Beneath The Shining Mountains


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Arthur Philemon Coleman came west in search of silver, copper and gold. New and Old Trails , "was the mountains. The dome of the sky already arched up a little more to give them room, and there were three dimensions of space instead of two. After a three-day stop in Calgary, a "city" of makeshift log houses with boxcar ceilings and sod roofs, Coleman continued his journey west.

Night fell while the train rattled up the Bow Valley and over shaky trestle bridges, coming to an abrupt halt at the "Stony Indian Reserve" at Morley, where his brother waited. Coleman peered out through the cold darkness, amid the shadows of rising hills, and he later recalled, "The ghostly cones of Indian teepees seemed lifeless. The silent Mountain Stonies To Coleman, such "primitives" would have seemed useless as mountain guides. What they were good for, he thought, was merely the provision of food and horses.

From here, a construction train took Coleman to the terminus at Laggan. Longing to escape the dark smoke of engines, and the sight of mule teams and "sweaty men [delving] in the muck," he headed straight for the closest peak. That short excursion began the transformation of the young scientist into a full-blown Romantic, one of the Rockies' first celebrated mountaineers:.

It was only a commonplace mountain about eight-thousand feet high, without a name, so far as I am aware, but After years of humdrum city life in the east, the assembly of mountains, lifting their heads serenely among the drifting clouds, gave one a poignant feeling of the difference between man's world and God's. Here was purity and dignity and measureless peace. Here one might think high thoughts.

Horse racing at Morley, Alberta, ca. The Siouan-speaking Iyahe Nakoda had lived for more than ninety years in the eastern front ranges of the Canadian Rockies. They played an active role in not only in laying the original rail line through the Rockies, but also in the early construction of walking trails for the tourism boom that followed the completion of the Canadian Paci c Railway and the establishment of the Banff Hot Springs Reserve later Banff National Park in Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies.

Later that summer, Coleman traveled to the hopefully named Silver City to investigate a potential copper vein behind a mountain that the Cree-speaking "mixed blood" guides of the Palliser expedition called Atintat Tasa Kamik Wachi , "Wind House Mountain," home of the Chinook winds. Seen from the wide valley floor, the layered, near-vertical walls rise like medieval battlements. Inevitably, the expedition geologist, James Hector, renamed the peak "Castle Mountain.

Although the copper claim turned out to be insignificant, their scramble became known as the first ascent of a major summit in the Canadian Rockies. Coleman returned in , this time looking solely for mountains. Early maps of the Canadian West tended to be vague about the Rockies—where the topography stopped, blank spaces began, left for the imagination to fill.

From the s onward, all those maps showed a pair of gigantic peaks far to the north in what is now Jasper National Park. In David Douglas, a self-taught botanical-specimen collector, had crossed Athabasca Pass and made note of two seemingly immense peaks. In an act of toponomic reverence, he named them after two professional botanists, William Hooker and Robert Brown, and attributed astonishing elevations to their summits, thus generating an enduring rumor that they were the tallest in the range—indeed, at that time, the tallest known in North America.

Subsequent cartographers dutifully reproduced the summits on their maps, Mt. Hooker at the colossal height of 15, feet, Mt. Brown a few hundred feet higher.

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But no one in recent times had actually seen those mythical giants. Coleman tried to approach the peaks from the British Columbia side with Frank Stover, canoeing along the Columbia River and staggering through mazes of pink rhododendron, thick alder and devil's club, stumbling upon and losing older footpaths. After eleven days, stalled in a "sunless wilderness of green" and "sore in body and dejected in mind," he gave up.

But he'd learned something. Four years later, now starting east of the Continental Divide, he and his partners employed Nakoda guides.

Book Feature: “Beneath the Shining Mountains” by Linda Acaster

Jimmy Jacob was the sexton at the reserve church, a "serious man who spoke Cree, of which my brother understood something, and also knew a few words of English. As they followed the established "Stoney trail" hundreds of miles from Morley north to the Chaba River, Jimmy Jacob spoke with the various Nakoda hunters they met. According to Coleman, one of them, Job Beaver, had "made too much money from furs and jerked meat to care to work for a white man," but he told them about the routes to Athabasca Pass. For the rest of that summer, Coleman's party looked for "the way through the passes along Joby's trails.

A year later, Coleman's team resumed the search with Frank Sibbald, a western rancher who had learned Cree and Nakoda Assiniboine during his youth at Morley. Near the beginning of their journey, they ran into Chief Jonas Goodstoney and his family, and found out, through Sibbald, that they were headed in the same direction.

Goodstoney offered to draw the route. He also gave us the Indian names for several rivers. It was this map that led Coleman to the end of his search—and to the unhappy realization that the two "mountain giants" existed only in cartographic fantasy. Instead, the real Hooker and Brown appeared to him as nondescript lumps of barely 9, feet. The resolution of the mystery meant that Mt. Robson must be the actual highest mountain in the Rockies. Coleman now wondered whether its elevation might also have been exaggerated.

In he and his partners traveled for thirty-nine days from Laggan through "tangled branches," muskeg, rain and snow, reaching the mountain too late in the season for an attempt. They set out the next year from Edmonton, guided by the longtime Metis resident of the Athabasca Valley Adolphus Moberly, whom Coleman described as a "young half-breed swell Coleman failed in his early attempts on Mt.

Robson, or Yuh-hai-has-kun , "mountain of the spiral road," as Simpcw First Nation people called it.

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That name is all but a historical footnote, but Coleman's legacy remains on the Coleman Glacier, on the mountain's northeast flank. Coleman would distinguish himself as the founding vice president of the Alpine Club of Canada, president of the Royal Society of Canada, president of the Royal Canadian Institute, president of the Geological Society of America, and—as Wikipedia charmingly puts it—"the first white man to attempt" the Rockies' highest mountain.

Most historical accounts say little about how much of that "every effort" behind his successes relied upon Indigenous guides. So may it be said of the Canadian Mountain West. Tom Wilson was a long-faced man from Ontario who sported a capacious, drooping moustache and an ever-present Stetson hat. Bored within weeks of a mounted-police job at Fort Walsh, Saskatchewan, he lit out for the mountains.

In he found employment with the railway company, and at Morley he met Chief Hector Crawler, or Calf Child, who had attended the treaty signing as a boy.

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Wilson circulated the story, and three of his colleagues took notice: In the summer of , while Wilson was out surveying for a rail route across the Selkirks, they "discovered" Chief Crawler's warm waters, and they promptly staked their claim. Driving the last spike of the rail line, November 7, The potential tourist revenue of the site would eventually eclipse that of mountain minerals.

Some back-and-forth over ownership ensued, but the result was inevitable: In it was renamed Banff National Park. A current Parks Canada website features Don Frache's Chamber of Jewels , a mural depiction of McCabe and the McCardells clinging to a partly submerged tree trunk above the fabled hot springs, arrested in their moment of "discovery.

A caption quotes McCardell comparing the moment to "some fantastic dream from a tale of the Arabian Nights. To have been instrumental in the founding of one of the Rockies' paradigmatic mountaineering centers is no small achievement.

Tom Wilson is celebrated for having founded two. During the preceding summer of , camped by the confluence of the Pipestone and Bow rivers, he heard the thunderous roar of a nearby avalanche, and wondered aloud where it came from. The sound, his Nakoda companions Jimmy Three-Toes and Edwin Hunter told him, came from "the snow mountain" to the southwest, above Hoa Chinjan Imne , "the lake of the little fishes. God, I whispered, is here. But the name didn't stick. As an outfitter, he led "pioneering" climbing expeditions into those same "remote" mountain regions that Indigenous peoples had journeyed through for years.

In he guided "the first white men" to Mt.

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Beneath The Shining Mountains has 37 ratings and 6 reviews. Maggie said: This was a really good read. I like the arc of the hero. Well done. I enjoyed th. Editorial Reviews. Review. " I lovedlearning about their customs and rich culture , and seeing Beneath The Shining Mountains - Kindle edition by Linda Acaster. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets.

Five years later, the future president of the Alpine Club, J. Norman Collie, named a commanding mountain massif after him. One early visitor wrote of Mt. Driving north along the Icefields Parkway, present-day travelers still find the 10,foot massif imposing: Eight of the ten summits are visible. From left to right: Babel not considered part of the Ten Peaks , Mt. Fay 1, Heejee , Mt. Bowlen 3, Yamnee , Mt.

Tonsa 4 , Mt.

Perren 5, Sapta , Mt. Allen 6, Shappee , Mt. Little 2, Nom and Wenkchemna Peak 10 are out of view. Allen named ten of these summits after numbers in the Nakoda language. Since then, seven of them have acquired new names.

Most Canadians know this image: A bearded railway executive and Member of Parliament drives home the last iron railway spike. With that symbolic act, the Canadian West and its mountains were now fully open for business—that is, for those visitors William Cornelius Van Horne, president of the CPR, once referred to as "the class that travels.

Newly constructed railway hotels, such as the castle-like Banff Springs Hotel, provided comfortable gathering places with luxurious terraces and sublime vistas of sharp peaks and dense forests for the well-heeled hikers and artists brought in by the CPR's aggressive marketing campaign. In the CPR constructed a one-story cabin on the shores of Lake Louise and advertised it as "a hotel for the outdoor adventurer and alpinist. Walter Wilcox, a recent graduate, and Samuel Allen, a prodigy with a deep interest in languages.

They passed their evenings in the chalet poring over a primer on technique, The Badminton Library of Sport and Pastimes —Mountaineering. They spent their days practicing what they'd read the night before. An accident was probably inevitable. Hey, thanks for dropping by Neecy. I must admit that it reads better than what I have up on Amazon!

Need to change that. I hope you enjoy it. A fair few people have. This sounds like a fantastic story.

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