Camping trips as a child were always exciting for my brother and me. My folks had an old Volks. bug which yielded it’s back seat to our huge, floorless canvas tent, folded army cots, coleman stove and off we went to upstate NY for the week. I don’t remember when that stopped, but it did but however the musty odor of army canvas, the woods and the welcoming swoosh of the coleman beckoning us to bacon n eggs for breakfast stayed with me for years.
Memories blur over the years, however my next vivid encounter with places away from the city was in Banff. A friend an I had just arrived after hitching from Montreal. The fragrances and overpowering views of Mt Rundel and Cascade Mountain gripped my imagination in awe. This was nothing like I had seen back home of course. Save for the excitement of skiing at Tremblant, Madonna, and Jay. Catching a bead on a small backpacking party getting ready to hit the backcountry clinched it for me. This is what I was here for.
After a small trip to Vancouver Island, I was up in Jasper getting set up to hike the Skyline down to Maligne Lake. We had run into a very experienced fellow who was looking for company. Safety in numbers. We were eager and excited. It went far too fast for my liking but it was an amazing 3 day backpacking trip and we all reeked of alpine juniper, balsam fir, moss and lichens we rolled around in setting up our camps. When we got back to town we must have smelled quite pungent as comments came our way when we went into Smitty’s Pancake House. One ol fellow told them to leave us alone, ‘they’re alright’ he blurted out, ‘they just came down from the high country’. Wow, we had some notoriety already, we weren’t just hippies.