Alpine Club of Canada

Winter Gazette 2013

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Stories impart special meaning by Cam Johnson M y volunteer from the audience that night was Rachel. She was six, maybe seven. And she was adorable, especially when she turned to face the audience wearing a green woollen overcoat that fell to her shins, an old park ranger hat, with a coil of hemp rope she could barely carry and an alpen‑ stock that rose to her chin. The audience reaction was audible: "Awww." I knew I had them hooked on my interpretive program, but the grin on that little girl's face had me sold on my job—hook, line and sinker. I served as Mount Robson Provincial Park Interpreter this past summer, the Park's 100th anniversary, and the cen‑ tennial of Mount Robson's first ascent. My job was to research, design and deliver interpretive programs to campers and visitors at the Robson Meadows Campground amphitheatre. Audiences frequently numbered more than 100, and they asked great questions. Knowing they were engaged and interested in learning about the Park made my work incredibly rewarding. I came to the job with an exten‑ sive knowledge of Robson's human history—I've been studying parks and Rockies history (with a special focus on Robson) for my master's degree at the University of Alberta. Intellectually, I knew the Park well. Backpacking and climbing in the backcountry allowed me to know it physically, too. What I did not expect was the spiritual attachment to Robson I now feel. What made the difference were the people I met in that incredible setting, the way they opened themselves to me, and the way they shared what the place meant to them. I worked most closely with Val Kerr, Parks Facility Operator (responsible for the Park's frontcountry services) and Hugo Mulyk, Robson's Senior Ranger. Each has worked in and around the Park for more than 20 years. Their passion shone through everything they did, from simple daily tasks to extra hours spent organizing special events and the effort Actor David Thomson, of Parks Canada's Mountain WHIT theatre, performs the Conrad Kain biographical play, As Far As I Can Take You, at the ACC's 2013 Robson Pass camp. photo by Pat Morrow Kilimanjaro  Africa's Highest Mountain  5895 m / 19340 ft. With poor weather preventing any big climbing adventures, Conrad Kain Centennial Society Robson teen camp representatives Curtis Hall (top right), and Graham Kinley sharpen their photography and ice climbing skills on Robson Glacier. photo by Pat Morrow they made welcoming guest speakers at the centenary celebrations. It was a treat to be part of their world during such a special season. A highlight for me was delivering an interpretive program to the ACC Centennial Camp at Robson Pass, and another the following night at the Berg Lake Campground. I hiked in with camp attendees, spent time in camp, and spent my nights at the ranger cabin. My host there was Robson Park's most veteran Ranger, Chris Zimmermann, his fitness is surpassed only by his hospitality and knowledge of the local backcountry. Not only did I feel welcome drinking Zimmermann's delicious tea, I felt more a part of Mount Robson listening to his favourite stories from several decades in the backcountry. Reading the mountains' history is enjoyable, but living the history through being in the backcountry, under‑ neath the mountain, and hearing stories firsthand was a meaningful experience beyond anything I'd anticipated. DIK DIK H o t e l & To u r s Individual safaris in Tanzania Kilimanjaro climb & Safari Specialist Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Tarangire, Manyara Holidays in Zanzibar dikdik@habari.co.tz www.dikdik.ch It is the Swiss family's Vision & Commitment to provide top quality accommodation, food and service in a friendly atmosphere. Club alpin du Canada Gazette hiver 2013  13

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