Wednesday 12 September 2012

Forgotten Highways

Finished September 11
Forgotten Highways: wilderness journeys down the historic trails of the Canadian Rockies by Nicky Brink and Stephen R Bown

This fascinating book details one summer in the lives of the authors who were inspired by history to hike five mountain trails first found by four early explorers.
Two of the treks were inspired by the explorations of David Thompson. The first was Howse Pass, one of the easier passes, abandoned due to rival tribes rivalries for trade. The second was Athabasca Pass, the pass Thompson found after, but too difficult for railways or roads.
The next hike was inspired by Hudson's Bay's George Simpson, another difficult pass found when searching for a pass accessible for more of the year than Athabasca was.
The fourth hike was found based on the explorations of John Palliser as he searched for a route north of the United States that would support a road and railway as part of the effort to claim the territory for the United Kingdom. This hike encompasses three passes, the Elk, the South Kananaskis, and the North Kananaskis.
The last hike was one found by one of the early female explorers, Mary Schäffer, and is Maligne Pass the route to Maligne Lake, one of the most beautiful lakes in Jasper National Park. 
I spent of number of childhood vacations in the mountains, although only camping and doing day hikes. They will always be a cherished part of my younger years and close to my heart. This book brings those experiences back to me vicariously. The authors are not professional hikers, but those who do it for the love of their surroundings and that comes across clearly in this book.


  1. Hi Shonna! Thanks for this - the book sounds really interesting, i just ordered it. Earlier this year, i read the trail memoir from Cheryl Strayed about hiking the Pacific Crest Trail along the US East Coast, "Wild", and now got curious for more.

  2. This sounds quite fascinating. I'm reasonably familiar with the areas of those hikes, and would like to read of modern day experiences following in the footsteps of the explorers. Thanks for the review.

  3. Glad you found it useful. Was born out in Alberta and spent most of my growing up years there. Miss it.