National Geographic : 1902 May
VOL. XIII, No. 5 WASHINGTON MAY, 1902 NATIoNAL _ _ S. MA..A...NIB RECENT EXPLORATION IN THE CANADIAN ROCKIES By WALTER D. WILCOX B ETWEEN the United States boundary and the Canadian Pacific Railroad lies a part of the Rocky Mountains which remains unexplored. Captain Palliser, search ing for a pass across the Rockies, went through the northern part of this region half a century ago, but traveled so rap idly that his notes, even on the part he visited, have almost no geographic value. This large area, which is a blank on Dawson's map, represents more than 2,000 square miles in the main range of the Rockies. Many trib utaries of the Elk and Kootenai Rivers rise in this unknown region. Of these the Bull River, a torrent too wild to be crossed on a raft and too deep to ford with horses, descends from the southern part, its canyons and timber-choked valley having defied every attempt to find its source. Last summer Mr. Henry G. Bryant and the writer made an expedition with the purpose of exploring this region. We planned also to make on our way south an ascent of Mt. Assiniboine, a conspicuous and superb peak of the main range. In the latter attempt we were defeated. One of our Swiss guides was bucked off a pony and his arm dis located on the way to the mountain's base, and we had the further misfortune of three days' stormy weather, which covered the mountain with snow. We, however, reached a point i1,000 feet above sea-level on its southern slopes, where we were compelled to turn back by avalanches falling continuously on every side. Four days later we reached our main camp, near the forks of the Spray River, 20 miles south of Banff. Here we dis missed the two Swiss guides, and gave them saddle horses and escort of one of our men to a point within walking dis tance of the railroad. The two other men were sent to cut out the trail for the first day's march. A description of our outfit and gen eral plan is here advisable. Our Indian ponies-fourteen in number-two tents and Indian teepee, with sufficient provis ions for a long and hard journey, were supplied at Banff by T. E. Wilson. Our men were Tom Lusk, James Wood, and Ben. Woodworth, the two former serv ing as packers and the latter as cook.