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The Cariboo

Way back in 1973 my dad ventured out from Norn Iron with sister Irene. Mother must not have felt up to this trip but she came out with an aunt the following year.

We thought a camping holiday would interest them, so we headed north west into the Cariboo......... Gold Country...... Mining Claims and all that stuff.

We had two vehicles, with Bro Bob and Sis occupying his VW Rabbit and us in our ageing 1964 Pontiac Parisienne which was towing a camping trailer, a collapsible tent on wheels. We took off through Banff National Park and camped in Jasper National Park after exploring the Columbia Ice Fields.

I remember Frances worrying about our son Stephen, who was sleeping in Bro Bob's tent and what if bears were to molest them. They survived.

We next camped near St George BC, a pristine, yet primitive campsite, no bogs, no nathin, just water on tap.

Then south through through Quesnel, gateway to the old goldfields. From Quesnel it's quite a drive east through Coldspring House, Beaver Pass House , Stanley, Wells and eventually to the mother lode in Barkerville.

Here we camped again and thoroughly explored this old mining town. The old buildings have been preserved as the were in the 19 th century. I was particularly interested in the chemist shops, gazing through their windows and wondering at the medicines advertised therein. Like Cough, and Cold treatment. Cured coughs, colds, sore throats, tonsillitis and bronchitis. Where are these old cures today. There was also Spikehard Root by the Parke Davis Co in Walkerville Ontario and Altnea Leaves for whatever, way before my time, maybe Pat can remember what these cures were for.

Originally the town got its name from one Billy Barker, who struck it rich on Sept 4, 1862 when he panned 100 oz, out of his claim and another 75 oz on the following day. By comparison, modern day miners in the Yukon are lucky to get this much in a whole season with their modern equipment.

We tried our luck at troughs seeded with gold dust and I still have a phial of this stuff somewhere around the house.

We also tried panning in some of the local creeks, using hubcaps of the Pontiac as gold pans, no luck though.

After an exciting few days we returned to Calgary, I remember the old Pontiac almost quitting due to a clogged gas filter, on our way back while climbing the Kicking Horse Pass.

Long time ago...... 40

Re: The Cariboo

Fortycoats, that was another great yarn. Like Frances, I too would have been frightened of bears, but also snakes, rats, mice, spiders, etc. etc. 1973 doesn't seem such a long time ago really. I remember I had gone back to work after being at home for 7 years. My youngest daughter was just 2 years old. I was so out of touch with the outside world of work that I felt really old compared to the others, although I was only 31. It didn't take me long to catch up though. Any more memories of your travels?

Re: The Cariboo

Forty Coats, Enjoyed your little tale about 1973, I never was one for camping though it was and still is a very popular pastime for lots of people.

1973 brings back a lot of memories for me, my late wife surprised me by suggesting we take a trip back to Northern Ireland she hadn't at that time been home for 20 years and I hadn't been back for about eight years so we decided not only to call in Lisburn but to go on to Cyprus where my uncle and family was stationed at the RAF base,(he was more like a brother to me).We also flew over to Beirut for a week toured around there then back to Cyprus for a few days before flying back and staying a week in London. Happy memories. Mauri

Re: The Cariboo

Ann, as requested, here is another effort, sorry Pat did not rise to the bait.

It was that wonderful year 1966, we had returned to Norn Iron a couple of years earlier and had coaxed my parents to fly out to our home in Calgary soon.

It was also their first venture into North America since leaving there in 1932 My father, who had emigrated to USA in 1926, married mother, the girl he left behind, in 1929 and I " gave my first crow of delight " in 1930

Then came the Great Depression, and mother and I were shipped back on the SS Caledonia in 1932. Father followed a few months later. As Mauri knows, that dirty rotten U-Boat captain, Heinz Bedhun in his U25, sank this ship just north of Norn Iron, on June 13 th. 1940
Anyhow, we were determined to make this a memorable trip for both my parents. We decided on a camping trip to Jellystone National Park, as Yogi Bear called it. I recall dad being absolutely bushed after a long walk back to our Fairview home, from the Calgary Stampede Grounds, I think heartburn was much to blame, as he gasped for baking soda upon his arrival at our home.

After having a trailer hitch installed on the relatively new 1964 Pontiac, we rented a trailer and headed south to the U.S. We headed through Montana and and eventually arrived at Yellowstone, a unique place indeed.

None of us had imagined the boiling, vividly coloured mud holes, the geysers or the wildlife we encountered on this trip. We also fished in Yellowstone Lake and observed the timely Old Faithful, doing its thing.

From there, we drove north west through Boise ID and camped on the banks of the Grand Coulee Dam. The temperature was hot, hot, hot and I found a camping spot neath a small tree which at least gave us some relief. From there we headed north to the Shuswap Lake where we camped and encircled Copper Island on a rented power boat.

Then back home via Canadian Highway 1, I remember discovering after we had camped at Lake Louise, there was a regulator from our propane tank stolen at this " classy " campsite.


Re: The Cariboo

40 coats
really enjoyed your postings of your travels, as i also do mauries adventures.
you are both trail blazing blokes and would be the greatest people to have a pint with hope it keeps on tom

Re: The Cariboo

Hi Guys, Just told a couple of stories but I guess they were too long as I was spammed. too bad may be another time???. Mauri

Re: The Cariboo

Around about 1962, we arranged to go on a camping trip with one of the office guys, his wife and two children. At that time our son was around two years old. This made seven of us and we were all going to fit in the 55 Oldsmobile.

Actually the passengers presented less of a problem than did the camping equipment, as three of them were quite small and seat belts had not been installed in vehicles at this time. The packing of the camping equipment was solved by my workmate, who busied himself for a couple of weeks, constructing a box which was designed to be carried on the roof of the Olds.

The big day finally arrived and we all set off south on Hwy 2, turning west at Fort MacLeod on to the Crows Nest Pass Hwy 3 All seemed well, we were all comfortable and sang a few songs along the way.

Between Bellevue and Blairmore we stopped to gawk at the Frank Slide provincial information board and marvelled at the destruction caused by the slide, many years before. Apparently a fair chunk of Turtle Mountain broke loose on Apr 9, 1903 sending 90 million tons of rock down upon the town of Frank. This mass wiped out a section of the town, killing some 90 people. It was said that locals referred to the date as a marker in their everyday conversations, like " Oh, that was three years after nineteen and Frank Slide "

We carried on our merry way, driving into extremely heavy headwinds when suddenly there was a loud thump, we all looked around and after a few "Whatwuzat's", I stopped by the roadside and we discovered that Derek's roof box was no longer on top of the car. We found it along the ditch, almost intact but with some of the contents beyond repair. We were re-mounting it atop the car again, when I noticed a large dent on the car's roof. While Derek was worrying about his good box, I was concerned about the damage to the roof of my good Olds. Eventually I was able to pop the dent back into position and we carried on, a lot slower than before.

Eventually we arrived at our destination, Netarts Oregon, a beautiful campsite separated from the Pacific Ocean by only a bank of sand dunes. We must have spent 3 or 4 days at this idyllic place before the rain started.
After a couple of days of constant heavy rain, we were all ready to head home. But first we stayed in a motel in Tillamook, Oregon to dry out. Soaking wet tents, wet clothing, wet bedding, the motel was called Green Acres and I never wondered for a minute why the acres were green.

At this point were more than ready to head home to Calgary, which took a couple of days.

The road allowance, or the width set aside for a highway in Alberta is 66 feet
On a two lane highway this allows wide ditches on either side of the highway.
A four lane highway would provide narrower ditches, the distance between the pavement and the farmers fields, but still around 15 feet either side of the road. I mention this because the ditches in Norn Iron were non existent in my days.

In later years, we often saw traces of our mishap every time we drove along Hwy 3

40 ,

P.S. Tom, do you remember Tommy Nunan, Hymie Rueben, Cuth Cuthbertson, Bucksy Buchanon, Miss Frews or A.B. Black, when you were in WHS

Re: The Cariboo

no, sorry, i don't recognize any of the names.
auld memory is not as it used to be tom

Re: The Cariboo

Tom, names listed were WHS teachers circa 1945


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i didn't get to whs until 1951, so wouldn't have known them really. i think the maths teacher was a mister martin, but thats all i remember
. the science teacher lived in the low road and his friend, he looked in on at times,lived in mckeown street but can't remember the name
sorry tom

Re: The Cariboo

Forty Coats, Do you remember Jim Taylor or Susan Rae and Sally Rae who were at Wallace High School about the same time as you, when did they change the name from The Intermediate to Wallace High School. Mauri

Re: The Cariboo

Mauri, I kinda remember a Jim Taylor, if he was the guy who knocked around with Roy Thompson, don't remember the girls though.

The name change must have happened just prior to 1942 as some pupils were still shouting " C'mon Inter " during rugby games at that time but officially the school was called Wallace High School.


Re: The Cariboo

Forty Coats, Small world?? I knew Roy Thompson well he was at the Central with me his family had the Grocery store at the corner of Chapel Hill and Dublin road. Jim Taylor came from up the Antrim Road I forget the name of the street. he went to sea for a short while in the Merchant Navy as an engineer but didn't like it so went to work in his uncle's garage in Crahams Gardens (spelt wrong) Mauri

Re: The Cariboo

Sorry Mauri, the guy I was thinking of and who chummed about with Roy Thompson was Fergie Dornan. I think his family ran a garage business on the Hillsborough Road about opposite Smithfield Road.

Re: The Cariboo

Forty Coats, Yes I knew Fergie Dornan, he was also at the Central and in fact was the exact same age as me having the same Birthday. He took over the family business on the Dublin road,last time I saw him was in the restaurant on Market Square one night when I was having dinner, on the old taxi stand forget the name of the restaurant. Mauri

Re: The Cariboo

I believe that was Alec Martin, math teacher at Wallace.
I believe he had a brother named "Herbie" who was quite a cricketer.
Alec taught my dad at Tech and me at Wallace.
At the time I was not interested in math and Mr Martin once told are not your fathers son!
My Dad was Bob Harrison, whom you know from Spruce St. and one great mathematician.
I have gotten better over the years.
Allen Harrison.