. Sarbach.
" Mt. Gordon, 10,600, by J. N. Collie, H. B. Dixon, A.
Michael, C. E. Fay, C. L. Noyes, C. S. Thompson,
H. C. Parker, G. P. Baker, and P. Sarbach.
" Mt. Sarbach, 11,100, by J. N. Collie, G. P. Baker, and
P. Sarbach.
1898. Mt. Balfour, 10,845, by C. S. Thompson, C. L. Noyes,
G. M. Weed.
Mt. Niles, 9700, by C. E. Fay and C. Campbell.
Athabasca Peak, 11,900, by J. N. Collie and H. Woolley.
Diadem Peak, 11,500, )   by J. N. Collie, H. Woolley,
The Dome, 11,600,    j        and H. E. M. Stutfield.
Thompson Peak, 11,000, by J. N. Collie, H. Woolley,
and H. E. M. Stutfield.
1899. Pope's Peak, 9825, by W. D. Wilcox.
1888. Mt  Bonney,   10,625  feet> by W.  S.   Green   and H.
I     Green's  Peak, 9700 feet,   by W.   S.  Green and  H.
1890. Mt. Sir Donald,  10,645 feet, by E. Huber, C.  Sulzer,
and H. Cooper.
"     Uto Peak, 9500 feet, by E. Huber, C. Sulzer.
I     Mt. Purity, 10,100 feet, by E. Huber, H. W. Topham,
and Mr. Foster.
I     Swiss Peak, 10,600 feet, by C. Sulzer and a porter.
Mt. Fox, 10,000 feet,    | by H. W. Topham and two
Mt. Donkin, 9700 feet, j porters.
I 1890. Mt. Sugar Loaf, 10,250 feet, by E. Huber, H. W. Topham, and Mr. Forster.
1893. Eagle Peak, 9200 feet, ] by S. E. S. Allen  and
Mt. Cheops, about 9000 feet, j        W. D. Wilcox.
1895. Mt. Castor, 9200 feet, by P. S.Abbot, C. S.Thompson,
and C. E. Fay.
1896. Mt. Rogers, 10,630 feet, by P. S. Abbot, G. T. Little,
and C. S. Thompson.
*       .,   I I 1       ) by H. B. Dixon, A.  Michael,
.897- Mt. Pollux, 9250 feet, I | R   Vanderli    c  jg N
The Dome, 9100 feet, f   | E Fay> and p Sarbach
1899. Mt. Dawson, 10,800 feet, by H. C. Parker, C. E. Fay,
Chr. Hasler, and E. Feuz.
mtwv  INDEX
Abbot, P. S., 245
Abbot's Pass, 249
Accident, a remarkable, 59
Allen, S. S., 95, 239
Alpine lakes, 108, 204
Alpine lily, 75
Appalachian Mountain Club, first ascents
of, 245
Aspen, poplar, 65
Assiniboines, a tribe of Indians, 284
Astley, W. J., 42, 248
Athabasca country, entrance of, 168
Athabasca Pass, the, 150
Athabasca Peak, view from, 253
Athabasca River, 171
source of, 174
August snow-storm, an, 198
Badger, whistling, 66
Baker, G. P., 251
Balsam, spruce, 62
Banff, 5
Banff, distance to Laggan, 43
Banff Springs Hotel, 7
Barrett, R. L., 70, 152, 264
Bath Creek, 251
Bay, the, 131, 132
Bears, occurrence of, 271
Bear story, an Indian, 291
Bighorn, 268
Birch, scrub, 16
Blaeberry valley, the, 191
Blind valley, 91
Blue-bells, 217
Bow River, fine fishing in, 274
Brett, Dr., 43
Bryant, Henry G., 98
Bryanthus, )6
Bull-dog fly, 21
Burnt timber of the Bow valley, 140
Calypso, 74
Cambrian formations, 235
Camp, a burnt timber, 79
a deserted prospector's, 221
breakfasts, 122
derivation of customs,
early morning in, 121
fires, best kind of, 134
fires, the Indian's, 134
in deep snow, 193
in Paradise Valley, 57
life, increasing popularity of, 115
making after a day's march,  118,
Camping trips, preparations for, 115
where to commence, 116
Canadian National Park, 5
Canadian Pacific Road, its commencement, 5
Canyon on the Upper Vermilion, 224
Carboniferous formations, 236
Cascade Mt., 237
Chickadees, 232
Chiefs of the Stonies, 285
Chiniquay, chief, 285
Chiniquay, Tom, 42, 285
Cold Water Lake, the, 144
Coleman and Stuart's journey to ML
Brown,  152
trail, 170
Collie, Dr. J. Norman, 249, 251
Colour effects at Lake Louise, 25
Colours of sunrise, 28
Columbine, the yellow, 15
Consolation Valley, 204 306
Continental divide, 99
Copper mine, near Eldon, 206
Cordillera, Pacific, its extent, 2
Cottonwood, 65
Courage, effect of cold on, 46
Cow-parsnip, 219
Cox, Ross, crosses the mountains, 151
Coyote, seen in high mountains, 213
Cross River, north fork of, 94
Cycles, in abundance of game, 259
Death Trap, the, 246, 249
Delta of Lake Louise, 18
Denny, a pack-horse, 132, 133
DeSmet, a missionary, 259
Desolation Range, 223
Desolation Valley, 197
view of, from Mt. Temple, 245
Devil's Club, the, 180
Devil's Gap, 8
Devil's Lake, 8
Devonian formations, 236
Discovery of a pass between  the Saskatchewan and Athabasca, 167
Dolomites, 236
Douglas, David, the botanist, 151
Douglas fir, 2, 11, 65, 283
Dryas, a rosaceous plant, 178
Ducks, species of, 272
Edwards, Ralph, 84, 86
Edwin, the Gold Seeker, 13, 288
Effect of cold on courage, 46
Environment of Lake Louise, 33
Epilobium (fireweed), several species of,
Extent of the Canadian Rockies, 4
Fairview Mt., 54
height above Lake Louise, 19
Fay, Prof. Charles E., 245
Fireweed, several species of, 60
Fish, in Upper Bow Lake, 146
Fishing in Canadian mountains, 273
opportunities for, 279
Flowers near Lake Louise, 15
Fool-hen, 125
Forest fire in Bear Creek valley, 154
Forest fires, cause of, 157
extent of, 157
prehistoric, 159
rate of progress of, 158
Forests of the Canadian Rockies, 61
Fortress Lake, 172
east end of, 173
no fish in, 273
west end of, 178
Forty-mile Creek, remarkable lake in, 179
Frissell, Lewis, 34, 41, 243
Game in the Canadian mountains, 258
Ghost River, 8
Glacial mud from Lake Louise, 19
Glacial period, 236
Glacier Lake, 184
Glissade, a strange, 50
Gnats, grey, 216
Goat meat, how to serve it, 264
Goat, Rocky Mountain, 259
abundance near Lake Louise, 266
curious experience with, 278
incident with a young, 265
Green, Dr. W. S., 256
Grouse, various species of, 272
Guides, absence of, 117
Healy, Joe, 288
Healy's Creek, 72
Hector station, 233
Heights, comparative, of mountain systems, 3
Henderson, Yandell, 34
Horses, pitiful state of, 194
Howse Pass, the, 148
origin of name, 190
Huts of trappers, 237
Indian pony, 290
nature of, 130
origin of, 130
Indian, sarcasm, 53
trailing, remarkable, 138
village at Morley, 283
•Indians, Stony, 281
great hunters, 272
Iron spring on the Vermilion, 224
Kananaskis lakes, 279 Labrador tea, 15
Lake Agnes, 37
Lake Aline, 80, 108
Lake Louise, colour of water, cause of, 19
daily rise and fall of wind at, 23
first visitors to, 13
general description of,
ice melts from, 23
location, 12
origin of name, 13
temperature of water, 20
Landslide, a tremendous, 106
Larch, LyalPs, 6^
Larvae of insects in water, 216
Lily, Alpine, late blossoming of, 223
Little Beehive, view from, 38
Little Fork Pass, the, 147
Little Fork valley, description of, 160
Little, Prof. G. T.,246
Loon, 29
Lower Bow Lake, 142
Lusk, Tom, 153, 213
Lyall's larch, 63
limits of growth of, 63, 64
McArthur, 238, 245
Mackenzie, Alexander, 150
Maps of the mountains, 117
Marching through the mountains, 1:
Marmot, hoary, 66
Parry's, 82
whistle of, 37
Michael, Prof. Arthur, 249
Middle fork of the Saskatchewan, 183
Minnewanka Lake, 8
largest fish caught in, 278
Mitre, a mountain, 45
Mitre col, view from, 47, 48
Moraine Lake, description of, 199
fishing in, 202, 276
name given to, 199
Morley station, 282
Mosquitoes, varieties of, 20
Mount Aberdeen, first ascent of, 243
Alberta, 255
Assiniboine,  a  gathering-place
storms, 109
distance round its base, 96
first journey round, 86
first view of, 81
general description of, no
location of, 69
measurement of, 85
named by Dr. Dawson, 69
nature of surrounding valleys, 82
partial ascent of, 108
second visit to,
south side of, 93
various routes to, 111, 112
Balfour, 142
first ascended, 251
Ball, 215
Brown, 150
Bryce, named by Collie, 254
Columbia, 255
Deltaform, 221, 256
south side of, 223
Fairview, 251
Forbes, description of, 252
fine view of, 188
Goodsir, 228, 257
height of, 250
Hector, first attempt on, by surveyors, 238
view from, 245
Hooker, 150
measurements of, 175
Hungabee, 60, 221, 225
nature of, 256
Lefroy, avalanche from, 29
fatal accident on, 248
first ascent of, 249
first attempt on, 246
Lyell, 253
Murchison, 188
height of, 253
St. Piran, 251
Sarbach, first ascent of, 251
Sir Donald, two ascents of, 235
Stephen, first ascent of, 238
two ascents of, 235
Temple, 51, 55
an impassable barrier of, 241
north face of, 240
summit of, 244 3o8
Mount Vaux, 228, 257
Victoria, 14
height of, by barometer, 250
partial ascent of, 239
south side of, 232
summit of, 250
Mountain ash, 219
Mountain climbing in the Rockies, 234
Mountains, height of, in Canada, 235
Muir, John, description of wild sheep, 269
Mules, intelligence of, 130
not used in Canadian Rockies, 113
Muskegs, 142
accident in, 153
North fork of the Saskatchewan, 161
North-west Mounted Police, 5
October at Lake Louise, 27
O'Hara Lake, colour of water, 232
general description of, 233
origin of name, 232
Orchis, the round-leafed, 74
Oregon grape, the, 180
Ottertail River, 228
Packing up, in camp, 122
Paradise Valley, 54
Peechee, an Indian guide, 9
Peecock, Ross, 197
Peyto, Bill, 72, 222, 251, 252
a character sketch, 119
experience on the Pipestone, 135
Pica, 66
Pilot Mountain, 38
Pine, 6^
Pine bullfinch, remarkable tameness of,
Pinnacle Mountain, 241
Pinto, a pack-horse, 131, 135
Pipestone Pass, 253
Plains of Canada, 1
Porcupine, 66
traits of, 218
Porter, J. F., 70
Potentilla, 200
Prospectors, terrible experience of, 136
Prospector's Valley, 224
Ptarmigan, 273
Rafting, on Fortress Lake, 176
on the Bow, 222
Rainy Valley, 220
Rat, mountain, 66
Raven, 171
Red-bellied ground squirrel, 82
Rhododendron, 16, 203
Riel rebellion, 284
Rock-falls near Moraine Lake, 201
Rogers's explorations, 72
Rundle, a Methodist missionary, 282
Saddle, the, 54
St. Cyr ascends Storm  Mountain and
Wind Mountain, 238
Sarbach, Peter, a Swiss guide, 249, 251
Saskatchewan River, in flood, 214
size of, 160
Selkirk Range, first climbing in, 256
rock formations, 235
Sheep, Rocky Mountain, 268
rare experience with, 271
where found, 269
Siffleur Valley, 256
Simpson, Pass, altitude of, 74
River, source of, 84
Sir George, 9
valley, nature of, 76
rapid descent into, 105
upper part of, 106
Snow-slides, effects of, 219, 229
near Moraine Lake, 201
Snow-storm in August, 198
in summer, 100
Spray lakes, large fish of the, 277
Spruce, balsam, 62
white, 62
Steele, Louis J., 98
Stephens, Fred, 153, 264
Stony Indians, 281
courage of, 293
education of, 285
moral traits of, 286
New Year's celebrations of, 292
origin of, 259
superstitions among, 287
treaty with, 283
Stony Indian women, 289  Ill
If  Ilia
ft,  if ft;
ik  ep sh
I ill
I   30
Showing the rivers and indian trails so fer-asknown
JDnrvsons Jieconnaisscmcemap, Map gr GBBaJcer and. J.JVbrnuzn, ColZCe-.
Map compHocfby CJLJYoyesfrom, trorlc oflf.O.Parher and, C.S. Thompson,.
JWaps or the Canadian. Tbpographic Survey, and, sketches of the savcrces of
theVervrvlJXaTisCmj&SpTvtyfi&ersan&TtclxvityofMtJtesi^ tyWalte.rD.J?iilcox.
^i^^jfSS OlovoCer-s.
'*• Jrixtuxn, IrwiZs.
— rOOerfbdla.
X&-*CoTn?>iljt^vrx&>Xrxv*^WD.W.Crorii.n.WxMh'>-J>C> 3Q
51 jie'js'w
of the LA K E LO U IS E region s
the Summit Range of the Canadian
SCALE    1   AND    1-2    INCH   -   I


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