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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 312


UNEXPLORED BEAUTY IN THE CANADIAN ROCKIES
beauty. Where else but on the Pacific slope, with its extremes of
precipitation, could snow enough fall to store up such inconceivable
quantities ? It is what might be expected in Alaska, but hardly
within a few hundred miles of Vancouver.
    Yet it is a region that offers very little reason for intimate acquaint-
ance. The prospector has no use for a country that is mostly blank-
eted with snow and ice, with the greater part standing on edge, though
the gold in streams flowing away from it has kept them experimenting
with it for many years. The Indian does not need it, for full of big
pame though it must be, the big-horn and mountain goat are roaming
in herds over the outlying spurs. But surrounding these mountains
in every direction is the most ideal out of door lands. Any-
where above five thousand feet you may ride freely; there are
magnificent leagues of park-like country, all aslope one way or
another, but easy or steep, your tough little cayuse will carry you over
it, up, down or crosswise at a run, if you let him!  Game is plenti-
ful, big and little; trout are in every stream and lake, and wood,
water and grass are everywhere. The days are hot and the nights
are cool, even snappy. It is that most fascinating zone where the
Alpine spruce groups itself in its most picturesque way,-its clusters
of spirelike tops broadening out at the base into a well-nigh impen-
etrable hedge, that, surrounding an entire group of trees, offers safe
and sheltered haven in time of storm to the wild things of the high-
lands.
    High up are emerald green lakes that defy the palette, some at
 the very foot of glaciers and bearing gleaming icebergs on their placid
 bosoms; some lower down, set in warm green meadows with spruce-
 green backing; some washing the base of cheerless granite heights,
 black and barren. And everywhere are flowers and ripe luscious
 wild strawberries,-all in September and October. Spring is always
 here, except when winter is: spring grasses and blossoms follow the
 retreating snowfields right up the mountains, and highest of all,
 blooming and living its brief life in evident happiness, is the forget-
 me-not, rooted in the ice-cold moisture not a yard from the snow's
 edge. Then, just in the height of its beauty comes a blanket of new
 snow to cover it for seven or eight months' rest. It is the sign. It
 drives the grizzly and the hoary marmot to their dens; it drives the
 big-horn and goat to their spruce shelters; it drives the mule deer and
 white man to the lowlands, and mountains and glaciers are supreme.
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