Dick's Dinner

Dick Jull was spooning his dinner out of that well-known camp cooking pot/dog dish of his, when someone asked "What are you eating tonight, Dick?" "It's called freeze dried Chop Suey", said Dick. "Is it good?" said a Rambler, always on the watch for variety in the food department. "Well, uh, it's - um - edible", replied Dick. A knowing chuckle went around before Dick, with some reflection, added in his quiet way "Mind you, If It were served me In a Chinese Restaurant. I, uh, think, um, I'd probably send it back!"

Thankful Art

Art Davis well remembers the night (as do many of us) when after 10 hours df bushwhacking our way down an unnamed peak, we came out on the Kananaskis Highway very late one October Sunday. He handed me that flashlight, the better to get down and kiss the road!

The Missing Backpack

What would you think if a fellow Rambler carried your backpack 7 miles back to the cars? Linda Scarlett couldn't believe her luck when this happened to her on a summer backpack to Glacier Lake in July 1978. But it's not as plain as all that!

Linda returned to our campsite after a hike to find some of the party had already left for the cars. Her pack was nowhere to be found, four of us searched high and low; no pack was found. We decided Bill Leach or Bob Farrell had kindly carried her pack out and Linda enjoyed an easy 7-mile hire without a heavy pack. Upon reaching the cars, we saw the others and rushed forward to thank them for carrying out the pack. "Pack, what pack? You think I'm stupid enough to carry your pack as well as my own?" was Bill's reply.

It was 4:30 p.m. and we were all quite tired. We had a Pow-wow as to the whereabouts of the mysterious missing pack and decided it must be back at the campsite. Bill Leach, Bill McVeigh and Bob Farrell volunteered to jog back the 7 miles before It got dark. They found the pack 30 feet from the campsite with teeth marks on It. An animal had dragged It away from where Linda had left It.

The moral of the story is "Beware of the pack pincher and hang 'em high!!"


The word conjures up thoughts of spring hikes In the foothills, where every Rambler Is very courteous and allows others to take the lead and therefore take the tick! Ticks were nearly the cause of a group of Ramblers being thrown out of a restaurant.

After a spring hike up Grotto Mountain near Canmore, six Ramblers descended onto the Shell Restaurant for a much deserved drink and meal. While quenching our thirst, I noticed a tick crawling in Mary Fletcher's hair. I thought of hitting It with my empty beer bottle but decided against damaging a good beer bottle. I picked it from Mary's hair and placed the creature on the table for all to see. Immediately people started looking at each other and themselves for any more of the dreaded ticks. After six washroom visits, we had about ten ticks crawling on our dining table just as the waitress was bringing our meal.

For some reason, the normal restaurant customers do not bring in ticks, but we delighted In finding different ways to murder these pests of the wild. We tried to cut them in half, stomp on them, burn them, anything that could bring us revenge on these little monsters for attacking our bodies. I guess all our commotion caused a bit of a fuss, so much so that half the restaurant wanted to see our ticks, we obliged therefore. But this was too much for the Management - they firmly but politely told us to flush the fiends away or else. So endeth the tick story.

Tony Forster.

Dick Jull, "Well, yes, it did rain hard all weekend, still it was a very good trip."
- Darlene Weger


Words have drifted through the years
Of a place beyond the sheltering hills.
Pictures have looked from walls and pages,
And I have wondered about the mountain.

Tonight I stand beneath the rock and ice
That glow against a starlit sky.
Past words and pictures vanish
And none can state what I know.

The meeting is my own.

Jannis M. Allan

The above poem won first prize for Jannis in a competition of Calgary Canadian Author's poetry group.


On the 1st day of Christmas, Wally gave to me - a Band-Aid from 1943.
On the 2nd day of Christmas, Jack Carter gave to me - 2 broken knees.
On the 3rd day of Christmas, Daphne gave to me - 3 thirsty ticks.
On the 4th day of Christmas, Alastair gave to me - 4 cleaning cloths.
On the 5th day of Christmas, Bill Leach gave to me - 5,000 feet.
On the 6th day of Christmas, Frank Stanley gave to me - 6 cups of coffee.
On the 7th day of Christmas, McGill gave to me - 7 forest fires.
On the 8th day of Christmas, Jim K. gave to me - 8 piddling pooches.
On the 9th day of Christmas, Frank Anscombe gave to me - 9 nudists climbing.
On the 10th day of Christmas, Ed Stacey gave to me - 10 homemade paddles.
On the 11th day of Christmas, Frank Reed gave to me - 11 empty bottles.
On the 12th day of Christmas, Ron Folkins gave to me - 12 coughing Corvairs.


In 1976 we Ramblers had a shock
When we followed leader Bill to the mountain known as Block,
We looked for meadows green but all we found was rock
But that did not deter our Bill, the Super-Jock.

We climbed and climbed and still kept a-coming,
We climbed up and down and glissaded through the snow.
We called for a halt but still Bill kept a-going,
Up onto ledges where the goats dare not go.

Never mind the wind and never mind the heat,
His goal this year was 200,000 feet.
If we got a lunch stop it was quite a treat,
By chasms, slides and glaciers, he would not be beat.

We climbed and climbed and still we kept a-coming

Week after week he led his gallant team,
On which mighty mountain would he fulfill his dream?
When finally he made it we did all carouse,
Not a summit as was planned, but the Lake Agnes Teahouse.

(Sung to the tune "Battle of New Orleans.")


The first backpack of the 1957 season was on June 15 and 16; it went into the Paradise Valley area and was led by Sandy Vair.

The funniest thing was a question asked by Jean Nicholls. When she got to the campsite she saw Sandy and party storing food in very large wooden boxes found at the campsite.

In all innocence she asked whether they had carried those boxes all the way up there!


On a trip up Brewster Creek Sunday June 3rd 1973, the following was witnessed by 12 Ramblers ..... With disbelief we watched Peter McGill pull his lunch out of his daypack. A bottle of beer was followed by a loaf of bread, a pound of butter, a pound of cheese, a pound of honey, a fresh grapefruit and a whole fresh pineapple with top and all. There was still a grapefruit left over for later on.


The first 1957 holiday trip was into Skoki August 17 - 24 where Lillian Thompson, Pam Turner and Tom Thurston, Ken Bailey and Sandy Vair camped in the cabins and took numerous hikes around the area. One of the interesting episodes of the trip took place when Sandy made a trip up the trail to the little house in the woods. When he arrived he found that a porcupine had beat him there. After a loud and vicious battle, Sandy gave in and retired leaving the porcupine as the victor. The rest of the holiday he made that jaunt armed with an Ice axe. This anecdote taken from Ken Bailey's write up In the September 1957 "Packrat".


by Margaret Bird

I feel I should have spoken up at the meeting last Wednesday but as I am unaccustomed to public speaking, I will use the offices of the Pack Rat instead.

I was one of the four who got separated from the main party of Ramblers after lunch last Sunday on our hike In the Bow River Forest, and as a result, spent the following ten hours (a) finding our way back to the car, and (b) causing quite a few people a lot of concern and trouble.

I think I can safely say that by the Ramblers' standards, I am still a novice when it comes to hiking and last Sunday after- noon (to say nothing of the evening and into the night!) really brought home to me just how ill-equipped I was and how little I knew about coping with the situation such as we unwittingly found our- selves in. I was completely dependent on the other three Ramblers for direction-finding (which proved a thankless task) and then when time was against us and Bob and Yvon talked of making camp for the night, I again realised just how little I could contribute and that I was relying entirely on them to cope with the situation.

Sunday has made me realise that one must never be dependent on others when in the mountains. From now on, I shall make quite sure that I am far better equipped and can contribute something should I ever again find myself in a similar situation.

To Bob, Yvon and Frieda, I was glad I was in your company. Had I been with three other ill-equipped novices (assuming there are three other such novices in the Ramblers or am I the only one?), I don't think I would have enjoyed(?) the experience quite so much.

To Jim Kirkpatrick and the other Ramblers, thank you for waiting for us all those hours. I am sorry I caused you concern.

To the Rangers in the Bow River Forest, I am sorry I disturbed your Sunday evening. Your company was very welcome though, along with Hobo, your friendly German Shepherd dog, and the hot tea that was waiting for us at the end of the trail was welcome, too.

To newcomers and novices in the Ramblers, take heed of what Alastair said on Wednesday evening and "do not rely on others". There is no point at all in thinking "it will never happen to me" - it can and it does - last Sunday proved it to me only too well.


In the summer of 1964 John Hickey his sister Pat, and Sandy Vair were camped at Lower Waterfowl Lake and had the trunk of the car open to Set out the making for supper when they were Invaded by a very hungry, scrawny bear, which climbed Into the trunk after the food. Sandy called to John who immediately responded by chasing the bear while brandishing an ice axe in one hand, clanging a cow bell in the other and blowing a whistle clamped between his teeth. The bear took off but returned a short time later to bother other campers.

This Incident was taken from Sandy Vair's "I Remember" in the February 1967 issue of the "Pack Rat".


On Wednesday May 11th there was a very successful surprise party for Wally Drew, who was being transferred back to Denver. It was started as a meeting at the Vair home and continued at the Taylor home, where Bernie lived with her folks. Old and new members alike joined in the fun as Ted de Waal, assisted by Renk Oliemans and Tom Thurston, tied and blindfolded Wally. Then taking his car keys and carrying him out of the Vair's house to his car, they drove him around a parking lot while the other Ramblers went over to the Taylor home to start the party. When they arrived with Wally everyone was silent until they got him untied and the blindfold off. Poor Wally was lost for the first time, as he didn't know whose home he was in until he saw Mr. Taylor coming down the basement stairs. After everyone had arrived and we played a few games, Sandy Vair on behalf of the others presented Wally with the gold pin for the work he had done and the time he had given up for the Ramblers. Sandy also presented him with an Optimus stove with Wally's name on it. This found Wally speechless, as well as lost, for the first time.

A further Item for celebration was then accounted for when a birthday cake was brought in, it being Wally's birthday. It had 46 candles on it, even though this was a little more than one per year. Wally In true "blew" style got 'em all out with one puff.

The party broke up after midnight but some of the members went on to a restaurant for Chinese food and were observed creeping quietly in their front doors at 3:00 a.m.

by Nancy Vair in "The Pack Rat" 1960.
Revised slightly by Wally Drew, Mar. 1984.


Hiking, was our greatest pleasure
Till, one summer's day
When walking through a certain field
we must have gone astray.
Suddenly, there came a bellow
and the hooves thudding fast,
my friend and I took off like jets,
with faces all aghast.
Whom did we bless when, later, we
sat gently in the mire,
watching the bull robbed of his prey?
the man who made barbed wire!

Pam Turner, Nov. 18, 1964


A man from Arizona was talking to a Warden in Jasper Park.

Tourist: You must find it discouraging the way people throw rubbish around and build fires where they aren't supposed to.

Warden: Yes, most people are pretty careless. But you know, there's one group of people I never have to worry about. They always report exactly where they are going and you'd never know they'd been through the country at all.

Tourist: Oh! What group is that?

Warden: The Rocky Mountain Ramblers.

So let's make sure we keep up our reputation!

by Jannis Hare, Oct. 1970


On July 22, 1979 I hiked up the Three Isle Lake trail in Kananaskis Park to meet a group of Ramblers returning from a weekend backpack to Three Isle Lake.

Shortly before reaching the second bridge on the way in I heard a bird making quite a racket. I yelled "shut up" and a minute later got a good bash on the back of the head, like being hit with a hard cushion, except I could actually feel the feathers. I never even saw what it was and not until I was picking up my glasses, which wasn't hard to do as I had been knocked down onto my knees, did I discover that I had received few good gashes on the top of my head and left side of my face, one missing my left eye by about a quarter of an inch. Its talons must have been razor sharp as I never even felt them.

Upon meeting a Park Ranger shortly afterwards he informed me that it was a Goshawk and it had been diving on people all weekend. On meeting the group on their way out they informed me that they had seen it on their way in the day before. There was no sign of it on the way back however.

Art Davis