Category Archives: Flash Back Fridays

Flash Back Fridays

Flash Back Fridays

FURNISHING THE OLD LODGE

I bought brass beds and big leather chairs from the Bickle estate in Cumberland. Mrs. Fearing, Judy Forberg’s grandmother (see below) made me hooked rag rugs for all seven bedrooms, plus a five by seven foot rug, beautifully crafted out of our old woolen clothing and featuring a large multi-colored fish. I hung this masterpiece in the main living room over the opening between the two bedrooms that shared a hallway and bathroom.  The fish theme extended to tracings of the largest trout outlined on the doors. I also purchased patch-work quilts and home-made comforters. We bought log tables and chairs as well as sets of drawers for the cabins from a place on southern Vancouver Island. Jim worked with a French Canadian craftsman to make chairs and stools out of cedar stumps, which we upholstered. I refinished every piece of oak furniture that I could find at second hand stores. All one winter I had furniture in the second bathroom of our rental apartment in town that I was scrapping and sanding. Oak was quite reasonable to buy at the time because it was out of style but most pieces needed work. Our lamps were made of carved wooden fish floats. The old log Lodge was put together so each cedar log was carved to fit the one below it and intricate corners that fit together perfectly. If it had not been built in this way, it would have been almost impossible to move it in one piece like my dad was able to. Once the old Lodge was cleaned up and decorated, it was truly beautiful. It was the first building that we had ever owned and I guess in some ways we considered it our home rather than a place of business.

Interior of the Lodge

Interior of the Lodge

JACK BOULDING 1960

One of our first staff was Jack Boulding. Jim’s brother was six years younger than he was, and a keen hiker, having belonged to the Varsity Outdoor Club at UBC. We paid him a percentage, I think it was ten percent of our gross, which turned out to be more than we made. Apparently, he also worked nights for my dad, Wallace Baikie. In spite of being tired, he worked hard and had our best interests at heart. Jack traveled to England later that year and met his wife Pam. In 1964 Jack and Pam returned to the Lodge for a short time with their small baby Rachel. Making baby formula took up most of Jack’s time on this visit. Many years later (around 1984) Rachel returned to help look after my two youngest children, Nick and Josie. Rachel is now a psychiatrist.

View to the south from the Lodge

View to the south from the Lodge

BILL HARRISON 1960

Jim invited Bill Harrison and Rollie Finness, fellow school teachers, to spend the weekend at the Lodge. As was Jim’s way, he put them to work. After school on a Friday in September, Jim tied three motor boats together and set off with the two others to pick up cedar shake bolts (later split by hand to make cedar roof shakes) across the lake from the Lodge. By the time they had loaded the three boats it was fairly dark. Jim pointed out a small light (Bill said that it looked like about 60 watts) and told them to head in that direction. Bill was not a water person and was very frightened. The lake was relatively calm but Bill’s boat was a half hour behind the other two as he did not want to throttle up the boat. Bill said that Jim had a habit of inviting beginner teachers up to the Lodge on weekends and putting them to work. They did stay for the weekend so I guess it couldn’t have been too bad.

Flash Back Fridays

TOURISM BEGINNINGS 1961

I tell people that we stumbled into the tourist business. The local people referred to us as ‘just a couple of kids’. We had never really been tourists so knew very little about the business.

Mr. Bradbury with toddler Liz

Mr. Bradbury with toddler Liz

In 1961 Jim was commuting to town to teach and I was pregnant with Jamie. We had a British American oil can, (which was emptied periodically), with a toilet seat on top, in a small shed just outside the back door. I had a young man staying at the Lodge to help me with the place. It was easy to find American fishermen and explorers in B.C. in those days. They were usually in the most isolated spots, like where we were located. Believe it or not, a middle-aged man known as Senator Hollister stopped by and asked if he could stay with us. He did not mind our rustic outhouse. It turned out that he was probably one of the richest guests that we ever had. Apparently he owned 13 miles of California sea-coast. He was also our first tourist. How could we say no? We needed the money. I believe that Jim took him fishing. Read more

Flash Back Fridays

Flash Back Fridays

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Flash Back Fridays

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Flash Back Fridays

Flash Back Fridays

“Wilderness in jeopardy: see it before it’s gone”

By Myrna Boulding, the Campbell River Courier, Thursday, September 25, 1986

The former minister of Lands, Parks and Housing, Jack Kempf, spoke to the Gold River Chamber of Commerce on Sept. 16, not on Strathcona Park as he was originally scheduled to do but on forestry, his new portfolio.

He will make a good forests minister. That is where his heart lies. My con- cern is with parks, particularly Strathcona Park, now in the hands of Austin Pelton along with environment.

Relaxing at Landslide lake after hiking up the Elk River Trail.

Relaxing at Landslide lake after hiking up the Elk River Trail.

If Mr. Pelton has ideas very different from Mr. Kempf it will invalidate much of what I have to say, but I expect consensus within the Social Credit Party has pretty well been established regarding the future of Strathcona Park.

At the 75th birthday celebration of Strathcona Park on Aug. 4, Mr. Kempf promised a detailed review of plans for this park with public hearings to be held in Campbell River and Courtenay sometime this fall.

His stated objective was to make sure of the continued orderly development of our parks system, with a first step toward meeting this goal being to implement the con- clusions of the Wilderness Advisory Committee.

He said that this process was now well under way. The question is, what constitutes orderly development? Read more

Flash Back Fridays

VANCOUVER ISLAND WILDERNESS RESORT SPECIALIZED IN THE GREAT OUTDOORS

By Ellen Steese, The Christian Science Monitor, June 1985 (selected passages below)

“I always wanted to be a circus acrobat,” the white bearded man says, hopping up onto the horizontal cable slung some three feet above the forest floor.

The rock-climbing class at Strathcona Park Lodge – a wilderness resort in the center of Vancouver Island – doesn’t start out by having much to do with rocks. In the beginning you find yourself wobbling stoutheartedly across swaying logs, the cable just mentioned, and an assortment of rope ladders and logs that are mercifully stationary but placed at a daunting height from the ground.

Fortunately, stout hearts are what we have here. I have joined up with a visiting group of hikers from the Appalachian Mountain Club, middle-aged and older but as spunky as they come. They’ve taken up rock climbing for the first time in their lives.

Jamie showing someone the ropes at the Lake Bluff.

Jamie showing someone the ropes at the Lake Bluff.

Read more

Flash Back Fridays

KAREN SCHWALM 1981

Education has always been very important to me and it seems that you never stop learning. My educational background includes having obtained a B.Sc. in Chemistry from Michigan Technological University, followed by work on a M.Sc. in Chemistry at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks, Alaska.

This kindled my love of the Arctic and polar climates.  After moving to BC I completed the Simon Fraser University PDP teacher education program in 1973, and taught Secondary School in Prince Rupert, BC. That’s when I first heard of the Apprenticeship in Wilderness Leadership at Strathcona. Determined to be a scientist, I worked as a Chemist doing geochemistry assay and heavy metal analysis. I obtained a chemist position for Arctic Laboratories in Inuvik, Northwest Territories. The north was fascinating; I wanted to get out in the field to collect the samples I was analyzing. Alas, I wasn’t allowed on any expeditions into the field, where polar bear monitors with guns watched as the samples were collected, because I didn’t have enough Outdoor Skills. My then boyfriend, Nils Vikander, the Cross Country Ski Coach for the NWT, suggested that we go to Strathcona Park Lodge Outdoor Education Centre to attend the Apprenticeship in Wilderness Leadership program to get the outdoor skills, which included

Karen (centre), with Patty Van Humbeck and her friend Diane Sanderson in the bog

Karen (centre), with Patty Van Humbeck and her friend Diane Sanderson in the bog

Survival Skills, that would enable me to work in the field. He had the summer off and wished to expand his outdoor set of skills and we could do it together. Perfect, the outdoors and science were coming together. Read more