Mountain Nature and Culture Podcast
About This Show
This podcast explores the natural and human history of the Canadian Rockies as well as its attractions and culture. We'll look at the ecology and wildlife, as well as the plants and birds that make the Canadian Rockies home. Looking back through our history, we'll share the stories behind the scenery. This is the place for all things Rockies.
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054 Frozen feet at Christmas, new wolf pack forming, 10 New Year Resolutions, and what determines success in Grizzly translocations
3 days ago
Home for Christmas - Tom Wilson has a close call So, what would you be willing to endure to make it home for Christmas In these modern times? These days trips home usually involve expensive plane fares or long drives on winter roads made safer by winter tires, interior heaters, and modern clothing. What if you were faced with a 112 km snowshoe trek on an unbroken trail in a blizzard - you know, just like your parents told you what it was like to walk to school in the days of yore! Well, Tom Wilson was more than just a mountain man. He was the personal assistant of "Hells Bells Rogers" during his railroad surveys through the Rockies and later started the first guiding operation in the mountains. In December of 1904, Tom was determined to be home for Christmas dinner with his family. His route began at Kootenay Plains where he had his horse ranch. Today it's located along the David Thompson Highway east of the Saskatchewan River Crossing in Alberta. His route would have followed the Siffleur River Valley up and over Pipestone Pass. He then followed the Pipestone River towards its confluence with the Bow River, and then followed the Bow into Banff. He wasn't the first to follow that route. In August of 1859, James Hector of the Palliser Expedition had passed this way. He wrote in his journal: "After camping to the south of the pass, “…opposite to a waterfall which forms the source of Pipe Stone Creek, and where the stream leaps and rushes down a gutter-like channel, from a height of 450 feet,” they set out to, “ascend to the height of land by a steep rocky path that led at some places close by snow that was still lying from last winter. After five miles we got above the woods, and passed over a fine sloping prairie, with big bald mountains on either side. Plants with esculent roots were very abundant here, and many parts of the sward looked as if it had been ploughed, where the bears had been rooting them up like pigs….Two miles further we passed over a bleak bare “divide,” where there was no vegetation, and elevated about 2000 feet above last night’s encampment.” Others had also passed that way. They included Normal Collie, Hugh Stutfield, and Herman Wooley in 1898 as they headed north on an expedition that saw them discovering the Columbia Icefields. Just a few months after Hector had passed through, the Earl of Southesk, James Carnegie, also traversed the pass. These men