Tag Archives: Jim Boulding

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

UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA (UBC) 1953

Myrna & Jim on a date

Myrna & Jim on a date

When I was 18 and in my second year at university, my future husband picked me out of a meal lineup at UBC. I was taking an accounting course to prepare myself to go into Commerce. There were a total of 152 girls staying at the women’s dormitories that summer, and no men.
We had meals at the nearby Fort Camp dining hall. Three guys came for a brief period that summer to write exams. Jim later said that he picked me to pursue because I had good legs and a nice ass. His older brother Joe, who was a doctor, had told him that was what to look for in a woman.
Jim had been working as a hard rock driller on the pipeline and was at UBC briefly to write a supplemental exam in English 200. I was not too taken with him. I was going out with a PhD candidate in physics and my main interest was horses. I had been a successful competitive English rider and jumper, winning many top prizes in B.C. I had even taken my best horse to Vancouver when I went to UBC. Jim was persistent. I finally went on a date with him. Later I told my cousin, Bill Baikie, that he was all brawn and no brain. Bill insisted that I not give up on him, that he really did have some depth. Actually Bill and many others treated Jim like a hero because he was a famous UBC football player. Read more

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

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

Flash Back Fridays

Going to the coast with Jim By Michael Robinson

Reva Robinson(left)with fellow adventurers roaring down Muchalat Inlet in a Zodiak

Reva Robinson(left)with fellow adventurers roaring down Muchalat Inlet in a Zodiak

As the remaining crews begin turning over their motors and winding in their lines a cedar plank launch with rakish white lines rounds Anderson Point. Behind it surfs a large zodiac rubber boat loaded down with nine people, all dressed in bright wet weather gear and strapped into vest-type life jackets. The cedar clinker built and the zodiac are riding up and over the approaching swells with graceful ease. The big boat is churning through the sea and leaving a flat bubbly wake for the zodiac to fly along.

In the cabin of the lead boat a big man is smoking his corncob pipe and squinting through his aviator glasses. A tall grey Texas Stetson rides on top of his head. He has one hand on the wheel and one on the throttle in preparation for the big swells up ahead. As the bow of his boat climbs each wave he throttles up to momentarily sink the stern a little deeper. The boat is performing like an extension of its operator. Read more

Flash Back Fridays

ROB WOOD AND JIM – 1986 A Story by David Boulding

While Jim died in 1986, he is still alive to Rob Wood and other like-minded folks. Rob Wood climbed in the Himalayas, in Yosemite, England, Baffin Island, and of course, Colonel Foster in January. Rob recognized an immediate spiritual kinship with Jim’s restless spirit. Jim was a teacher by profession; his classroom was Strathcona Park and the west coast of Vancouver Island. The untamed geography matched his big heart and big teachings. On more than one occasion he advised his survival students, “If the weather is bad, you have to learn to think like animal.” This wild animal intensity was infectious as his students soon were caught up in his energy and devoured his various teachings. Jim’s animal spirit, best seen in a breaching Killer whale, allowed him to connect with people because he convinced them that they mattered, and that the natural world mattered. For Jim, and likeminded, the natural world was alive and we needed to fit in and not to conquer. He would frequently say, “The natural world is not an obstacle course,” a dig at those who would choose routes that offered only physical challenges. Read more

Flash Back Fridays

CHANGING OF THE GUARDS or The Birth of the Friends of Strathcona Park By Marlene Smith, 1985

It was in the fall of 1985 when Myrna asked me to go and visit Jim upstairs; he wanted to talk to me.

I was a relative newcomer to the Strathcona Park Lodge scene. My experience in teaching mountaineering in the European Alps, including teaching rock climbing, map and compass, crevasse rescue and guiding made me fit in real quick. Jim had been battling pancreatic cancer for a few years. The regression of his cancer through diet and the use of various herbs most certainly were of great interest to me as a veterinarian engaged in western medicine and studying Traditional Chinese Medicine! Sadly enough the cancer had returned with great vigour and aggression, something I would learn in the future is not uncommon in aggressive forms of cancer.

I wonder why Jim wanted to see ME!

When I entered Jim’s room I reflected back on his strong presence in the Whale room talking to school groups on the importance of the wilderness and what nature could teach us! In a short flash I was back again on the trail near the bog in a downpour. Everything was wet and the participants of our small group of dedicated students looked like wet cats or rats! Suddenly Jim stopped and told us to make a fire here and now. Those who could not get a fire going and get a can of water boiling within 1⁄2 hour were doomed to die of hypothermia! Dan MacKinnon next to me smiled and whispered he had done this before and we would pal up together! I learned within 10 minutes about the pitch stick, about how to find dry wood and how to get water boiling within 20 minutes! And how to survive in the wilderness!

I smiled with this thought in my mind and looked at Jim. He looked at me attentively as if he was trying to catch my thought!

He then explained to me that his time on this earth was limited and that he was at peace with this. However there was one task Read more

Flash Back Fridays

JIM TEACHES ME HOW TO DO A BOG WALK: 1973

A story by David Boulding

After I had been on bog walks with the handsome Harvard graduate, Paul Bragstad, the nebbish New Yorker, Mike Rewald and the famous flower photographer, Ian Forbes, Jim decided I was ready to do bog walks.

One frosty spring day Jim and I went off in the 16 foot aluminum boat loaded with the 070 Stihl saw, the yellow Gilchrist hand logging jack, peaveys, cables, ropes, pry bars and shovels. Some where south of the Lodge we beached and began the laborious process of borrowing large beautiful Douglas fir trees.

Most of the trees were close to the water and adroit falling by Jim would have them in the lake. Once floating, they were mine to tow home with a 25 horse power Johnson Sea Horse. However, sometimes to get them floating required hours of Egyptian slave style efforts.

Here, I was introduced to the B.C. coastal torture device: the Gilchrist hand logging jack. With this jack, I got to play Eratosthenes, the Greek mathematician who said given a lever long enough he could move the world. We rolled logs with the jack and put them in the water. Some logs were over six feet at the butt. Jim showed me how to operate the jack. From then on, he would tell me what to do as he sat there talking.

Jim Boulding

Jim Boulding

Read more

Flash Back Fridays

LEARNING TO LIVE OUTDOORS BIG JIM BOULDING SURE KNOWS HOW

(Excerpts) By Sean Rossiter

Jim Boulding is one of those BC characters who have turned their lives into trademarks, have built their own corners of this province. Boulding’s surroundings are exceptional. Here is the raw material for a mini Whistler, in front, sunsets which in mid – October drop right into the V formed by the mountains around the Elk River valley across from Upper Campbell Lake. From there Boulding can range out to windy Escalante Point, south of Nootka Sound, or up to the top of Mt. Waddington in the Coast Range, the tallest mountain wholly inside Canada. Boulding is intimate with the most of North Vancouver Island, somewhere near the middle of a Nootkan tribal heaven, between the mountains and the sea, the rain and the sun, warmth and the cold.

Boulding is a big man, as required by the genre and is bigger in person than his physical dimensions. Urban sophisticates find him irresistible. He has this style fine tuned down to the ten pound wool trousers, bulky Cowichan sweater and sweat blotter Clint Eastwood hat. At the Ankor bar, he ordered whiskey and within minutes came the invitation to join the manager’s table. Strathcona Lodge catalogues were passed around. Boulding uses them like business cards, 33 pages thick. As always in these junkets to the air conditioned, he was a smash. He returned with a few more lines open from the bricks to the sticks.

Jim Boulding and his tobacco pipe

Jim Boulding and his tobacco pipe

There is a stimulating blend of intelligence and celebrity at the lodge: Rod Haig Brown, Burl Ives, Ted Peck, Jim Conway, were among the guests in the early days. They came for the fishing with the best Class A guide on the North Island. Jim guided and Myrna cooked during their summers off from teaching high school in Campbell River. The town was split over the principal John Young who had strong beliefs about learning. Read more

Flash Back Fridays

“DELIVERING BABY WAS ‘NO BIG DEAL’”

Campbell River newspaper, 1979

It was the first time Jim Boulding delivered a baby, but it didn’t seem too difficult because he’d seen it done before.

Armed with nothing but a few blankets and the experience of spending 22 years training people to be leaders in the bush, Boulding recently played midwife on a rainy road miles from anywhere.

Mother and child are fine and Boulding said it’s no big deal. He’s spent years helping victims of accidents which tend to happen near his wilderness training lodge at Strathcona Park, about 45 kilometres southwest of this Vancouver Island community. Read more