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The craftsman
Vol. XVII, Number 3 (December 1909)

Akin, Louis
Unexplored beauty in the Canadian Rockies,   pp. 311-315 PDF (1.6 MB)


Page 311


UNEXPLORED BEAUTY IN THE CANADIAN
ROCKIES: BY LOUIS AKIN
JGH my entire life of intimate association with
ig things of the West I have felt that sometime
uld go to the land of the Canadian Rockies and
elkirks, and that I should find there the apothe-
:)f all mountain scenery, my ultimate goal of
y. And as a reward for my faith in the kind-
              ness of Fate, I found myself this last summer out in
the midst of those great mountain peaks, knowing them by name,
feeling familiar with them, yet not even stopping to pass the
time of day. For having reached the goal of my          desire, I
realized that my interest had passed beyond, and that I was headed
for that place marked on the Canadian maps as "Mountains and
Glaciers." I was going to Lillooet, to a land of things utterly primor-
dial and unpublished.
    Clinging to the walls of a magnificent gorge breaking down
through the western foothills of the Rockies, the railroad on which
I was traveling suddenly turned out into the great valley of the
Fraser, the River of Gold from the far North. From here my way
lay northward fifty miles by stage, and all through mountains, vast
mountains on every side. They piled up, height upon height, on
both banks of the river,-some precipitous, naked, awful, some gentler
of contour, clothed in a green velvet of spruce and pine, and every-
where, the great walled heights streaked and patched with snow;
through an occasional break in the outline, still higher, masses of
glaciers clinging to their breasts.
    Once upon a time there was a broad smooth valley (or was it
a river bed?) spread between these mountains several hundred feet
above the present river level, but the River of Gold has been a
busy river and its activities have resulted in ninety-nine per cent.
of the level land being carried out to sea, leaving only bits of tillable
bench land filling in the bays and bends on both shores. These are
occupied mainly by Indians, and the ground is very productive under
the influence of irrigation. Beyond the bit of habitation called
Lillooet, out to the northwestward, there is practically nothing but
mountains and glaciers covering thousands of square miles. The
formation is peculiar. The earth s crust seems to have been torn apart
and thrown up into enormous furrows. Each furrow is a range. The
stratification is turned on edge, and the jagged black masses, raw and ter-
rible, are thrust upward into a dozen unscalable, inaccessible Matter-
horns, twelve to fifteen thousand feet high. Supporting them are lesser
masses; while sweeping from peak to peak and from range to range
are snowfields and glaciers of greatest magnitude and inexpressible
                                                              3"1


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