National Geographic : 1902 Jun
RECENT EXPLORATION IN THE CANADIAN ROCKIES* BY WALTER D. WILCOX PART II WE decided to spend August 13 in an attempt to learn more about the surrounding region and for this purpose selected a high mountain north of our camp for ascent. Fortunately the weather was perfect. The entire forenoon was spent in climb ing this peak, which turned out very interesting. The heavy bush was wet from the previous day's rain, and we were soaked in the first hour. On the higher slopes some very interesting fos sil corals and shells were found. The summit, 8,780 feet high, was reached before noon. Both Bryant and I took angles and made complete photographic panoramas of the view, which was su perb. The result of this climb made us more certain that we were approaching the Elk River, as the mountains toward the east resembled Dawson's description of them and ran in the right direction The valley below our camp apparently enters the Elk ten miles or so to the southeast, but a better route appeared over a pass to the north. On the open and flat summit of this mountain two species of butterflies were seen and sev eral flowers, among them a bright yel low erigeron and a leguminous plant closely resembling a violet in general outline. Lusk and Wood had been sent to explore the lower part of the valley and were back when we reached camp. They said they had gone down to where a large stream comes in from the north, and had found a good trail ascending the latter. They brought in a canvas back duck, which proved very tender and fine-flavored. In the afternoon, with the assistance of Woodworth, our best axeman, I laid out a base line half a mile above our camp to triangulate my survey stations. At night I changed two dozen plates for my cameras under a dark-room teepee made of blankets thrown over poles. The rapidity of our movements and the continuous fine weather, of which we took advantage, gave no time for rest or repose. The next day we made a rapid and uninterrupted march of four hours. After five miles through green timber we reached a wide meadow, much used by the Indians as a camping ground. Here we turned at right angles, to the left, and marched four miles upstream and camped near the base of what we thought was a pass to the north. Tom Lusk went up the valley to lo cate the trail for the next day's march, but came back an hour later and said there was only the faintest kind of a trail a mile above camp, while a little farther on it totally disappeared. With our field-glasses we could see no sign of a trail on the pass ahead, and, as we knew from the previous day's climb that this was the only possible outlet, it seemed that we had marched into a " blind valley," or cul-de-sac. Indian trails rarely ascend such valleys unless the region is exceptionally good for game. After this discouraging news I set out to learn a little more, if possi ble, and, instead of following the val ley, commenced a gradual ascent of the slopes on the east. After an hour's climb I got a fair view of one of the two * The first part of this very interesting paper by Mr. Wilcox appeared in the May number.