Category Archives: Flash Back Fridays

Flash Back Fridays!

JANET BRENCHLEY-KRUG summer of 1982

Janet was 21-years-old when she worked at the Lodge for four months in 1982. Following in her footsteps, her brother, Derrick Brenchley, came to work for the Lodge two years later.



Janet Brenchley-Krug (left) teaching knot tying

Janet Brenchley-Krug (left) teaching knot tying

I was an instructor/leader with school groups in May and June. During the summer, I led Adventure Camps, kayaking and canoeing courses, was a personal guide for families exploring the area, plus I did everything and anything that needed to be done. One of my favourite jobs was bat patrol up in the annex when we would go up with old tennis racquets to decrease the bat population. Lots of time was spent in the kitchen helping make Nancy’s wonderful scones and other breads. Making pancakes for 200 was a regular early morning task. I remember starting the day with espresso coffee and Grand Marnier. (Note from Myrna: ‘This is news to me’). Heart palpitations to say the least.
After leaving Strathcona, my next jobs were working for Black Feather/Trailhead also leading trips and selling outdoor equipment. I became a high school physical education teacher and loved to lead canoe trips and coach skiing. It has always been a dream to run a camp or Centre. I am currently teaching Mind Body classes at the Y and am a certified Pilates instructor.

My husband and I have fun get-togethers with Elizabeth Boulding , her husband Toby Hay, and their daughter Emma. Toby has been a godsend when completing woodworking projects and home renovations for my family. Toby has built and donated furniture every year for many years to raise money for two Wyndham House youth homes in Guelph.

Visions of a Cougar

cougarDuring the summer of 1982, it only rained a half dozen times during the four months I spent working as a skills instructor at the Lodge. I had arrived from the East with four sets of raingear, prepared to face the torrential downpours in the rain forests of the west coast. However in August, because of the poor visibility due to the smoke from the forest fire, we worked at perfecting the skill of taking a compass bearing across Upper Campbell Lake.
In July, I was having a lovely time leading an Adventure Camp of 8-10 year olds on an overnight hike along the Elk River trail. The external frame back packs were too big for these little tykes and bumped them in the back of the knees. I would have liked to cover a bit more distance but this crew would stop every ten metres to gape in awe at the big fat green and black slugs on the trail. Little people have a way of teaching us to appreciate the wonder of our surroundings. I was alone as the leader and struggled to keep this motley crew together. I had returned to hustle a straggler along and glanced over my shoulder along the trail in the direction we had come, and saw what I think was the back end of a cougar silently disappearing down the trail. It was a flash and I spent the next few minutes with my heart pounding wondering if I really had seen a cougar and feeling very vulnerable with six kids to look after. Needless to say, I kept my little band on a bit shorter tether and in my sights if possible. I replayed the vision over and over in my head of the hind quarters of that cat. We only went a few kilometres that summer day. I never mentioned the cougar to my campers and let them continue to happily gawk at the slugs and munch on salmon berries.

A New Flower Planter for the Deck

Jim Boulding was larger than life, an inspiring but intimidating boss to work for. On my first day off at the Lodge, a group of us paddled the Campbell River. My partner and I managed to wrap an abs plastic canoe around an iron bridge girder. The canoe had to be sawed in half to release it from being pinned in the current. I was sure that my employment at the lodge was going to be short lived. At supper that night, Jim got up to speak to the staff. Feeling ashamed and embarrassed, sick to my stomach and ready to pack my bags, I remember and will always appreciate his words in saying that the Lodge had needed a new flower planter for the deck. This was what my sawed off canoe became that day. I hope that I have learned from my mistakes and will extend his generosity of spirit and sense of humour to others.

Janet (white coat right of centre) leading a group

Janet (white coat right of centre) leading a group

Flash Back Fridays

TERESA STRUKOFF 1982

Terresa hiking in Strathcona Provincial Park.

Terresa hiking in Strathcona Provincial Park.

Teresa lived at the Lodge off and on over a period of eighteen years beginning in 1983. Her first visit was to a folk weekend in 1982. She came with her friend and former Simon Fraser roommate Danusia Kanachowski. She came back to the Lodge and helped to look after 70 mine refitters who were working at Westmin mine. There was a lot of extra house work to do. Teresa remembers how hard it was to keep track of who was staying in which room when, and more than once walked in on a sleeping fellow! Read more

Flash Back Fridays

Youth Potential: an interview with Jim Boulding 1982

jim boulding

Jim demonstrating the use of a pitch stick.

“The great potential of this country is our young people. There is a real need to have trained staff in these fields to staff other programs. We don’t mind that they go elsewhere. There’s enough here (in Canada) for everyone. Tourism programs can provide needed rural employment and development without being environmentally destructive. I think tourism is the most important business we have here in Canada. If we can show the government that a certain stand of trees can produce more money from tourism rather than cutting them down for logging, then we provide more rural jobs and in- come.”

Strathcona operates over 50 programs annually from the 16-week wilderness leadership training schools, through Read more

Flash Back Fridays

LODGE AS SEEN BY A CANADIAN ‘TRAVEL’ ARTICLE 1982

Strathcona Lodge is Canadian in outlook

What you see is what you get. Jim Boulding in the city is the Jim Boulding you’ll meet in the wilds of Strathcona Park on Vancouver Island. Granted, there may be a necktie in the city, but somehow you know it’s just a piece of cloth worn like some trifling accoutrement in deference to social custom he’s long ceased believing in. Jim be- lieves in people, their potential and ability to be positive. Nothing bores him more than negativism.

The layout of the Lodge.

The layout of the Lodge.

“After 23 years in the tourism business, I know what tough times are. I know what it’s like to live with near-failure, and I also know that there’s always a way out if you’re willing to work at it,” says Jim who, with wife Myrna, owns and operates Strathcona Park Lodge as an outdoor education centre, world-renowned wilderness training centre and family resort.

The Bouldings may be out in the boonies, but they have a definite concept of Canada, tourism and its international potential.
“We have scenery that is unsurpassable,” says Jim bluntly of the 160-acre property on central Vancouver Island. “Mountains, lakes, forests, history, Read more

Flash Back Fridays

KRISTIN FINKBINER 1982

Kristin (centre), pictured with Nancy on right

Kristin (centre), pictured with Nancy on right

My first visit to Strathcona Park Lodge was in August 1982, when I was 16. My cousin Brad Mielke was working at the Lodge as a chef for the summer. I returned as a volunteer in 1989 when I was 23. I stayed from Aug 1989 through January 1990. My job was in the kitchen doing meal prep and dishes, and also in the dining room, serving food. My only remuneration was room and board. Read more

Flash Back Fridays

YVONNE WILLIAMS 1981

Yvonne Williams

Yvonne Williams

In September of 1981, after eight months of going through a miserable divorce and down to 99 pounds (boy is that a long time ago) I drove from Calgary to the Lodge. I think I realized that a little time there would help me to get my equilibrium back. I remember Myrna taking a horrified look at me and insisting that I go immediately to the kitchen and start eating, and as I like the food at the Lodge this was not a problem.
After I settled in I found myself back in the office at the front desk, sort of like a homing pigeon I guess, because no matter what that is where I always ended up.

Myrna used to sweet talk me with compliments about how well I dealt with the tourists, so much better than hersel, blah, blah, blah….. But I must say that the blarney (and Myrna isn’t even Irish) always seemed to work on me so that is where I spent the next two months. Of course the tourists are few and far between at that time of the year, but there were some school groups; I don’t think as many as in later years because there were definitely some financial problems during that period. I remember times that Myrna or Jim would say that someone was coming to collect on a bill and then they would disappear and I would be left to make excuses, to sweet talk, or whatever worked. I must say that I got pretty adept at being evasive.

I remember some of those cold mornings in the office when Jim and I would be trying to decipher his handwriting (believe me, that is being kind) with chattering teeth and one morning he opened a drawer in his desk and said “want a drink?” – mind you this is about 9 AM, and we are talking about over proof rum—but I tell you, it was so cold that it somehow seemed the only reasonable thing to do. So we did, and let me just say, more than once.

What is reasonable at the Lodge is not necessarily what is reasonable in the rest of the world, but then, that is part of the charm of the place.

Flash Back Fridays

NOOTKA’S HOT SPRINGS

The strongest hikers were in front, pushing a tunnel through a three-metre- high jungle of salal. One by one, they plunged into the bush and disappeared. From above, on a granite bluff, it looked as if the salal was being shaken by a monstrous snake.

We were plodding across a point at Nootka Sound on the west side of Vancouver Island. There were no signs of humanity, not even a crude trail, when he jumped off a float plane’s pontoons and waded to a crescent-shaped beach. It was the same Van- couver Island that Captain cook saw when he make his first landing in North American at Friendly Cove, a few kilometres across the sound.

Six days later, when another floatplane picked us up at Hot Springs Cove, we knew why few hikers tackle that untracked coastline. We had managed to make it to our pre-arranged pickup point, but not without mooching a ride on a fishing boat. The worst injury was a slightly sprained ankle, but a spry, 61-year-old Toronto man bailed out three days early and had a lighthouse keeper arrange for a floatplane to take him away.

There were nine of us; four were experienced hikers.

The West Coast of Vancouver Island has many treasures for those willing to go off the beaten path.

The West Coast of Vancouver Island has many treasures for those willing to go off the beaten path.

We were on a trip organized by Strathcona Park Lodge and Outdoor Educational Centre, a trip that cost us $360 a piece. It was led by Daphne Hnatiuk, a 22- year-old woman and outdoor educator who had just returned from a stint of prospecting in the Yukon.

Daphne’s log, July 21: “We had to bushwhack across Burdwood Point to the next, Read more

Flash Back Fridays

Dave King lost with kids on mountain

One of my favourite stories from Strathcona involved a hike on Elk Mountain which was located across the lake from the Lodge. It was before the mountain was so dramatically clear cut. The original Elk Mountain was beautiful. Trees like what you would expect to see in Cathedral Grove; cool creeks running through lush forests. Dave King, one of the SPL instructors, was guiding a group of students on Elk Mountain. They had planned to hike a short distance and then establish a base camp from which they would do day hikes. The group got to their destination, established the camp, and then headed up the mountain on a day trip. Read more

Flash Back Fridays

Don’t Eat the Syrup!

Many years ago, I was having an early breakfast as usual. That week we had a group of Elderhostel attending courses at the Lodge. When I came to my table that morning with my pancakes and got a whiff of the syrup, I realized that it was not maple syrup  it was engine oil. So, how the hell did this engine oil get in the syrup jars on the kitchen tables?
This is why it happened: Read more

Flash Back Fridays

“THE START OF A LEGEND… JIM BOULDING 1932-1986”

By Miriam Trevis, Nootka News, May 21, 1986

A Strathcona brochure to our house did stray
With a beckoning message to come away
To the wild and windy Nootka shores
And leave behind life’s daily chores
Decision was made and with a very stout heart
We stuffed our backpacks from morn to dark
Arriving at the Lodge we felt right at home
Among many new friends who set the tone
A briefing session soon made us realize
The amount in packs was all the wrong size
Back to our room we divided in half
Everything but everything in our oversized pack
Next morning bright and early the food on display
Caused us to wonder with deep dismay
How what appeared so little could help us survive
The adventures ahead and keep us alive
To the Uchuck we went in cars of all sizes
For a trip full of beauty and scenic surprises.
At Friendly Cove we were met by three craft
To take us to Bajo was all that we asked.
An incredible journey of bouncing on waves
Brought us to shore through a rocky maze
Thus as the sun dropped low in the sky
We set up our camp to the eagles cry
The next four days would take page to describe
At times I wondered if we’d ever survive
Spectacular beauty of nature first hand
And living so closely in a loving band
Face to face with challenges each day
Words of encouragement not far away
Memories of beaches drenched with fog
Cries of enjoyment through sauna fog
Dark dripping trails of dense salal
Pathway cut never for a six-foot gal
Scrambling rock was our greatest feat
Sandy coves what a special treat
Seals cavorting just off shore
Who could ask for anything more
Nature’s playground shared with us
Peaceful serenity makes return a must
And so dear friends to each of you
Our special thanks for something new.

miriam trevis

Miriam Trevis

Jim Boulding came out with the most memorable observation. “I’m kind of an ordinary guy….” he began, and the room erupted with hysterical laughter…. and as the last gasping chuckle subsided, and the last tear was wiped from a convulsive cheek, he went on “….. So I’ve learned to surround myself with creative people.” This was met with enthusiastic affirmation. Survival, Jim said, can be six people paddling a canoe, but if it is, it is because this is an exercise in humanity. We could have thrown you off a boat, to swim ashore and rub two sticks together….. but it’s not too realistic. Stressful situations develop the senses and sharpen awareness, but most of all, to survive one must develop one’s humanism. “Don’t feel you have to plan children’s lives,” Jim said, “I’m not going to plan yours.” And then, silence…..Through good times, and through bad, Jim and Myrna always managed to provide a thrill for a kid from the city; a challenge to a man who though he was past his prime and a sense of accomplishment to all of those who met the challenges offered at the Lodge, and conquered them.
Some writers who have commented on Jim’s past life, have expressed doubt that the Lodge will ever be the same without Jim’s presence there. Though obviously he will be sorely missed, his entire family has decided that no greater tribute can be paid to him than to carry on with the work he and Myrna started and enjoyed so much together.
The world in general and our small corner of it in particular, is the poorer for the passing of this gentle man.

Jim Boulding

Jim Boudling, the founder of the term “Living on the Edge.”