Mollie Adams Diary of her Journey in the Canadian Rockies, August 19, 1908
Robson Park Camp
Wednesday, Aug 19Off 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 saw a few teepees, drying racks, etc., on the other side of the river – the half breed settlement. Then we came out in a clearing where there was a shack and two tents. Mr. Barra and Martin were there, and Mr. B. jumped up and took off his hat most politely as we filed in. A casual glance took in other men sitting at the tent doors, very villainous looking creatures, and a few squaws standing around. They seemed to expect us to pitch our tents right beside theirs, but W. led the way up to a little open flat behind the town where they said Indians usually camped when they came here. We thought we had struck the limit all right this time. We had been told by Swift that the man who kept the store here, Mr. Reading, was from Philadelphia – one for M. to chin with. The one who was spokesman as we passed through the town was a slouchy looking man with a red beard, we wondered if he was it, and before camp was fixed up, we found he was, for he came up and made us a present of an enormous trout caught that morning. We passed the time of day and found him a very mild individual. One of the other long haired, unshaven brigands stalked by presently and said gently, “good afternoon ladies,” so we decided that they were probably not as fierce as they looked, and that we no doubt looked just as tough to them as they did to us – our boys had not shaved for over a week and the fringe on their trouser legs is getting very long; and M. and I are certainly strange specimens of “white women” both as to complexion and costume. We have worn skirts ever since we crossed the Athabasca. After lunch M. went prowling out with her camera and came back with all the news and gossip. Of course she and Mr. Reading found they had lots of mutual acquaintances in Phila. And she invited him and his partner, Mr. Finch, to supper. The other two men are from Chicago, they are apparently out just for fun, or perhaps prospecting. The Indians are all away except a few squaws, hunting in the mountains for their winter supply of meat. The squaws have got in their winter supply of berries, and are drying them new. We saw a queer arrangement hung on the racks as we came by and couldn’t think what it was. There is a dug out canoe on the river, and Mr. Barra is camped on the other side, we had grouse for supper. W. got 5 on the road today, and we had one from yesterday. Our guests were so extra polite that they took off their hats when we sat down on the ground at the pack mantle to feed. But they are both very bald and the mosquitoes pitched in so unmercifully that they had to give up such frills pretty quickly. Mr. Reading says that as far as he knows we are the first white women to be here – Martin had said there was an Englishman and his wife went from Edmonton to Kamloops through here 5 years ago, with their two children carried as side packs on a pack horse. Mr. Barra had not mentioned the great news that we were on the road, so he said they had to look several times before they could believe their eyes when we “blew into camp.” Of course everyone turns out to see who it is when they hear an outfit coming.
A Slippery Spot on the Fraser, Moore Family Fonds,
Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies (V439 / PS - 54)