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Showing posts from August, 2011

Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August 31, 1908

Swift Camp. Monday Aug. 31. Laid over, and W. spent the morning taking the shoes off the horses.M. and I ambled back and forth between our house and the Swift shack, as Mrs. S. was finishing a buckskin coat embroidered with silk work for M., and it had to be tried on a good many times.The old man came over to our camp fire in the evening and edified us with lurid tales of the days in the ‘70s in Wyoming when the Deadwood stage was held up regularly every night, and the “bullion wagon” was robbed even in the daytime; and “Wild Bill”, “Persimmon Bill,” “The Lone Star” etc., ran around shooting up the towns.We sat gaping and petrified or else struggling to smother our giggles, for his language was sometimes even more lurid than the stories he was telling.We decided that Swift’s yarns were quite near enough the real thing for us, and that is was just as well we had not become better acquainted with Bill Spitel of the stubby red beard (he has a red complexion according to Swift) for Swift sa…

Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August 30, 1908

Caledonia Camp. Sunday, Aug. 30. No one up till 8 o’clock as it rained till then.Clearing afterwards with occasional rather fierce showers.M. and I stated out at 10.30 ahead of the outfit so as to have time to stop at Henry House for photos.Just before we got there, came upon Mrs. Swift with Lettie and they baby, she was out after gooseberries.Reached Swift’s about 2 P. M. and of course the old man appeared upon the scene soon and stayed until nearly 5 o’clock.We learned from him that the Coleman party had gone up to climb Mt. Robson – Dr. C’s. brother and Mr. Kinney.They were with the bunch of Indians that Mr. Lister’s man reported as having gone past Dominion Prairie – Crees from here though, not the Shuwaps as he said.And they were to take him up Moose River to the back of Robson. We knew, of course, that that was where the bunch had gone by the fences and marks on the trail, but concluded it was just for hunting.Swift says Coleman was here and left Monday the 17th., so it is hardly …

Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August 29, 1908

Boulder Creek Camp. Saturday, Aug. 29. Off at 9.30.3½ hrs. drive.Weather more threatening and light showers during day.We kept to the high water trail, as the other does not seem to be anything extra good anyway, according to the accounts we have heard of it.Met an outfit as we were getting down toward the Ath valley. Bugler acted as if it was a bear when he first caught sight of them, gave a leap to one side and took a violent “sachez” at a tangent off into to the bush.They looked like prospectors – two weather beaten old stagers, and a boy bringing up the rear, wearing a straw hat.As they passed M. and me, one of the men said “Hello fellows.Oh – ladies! – Excuse me!”We camped at the same place as coming up.Rain began in earnest at supper time and it poured all night. There are still beavers up the Miette.Saw lots of fresh cuttings – one tree cut and fallen right across the trail.

Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August, 1908

Dominion Prairie Camp. Friday, Aug. 28. At breakfast at the late hour of 8.30 W. explained the weird sounds we heard last night.He was at the Chicago Kid’s camp when Mr. Lister left us, and said Mr. L. came over there afterwards and they chewed the rag a long time.His report of the inside track conservation, and plans and methods of prospectors as such, was edifying.We got off at 10.30 feeling pleased and cheerful because we are leaving everybody behind.The Chicagoman told us they had some “quartz” somewhere in this vicinity they were going to stake, and Mr. L. is still waiting for the party with the expert who is to pass judgement on the graphite, which they all know is no good, but which he hopes to sell to a company for two million all the same. Camped on the same place on Boulder Creek at 1.45 – 3¼ hrs.Cold evening, as if surely going to clear off this time.

Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August 27, 1908

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Yellowhead Lake II Camp. Thursday, Aug. 27. Over the Yellowhead Pass again today.4½ hrs. drive.Weather trying to clear up every day, but never quite succeeding.When we reached Dominion Prairie we thought at first there was no one camped there, but just as we came to the crossing of the creek there was Mr. Lister’s little squatty green tent among the big trees and rocks close to the stream, and the younger of his two French Canadians.We crossed to our old camp on the other side, and our Chicago friends followed.U. went back in the afternoon to hear the news.Mr. L. was off hunting for the day, but he gleaned a few items from the broken English of the pop-eyed little Fr. Canadian.Dr. Coleman has not gone up to Robson Pk yet – no outfit has gone up over the pass except 3 teepees of Indians, probably the Tete Jaune Cache bunch, and the two prospectors whose tent was there when we were here before, have gone back down the Athabasca.They got a caribou up near the head of the Miette.Mr. Lister …

Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August 26, 1908

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Moose River Camp. Wednesday, Aug. 26. Still cloudy and threatening, but not raining, so everyone moved out.We did not get out till 10.30 and the other outfit still a little later.After 5½ hrs. drive camped on Yellowhead lake not quite so far up as our camp on the downward trip. Very little rain during the day.Cooler and trying to clear in evening.

Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August 25, 1908

Moose River Camp. Tuesday, Aug. 25. Rain, Laid over.Fresh snow on the mts.we are hoping Dr. Coleman is not trying to climb Robson Pk. these days.M. got a bang on the leg yesterday as Nibs jumped a log and it swelled pretty fiercely, so she was just as glad to have a day off to give it a chance.The other people laid over too.They are a queer pair to be prospecting out here – Mr. Sommer has a hardware store in Chicago, which his brother is at present managing, and Mr. Kaeke is book keeper for two breweries.They are both married and have not heard from their wives since about the middle of April, and won’t get home till November.And they apparently think of lighting out again for 6 months next year – a little prospecting trip down the Yukon about two thousand miles by canoe, or if the assays of the stuff they have picked up in this region are good, they may be back here again.

Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August 24, 1908

Moose Lake Camp. Monday Aug. 24. We made the long drive today past the lake etc., in 6½ hrs.Started wearing slickers on account of wet brush, but soon shed them as it partly cleared and was pretty dryish until we almost reached the upper end of the lake, when it rained gently again for a while.Thought we should get into camp dry, but no such luck.As we were passing the sloughs above the lake, a black ragged edge cloud came straight down the valley toward us.I prepared for the worst as we rode along by sneaking on the slicker pants, tying the camera on under the coat, pinning it up tight at the neck and cinching up the wrists, and putting my hat elastic under my chin.And none too soon, in a few minutes we were in the midst of rain, hail, thunder and lightning, and gales of wind.It whistled through the trees as it does through the rigging of a ship in a gale at sea, and then of course the dead trees began to come crashing down.One fell across the trail a little way in front of us, but we …

Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August 23, 1908

Swift Current Camp. Sunday, Aug. 23. Cloudy morning and began to rain before packing was done, so we started out wearing slickers although the chances were we should see the prospectors as we passed.Their horses did cross the river on them, Mr. K. was up after them quite early and said he had to swim for it.They grinned cheerfully as we rode past their camp, and Mr. Sommer (“The Chicago Kid” which he said was his only name while in Alaska), said they would soon be with us again, as they had decided to go on to Dominion Prairie, horse feed being so poor at the Grand Fork.M. assured them there was good feed a little way up, but they did not seem to care about it, so we shall probably have the pleasure of their company for several days, as all outfits have to camp at about the same places along this road.We made the drive to Moose Lake Camp in 5½ hrs. – rain most of the way.I had not realized how much brush we scrubbed through till it was dripping wet and poured quarts of water on us as we…

Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August, 1908

Swift Current Camp. Saturday, Aug. 22. We started off gaily after breakfast with just saddle horses to up the Grand Fork to the lake at the base of Robson Pk.Saw be the tracks that the Indian berry pickers from the Cache had been up there recently.Came to a camp where we recognized the style of fireplace as Dr. Coleman’s.He tried to get to Robson this way first last year, so Mr. Reading said, found it could not be climbed from this side, then tried to go up behind the Rainbow Mts. from farther up the river, but the snow came and stopped him.The Grand Fork valley grows narrow and steep sided a few miles up, but we found a very bad trail blazed leading up along the side which we followed, doing some great log jumping, until it stopped short in a windfall.I stopped short too, and reposed myself in a berry patch near the horses, while the others crawled away somewhat further, but did not see anything much worth while, and the thermometer was 86°, the sun blazing and the bugs were all there …

Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August 21, 1908

Tete Jaune Cache. Friday, Aug. 21. We hit the pike, homeward bound, at 9:30 after, of course, an affectionate farewell, photos taken, etc.Made quicker time than going down – 5 hrs. took us just across Swift Current River, where we camped.Northern lights again in the evening, this time rays going straight up from the horizon.

Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August 20, 1908

Tete Jaune Cache. Thursday, Aug. 20. Laid over today to give the horses and ourselves a rest after the hard road we have been travelling so long – and we have to go straight back over it again. W. does not cease to wish for an air ship, and is occasionally heard to exclaim in the most heartfelt tone “oh Lord, I wish I were ten thousand miles from here!” Visitors dropped in during the morning, Mr. Reading and Mr. Finch. They took us for a gentle stroll to see the ruins of what may be the original Tete Jaune cache – two heaps of stones which might once have been chimneys and a slight ridge on the ground which might have been a banked up foundation of a shack – all overgrown with brush. And a little way off in the thick woods some cribwork of very old rotting logs enclosing a space perhaps 8 ft. square, a good deal larger than any cache an Indian would build nowadays, as if it might really be it. It was about a hundred years ago that the Yellowhead had his cache. We stopped on the way back …

Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August 19, 1908

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Robson Park Camp Wednesday, Aug 19 Off at 8.15 and had the usual 6 hrs. drive over a trail not too bad in spots, with five views of Robson Pk, behind us at first, but after a bend in the Fraser R., when it was supposed to be only 5 miles more to the Cache, we went on for hours, everything very monotonous – scenery, a straight, rather deep sided valley – trail, climbing up and down rocky bumps and through dark sided valley – trail, climbing up and down rocky bumps and through dark alder thicket mud holes – weather hot, sun blazing fiercely, M. and I stopping at every brook and drinking 4 rubber cups of water apiece each time. It has been clear and getting hotter ever since we left Swift’s, hardly a cloud in the sky at all. I think everyone was glad when the trail finally went around the last bend and into the big valley and we at last struck the town. M. and I were a little scared, too, thinking of the roughs and toughs of all descriptions landing in here from all directions. We first sa…

Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August 18, 1908

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Grand Forks Monday Aug. 18. Mr. Barra was off before we were up, as he means to make the Cache tonight, a distance of 23 miles in a straight line according to McEvoy. We started at 9 and travelled only 6 hrs. to the Grand Fork. The trail was not so bad as yesterday, although it had quite a few places which would seem queer to the tenderfoot. We were expecting something quite sporty, as McEvoy says “at one place the trail is forced to seek a passage by a narrow foothold scooped out of the face of the crumbling rock overhanging the river”, but the Grand Trunk people must have done some improving along there, for although it certainly is a precipitous rock face, the footing is perfectly good and the trail a foot or more wide. The first glimpse of Robson Peak was quite surprising, to me, although I was looking for it to appear just where it did at any moment, for we were coming around the last shoulder between us and the Grand Fork valley, but it looked so astonishingly near and so glaring …

Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August 17, 1908

Moose River Camp Monday Aug. 17. Started at 9:15. 7 ½ hrs. drive; bad trail, but going steadily all the time. Reached the upper end of Moose Lake at 10:45, a long chain sloughs above it. Took 4½hrs. to get to the foot of the lake – 7 ½ miles long. Swift had told us what a very pretty lake it was, but we did not think it anything wonderful, and it seemed about twenty seven and a half miles long before we saw the end of it – an awful trail on the horses, hardly a step they took but was on rocks or rolling stones, except when we had to cross deep mud holes. According to McEvoy we made 12 miles in a straight line. Mr. Barra said he reckoned the drive about 18 miles. We camped at the first and only available feed. Mr. R. had told us where we should find it, and of course they camped there too. They started before us, but we passed them where they had stopped for dinner, and got to camp about half an hour before them. We had lunch and supper in one, and M. went to bed at 7:15 p.m., rousing en…

Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August 16, 1908

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Yellowhead Lake Camp. Sunday Aug 16 Heard the coyotes again dimly through my dreams at crack of dawn. We got started at 9.10 AM; the Indians had not left when we passed their camp. They are just the people we needed to meet. One of them knows all the Athabasca and Brazean trails, the other the B.C. ones. The latter said “don’t try to go west of the Cache with horses or you will be sorry” which was a comfort to us, as we could not if we wanted to this trip. The other, who speaks English the best, says there is a trail from the Brazean straight to the upper end of Maligne Lake – a dim trail, hard to find, and you don’t see Brazean Lake from it at all, it les to the N.E of Br. L., mostly above the timber line. He does not know the trail said to come from Maligne L. To Buffalo Prairie. They seem to be prospectors, from the tools they carry –though of course they would not say so. They came in here from the Canoe River by a valley the other side of this lake, and around the head of it – and …

Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August 15, 1908

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Dominion River Camp. Saturday, Aug. 15. An. 3750 ft.Partly cloudy and very slight showers early in A. M.Off at 8.30.4½ hrs.The Lister camp at breakfast as we passed.Mr. L gave M. a piece of graphite, but it does not look like any I ever saw before.We reached the summit of Yellowhead Pass about 10.15.It is only 3723 ft., and covered with tall, thick spruce timber.The Miette does not head from the pass, but from a valley to the north; neither does the Fraser, it comes from a valley s.w. of Yellowhead Lake and heads somewhere up behind Mt. Geikie.Yellowhead Lake, or the creek which flows from into it, does come nearly from the pass.The lake, 4 miles long, lies at the base of Yellowhead Mt., 9000 ft. high.It is rather pleasing, but nothing to write home about.The timber is already much larger, only a few miles over the divide, Douglas spruces, 2 to 3 ft. thick, being common.We camped near the lower end of the lake, about 12.45, in a place which seemed at first very free from flies, but they…

Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August 14, 1908

Boulder Creek Camp. Friday, Aug. 14. 3½ hrs. travel.Camped at Deer Creek on the “prairie.”Trail something like yesterday, but not quite so bad.At 5 P.M. an outfit came riding into camp – Mr. Lister – they left Swift’s the day after us, and did in two days what we took three for.Their horses are in bad shape, however.They are going to stay here a day or two, as it seems their graphite is up this break.There is also another camp across the creek from us – two prospectors – their tent is shut up at present, however.W. and U. found a log and went over visiting after supper, and heard all the gossip gathered from the various outfits.There are said to be some tourists at the Cache, who came there from the west, so we are thinking that if we should meet them and find they came in with no special difficulty, we shall be “booting ourselves” for leaving our grub at Swift’s.Prof. Coleman is supposed to be on his way here from Edmonton, to climb Mt. Robson, his outfit was waiting at Lake St. Anne f…

Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August 13, 1908

Caledonia Camp. Thursday, Aug. 13. We were 4 hrs. on the trail and camped at a place which McEvoy says is 8 miles in a straight line from the mouth of the Miette.There are two trails, one to use at low water and one at high water.The low one is best when the river is fordable, and we meant to take it as one outfit has been over it already, but found ourselves on the high trail before we knew it.We thought we must be on it, and knew it when an outfit passed on the other side of the river.We had been told there was a Grand Trunk outfit coming on the way to Edmonton.The trail is pretty bad for one that is used so much, very rocky, and mud holes in spots.Swift told us there was one very bad place where the horses had to jump down 3 ft., and if they jump a little too far they go over a cliff.We did not think it too bad as compared to some we had seen elsewhere, but there were bones of the horses who had gone over at the foot of the cliff.A scrubby camp as usual, in burnt timber.M. got a lot …

Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August 12, 1908

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Swift Camp. Wednesday, Aug. 12. We packed our three duffle bags with the three children watching every motion.They don’t speak much English.Mr. Swift says the boy, Dean, speaks the most, but he could not be induced to say a word to us, even when we made him a present of an old red necktie, and tied it around his neck.I wondered how he came to be named so appropriately “Dean Swift”, but we found it was for a pal of Mr. Swift’s, “Jack Dean.”The whole population saw us off, of course, and Mr. Lister rode along with us, not intending to go far, but eventually went all the way to the mouth of the Miette, 3½ hrs, where we camped, and stayed “gassing” most of the afternoon.We may run across him again somewhere up near the pass or beyond.He is going as far as the Tete Jaune Cache, about 15 miles beyond the Grand Forks, which is where we go for Mt. Robson. We met John Moberly and family of squaw and 8 kids, who live in the shack on the other side of the river where we crossed.He has been hunting …

Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August 11, 1908

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Moberly Camp. Tuesday, Aug. 11.
We decided to move up and camp near Swift’s today, as his accounts of B.C. trails made us give up the idea of going in by way of the big bend of the Columbia to Donald, or any of the other ways in that direction, so we shall have to come back here on the way home, and can leave part of our grub in his store house.When we arrived in sight of the shack there seemed to be a great many people running around, especially small boys, but really there was only one boy, younger than the two girls we had seen yesterday.Perhaps he seemed so plenty because he was trying to express his joy at our coming.They said that when the girls, Lottie and Ida, came back last night and told him they had seen two white women, he wept and wailed and reproached them bitterly for not sending for him to come and see the strange beings too.They say that several years ago there were two white women who went up the other side of the river with Fred Stephens, but we are the first to come …

Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August 10, 1908

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Henry House Camp. Monday, Aug. 10. We started about 8 o’clock not knowing at all how far we should get – to the head of the Maligne gorge anyway.The trail they had worked out up along the edge of the gorge was rather an effective one.It went along the top of a high sharp ridge forming one side, sometimes climbing a precipitous bit which looked as you saw it ahead, like going up a ladder into nothing.The other side for the first mile or so was a more gentle slope.The upper part was very deep, 150 ft. in places, and very narrow, the sides almost touching sometimes, in one spot only held apart by some broken pieces which are wedged in.It was just there that U. put his log across.The span of his bridge was 15 or 20 ft., and it was at one of the deepest parts of the canyon.The greater part of the water must be in underground channels above the gorge, for the volume of water is many times greater below than above, and at some places we could see it apparently gushing out from the sides.We cro…

Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August 9, 1908

Henry House Camp. Sunday, Aug. 9. Waked up to hear thunder and rain on the tent – small and vary local showers.M. and I presently rose up in our bags and sat looking at each other.We thought we heard a voice!It sounded like a man calling from a distance, with his voice pitched high to make it carry far.We heard it three times, and not hearing anyone come running out from the other tent, M. put on her (my) shoes and crawled out under the bug net with the field glasses.Presently I heard her call to W. and ask him if he heard someone shouting – and a scornful voice “naw – it’s only a coyote.”So we tried to go to sleep again, feeling rather small, but it did not sound like the coyotes I heard in New Mexico, and M. had never heard one before.After breakfast W. and U. went off on a chopping bout up to the canyon and M. and I got busy in the kitchen where we are not allowed on pain of death when the professor is there.We made a bannock first; could not remember how much flour to start with, an…

Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August 8, 1908

Rock Bluff Camp
Saturday, Aug. 8.
I was waked at 5.10 A.M by footsteps at our front door, and opened my eyes to see a shadow picture of U and Pinto going by.We thought him getting in so early did not look as if the quest had been successful, and W. told us a tale of woe at breakfast, U. having gone to have a sleep.He found a good trail, leading into the river and out the other side.The water was clear and harmless looking, just as it was where he tried it before at the outlet of the lake; and it treated him in just about the same way, tipped them over and he and Pinto got a bath in the Athabasca instead of walking out on the other shore of the Maligne.So then he tied up Pinto and went around by the canyon by falling a tree across the narrow part, finding it an unexpectedly long and difficult way, but possible to get horses around with a good deal of cutting.Having found out this much, and Pinto having been already tied up quite some few hours, he started to return to him.He was then qui…

Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August 7, 1908

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Miette Camp. Friday, Aug. 7. A warm morning.When I woke and looked out there were already swarms of sand flies jigging around in the sunshine outside our bug net.Smudges for the horses again while they were tied up and being saddled.We got away at 9 o’clock.Black Bess was in rather a bucky mood; not an unusual circumstance (perhaps M’s. washrag which she chewed up and swallowed the greater part of before breakfast, lay heavy on her conscience), but we were thankful she was toward the rear of the procession when we met a hornet’s nest on our way up the back of the rock bluff.It was at a pretty bad place – we had climbed up a steepish hill and were coasting along doing the sidehill-gouger act, on a steep shaly slope, which dropped off a little below us in a cliff right down into the river.W. was leading Dandy, who suddenly began to jump around in a way which was decidedly disconcerting, considering how near he was to the edge of nothing, and how easy it would be to slip down to it, and co…