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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.”

Flash Back Fridays

TIM FAIRBANK summer of 1985

I first heard of Strathcona when I was in grade 10 at Shawnigan Lake School. One of the Outdoors club teachers, Rick Reeve, had attended a program the previous summer and gave us a slide show. In 1980, my summer between grades 11 and 12, a friend and I attended a 4-day rock climbing introduction followed by the 10 day Glacier School. Jim Rutter led the course. I recall on the first day we gathered over a cup of tea (always a pot of mint tea on the go, black tea if we were lucky but never coffee!) and Jim said “ This program begins with a cup of tea, has lots of cups of tea in the middle, and ends with a bloody big piss-up.”

bedwell lake

Bedwell Lake

Our time on the glacier was amazing, I believe we had sunshine every day. Another memory from that trip was Penny Hasell being in charge of the dwindling tea supply. She had used tea bags drying on rocks and each new brew got one new bag and a couple of used bags. Read more

Flash Back Fridays

WOMEN PADDLE TO NAT’L TITLES

By Tom Unger, the Campbell River Courier, Friday, July 29, 1983
Two members of the staff at Strathcona Park Lodge won gold medals in the women’s events at the Canadian White-water Kayaking Championships held July 13- 17 in Alberta.
Anne Boulding of Campbell River beat out about 11 other women to take the slalom event. Sheila Taylor of Alberta, also on the lodge’s staff, won the gold in the downriver event. Taylor topped two others, including Boulding who placed second.
Taylor was also third in the slalom event. “The competition in the downriver event wasn’t as keen as last year,” said Taylor.

Anne Boulding

Annie Boulding


The slalom course was much different. It was only over about 700 metres on the Bow River but included 30 gates which the athletes had to pass through in specified directions.
Boulding ran the course in 232 seconds. She touched three poles so her time was increased to 247. But most of the other competitors drew more penalties than she did and she finished 100 seconds ahead of the second place winner. Read more

Flash Back Fridays

ANDY VINE and DANIELLE ARCAND 1972

Theatre I Troupe at the Lodge

Theatre I Troupe at the Lodge

Andy Vine was a singer, guitar player, and a carpenter who worked at the Lodge in 1972. In February 1973 he followed his future wife Danielle into the liquor store in Campbell River after catching a glimpse of her. This was not the first time that Danielle connected with the Lodge. She was with ‘The Theatre 1 Troupe’ that started in Montreal and toured Canada and Europe, eventually opening their own repertory theatre in Gastown. Coincidentally, they had stopped for coffee here at the Lodge after playing in Gold River and met Read more

Flash Back Fridays

‘ARTS I’ FEATURES FEELIES

By Ryon Guedes (In October 20, 1972 edition of the Ubyssey)
Sixty ‘Arts I’ students recently attended a weekend symposium at Strathcona Park Lodge to make an informal study of man’s relationship with technology and nature. Section B boarded a bus Friday which took them across the Strait of Georgia, up Vancouver Island and finally to the Lodge, which lies 30 miles southwest of Campbell River.

Jim Boulding with ‘Arts I’ students

Jim Boulding with ‘Arts I’ students

Next morning, bright and early, after a hearty breakfast, the discussion leaders introduced the initial activity. This consisted of a seminar exploring the Robinson Crusoe idea; with the premise that a given group of people from modern technology were stranded in the wilderness with certain materials, climate and terrain. The ideas discussed, then, were the immediate needs of the supposed group, long term problems it would face and eventually, the formation of a civilization. Activities for the rest of Saturday were unstructured, devoted to Read more

Flash Back Fridays

KATE AND KEN BLOOMFIELD 1974

Ken and Kate Bloomfield, with their son Rick

Ken and Kate Bloomfield, with their son Rick

Ken was an amazing carver; he taught carving and sculpture on several occasions at the Lodge. He died eight or nine years ago but for all of his life continued to uncover the figures in the wood that he insisted had been there all along. Ken has left a legacy of several carvings around the lodge and also the big dogwood sign that you see as you approach our property from Campbell River. He and his wife Kate met at art school. Read more