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Flash Back Fridays

AVIS WALTON 1968

The following was written for the Daily Colonist. Avis Walton and Jack Phillips met at the Lodge in its new location.

Cedar logs were selected from trees of a uniform size, felled in the early spring during the sap running season (to maintain a clear amber color throughout) and then peeled, oiled, “V” grooved horizontally, and held together with two- foot drift bolts. Corners were notched and interlocked, grooves were slashed in every door and window setting, braces were inserted and hidden by frames. The mellow lounge has a four-square pitched ceiling, dramatized and strengthened by open beams that are criss-crossed like the lines of the Union Jack, to throw fascinating firelight shadows. A massive wrought-iron hook holds a lamp and centers on the crosses, going right through the ridge pole to the roof.

Guests enjoying the fire at Strathcona Lodge at its original location

Guests enjoying the fire at Strathcona Lodge at its original location.

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Flash Back Fridays

HOW I ENDED UP AT STRATHCONA PARK LODGE

Growing up in Comox, Vancouver Island, in the 1940s and early 1950s, I had an idyllic childhood. Comox had many British expatriates in a town of 1000. There were only 50 young people from grade eight to grade twelve in the Comox High School, and the school did not have a gymnasium. There were no television sets, so most young people spent their free time outside. My friends and I rode our horses for miles in every possible direction.

Myrna, age 4, with Nancy (Thompson) Brown

Myrna, age 4, with Nancy (Thompson) Brown

As long as we were home for meals we could go wherever we wanted. When the British couple Lieutenant Colonel Jack Thorne and his wife Josephte moved to Comox I began to train for competitive riding. The Colonel, as we called him, knew a lot about training horses and riders. In addition, he was a marvelous horseperson and story teller. I did well in the shows, winning trophies in jumping, hunter-hack and equitation events. I also learned a lot about how to feed horses and get them fit for jumping and other events. My interest in human nutrition and fitness is rooted in these early activities. I would go to almost any length to win. Every possible morning I would get up before school and exercise my horses. If it was winter, I rode on the sandy beaches in Comox. Perhaps this toughened me and is the reason why I continued to try hard when the Lodge seemed like a hopeless proposition.
My father, Wallace Baikie, was of Scottish ancestry and although generous with me, had some frugal habits. Born in 1902, he had been a young man during the depression. He had been in the logging and lumber business and knew how to work hard. Read more

Flash Back Fridays

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Flash Back Fridays

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Flash Back Fridays

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Flash Back Fridays

A BUNCH OF OLD TROUTS? NEVER

By Arthur Mayse, October 1986

Strathcona Park Lodge, which sprawls along the rugged shoreline of Upper Campbell Lake, is much more than a holiday resort.

It is also a training center that specializes in such outdoor skills as canoeing, kayaking, mountaineering and wilderness survival.

All this, of course, didn’t happen overnight. The program, unique on this continent, was developed through years.

It was in its infancy, and the lodge itself smaller by most of its chalet-type frame units when Win and I first ventured to Strathcona over a gravel road that threatened to dump us into the lake at every turn and twist.

Posing at the famous Roosevelt Elk, the entrance to Strathcona Provincial Park.

Posing at the famous Roosevelt Elk, the entrance to Strathcona Provincial Park.

Big Jim Boulding, the former Campbell River school teacher who founded the lodge on a dream and shoestring, was still alive in those years. Even then, Jim Boulding worried about the future of Strathcona Park, a wild empire of mountain, lake and timbered slopes.

A mine had intruded. Other mining claims stakes before the park was established in 1911, threatened, and the loggers had an eye on Strathcona’s grand first- growth evergreens. The threat remains unresolved.

We remembered Strathcona Lodge kindly, and when Myrna Boulding asked us to come up for a week and teach memoir writing to an Elderhostel which was about to descend on her retreat, we were quick to accept.

Not that we had any idea what an Elderhostel was. Myrna explained.

“As I understand it,” she told us, “Elderhostel is an organization of seniors who stay in groups at one college or resort.. They’re strong on education and adventure.”

With that to go on, we scrambled a mini-course together and on the Sunday set out for Strathcona Park Lodge. Read more

Picture This! (WYLD)

Did you know Vancouver Island is known as the island of caves?  They are over 1000 explored caves.

Did you know Vancouver Island is known as the island of caves? They are over 1000 explored caves.

Flash Back Fridays

Flash Back Fridays

JIM BOULDING

By Hilary Stewart

Jim Boulding was pitch sticks & lighting fires in the rain
And a film on hypothermia –
Jim was a Zodiak & a tin boat roaring down
Muchalat Inlet out to the pacific & on to Escalante –
Jim was buzz-bombs and salmon dinners at the
camp & late night saunas on the sand amid loud laughter,
raucous song & icy dips in the ocean –
Jim was apples & oranges & respect for the Indians at Friendly Cove –

Jim was Nanaimo bars and a mountain of gear On the U chuck & laugher all the way back to the Lodge –
Jim was teaching & caring &learning; observing and thinking & crating. And fighting –

Jim was opportunity & impossible dreams made real for himself & others –
Jim was many things to many people, & the people and the land are richer because this mountain of man cared. And shared.

Jim was a celebration of life

Jim Boulding fly fishing during a rare moment of relaxation

Jim Boulding fly fishing during a rare moment of relaxation

Flash Back Fridays

ISOBEL SPRINGETT 1965

The Springett Family arrived from England and got a job managing the Lodge. Joan and Walter had two boys and two girls, one of whom was Isobel Springett, who was eight at the time. She is now a well-known photographer. Isobel liked this area so much that she now lives in the Comox Valley.

Isobel Springett enjoying a big snowfall

Isobel Springett enjoying a big snowfall

One night we were awakened by my brother shouting “there’s a cougar in the basement!” We all scrambled into our clothes and headed to the back of the Lodge. The basement was really a storage area located on the lower level at the rear of the building. My father and one of my brothers crept very slowly towards the open door, a 2 x 4 and gun in hand not quite sure what they were going to find. As they got closer they could see something large looming in the doorway. “Maybe it’s a bear” my brother whispered. By now they could hear the uninvited guest rummaging through the gas cans and firewood stored there. Suddenly something large and quite round appeared to be coming slowly towards them. As it advanced my brother suddenly realized what they were looking at. “It’s one of the bloody horses!” he exclaimed in a very annoyed voice. Apparently someone had left the door open and Gypsy, a big pinto, had decided to investigate even though there was not really enough room for a horse in the human-sized doorway. By now Gypsy had decided to head back in and had planted himself firmly in the doorway. My father and brother tried coaxing him with words promising treats and pats. Of course being a horse this went in one ear and out the other. By now they were getting quite annoyed. It was three in the morning and the Lodge would be waking up in a couple of hours. My dad picked up a stick and started swatting him on the ‘arse’ as he called that part of the anatomy. Read more