Monday, March 23, 2009
LIFE OF MY FATHER - 26
IN MY FATHER'S OWN WORDS
The Edmonton Journal published a small part of my father's log for his Vancouver trip. His description of crossing the Howse Pass on foot on the British Columbia side follows:
"By JOHN DARIMONT
After having supper and packing everything, I sat in the car and listened to CJCA which came booming in.
June 17 dawned clear and the forecast was for a hot day. Everything went as expected until I arrived at Breaker Creek at 9:50, about five miles along the way. Here I found a considerable creek which was in flood and which required to be crossed.
I took off my shoes and stockings and rolled up my pants as high as I could and put on my crepe sole shoes. I made an attempt to cross but found that the flow of water was too strong to permit me to retain my balance. At this point I almost decided to go back. However, after a bit of reflection, I decided to try using a stout pole as a brace against the large rocks.
In this way I managed to cross the three channels which made up this little river. The water was up to my knees and ice cold. I then took my pants off and wrung them out.
The going was extremely tough and I was lucky to be able to make a mile in an hour. At 3:30 p.m. I reached the approximate point where I had stopped when coming over the pass and turned back. I realized that I might not reach my car before dark.
The return trip was marred by several accidents. The first was that my trousers split down the seam and before I had gone many more minutes it split fore and aft. This was rather uncomfortable when I had to slide down some bushes or a rocky slope.
The second accident was that I somehow lost my bear warning tin. However, I had my whistle and I hung it around my neck so as not to lose it. At one point I came upon a large grey goose which pretended that it was injured to draw me away from her nest, I suppose.
I reached Breaker Creek at 9:15 and was quite tired and bruised. I made preparations to cross over as before but noticed that the water was quite a bit higher, probably due to the hot weather. I made an attempt but when I found I could not stand upright decided to try elsewhere.
I walked about a mile upstream in the hope that there might be a better crossing or that some large tree trunk could be used as a bridge. Nothing good in this direction.
I decided to look over the stream on the downstream side at its confluence with the Blaeberry. Here I found that the water had spread out a bit and thus was worth attempting fording. I started across and managed to cross about a third of the foaming water when I realized that I was now at the main channel.
I started across and almost made it, but at the last moment I lost my balance and felt myself falling. I grabbed the nearest branch that I was able to reach as I fell flat in the water and thus was safely across. I took off my clothes and wrung them out and put on my spare shoes which were not thoroughly soaked and started the last five miles to the car.
By this time it was beginning to get dark and in the heavy timber it was very difficult to see. I knew that if I walked two miles along the river I could then strike at right angles and climb up into the heavy timber and intercept the logging road... I hit the logging road right on the button.
I was so relieved that I decided to have some lunch so I sat down in the middle of the road and had the last boiled egg and a sandwich and, to hell with the bears, I had completely forgotten about them.
The remaining walk (three miles ) back to the car went off without incident and I reached the car to find everything in good shape at 1 a.m. I was so tired that I decided to drive back to Golden and take a motel for the night."
In the photos are:
1) Looking west from Nordegg, Alberta
2) and 3) the Blaeberry River