Written on April 15, 2014 at 8:00 pm, by Scott
Written on April 11, 2014 at 8:30 am, by Scott
YVONNE WILLIAMS 1981
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.
Written on April 4, 2014 at 8:30 am, by Scott
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.
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
Written on March 28, 2014 at 8:30 am, by Scott
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
Written on March 21, 2014 at 9:30 am, by Scott
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
Written on March 14, 2014 at 8:00 am, by Scott
“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.
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.