Chairman – Claude Harrison
Secretary/Treasurer – Fred Maurice
Outings Committee – Allan Baker
Executive Committee – William Dougan, Francis Tuckey
February 3/4 – Club ski trip to Mt. Baker.
March 10 – Club trip to unnamed peak in Sooke Hills.
March 15 – Section members invited to the home of Aretas DesBrisay on Head Street.
March 22 – 25 – Club camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills
March 30 – Club’s 35th annual banquet held in the Princess Louise room of the Empress Hotel.
March 31 – Club trip to Iron Mine Hill.
April 14 – Club trip to Mt. Tzouhalem.
April 28 – Club trip to Mt. Finlayson.
May 18/19 – Club trip to Todd Mountain.
June 22/23 – Club trip to Mt. Maxwell, Saltspring Island.
June 29/30, July 1 – Club camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills.
August – Successful club trip to Mt. Arrowsmith.
December 2 – Club’s annual general meeting held at the home of Claude Harrison, Beach Drive.
Section members who attended the ACC general summer camp at Glacier Lake July 14 to 20: Rex Gibson, Ethne Gale
Six Inches of Powder Snow
Skiers Found Conditions Surprisingly Good
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday January 25, 1940, p.4.
Skiers at the week-end were delighted to find six inches of powder snow on top of the frozen surface at the top of Mount Becher. The going was, therefore, just about as good as it could be. There is not as much snow as there might be at the Lookout, but there is plenty to have lots of fun. And so about twenty found who went up in the Lodge snowmobile. Owing to there being no snow the road to the Lodge this year is better than usual and this is a boon and a blessing to all.
Visit Mt. Baker
Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday February 6, 1940, p.6.
Over the week-end [February 3/4] fourteen members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada and their friends went to Mount Baker, via Vancouver to ski. Unfortunately, blizzard conditions obliterated the view, but it did not prevail the party from making full use of the numerous ski-runs about the Lodge.
Ski Tourney at Port Alberni
Local Performers Going Over to Take Part
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday March 14, 1940, p.8.
PORT ALBERNI, March 13—Next Sunday, March 17th, the Vancouver Island Ski Championships will be contested by skiers from all parts of the Island, in the vicinity of the Havilah Gold Mine, known as the Upper Basin [China Creek]; driving by car to Camp 6, thence by short hike to Upper Basin. The downhill course has been marked of with flags, and old experienced skiers have tried it out, expressing it as a real thriller, sig-sagging down the mountain side twisting and turning over the steep tricky course, at fifty miles an hour. Many spectators will accompany the skiers to witness the flights and spills down the mountain side. Officials of the Vancouver Ski Zone will be in attendance to clock and take charge of the races. The time for leaving Port Alberni is set for 6:45 a.m. and the first race will take place at 11:00 a.m. Many trophies have been donated for the events, to mention a few; Junior Chamber of Commerce, a cup; Simms, Courtenay, a cup; Laver’s, a cup; Forbidden Plateau Lodge, a cup for the Island Championship, this last cup has been won twice by Tom Tysse. Numerous other prizes have been given by local merchants.
It is understood that fifteen skiers will be going from the local club, most of whom will be competitors.
Alpine Club Hike
Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday March 14, 1940, p.8.
A hike into country north of Sooke Road was enjoyed on Sunday [March 10] by members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada. The principal mountains seen from the top of the unnamed hills were Helmcken, Shepherd and Ragged. An Easter camp will be held from March 22 to 25 at the Lake of the Seven Hills, Sooke. Information regarding the camp may be obtained by telephoning Mr. Fred G.P. Maurice at G2101 or G8124, or Mr. Allan J. Baker at G7810.
Party for Club
Reported in The Daily Colonist Saturday March 16, 1940, p.8.
Captain and Mrs. Aretas W.Y. DesBrisay entertained the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada at a delightful party last evening [March 15] at their home on Head Street. Bridge and dancing were enjoyed and a buffet supper served with a table arranged with Spring flowers. Masses of daffodils were used in the decoration of the house. During the evening little Annette and Rosemary DesBrisay delighted the guests with ballet dances and costumes. The guests, numbering over 100, were received by Mrs. Claude Harrison.
Was Known to Mountaineers
S.H. Mitchell, Founder Secretary of Alpine Club of Canada, Dies Here
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday March 17, 1940, p.5.
Stanley Hamilton Mitchell, widely known as a member and secretary of the Alpine Club of Canada, and who had friends from many parts of the world who had attended annual camps of the club in the Canadian Rockies, died at the Mayfair Nursing Home, 1037 Richardson Street, on Friday [March 15] evening after a protracted illness. Born at Glasgow, Scotland, in 1863, and educated at Sherborne Public School, England, he came to Canada as a young man and took up residence at Winnipeg, where he was associated for some years in the lumber business with his brother, the late H.B. Mitchell. Later he moved to Calgary, and it was while there that he became interested in the Alpine Club of Canada, of which he was one of the founders. The club was organized at Winnipeg in 1906, others associated with its founding being Arthur O. Wheeler, Mrs. Elizabeth Parker and the late Reverend Dr. James C. Herdman, Very Reverend Dean Paget and Professor Arthur P. Coleman. Since then, the club has become international, being affiliated with the Alpine Club and the Ladies Alpine Club of England, and having close connections with other mountaineering organizations both in this country and abroad. Attracting members from overseas, the United States and other distant parts of the world to its annual camps at climbing centres of the Canadian Rockies, the club brought Mr. Mitchell into close association with many distinguished climbers. In 1907, he became secretary-treasurer of the club, and as assistant editor collaborated with A.O. Wheeler, first president, then director and editor of the Canadian Alpine Journal. Later Mr. Mitchell was elected honorary secretary, and held that position until his death. For many years the executive officers of the club were at Sidney, B.C., where Mr. Mitchell lived until he came to Victoria. He was a churchman and a strong supporter of St. Andrew’s, the Anglican Church of Sidney.
Build Honor Hut
Through the generosity of Miss Helen Trenholme, of Montreal, a fund was created not long ago for the building of a hut in recognition of Mr. Mitchell’s services to the Alpine Club. To be known as the “Stanley Mitchell Hut,” this has recently been completed in the Little Yoho Valley. The formal opening of this hut was arranged for Good Friday this year when, it was hoped, members and friends would gather to honor Mr. Mitchell and exchange messages with him. Despite his death the ceremony will be carried out as a fitting memorial to him, stated Major W.R. Tweedy, of Vancouver, present secretary of the Alpine Club of Canada, who arrived to take charge of the funeral arrangements. Funeral services will be held at Hayward’s B.C. Funeral Parlors tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 o’clock, followed by cremation at Royal Oak. At Mr. Mitchell’s expressed desire, the ashes will be interred in the Church of England cemetery at Banff, Alta., in June, when it is planned that a number of the executive and other members of the club will be present. Major Tweedy will officially represent the president, C.G. Wates of Edmonton, and other members of the executive at the funeral tomorrow. His only known surviving relatives are two nieces, Miss Dorothy E. Mitchell, now engaged in missionary work at Peiping [Beijing was called Peiping between 1928 and 1949], China, and Miss Barbara A. Mitchell, of London.
“A good mountain climber and a kindly, courteous gentleman with a very keen sense of humor, he had the gift of creating lasting friendships and was well adapted to meeting and looking after the entertainment of visitors at the Alpine club-house at Banff, where his Summers were spent, and of members attending the club’s annual camps. His many mountaineering friends in England and the United States could never speak too lightly of him,” said the honorary club president, A.O. Wheeler. Major Tweedy also paid high tribute: “A wonderful man, of keen intellect and wide general knowledge, with a tremendous fund of humor which will be greatly missed by all who were privileged to have any association with him.”
Courtenay Skier Was Champion
Arthur Wood Won Both Downhill and Slalom Events at Port Alberni
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday March 21, 1940, p.4.
Port Alberni, March 18—Vancouver Island Ski Championship trophies changed hands on Sunday after competitions held in King Solomon Basin near here. Over 70 contestants and spectators took advantage of the wonderful weather to journey to the basin for a most successful day, unmarred by any untoward incidents. During the morning, when the downhill races were held, the snow was crusted—very fast—but softened in the afternoon for the slalom events. The men’s downhill class ‘A’ had the largest entry, 17 plank artists attempting what Eric Laurillard, Vancouver Ski Zone referee stated to be “the toughest downhill course” he’d seen in 14 years of contests. The run was approximately a third of a mile, the first part being steep sidehill with a hard crust. Arthur Wood of Courtenay copped the trophy with the fine time of 35 seconds with Thor Jacobsen, Port Alberni, running very close with 35½. Tom Tysse third with 38¾. In the men’s class ‘A’ slalom, Arthur Wood again sped to victory with times of 15½ and 12. In the Ladies section, Mrs. S. Jacobsen took both downhill (22¾) and slalom (10¾ and 10¾) to gain the double crown of champion downhill and slalom artist for Vancouver Island. Miss Ruth Masters, Courtenay, came second in the downhill, and Miss Mia Schjelderup, last year’s champion, was the runner-up for the slalom. The contests were run by Eric Laurillard, ski zone referee, and Bud Stevens, course setter, both of Vancouver. Laurillard, in addition to his remarks on the downhill course, complimented the entrants, saying that skiing on the Island, has improved 100% since last year. He referred to the King Solomon Basin as a wonderful competition area, difficult to better anywhere.
Banquet Given to Skiers
At the banquet at Good Eats Café supper room, Mayor W.C. Hamilton welcomed the skiers, commenting on the fact of many nationalities competing together in perfect harmony. Later he presented the cups and trophies to the winners and runners-up. Probably the most popular presentation of the evening was to Chris Johnson for “services rendered” to Island skiing. When replying Chris said how delighted he was to see the rapid growth of the sport, and that he would like to see a great many young Canadian skiers. Sid Williams of the Comox District Mountaineering Club thanked and complimented the Arrowsmith Ski Club on the excellent tournament arrangements.
Records and times:
Ladies Novice Downhill
1 L. Gregory 1:06
2 Mrs. D Warren 1:42
Ladies Downhill Class ‘A’
1 Mrs. S. Jacobsen 22¾
2 Ruth Masters 32½
3 Mia Schjelderup 35¾ (7 entries)
Ladies Slalom Class ‘A’
1 Mrs. S. Jacobsen 10¾ and 10¾
2 Mia Schjelderup 14¼ and 14
3 Katherine Capes 17 and 19 (7 entries)
Men’s Novice Downhill
1 Jack Beveridge 29
2 Jack Stelling 29¾
3 P. Legg 31 (6 entries)
Men’s Novice Slalom
1 Fred Smith 12¾ and 13¼
2 Brevik 20 and 14
3 Jack Beveridge 16¾ and 20 (4 entries)
Men’s Downhill Class ‘A’
1 Arthur Wood (Forbidden Plateau) 35
2 Thor Jacobsen (Arrowsmith) 35½
3 Tom Tysse (Arrowsmith) 38¾ (17 entries)
Men’s Slalom Class ‘A’
1 Arthur Wood 15½ and 12
2 Thor Jacobsen 18 and 13
3 Tom Tysse 13½ and 17
Eric Laurillard Ski zone referee; Bud Stevens, course setter, both of Vancouver.
Alpine Club Camp Draws a Big Crowd
Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday March 27, 1940, p.8.
Members and friends of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada held a successful four-day camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills. During the time, Mount Empress, the highest of the Sooke Hills, was climbed, and a cross country trek was made to Kapoor via Leechtown and returning by Mount Empress. Early on Easter Sunday morning a fire was built on Hill Four near the camp in the hope that the smoke could be seen from Victoria by those attending the sunrise service, but sweeping winds and grey clouds made it impossible. The Alpine Club’s annual dinner will be held on Saturday at the Empress Hotel for members and friends, and those planning to attend are asked to communicate with the secretary, Mr. Fred Maurice, by telephoning G2101 not later than today. A hike is being planned for next Sunday by the club.
Alpine Club Dinner
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday March 31, 1940, p.8.
Forty members and friends attended the thirty-fifth annual dinner of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, held last evening in the Princess Louise room of the Empress Hotel. After dinner, moving pictures of the Alpine Camp to be held at the head of Glacier Lake, Banff National Park, in the Summer, were shown by Mr. Claude Harrison, president of the Vancouver Island section. Mr. Harrison read an address by Mr. Arthur O. Wheeler, honorary president and founder of the Alpine Club of Canada, dealing with the founding of the club and telling of the camp at Glacier Lake to be held from July 14 to 20. The camp will be situated half way between Lake Louise and Jasper, and can be approached from both directions. Greetings were read from other Alpine Club sections in Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver. Bowls of erythronium and wild cyclamen carried out the simple but charming table decorations. This was the work of Mrs. Claude Harrison and her committee. Later the guests attended the supper dance in the crystal ballroom.
Mt. Tzouhalem To Be Climbed by Alpine Club
Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday April 3, 1940, p.8.
Several members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada drove via Sooke Road to Land’s End, from where they climbed Iron Mine Hill on Sunday [March 31]. The pot holes and blow holes in the region were examined with much interest. The next trip will take place on April 14, when Mount Tzouhalem near Duncan, will be climbed. Those wishing to attend are asked to communicate with the secretary, Mr. Fred Maurice, by telephoning G2101, or Mr. Allan Baker, at G7810, not later than Friday, April 12.
Rope Work Is Practiced on Mt. Tzouhalem
Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday April 17, 1940, p.8.
Eighteen members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada on Sunday [ April 14] drove to Duncan for the purpose of climbing Mount Tzouhalem. The route taken was up the face of the mountain overlooking the Cowichan Valley. There was some opportunity for rope work and much interest was taken in the Tzouhalem area. The next outing will take the form of a mystery trip, on Sunday, April 28. Those wishing to attend are asked to communicate with the secretary, Mr. Fred Maurice, by telephoning G2101, or Mr. Allan Baker at G7810, by Friday, April 26.
West Coast Skiers Here
Fifteen Members of Port Alberni Club Took Part in Inter-Club Races
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday April 18, 1940, p.4.
Port Alberni skiers came over to the east coast of the Island on Sunday [April 14] to take part in friendly competition on the shoulder of Mount Becher. The weather was brilliant and the snow fast. The same course was used as last year when the Upper Island championships were held here. Both are stiff. Arthur Wood again won the downhill but was over eager in the slalom. He over-ran a point and lost a ski. Mrs. Jacobsen took both the ladies’ events.
The events were as follows:
1 Arthur Wood, Courtenay
2 Thor Jacobsen, Alberni
1 Robert Gibson, Courtenay
2 Paul Johanson, Alberni
Jr. Men’s Downhill
1 Noel McPhee, Courtenay
2 Norman Wood, Courtenay
Jr. Men’s Slalom
1 Norman Wood, Courtenay
2 Gavin Wood, Courtenay
1 Mrs. S. Jacobsen, Alberni
2 Katherine Capes, Courtenay
1 Mrs. S. Jacobsen, Alberni
2 Mia Schjelderup, Courtenay
1 Fred Smith, Courtenay
2 Alymer Boyes, Alberni
After the competitions the party came down to the Lodge, where 35 of them were entertained to a very delightful dinner. Thor Jacobsen presented the cups and Dick Idiens and Cliffe Laver spoke briefly of the pleasure they had in entertaining the Port Alberni Club and in the day’s sport.
Members Climb Mt. Finlayson
Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday May 1, 1940, p.7.
Several members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada drove to Goldstream Flats on Sunday [April 28] to climb Mount Finlayson. In spite of rain and slippery rocks, the trip was successful and afforded considerable practice in rope work, and the wild flowers and dogwood were at their best. The next trip will be a week-end trek in Mount Trap district. Those wishing to go are asked to communicate with Mr. Fred Maurice, by telephoning G2101 or Mr. Allan Baker at G7810.
Trip Made to Todd Mountain
Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday May 22, 1940, p.8.
An unscheduled trip was made by members of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada over the week-end to Todd Mountain, 3,170 feet, some eight miles from the end of the Silver Mine Road along the Shawnigan-Port Renfrew Trail. One night was spent en route, the summit being reached by noon on the second day. The climbers were rewarded by a superb view of the valleys of Koksilah and San Juan Rivers stretched out in opposite directions, flanked by wooded hills, with a glimpse of the snow-capped peaks of the Cowichan Lake Mountains to the north. Mountain phlox, collinsia and wild strawberries were found in profusion. The trip was followed by dinner at the Shawnigan Lake Hotel.
Plateau is Well Known
Fame of Forbidden Plateau Spread Abroad—Lakes Stocked With Trout
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday May 26, 1940, p.34.
Within twenty miles of Courtenay, in the Comox Valley, lies one of the major tourist attractions of Vancouver Island. No visitor can afford to miss the sight of the glorious scenery, the peaks and the chasms and the hundreds of small shrub-lined lakes that dot the surface of the Forbidden Plateau. The trout-stocked lakes and meadows of wild flowers, the strange red snow and the alpine moss lends credence to the legends that have sprung up about this strange plateau. Walled in by a mountain range 5,000 feet high, the Indian legend of the coast tribes tells of a huge and fierce tribe of men that inhabited it at one time. The taboo placed upon the spot by the witch doctors of the tribe kept this centre of Vancouver Island a sanctuary for bird and beast. Today in its 100 square miles there is living not one single human and the mesa is left as it was by the Indians hundreds of years past. To reach this superb plateau there are two ways. One is by way of Dove Creek and the other through Bevan and Mount Becher. To fully appreciate and explore the devious paths and byways of this strange section of country it is advisable to travel either by pack horse or by hiking, and guides are available at the communities along the roads in.
B.C. Alpinists Atop High Peak
Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday May 29, 1940, p.2.
VANCOUVER, May 28—First recorded ascent of 8,000-foot Mount Outram, near Hope, B.C., by a party of six Vancouver and Victoria climbers over the week-end was revealed today. Led by William Mathews, Vancouver member of the Alpine Club of Canada, the party scaled the peak through a rising gale with drifting snow. Members of the party in addition to Mathews included Ernie Jenkins, Fred Parkes, Robert Rolston and David Muir of Vancouver and Miss Elizabeth Thorneycroft of Victoria.
Alpine Club to Hold Week-End Camp on July 1
Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday June 26, 1940, p.7.
Several members of the local section of the Alpine Club of Canada went over to Salt Spring Island on Saturday [June 22] afternoon for the purpose of climbing Mount Maxwell on Sunday [June 23]. Camp for the night was pitched at Burgoyne Bay. The route taken was up the face of the mountain. A splendid panoramic view of the surrounding country and mountains was had from the summit. Mount Arrowsmith and Mount Baker being particularly clear. Arrangements are being made for camp at the Lake of the Seven Hills over the Dominion Day week-end. Those wishing to attend should communicate with Messrs. Fred G.P. Maurice, G2101, or Allan Baker, G7810, not later than tomorrow.
At Head of Sproat Lake
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday July 21, 1940, p.22.
Happy Days on Plateau
Conditions Ideal Now for Famous Resort
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 8, 1940, p.5.
If you want to go to the Forbidden Plateau, now is the time; not a cloud over the whole of the Mount Albert Edward range, the trails are drying up and will be in fine shape by the end of the week, the alpine flowers are brilliant and there’s plenty of fish in the lakes. There has been a lot of rain in the high lands this year, far more than there has been down here and the trails over Paradise Meadows above the Forbidden Plateau Lodge have been miry. But with this sun they will be fine this week. Good fishing is reported in all the lakes. The cut-off by the Mount Becher route has greatly shortened the trip into McKenzie Lake and Lake Mariwood. The pull over Mount Becher was always a killer for man and horse and it is a great relief to be able to travel at a good pace, where before you had to plod wearily up foot by weary foot. The Dove Creek trail is just the same. In fact, whilst empires have fallen and the worst gone to pot during the last ten years the Dove Creek trail is just about as it was. It is a cool tunnel on the hottest day. Mr. W. Adrian B. Paul, who is in charge there whilst Mr. Croteau is at Comox, is cutting out some fine trails round Helen McKenzie Lake and has found some giant spruce in his travel, five feet through. That is unusual at four thousand feet. Hey you lads that want to go up to the Plateau but haven’t a tent, there’s one for you at Croteau Camp. There’s a bell tent there for the use of the boys of the district free. Distinguishing visitors to the Croteau Camp are Dr. White and Mr. C.L. Fillmore, magistrate in the Juvenil police court at Vancouver. Mr. Hugh Savage, scoutmaster of the Duncan Boy Scouts Patrol, with three patrol leaders and the A.S.M., have also been camping there.
Shorten Trail to Plateau
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 22, 1940, p.5.
Many visitors to the Forbidden Plateau are finding the way much less wearisome owing to the new trails that have been cut by the government between the Look-out and McKenzie Lake. Last year the man-killing pull over the top of Mount Becher was eliminated. This year the trail from Mount Becher and McKenzie Lake has been straightened and widened. The fishing is excellent in McKenzie Lake, Douglas and Pearse Lakes. A trail has been blazed from McKenzie Lake to Pearse Lake.
Red Snow and Albert Edward
These Are Two Big Attractions of Forbidden Plateau Says Toronto Girl
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 29, 1940, p.8.
An appreciation of the Forbidden Plateau recently appeared in “Onward”, a United Church publication for young people, published in Toronto. It is by Miss G.E. Valentine.
“Mountain-peaks with snow on them all year round are common in the Rockies, but on a small island like Canada’s Vancouver Island, a peaceful pleasure haven for tourists and retired folk, they are a bit of a surprise. And when the snow is not white, but red … We didn’t believe that story about red snow at first, Joan and I. And when we first attempted to reach the Forbidden Plateau, we began to wonder if it was going to be worth the effort. The hundred-mile trip north from Victoria on the Island Highway was beautiful in the extreme, but when we found a twelve-mile walk over a lonely forest trail facing us, a walk that was nearly all uphill and often pretty steep, we lost a good deal of enthusiasm. It was not a bad hike, however, even though we were carrying tent and sleeping-bag on our backs to cut down on expenses; and when we finally came out on the Plateau, the view was well worth a far harder climb than we had had. Directly in front of us was beautiful Croteau Lake, surrounded by dwarf alpine evergreens, and reflecting in its mirror-smooth surface the colours of the rock cliff that rose sheer on its northern shore; in the distance a huge rampart of rock towered up, snow-aced, and impressive as the Rockies. It made us eager to explore.
Fairyland of Flowers
Starting out the next morning, we found ourselves walking through a fairyland of flowers. The Forbidden Plateau country is quite open, grassy meadows alternating with airy wood, and all these open meadows were carpeted with flowers; red and white heather, mauve and yellow and white violets, scarlet Indian brush, and many more. They were at their very best in July; and to people who had never seen the profusion and vividness of alpine flowers it was an unforgettable sight. Everywhere on the Plateau were little valleys and hills, mirror-like lakes, green and still and beautiful. With the flowers, the stunted little trees, and the glorious tangy mountain air it was like a dream world. Following a winding path, we came to a steep slope, clambered up it with several rests and found ourselves on a little elevation called the Dome. The great rock rampart which we had seen the night before had been lost to sight as we walked along the woods and hills of the Plateau; now it suddenly loomed up close to us, a great horseshoe-shaped barrier of rock patched with snow and streaked with innumerable silver ribbons of little waterfalls. Part of the rampart was the mountain known as Mount Albert Edward, its ascent so gradual that even a child can climb it; and we resolved that we, too, would attempt it.
Red Snow at Last
But near at hand were drifts of snow, melting into pools under the hot summer sun, and some of those drifts showed pink, not white. Red snow! Eagerly we hurried over to examine it. Yes, there it was, beyond all doubting; here just a tinge on the dirty white, there a whole drift stained with it. In places it was almost rose, elsewhere faint pink; and it gave one a strange sensation to gaze at it; you sort of wondered if you were seeing straight. We picked up handfuls of the snow to view it closer; and when it melted you could see tiny red particles that gave the snow its color suspended in the water. Extremely small plants, or bacteria, are responsible for red snow although in some places very small insects, called snow fleas, give the same effect. Whatever the cause, it is very rare, however, and there is no other place in the world where red snow can be seen with as little exertion—fifteen not-too-difficult miles from the end of the motor-road with horses available for the entire trip if you want to ride. We tackled the mountain. At first we were afraid of getting lost; then we saw that the way was marked with little piles of rock, called cairns or “rock ducks”, and we followed them without hesitation. None of the way was dangerous; we slithered across snowfields slippery in the hot sun, across bare hot rock; the haunting odour of mountain wallflowers filled the air. The last slope up to the peak was steep and hard work, for it was all loose shale, but we made it at last. And the view amply repaid our exertion. North, west and south was a tumbled chaos of mountains, all rock and snow, of a massiveness and grandeur amazing to find on an island of this size. Beyond them we caught a faint glimpse of the Pacific Ocean, forty miles away. To the east were the great hills of the Plateau; we could not see the coast, nor the narrow strip of the Strait of Georgia which here separates the island from the mainland, but in the eastern distance we could see the mainland mountains rising in endless blue ranges against the horizon sky.
Plenty More to See
It was with regret that we left the peak, after putting our names on the paper kept in a bottle in the cairn that marked the top, and started down. We had seen the two main sights of the Plateau, the red snow and the view from Mount Albert Edward; but there are many others, and one can spend weeks in this mountain wonder and with ever fresh delight. Impressive canyons, beautiful island-studded lakes, ice-caves, there are innumerable attractions for the casual hiker, every kind of climbing for the mountaineer. It’s well worth a visit, the Forbidden Plateau, and it is to be hoped that visiting it is never made too easy. If a motor road were built all the way in, its beauty would be spoiled swiftly by gasoline stations, hot dog stands, high-priced hotels and languid, unappreciated tourists. It is thrilling now to hike in through the cool woods, or ride in with the twice-weekly pack-train that brings supplies—a bit of adventure that few other resorts offer. Why is it known as Forbidden Plateau? Long ago the Indians of Vancouver Island believed that this plateau was inhabited by fierce hairy giants who kidnapped and killed ordinary mortals. They were very much afraid of the area and always gave it a wide berth; not until some ten or fifteen years ago did the white man discover it, and even today no white man lives there all year round. There are two camps open during the summer; but when fall brings the early snows that in a few weeks will be yards deep—not merely inches or feet—everybody bundles up and leaves. Save for a few skiers, the Plateau is left alone in its grandeur all through winter and spring, and not open until the following are the trails reopened and the old legend once more defied.
Hard Trip to Get Prospector
Police Have Gone in To Buttle Lake
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday November 14, 1940, p.5.
James Cross, a well-known prospector on Buttles Lake, made a painful trip in a canoe all the way down the mountain lake before he reached the cabin of Dick Rogers at the outlet. He had broken his ankle whilst on his claim. He was exhausted when he reached his destination. Rogers came out to Forbes Landing, where he telephoned to the Campbell River police station for help to get the lamed man out to hospital. Constable McAlpine and the Sutherland brothers have taken in a toboggan to bring the old prospector out over the thirteen miles of trail to the end of the road.
Skiing Has Started
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday November 14, 1940, p.5.
Even though the average citizen shivered at the sight of the snow at the week-end, the skiers of the district regarded it with delight. Eight or nine ardent ski-enthusiasts went up Mt. Becher on Sunday and found skiing conditions excellent, and are looking forward to a long winter of their favorite sport.
Prospector Is Packed Out
Buttles Lake Veteran Now Safely Home
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday November 21, 1940, p.5.
Mr. James Cross, 76 years old, for whom a rescue party went into Buttles Lake last week, is now at his home in Victoria recovering after his unpleasant experiences. Cross, who operates a mineral claim at the head of the lake, slipped and broke his ankle when he was 1,100 feet up. He managed to crawl down the mountain to his cabin where he stayed for a couple of days, after which he rowed about sixteen miles to Mr. Dick Roger’s cabin. Mr. Rogers notified the police at Campbell River and Provincial Police Constables Sandy and McAlpine, accompanied by Messrs. W. and J. Sutherland, formed a rescue party. The injured man was packed out on a stretcher, not without some considerable difficulty. The party had expected to have been able to use a toboggan, but there was no snow. Mr. Cross left for Victoria on Saturday.
Officers Named by Alpine Club
Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday December 4, 1940, p.4.
Claude L. Harrison was again re-elected chairman of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, at the annual general meeting held on Monday [December 2] evening at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Harrison, Beach Drive. Fred Maurice was returned as secretary-treasurer, and William H. Dougan, Francis E. Tuckey, Miss Stephanie Jones and Miss Kathleen Houghton were appointed to the executive. A letter from the honorary president of the Alpine Club of Canada, Arthur O. Wheeler, was read referring to the loss of one of Canada’s famous climbing guides, Christian Hasler, who was internationally known for his work in the Rocky Mountains. This year’s activities were reported in the annual address by Mr. Harrison, who also presented the outing committee’s report in the absence of the chairman, Allan J. Baker, who has joined the R.C.A.F. Climbs and hikes were made to various parts of the Island and to the club’s hut at the Lake of the Seven Hills, Sooke. The highest climb of the year was the summit of Mount Arrowsmith. Skiing parties to Mount Baker and Deer Park, near Port Angeles, were also arranged.
Skiing Good on Mount Becher
Recent Frost and Snow Make it Excellent
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday December 31, 1940, p.5.
Last night’s frost and the recent fall of snow on the hills has made excellent skiing on Mount Becher. At the Look-out there is more snow now than there was all last year. It is dry powder snow too. Mount Becher is now one of the few accessible places for skiing on the coast of British Columbia as devotees cannot now go over the line to Mount Baker and other U.S.A. resorts. The Forbidden Plateau will be thronged with skiers tonight and through the New Year season.
Chairman – Claude Harrison
Secretary/Treasurer – Fred Maurice
Executive Committee – William Dougan, Francis Tuckey, Stephanie Jones, Kathleen Houghton
February 15/16 – Club trip to Mt. Seymour skiing with Vancouver Club.
February 21/22/23 – Club trip to Mt. Hood.
November 24 – Annual club meeting at Y.M.C.A.
Section members who attended the ACC general summer camp at Glacier: Claude Harrison, Gordon Cameron, Donald Cameron
Skiing on Forbidden Plateau
Reported in The Daily Colonist Wednesday February 18, 1941, p.7.
Forbidden Plateau by Bus
Reported in The Daily Colonist Friday January 10, 1941, p.8.
Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday February 18, 1941, p.8.
An enjoyable week-end skiing was spent by the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada, when eight members went to the Mainland as guests of the Vancouver section at it cabin on Seymour Ridge. The party was taken up the ridge on Saturday [February 15] night and spent Sunday skiing, returning to Victoria on the midnight boat. The weather was ideal and the views of the surrounding country was magnificent. The next outing will be up Mount Hood on Sunday February 23. Members wishing to join are asked to communicate with the chairman of the outings committee by telephoning G1447 by Thursday.
Ski Tourney on Sunday
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday March 13, 1941, p.4.
The Upper Island Ski championships are being held on Mount Becher, Forbidden Plateau next Sunday [March 15] commencing at noon. The events are as follows: men’s slalom, novices downhill, ladies downhill, men’s downhill. Following the tournament there will be a banquet at the Lodge at seven o’clock. All entries should be sent to Miss Ruth masters, Courtenay and can be made on the field up to eleven o’clock. Reports from Mount Becher are that the snow is in excellent condition. With no chances of getting to the American side for their skiing, it is anticipated that there will be keen interest this year. Keen competition is expected from Port Alberni. There will be a banquet at 7 o’clock on Sunday night for the presentation of prizes at the Lodge.
Ski-Championships on Mount Becher
Canadian Olympic Star Lifts Cup with Good Local Opposition
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday March 20, 1941, p.1.
With a member of the 1936 Canadian Olympic team to lift all the championship cups the ski tournament on Mount Becher last Sunday under the auspices of the Comox District Mountaineering Club was a decided success. There were competitors present from the local club, Shawnigan Lake, Victoria and Port Alberni. The star of the day was Karl Baadsvik, a member of the Canadian Olympic team in 1936, when the competitions were held in Germany. The course on the slopes of Mount Becher from the hump near the top to the cabin is very tricky, but he took all the turns with the greatest of ease. He made the men’s open downhill in 71 seconds. Second to him came Arthur Wood, who has learnt his skiing on Mount Becher, with a very creditable 75.4 seconds. The snow was in excellent condition and quite fast. The local club had made efficient arrangements and the whole programme went smoothly. Lindsay Loutet of Duncan acted as starter and Hank Samuelson, now of Port Alberni, formerly a member of the Calgary Ski Club, was starter. The cups were presented at a very pleasant dinner at the Forbidden Plateau Lodge in the evening. Mr. Bert Chandler, president of the local club doing the honors.
Results were as follows:
Men’s Open Slalom
1 Karl Baadsvik, Victoria, 42.3 seconds, 41.3, 84.1
2 Arthur Wood, Courtenay, 49.1, 47.4, 97
3 Norman Wood, Courtenay, 56.2, 55.3, 112
4 Tom Tysse, Port Alberni, 61, 56.1, 117.1
5 Bob Gibson, Courtenay, 67.1, 74.4, 142
Men’s Open Downhill
1 Karl Baadsvik, Victoria, 71.1 seconds
2 Arthur Wood, Courtenay, 75.4
3 Tom Tysse, Port Alberni, 82.2
4 Dick Idiens, Courtenay, 102
5 Leo Maki, Shawnigan, 111.3
Men’s Open Combined
1 Karl Baadsvik, Victoria
2 Arthur Wood, Courtenay
3 Tom Tysse, Port Alberni
1 Jack Hough, Cumberland, 40.3 seconds
2 Dave Anstey, Cumberland, 1:07.1
3 A.B. Clement, 1:12.1
4 Bob McPhee, 1:21
1 Sue Grieg, Courtenay, 1:32.4 seconds
Ladies’ Open Slalom
1 Ruth Masters, Courtenay, 76.2 seconds, 77.4, 153.1
2 Mia Schjelderup, Courtenay, 93.1 sec, 86.4, 180
Ladies’ Open Downhill
1 Betty Brewer, Shawnigan, 3:13.3 seconds
2 Ruth Masters, Courtenay, 3:40.4
3 Mia Schjelderup, Courtenay, 4:54
4 S. Magnuson, Port Alberni, 5:23.3
Ladies’ Open Combined
1 Ruth Masters
2 Mia Schjelderup
Buttle Lake – Plateau Government Park
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday April 3, 1941, p.2.
There has been much talk of making a government park of the Forbidden Plateau and the Buttles Lake area in the past that one is inclined to dismiss it with a shrug of the shoulders. Yet conditions are different than when it was discussed five or six years ago. The C.P.R. who own the Forbidden Plateau area are now convinced that there is nothing of value in the Plateau area for them and they would be more willing to turn it over to the government than they were. They might be willing to deed it to the province if the government would make it accessible to cars, and until it is, Courtenay’s greatest asset will remain a sealed book to most tourists, who cannot or will not hike. A road would be no job at all if turned over to a logging company on contract, which would be the common-sense way to make it. Then it could be improved as traffic on it warranted. A toll on the road would help to finance the cost. The continuance of the road to Buttles Lake to make the swing round for the tourist is grandiose and would be better left out of the plan until later. So many good ideas have been swamped by taking in too much territory.
Ski Meet on Mt. Becher
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday April 10, 1941, p.5.
Skiers are beginning to arrive today for the Forbidden Plateau Open Ski Championships to be held tomorrow. The present cup holders of these championships are Miss Gertie Wepsala and Hamish Davidson. The races will start at half past eleven tomorrow. There has been a good local entry. It is reported that the snow on the course is in excellent condition.
Ski Records Are Broken
Excellent Snow Conditions for Tournament At Mount Becher on Good Friday
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday April 17, 1941, p.1.
The Forbidden Plateau Open Ski Championships were held on Good Friday. The weather and snow conditions were excellent, but there were not many competitors’ records broken at the meet. Norman Wood, Dick Idiens and Noel McPhee all broke the previous records for the downhill race at 71 1/5 seconds set by Karl Baadsvik. Clubs represented were the Forbidden Plateau Ski Club and the Comox District Mountaineering Club. Winners of the cups are: Vancouver Daily Province Cup for men’s downhill and Courtenay-Comox Board of Trade, Norman Wood. Men’s slalom, given by Victoria Times, Len Rossiter. Juniors, presented by Honorable Wells Gray, Jack Hough. Comox Logging Cup for ladies’ slalom and Vancouver Island Coach Lines Cup for ladies’ downhill, Miss Mia Schjelderup.
Len Rossiter (F.P.S.C.) 104 seconds
Bob Gibson (F.P.S.C.) 113
Norman Wood (F.P.S.C.) 119
Noel McPhee (C.D.M.C.) 127
Dick Idiens (C.D.M.C.) 140
Combined, Norman Wood, Noel McPhee, Len Rossiter
Norman Wood 68 seconds
Dick Idiens and Noel McPhee 71
Bob Gibson 82
Len Rossiter 84
Jack Hough 199 seconds
- Strachan 328
Gavin Wood (disqualified)
Combined, Jack Hough, S. Strachan
Jack Hough 49 seconds
Gavin Wood 54
- Strachan 84
John Fryer 184
Mia Schjelderup, 93 seconds
Sue Grieg, 102
Combined, Mia Schjelderup
Mia Schjelderup, 226 seconds
- Cooper, 58 seconds
A.B. Clement, 61
Bob McPhee, 67
Bill McNaughton, 124
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday June 8, 1941, p.18.
“There’s Mount Arrowsmith”
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday June 15, 1941, p.14.
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday July 12, 1941, p.6.
Lieutenant-Colonel Horace “Rusty” Westmorland, who will be well remembered by all members of the Alpine Club of Canada, whose camps he frequently attended, is visiting here from London, Ontario, after a long absence. Since being in Victoria, Colonel Westmorland has spent a holiday in Switzerland, during which time he scaled the Matterhorn. Westmorland was a past chairman of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada.
Attend Alpine Camp
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday July 27, 1941, p.6.
Mr. Gordon Cameron and son, Donald, have left today to attend the annual camp of the Alpine Club of Canada at Glacier, B.C.
Telephone Line to Plateau
McKenzie Lake Will Be on Call When Completed
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday July 31, 1941, p.8.
A new line of telephone is under construction that will provide a circuit from the Forbidden Plateau Lodge on Mount Becher with the camp at McKenzie Lake. Completed this line will be more than six miles long and will be at the highest altitude yet for any telephone line on Vancouver Island. A half a ton of wire will be necessary along with pounds of porcelain insulators.
Modern Plateau Camp
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday August 3, 1941, p.12.
The Forbidden Plateau continues year after year to attract visitors bent on seeing the “mystic plains” of Indian legend. It is no simple task, owing to the lack of roads, but Croteau Camp, situated in the heart of the plateau, brings their guests in by pack train. Living in a modern camp of cedar cabins right in the midst of the grounds to be explored has proved to be the most popular method of seeing this grand place. The Forbidden Plateau is reached from Courtenay, on the Up-Island Highway.
American Explorer First to Reach Top of Alaska Mountain
Bradford Washburn Completes Daring Climb of Mount Hayes, Accompanied by His Wife and Party—Writes of His Experiences
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday August 10, 1941, p.2.
By Bradford Washburn
FAIRBANKS, Alaska, August 9—Completing a carefully planned three weeks’ mountain-climbing blitzkrieg, our small party of seven reached the base camp at the head of Delta Creek, Wednesday, after the first successful ascent of Mt. Hayes, 13,740 feet, the highest virgin peak in the Alaskan interior. Five members of the party reached the summit just after noon on August 1 after a seven-hour climb from a camp in the 9,500-foot notch in the crest of the magnificent northern ridge. The temperature on top was 12 degrees, with a gale from the northwest, while in Fairbanks the temperature at the same moment was 69 degrees.
In Sea of Clouds
At the summit a solid sea of great stormy clouds rolled past us to the north, with a surface of 12,000 feet and the peak rising from it like an icy island in a fog. To the south and the east there was a superb view over huge glaciers and a wilderness of jabbed peaks and ridges. Members of the party were Henry S. Hall, Jr., of Cambridge, Mass., who planned the expedition with me; Sterling Hendricks, of Washington, D.C.; Benjamin Ferris, of New York; William Shand, of Los Angeles: Lieutenant Robin Montgomery, United States Army; Mrs. Barbara Washburn, and myself. We left Fairbanks of July 15 by airplane and landed in a small field of gravel at the head of Delta Creek, twelve miles from the base of Mount Hayes. The size of the field necessitated three flights to land all the party and we walked thence to the base of the mountain, where 600 pounds of equipment and food were parachuted to the camp from the plane, and another 700 pounds, carefully packed in bundles, were dropped out to us with no parachute. Practically nothing was damaged except a box of crackers and a sack of prunes, which exploded like bombs when they hit large rocks.
The base camp was established on July 20 at the 5,000-foot level and three days later Hall, Hendricks, Mrs. Washburn and myself occupied a camp at 8,300 feet and started scouting out the route ahead. A storm slowed up the advance, but by July 26 all of us were living in a camp at 8,000 feet pitched in a sheltered hollow between huge snowdrifts. Another storm on July 27 brought a two-foot snowfall. We broke a trail up the ridge through knee-deep snow and drifts, often over waist deep, to carry eight days’ supply of food and gasoline to a deep cleft in the ridge at 9,500 feet. There camp was set up for the final assault on the summit, 4,000 feet above. After reconnaissance on July 29 we were thrown back by a storm at 13,000 feet and descended for more food and fuel. Two tents were pitched in holes dug in the snow in a notch with an ice grotto excavated between them for storage of supplies. The temperature in this camp was only once above freezing and was usually about 20.
Atop Mount Hayes
On August 1 all of the party reached the top of Mount Hayes in a twelve-hour climb except Hall, who remained at the high camp, and Lieutenant Montgomery, who had returned to Fairbanks four days before for army duty. We reached the high camp on our return at 6:30 p.m. August 1 and returned to base camp on August 2 and descended thence to the landing field, where we radioed to Fairbanks for a plane with a small portable transmitter. Ferris Shand and Hendricks are remaining in the mountains ten days longer for further exploration. Hall, Mrs. Washburn and I plan real photographic flights over the same region on the first clear day before returning East. It is believed Mrs. Washburn is the first woman to make the ascent of Mt. Hayes. We carried a small silk flag of the National Geographic Society to the summit in a tiny aluminum cylinder. The first attempt to climb Mt. Hayes was made in 1935; the names of the members of the party are not known, but they were local Alaskans. They reached 9,000 feet on the great eastern ridge before abandoning the climb. On July 13, 1936, I made the first flight around Mt. Hayes with Pilot S.E. Robbins of Pan-American Airways on an exploration for the National Geographic Society and obtained aerial pictures from which every detail of this year’s carefully planned attack was worked out.
Forbidden Region of Indian Legend Now Tourist Spot
Opening of Roads to and Resorts Within the Haunted Region of Vancouver Island Gives Vacationers as Many Thrills as Natives Received, Although of a Different Character
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday August 10, 1941, p.16.
One of the newest, and one of the most stirring sights of many breath-taking grandeurs of Vancouver Island is the Forbidden Plateau, about half way Up-Island on the Eastern Coast. Some 5,000 feet above sea level and walled in by mountain ranges, this beauty spot has more native historic interest than most parts, besides its own charm of clear air and beautiful scenery. This was a haunted region, in the estimation of the Indians of Vancouver Island and nearby mainland coast. Only medicine men, tried and strong in the ways of magic, could hope to enter the area by the very few accessible routes and return unscathed. And high, in the estimations of the Indians, was he who had made this journey and returned to his tribe. His charms bore the greater power through his test, his word became a firmer law, and his predictions held higher authority. Even the present visitor to this region feels just a trifle superior to the ordinary vacationer, upon his return to “civilization.” For despite having every modern comfort at hand in the resorts catering to plateau sightseers, there is a feeling that enters the breast with the first hundred steps of being farther from the haunts of man than seaside or lake resorts can give.
Newer Resort Area
Only a few years ago was the possibility of this being an ideal playground recognized and the first camp established. From a humble start the fame of the region has spread with amazing rapidity, and it is now known far and wide as one of the premier tourist attractions of the Pacific Coast. Literally hundreds of lovely lakes lie amidst the ranges of hills of the Plateau, several of particular charm. Vast tracts of the region are unencumbered by undergrowth, which makes for far greater hiking pleasure than tangled woodlands usually supply. Red and white heather clings to every arable fissure of the rocks and spreads a soft canopy on meadows. Many summits and peaks are still unconquered by climbers, which is an incentive to hiking expeditions, and the absence of undergrowth makes horseback riding a far more attractive pastime than usual in mountain regions. Fish abound in the streams and lakes, where clear, cool depths of water bring the fighting trout to the acme of size and table quality.
Rail and road both serve the vacationer to within a few miles of the Forbidden Plateau. Courtenay, near Comox Harbor, is the starting point for all traffic entering the mystic region, this town being a railway terminus of the line from Victoria, and also being the Up-Island Highway, 140 miles by motor from the capital. Comox Harbor offers all the advantages of salt water holiday joys as an added attraction to inland exploration, there being bathing beaches on both sides of the harbor, sheltered areas for boating, or wide, windswept waters for yachting and motor-boating. Many excellent motor camps and hostelries on the seafront in Courtenay, at the edge of the Plateau or right in the centre of the Indian magic lands, make accommodation a minor problem for visitors.
Fresh Wonders on Plateau
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday September 4, 1941, p.3.
By Ben Hughes – editor of the Comox Argus
To one who has been paying brief visits to the Forbidden Plateau for the past 14 years there is always something fresh and new to be found on tits trails. Life does not awaken on the Plateau until the end of June and twilight sleep has descended upon alpine meadows by the end of August. This year the Plateau in the last week of August was alive with wasps—millions of them. Stand under a conifer and there came a hum like a hive. Few could be seen flying. All were intent on something hidden away in the somber foliage. Wasps are no storers of nectar for the coming race; what were they doing in their millions just before the white hand of winter stills all life; what food would they be gathering in the age-old dwarf trees of the Plateau? I’ve never seen so many “whiskey-jacks”, those lovable rascals of the camp. These birds, so bold in the solitude of the hills, yet so averse to all contact with normal human activity were flitting on muted wings from many trees on the trails. Gradually the logger is creeping closer and closer to the Plateau. Up the Cruikshank Canyon, up the slopes of Mount Washington, the trees are falling beneath the axe. The Plateau should remain unscarred. C.P.R. cruisers have been all over it and prospectors have found no minerals. So, it should be safe from exploitation for there is nothing worth cutting or digging. It may long remain a haven of rest for souls, tired of the rush and banality of life below in the valley. It is becoming easier to reach. McKenzie Lake is now connected with the outside world by telephone thanks to the enterprise of the management of the Forbidden Plateau Lodge and the ingenuity and enthusiasm of Teddy Robson. A car has climbed to within a short distance of Breakneck Hill on the slope of Mount Becher and the new trail to McKenzie Lake cuts out the hard climb up and down the pass of that mountain. The Forbidden Plateau Lodge has had many visitors this year, including many notables and has extended its facilities for taking care of them. Mrs. Mary Wood, its hostess, is always ready to receive weary guests coming in from McKenzie and Mariwood camps and to provide them with hot baths, dry clothes and wonderful home-cooked food at amazingly short notice. A Croteau’s Camp, Mr. W. Adrian B. Paul is a most informing guide. His Plateau is equaled by only one other knowledge of the topography of the man and he is always scouting for new wonders. There are many delightful meadows and lakes on the Forbidden Plateau, known only to surveyors and trappers; trails will open them to the tourist and Mr. Paul will be the guide. One of the most exciting items of fare round the table at Croteau Camp is Croteau’s whole wheat bread. The wheat is grown on the farm of Mr. Eugene Croteau at Comox, is ground at the Comox Creamery and is made into bread at Croteau’s Camp by Mr. Paul. It certainly goes well with blueberry pie and Comox butter.
Logging and Buttles Lake
Protest at Proposal that the Mountain Should Be Exploited
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday September 4, 1941, p.4.
According to the Honorable Wells Gray, Minister of Lands, a special report will be made by Forestry officials on logging at Buttle Lake. Most of the timber around the lake was reserved for the crown during the life of the Tolmie government, but some of it at the end, where the trail comes into the lake, was not. Preliminary lines have been run in this and admirers of the beauty of Buttle Lake, are up in arms about it. The Vancouver Sun has protested in an editorial and the Victoria Times ran the following comment:
“Irving Brant, a special writer in the Times, said that loggers are now starting work near the north end of the lake and that if the timber is removed it will ruin one of the Island’s great outdoor playgrounds. Most of Buttle Lake is in the Strathcona Park reserve, but a few miles at the north end is not included and is alienated land. Mr. Gray said that while he knew there was logging going on in the region, he was not aware it was near the lake itself. He is instructing his forestry staff to investigate. The suggestion has been made that the government might arrange an exchange of timber with holders of the logging rights at the lake, so that the virgin forest could be preserved. Mr. Gray said he understood most of the timber near the lake was coverage and that logging operations were some distance away. The boundary of Strathcona Park cuts across Buttle Lake, as if the park had been laid out by simply drawing a line on a map without regard to the contour of the country. The north end of the lake, just outside the park, is the most popular holiday resort.”
Island Section of Alpine Club Elects Officers
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday December 3, 1941, p.18.
Claude L. Harrison was re-elected chairman of the Vancouver Island section of the Alpine Club of Canada on Monday [November 24] at the annual meeting in the Y.M.C.A. The executive will be secretary, Fred Maurice; executive William H. Dougan, Miss Elaine Beeston, Mrs. C.L. Harrison and Francis E. Tuckey. Mr. Harrison in his annual report, made special reference to the annual camp of the parent society which he attended at Glacier as the representation of the Vancouver Island section. The members present stood in silent tribute to the memory of Fred Leighton, a late member killed recently while on service with the R.C.A.F. overseas.
To Forbidden Plateau
Reported in The Daily Colonist Tuesday December 30, 1941, p.6.
A party of Victorians will leave today to spend the New Year’s holidays skiing at the Forbidden Plateau. In the group will be Mr. and Mrs. Allan Baker, Miss Dorothy Newman, Miss Wynne Shaw, Miss Margaret Vantreight, Sub-Lieutenant Frank Stevens, R.C.N.V.R. and Mr. Harry Bleasdale.
Chairman – Claude Harrison
Secretary/Treasurer – Fred Maurice
Executive Committee – William Dougan, Francis Tuckey, Elaine Beeston, Mrs. C. Harrison
Section members who attended the ACC general summer camp at Consolation Lake: Muriel Aylard, Dorothea Hay
Forbidden Plateau by Bus
Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday January 22, 1942, p.6.
Skier Brought Out by Tobaggan
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday February 5, 1942, p.5.
Much fresh snow has fell during the week-end on the Beaufort Range behind Courtenay. There is now snow at the Forbidden Plateau Lodge and it is possible to ski all the way down from Mount Becher cabin. It is a powder snow and with the first touch of harder weather will be ideal for skiing. The few devotees who went up at the week-end saw an artist at work. Karl Baadsvik of Victoria, who has been on an Olympic team came to try the slopes of Mount Becher with his wife and small son. It was a picture to see him going down the twisty road from the Lodge with his son on his shoulders as well as watch his mastery of the blades on top. Three veterans of the trail stayed in the cabin over the week-end, Captain George H. Ash, Mr. Bert Chandler and Miss Peggy Sillence. On Monday came down word that Captain Ash had fallen and twisted his knee and would have to be brought out on a toboggan. A small party consisting of Roger Hughes, Bobbie McPhee, Mia Schjelderup and A. McMonies packed up their skis just after noon and took the trail. The trail has not been packed and they expected a very heavy and difficult journey out.
Showery Weather Up-Island
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday May 3, 1942, p.4.
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday May 31, 1942, p.33.
Country Of Alpine Meadows Gorgeous Panoramic Views
Reported in The Daily Colonist Sunday July 12, 1942, p.17.
Holiday makers who venture into the great tableland in the centre of the Island long known to the Indians as the Forbidden Plateau will find a veritable wonderland of trails, warm water lakes and alpine meadows. The Plateau lies at the foot of the Island spinal range west of the city of Courtenay and is 147 miles from Victoria, the two cities being connected by the Island Highway. There is nothing tame or tamed about the Forbidden Plateau. It is a rolling tableland broken by hundreds of warm lakes varying in size from one to three or four hundred acres, great stretches of alpine meadows covered with yellow, white and purple heather, crimson-leafed huckleberry, alpine edelweiss, pentstemon, gentians, valerians, phlox, ranunculus and rhododendrons and lightly timbered Indian country. Due to the high elevation and because the soft Summer breezes blowing over the Plateau come in from the Pacific over many miles of fir forest and heather, a visit to this great alpine meadows puts now life and zip into the tired traveler. People especially from the South and inland, feel its effect almost immediately. There is a choice of two trails to the Plateau from Courtenay. The older one, starting at Dove Creek, is about ten miles from Courtenay by road. From here one may either hike or ride the trail which leads uphill and down dale through the forest, rising at one place to an elevation of nearly 6,000 feet, and then dropping again onto the Plateau at Mount Elma at an elevation of 4,000 feet. At the lake at the foot of Mount Elma is Croteau’s Camp, where you will be able to make a comfortable stopover or join a pack train. They have a new yellow cedar log cabin which should interest all travelers. This spot is about one and a half miles from the highest part of the Cruikshank Canyon and some four or five miles from Mount Albert Edward, on which red snow is found. This is a unique phenomenon, red snow, the rich crimson due to form in plant life. The other trail, known as the Mount Becher Trail, goes in from Bevan. Bevan is seven miles from Courtenay. The mountain road from here is nine miles long and rises to an elevation of 2,000 feet. The traveler may walk or ride horseback to the Plateau which is about two miles from here. If one wishes to go to the highest part of the Cruikshank Canyon or Mount Albert Edward, follow the trail from Mount Becher over the Plateau and then on to the canyon, a distance of some ten miles. The Plateau, one hundred square miles in extent with an elevation of over 4,000 feet is bound on the southwest and north by mountains which are snow-covered at all seasons. Some of these rise to over 7,000 feet in height and offer excellent sport for the mountaineer; others can be scaled with comparative ease, while still others can be walked up. From the summit gorgeous panoramic views of snow-crowned mountains, green valleys and blue sea are obtained.
Leave For Camp
Reported in The Daily Colonist Thursday July 16, 1942, p.6.
Miss Muriel Aylard and Miss Dorothea Hay have left for Vancouver on their way to Banff and will proceed to the Alpine Club’s camp at Consolation Lake to spend a few weeks.
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday July 23, 1942, p.2.
When Bowser ruled at Victoria and the natural resources of Vancouver Island had been little impaired many tens of thousands of dollars were spent on setting aside a wedge of mountain, forest and lake based on Buttles Lake as a park. About twenty years later another Conservative government spent $300,000 on buying from private owner’s timber berths on Buttles Lake. Unfortunately, they did all of them: eight of them still remain. If these are sold to logging firms, they will not only ruin Strathcona park as a park but will constitute a very grave fire menace to the Island. It may be too late to stop the logging between Upper Campbell Lake and Buttles Lake but the remaining timber limits in Strathcona Park should certainly be acquired by the government before it is again too late. Fortunately, we now have a well-organized nucleus around which public opinion can rally. It is known that the government is well disposed to conservation of beauty spots and would welcome the pressure of public opinion to urge them to action.
Plateau Trail Open to Hikers
Dove Creek Trail Has Been Cleared of Most Log Jams
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday July 30, 1942, p.1 & 6.
Habitues of the Forbidden Plateau (and there are a number of them who follow its trails every year) will find one route preferable this season. There was such a bad storm about 6 weeks ago at twenty-five hundred to three thousand feet altitude that it cut trees down in swathes on some side-hills. One of these happened to be that along the McKenzie Lake passes and it uprooted 270 trees, some of them of considerable girth. There is not sufficient help available to clear these out so that unless the hiker wishes to do some very strenuous back-packing he had better go in by Dove Creek trail. The Forbidden Plateau Lodge Company decided not to open its camps at McKenzie Lake and Mariwood Lake this year but the Lodge is open and is receiving quite a number of influential visitors, who wish to relax in the lovely surrounding of the Lodge and its excellent service. Here on this flank of Mount Becher, commanding the east coast of Vancouver Island from Nanaimo to Campbell River, there are all the most modern of conveniences, sun porches and wide verandahs with meals supplemented by the excellent garden from which all kinds of fresh vegetables are obtainable. Those who want gentle exercise between the Lodge and Mount Becher can find many saunters commanding beautiful vistas of land and sea scape. The faithful few of the Comox Mountaineering Club, who have back-packed nearly all the furnishings to the cabin on Mount Becher, now have a mountain resting place endowed with all that the real hiker, who is content to do his cooking and back-packing, can desire.
Bucked Trail Through
But if you want to go into the Plateau proper you should go by the Dove Creek Trail. It was at first feared that this trail might be blocked as effectually as that by this side of Mount Becher: but when Mr. Eugene Croteau went in he managed to struggle through with a horse. And ever since then he and his devoted staff have been bucking and cutting their way through the log jams that have been thrown across the trail by the storm so that to-day the trail is little more arduous than last year. But with this exception: there is but one way to get in and that is on your feet. The few horses that are left are needed for packing food. Mr. Croteau has been very fortunate in his staff this year. He has secured a very excellent cook in Mrs. Poitras, who can not only cook but is the soul of the hospitality and Mr. Preston Tait, whose knowledge of the Plateau and its trails is very wide.
A Wonderful Spring
He had the good fortune the other day to find a spring whose ice-cold water will become well known to Plateau lovers as the island on Moat Lake. The hoof of a horse had broken through the soil on the slope of the very steep pitch from Murray meadows to Croteau Lake. He found the water that came from the hole icy cold and pure. He dug it out a bit so that it fills and fills again the tin cup at the side of the trail. Tired and weary from a day’s hike to Mount Albert Edward this spring in the hot of summer is going to be nectar of the gods. It has been tentatively named The Noble Spring after a lady visitor not many years out from old London. But the pearl of Forbidden Plateau is Moat Lake, that gem set at the side of Castle Crag Mountain. It is approached through a sidehill of noble trees carpeted with heather. The only passage to it is over a weathered log over a brawling stream of translucent green water, which falls in lacy folds a thousand feet down to the bottom of the Cruikshank Canyon. Moat Lake is almost as large in Area as Lake Helen McKenzie but its waters are glacier fed and of a wonderful pale green. Not more than two hundred feet above its waters is the lowest patch of snow. Above it towers the black mass of Castle Crag Mountain.
Roman Bath on Island
In Moat Lake is a fairy island of crag and tree and heather. It can only be reached at low water and then by stepping stones. There are a number of pools on it. The largest of these might have been built by the Romans for a bath. It is lipped with red rock and slopes gently down to green water, clear and warm. Like most Plateau pools it is deceptively deep from eight to nine feet at its deep end. No one could desire a more delightful swim than on this island of an artist’s dream. There are trout in Moat Lake—and of prodigious size. But they are very fastidious and not easily to be lured. There are no wind fallen trees in the Plateau proper. Here the trees are so scourged by wind and snow and of so slow a growth during the centuries that those stalwarts surviving cannot be upturned by any storm. No trails there are blocked and if they were it would be easy to go round them as the country is so open.
Fire Near Plateau Lodge
Spectacular Blaze Has Burnt Itself Out
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 20, 1942, p.1.
A very spectacular blaze, which happily do not do much harm, broke out west of the Forbidden Plateau Lodge in Carney, McLauchlin and Larson’s slashing on Thursday night. It seems most probably that it originated with a cigarette butt or a match as it started off the logging road near a water hole. The Courtenay Look-Out man spotted the blaze at once and the logging crew and the Forest Branch got to work at once. The Forest Branch sent up some Mennonites, who are camped down at the Medicine Bowls camp and the company worked to cut fire roads with a “Cat”. The fire ran over the felled and bucked logs but it travelled so fast that it is thought they were not very much damaged. The Forestry officials, seeing that the rest of the logged off area would have to be burnt, set fire to the rest of it and it is pretty well all burnt over now and should be reasonably safe though there will be some smoldering until the rain comes. The blaze provided a gorgeous spectacle of color against the back ground of the Comox Glacier.
Look-Out Man Sees Bush Fires in Panorama
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday August 20, 1942, p.1 & 8.
By Hope Herd
Elk Falls lookout Station, August15.
On Sunday, the ninth instant, I previewed a most wonderful show. It was an electric storm that took place in the hills away back of beyond in the area that stretches from Mount Alexandra to Buttle lake, across the face of Elkhorn Mountain and into the Valley of the Elk. The tent I occupy faces northwest, so, from the beginning, across the logged off region west of Miller Creek and Quinsam, I was privileged as a one-person audience, to view the grand spectacle. There was, or seemed to be, a peculiarity about this show; there was little thunder, just a low rumbling growl and I felt as though I were witnessing the presentation of a silent movie. I was enjoying supper when the first flash came at about six-thirty. It was on the south side of Elkhorn. The next flash came a few seconds later and struck on the opposite side of the mountain near the entrance to the Elk Valley. The sky southward darkened. There were more electric flashes. The storm spread, so that soon the air was filled with lightning. The prettiest part of the performance was witnessed west of Crown Mountain, where it assumed the proportions of a gigantic pyrotechnic display, then moved on in the direction of Victoria Peak, beyond Garrett. It struck in streaks that stretched blue white from earth almost to the heavens; it flashed in great yellow sheets along the entire length of mountain peaks beyond Upper Campbell Lake, and when the sun went down at nine o’clock behind deckle-edged clouds of smoke haze it gave one an eerie feeling. The storm lasted until long after dark, when the drama ended and the curtain went down on an imposing spectacle.
Four Fires Reported
Friday, August 14, 1942
And now, after four days, I have to report the sighting of three fires on Mount Elkhorn, 24 miles distant, away up near the snow line. One of these is on the east side, the other two on the southeast side of the mountain, and were doubtless started by lightning on Sunday night. Being dampened by rain that usually accompanies electric storms, but having had time to dry out in these close, humid days, the fires have now come to light. One was first noticed about 3:45 on Thursday and the other two spot fires came into view today from Elk Falls Look-Out Station.
And Another One! 5 p.m.
Again, at Mount Elkhorn, near the line that separates it from Kings Peak. This fire is also about 24 or 25 miles distant and is up near the snow line. A deputy ranger has gone in to the scene, took some assistance with him and will get more on the way.
The Fire Is Held
Saturday, August 15, 1942, 8:15 pm
The sun is going down! It shows red through heavy smoke haze caused by fire on the Elk River Timber Company’s workings. Through this haze I can see fleecy filmy clouds and dancing, changing shadows. I wonder if—no, there is no rain in sight for tonight or tomorrow; my two weather vanes, Victoria Peak in the west and Mount Becher in the southeast, tell me that. The wind that has been blowing from the east, north-east and even south-east for a time today is now coming from the north-west, tough omen, and one that means that the fire fighters are up against the stiffest sort of a proposition. It is the same wind that whipped the fire of ’38 into fury and helped the forest fire of that day burn my look-out station on this mountain. The clock runs on. It is now nine p.m.; and as I stand here in the tower, I see what one cannot discern during the earlier hours of the day: that where there is smoke there is fire. Darkness now brings the hungry flames into the picture. I can see them along a stretch of a mile or more, eating their way through what little green timber has been left by the logger in earlier days; here a burning tree falls; there an older growth of underbrush is taken and over and through all can be seen the swirling, boiling, swiftly moving banks of dark brown smoke that makes forest fires appear so fearful. Forest debris that has lain on the ground for years comes to alight and is carried far by the rising wind. There is a long line of red flame that follows the contour of the land; up hill; down dale, in a straight stretch and is shallowed by a heavy gray, dead smoke that shows where a terrific fight has been made by the logging crew who are putting up all they have of energy and stretch to stay the fury of the flames. I remain at my post, for there is a pull to watching a big forest fire, until the destructive monster begins to die here and there.
Sugar Rationing on The Mountain
When sugar rationing went into effect, I was out on the look-out mountain, wild and bare. There is always a way out of a tough spot. I, like others, began to think. If honey is good in a cocktail or hot rum, why would it not be good in hot coffee? Now, I have a neighbor, like myself, a forty-niner. He keeps bees, in fact he has well over one hundred hives. They are his hobby. I know how long Tom Broadland has had the hives. I know how hard he works—in camp and with the bees. So, I decided to try honey in my coffee and it was so good that the sugar refinery has lost a customer. Many others have turned to honey and found it great. We have had a long stretch of fire hazardous days, days that make conditions that are right for the creation of jitters or nervousness in those who watched or who are charged with the destructive, dangerous red menace. Particularly at this time the duty of suppressing outbreaks, the public are asked to be careful with fire, for, under conditions now prevailing anything might happen.
ACCVI on hiatus due to WWII.
Section members who attended the ACC general summer camp at Little Yoho: John Gibson
No Camps on Plateau This Year
Mr. Eugene Croteau Will Not Climb the Trail In 1943
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday April 8, 1943, p.4.
Mr. Eugene Croteau will not be climbing the trail to his camp [at Croteau Lake] on the Forbidden Plateau this year. He was the first to establish a camp on the Plateau back in the twenties and he has been acting as host to many travelers since. This year he will stay down in the Comox Valley. There are many reasons. One is that it is difficult to get packers and horses and another that logging operations has cut him off from his camp by the Dove Creek Trail. When logging has finished in the Wolf Lake and Mount Washington area it may be possible to get up much nearer to his camp with a car but that will not be this year. As Mr. Clinton S. Wood has also decided that he cannot have camps on the Plateau, hikers who have made a yearly habit of finding health and healing in the lovely lakes and alpine gardens of the Plateau will have to pack all they want in on their backs this year.
Road Open to Plateau Lodge
Skiers Are now Going Up
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday April 14, 1943, p.4.
Skiers will rejoice to hear that Mr. and Mrs. Clinton S. Wood are back at the Forbidden Plateau Lodge. The first party of skiers went up the hill above the Lodge on Sunday and many more parties are expected to go. Army and navy men stationed at this district, many from eastern points, where skiing is a ritual, are making inquiries about the chance of getting up. There is still snow at the Lodge but the road has been broken through for cars.
Buttle Lake Timber Is Saved for State
Coalition Government Has Made Terms With logging Company
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday April 29, 1943, p.1.
Victoria, B.C., April 27
The Buttle Lake timber outside as well as inside Strathcona Park will be preserved for prosperity as a result of an arrangement consummated by order in council today it was announced by Premier John Hart. This timber which was held by the British American Timber Co. Ltd. [BAT] and the cutting rights by the Elk River Timber Co. Ltd. [ERT] will be exchanged for crown timber of equal value elsewhere. It will be recalled that some years ago the provincial government bought the timber rights on Buttle Lake within Strathcona Park. The lake, however, extends outside the park and there was no authority at that time to secure the timber along that part of the lake. Recent amendments to the Forest Act give power to the Lieut. Governor in Council to exchange crown timber for private timber for park purposes. Negotiations were conducted with the companies concerned who generously and wholeheartedly agreed to the deal, Mr. Hart said, “especially the Elk River Timber Co. who simply gave up their cutting rights in the public interest, with no compensation. The British American Timber Co. have cooperated throughout and have been entirely helpful”, the Premier said. The forested shoreline of this most beautiful of Vancouver Island lakes will now be preserved in all its natural beauty, to which access may be made easier after the war. In making the announcement Premier Hart has paid tribute to the work of the Honorable Mr. Gray and the officials of the Forestry Department in this connection.
Skiers Enjoy Easter
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday April 29, 1943, p.10.
Skiers who found their way up to Mount Becher or the lower slopes of the that mountain had a glorious time. A number of young people broke the way to the Cabin and dug themselves in. There is more snow on the hills this year than for many seasons past. Mr. and Mrs. Clinton S. Wood were busy with visitors at the Forbidden Plateau Lodge. Group Captain S.L. Pope and Mis Gaze came up from Patricia Bay and Mr. and Mrs. Arthur Lowrie of Vancouver and Miss Hedy Lowrie, Mr. O. Lodge and his son Kenneth from Vancouver. Mrs. Joan Impey and her sons Robert and Oliver also of Vancouver. From Naden III came A.B.’s Gourlay, Pike and Ted Leite. The two were first ski instructors at Banff and they prefer the slopes of Mount Becher to those at Banff. Men of the services from the east are delighted to find skiing here and there are likely to be many at the Lodge this year. The road to the Lodge is now free of snow but skiers can come down on the blades to within half a mile. The snow is perfect.
Reported in The Vancouver Sun Sunday June 14, 1943, p.13.
By Hal Straight
BUTTLE LAKE (Strathcona Park)—via boat, logging train, automobile, bus steamer and postman—Harry Rogers is half of the proprietors on this inland Vancouver Island Paradise. Harry may be 50, he may be 70, he may be 100. He is a silver haired fellow who rests his untroubled head on the full rich bosom of Nature. He is a symbol of this beautiful spot and in him one can find the reason Buttle Lake became aggressive controversy between the government, lobbyists, a logging company and a strong group of Mr. Bigs. Harry worked in the woods for some time for Elk River Timber Co. One day he saw Buttle Lake. Similar to the few before who had seen it and an increasing few since, his mouth dropped open in awe. Shear, timbered mountains dropped straight down to the shores that are lapped by clear, greenish-blue glacier water and flowered with big dogwood blossoms and wild snowballs and soft pastel lake plants. There was Mount McBride above, big and strong but Sunday-clean with its glacial-white bib, other mountains, many sparkling, bubbling streams. Fish in every ripple and game in every glade. Someday that will be for me, Harry Rogers must have said. Someday it was. Now he lives cut off from the wild world, lives in absolute contentment four miles up the beach with two cougar dogs and a fluffy black cat. He hunts for cougars with his dogs, for meat which he cans in the fall, for fish to feed his dogs, and he makes things. And how he makes things!
He Builds His Own Nest
Out of the tall timber around him he has built a lodge which he rents at four dollars per day, a lodge that would serve you nicely in town. He has made many gadgets to fill his time also to make life easier, such as a block and tackle for stringing up deer. He made it out of a piece of wood he cut down. These last two words bring us back to the heated controversy of a few months back. Elk River Timber Co., headed by the personable, good-looking Roger Cobb, had timber claims at the head of this inland paradise. They also had claims along the lake which is 22 miles long, deep in behind Union Bay. Across the lake from Harry Rogers, Mr. William J. Reid had picked up a fishing resort. Mrs. Titus, wife of Philadelphia lawyer, spent $55,000 developing this resort. Inside plumbing. Everything up to date. That somebody went broke and out of a casual fishing conversation in New York, Reid of the Long Beach oil fraternity bought this resort. Reid is one of Mother Nature’s most sporting sons. He is top man in Duck’s Unlimited (American). He is crazy about Buttle Lake. One day he noticed that the shrill whistle of the logging donkey, the rumble of a rolling cold deck, the chug-chugging of the laboring locomotives were getting close to Buttle Lake. Then one day while fishing down where Campbell River unsuccessfully tries to empty the lake he heard the chilling swish, swish of faller’s saws. He sprang into action. He shouted to those who counted that ugly burns were going to be put on Nature’s beauty. Press agents hired to stir up action took liberties as they conducted their word attacks.
Doesn’t Hurt Park
All but about the first five miles of Buttle lake is in Strathcona Park. That doesn’t mean much now. Only ambitious outdoor folk and billy goats can appreciate Strathcona Park. But Reid who knows the accessibility of this paradise by plane because he uses plane foresaw the future value of this park, also the hideous defacement the loggers would make. But the Elk River Timber Co. had cold hard money sunk in a railroad up to that lake so they could reach out and get the timber the world wanted so badly. This there was an argument. Roger Cobb, one would gather, would be no pushover in an argument. But Roger Cobb, born in Maine in the shade beautiful trees, a worker in the Vancouver Island bush since 1915, loves the woods. He loves trees. Like Harry Rogers he, too, loves Buttle Lake. He and his wife spent their short holidays there. Cobb made a deal. He took out the timber up to the end of his steel, which makes a few eye-sore patches at the head of the lake but it doesn’t touch the park and these patches are fairly well hidden. He won’t take up his rights up the lake. He had accepted other timber somewhere else to replace Buttle Lake stuff. It’s hard for a logger to turn away from logging plans made years in advance. Maybe it was hard for Roger Cobb. But somehow, we don’t think it was. We took an hour off from work to sneak a little fishing. Thirty firm, fighting trout, half on the fly and half by me on worm and hardware, all in an hour and fifteen minutes, was our catch. Each fish made Cobb’s eyes sparkle just as the beautiful surroundings of this paradise made him speak softly but with pride when he first entered it.
Harry Has Right Idea
Buttle Lake, then, has been saved for a playground. It is hard to get to now. It won’t be someday and then the government and the loggers will smile proudly and Harry Rogers, if he’s still alive, will still be shooting his cougars and game and still be a symbol of this paradise. If he’s dead, one conversation we had with Harry might signify what Buttle Lake means to worldly folks.
“Do you take a paper Harry?”
“No. So much trash in ‘em.”
“No. Al Anderson, caretaker, mile and a half across the lakes got one. That’s close enough. They talk a lot of trash.”
“Ever go to town? To Vancouver?”
“Quite often. ‘Bout every ten years.”
Camp Alicia/Nootka Lodge on Buttle Lake
In 1929, an American lawyer, Louis Titus purchased a mineral claim on Mount Titus on the west side of Buttle Lake near the mouth of the Wolf River and built several cabins. It became known as Camp Alicia, named for Titus’s wife, Alice. Louis Titus was born on 6 March 1872 in Lodi, California, United States. Son of Lyman and Adelia (Rattan) Titus. He attended the University of California in 1893. He practiced law in San Francisco for eighteen years and in Washington, District of Columbia, fifteen years. He was also the president of the Conservative Oil Corporation. Louis Titus married Alice Jane Rooney, of San Francisco, on 10 October 1911. By 1935 the Titus family engaged Jim Forbes of Forbes Landing to operate their holdings as a holiday camp and Con Reid was hired as a caretaker to live on site in a small cabin called “Con’s cabin.”. In 1935, Titus invited fellow American William J. Reid, the president of Hancock Oil in California, to visit the camp. Titus met Reid in Washington, DC, when they were working there as consultants. Reid, in later life, founded the Will J. Reid Foundation, an independent non-profit foundation based in Long Beach, California a year before he passed away on 8 April 1956. The foundation primarily provides fund to educational institutions, human services, community foundations, as well as to marine research foundations. The assets of the foundation are managed by an executive management team. Reid and his wife Ella, fell in love with the Buttle Lake and in 1936 purchased Camp Alicia. He then began flying up to the camp from his home in California in his Seabee float plane in order to spend summer months there. The site, renamed Nootka Lodge, was improved upon with additional buildings over the years. Aside from the main cabin, there was a cabin for the cook and housekeeper Francis Fisher, and a sauna the family referred to as a Finnish bath. Nootka Lodge soon became a favourite destination for Reid and his family. Harry Rogers, who had a cabin across the lake and was referred to as a “squatter,” likely as he was staying on E. & N. land without permission, became the caretaker after Con Reid (no relation) left. William Reid’s daughter Virginia Reid Moore, took numerous photos over the 18-year period that the Reid family owned the property, and her visual documentation offers a rare glimpse into life on the lake throughout the 1930s, ‘40s and early ‘50s. Reid was an avid fisherman and kept a library that contained Roderick Haig-Brown’s books on fly fishing in which he became acquainted with Haig-Brown’s conservationist leanings. Reid was a determined protector of wildlife and in Alberta, where he had attended university, he purchased several acres of wetlands in order to preserve them for water fowl habitat, and established a Canadian branch of Ducks Unlimited. In 1939, Reid began a correspondence by letter with Haig-Brown. He remarked how much he admired Haig-Brown’s writing and asked for help finding out more about a logging operation he heard was going to commence around the northeast edge of Buttle Lake. Because this section was owned by the Elk River Timber company, it could be worked at any time. Reid was concerned about the visual aftermath of logging right up to the edge of the beautiful park. His correspondence with Haig-Brown went on for over a decade, with the two friends exchanging information on activities around Buttle Lake. Later letters discussed plans by the BC Power Commission to build a dam at the lake. Both were deeply involved in the infamous “Battle for Buttle” and for five years beginning in 1951, fought to convince the commission to move the dam site to the adjacent Upper Campbell Lake. They succeeded, but sadly, Reid missed the opportunity to celebrate when he passed away in 1956. Still, he was spared from witnessing his beloved Nootka Lodge on Buttle Lake shoreline destroyed when old growth forest logged off before the dam was completed. No remnants of the lodge can be seen as it is now below the low water line of Buttle Lake.
Thirty Year Old Mystery Is Solved
Bones Found at Little Lakes Tally with Disappearance in 1912
Reported in the Comox Argus Thursday June 17, 1943, p.1.
A woods mystery of thirty years ago has been cleared up by the discovery of a few bones, a knife, and a compass on Comox Creek to the north of the Little Lake at the head of Comox Lake on Monday. Mr. William “Bill” Bell, scaling for the Comox Logging Company about three quarters of a mile north of the end of steel, struck his foot against a thigh bone and began to look around. He found most of the bones of a skeleton except for the top of the skull and one of the feet. Also, he kicked up the rusty remains of a Swedish knife and a compass hung to a chain in a peculiar way. Mr. Bell got in touch with the police and Constable Shepherd went to the head of the lake to investigate. As he went up on the Comox Logging boat Bell spoke of the finding of the bones and Jimmy Wilson of Royston, who was on the same boat, said he was sure that it must be a little English trapper, whose disappearance thirty years ago had never been explained. He was at the Little Lakes in the fall of 1911 or the early party of 1912 when the little Englishman and a Belgian came up to set a trapping line. He helped them build a cabin on the Little Lakes. He noticed then that the Englishman had a Swedish knife and a compass, which tallied exactly with what had been found on Comox Creek. He could not remember the name of the missing man. The man had gone out to tend his trap lines and had never been heard of since. It was also remembered that Harry Rees, who used to roam the woods a good deal in the vicinity of Comox Lake, had in 1927, brought back a boot and a rifle and a revolver he had found near the Little Lake. With these clues Constable Shepherd is satisfied that this thirty-year-old mystery has been solved. But since the name of the missing man has not been discovered yet the inquiry by the Coroner is still continuing. Old-timers are asked to search back in their memories for the name of this man; no doubt they will remember the incident. They would be greatly assisting the police, if they have any information, to call Constable Shepherd at Cumberland or get in touch with the police here.
Above the Yoho valley is a peak called The President (3138m or 10296ft). The President was a popular peak to climb during the Alpine Club of Canada’s general summer camps in the valley because it fell in the category of one of the qualifying peaks for aspiring ACC members to graduate on. To qualify a peak had to be over 10,000 feet. Although it is no longer a membership prerequisite, it still is a popular peak, one which many Vancouver Island section members have gnawed their teeth on. In July 1943, John Gibson attended the two-week Alpine Camp at Little Yoho, but at the end he was one of those asked to stay on for another week to help train soldiers in mountaineering techniques.
The following poem was recorded in the personal diaries of John Gibson, Cobble Hill, 1943.
The Mass Ascent of President
By John Gibson
Oh, long before the dawning of a bright and sunny day
There gathered at the Yoho camp a caravanserai
Of hardened mountain soldiery, all ready for a peak,
Or very nearly ready after training for a week.
After some more arranging they at length got under way;
They started up the Glacier before the break of day.
And plodding slowly upwards, it was their firm intent
To scale the lofty summit of the mighty President.
In single file and side by side tied onto several ropes
They kicked themselves good footholds up steep and moving slopes.
The age’d Peak had never seen such quantities of men
As scrambled on its bosom ‘twixt the hours of six and ten.
They wound across the bergshrund and they scrambled up the scree
And stood upon the summit ere they sheltered in the lee
Of various small boulders while they gobbled up their food,
Which was generally felt to be quite definitely good.
Then they bounded down the glacier, down the snow and down the rock
And were back at their encampment by eleven of the clock,
Demanding further rations from the cooks who’d stayed below,
But the cooks who were not sleeping said quite definitely ‘No’.