Lack of snow continued to plague Rambler ski trips in the early months of 1958. A trip to Plain of the Six Glaciers on February 23 was the first time that winter we skied on more than a foot of snow.
It should be mentioned that even in those early years, the Ramblers had downhill ski trips as well as cross country ski tours using the lifts at Sunshine, Temple and Norquay.
In spite of care and safety consciousness, accidents sometimes happen. The Ramblers first serious accident happened on a ski tour lead by Tom Moffat in the north Jumping Pound area March 23, 1958. Joan Reeman fractured her femur, or thigh bone. She was splinted and loaded into Sandy Vair's station wagon for the trip to Calgary General Hospital. Later we all met at the home of Sandy and his mother, who extended her hospitality to the Ramblers quite often, to reclaim our clothing and other articles which had been used as splints and padding. The club's tremendous "esprit de corps" extended to frequent visits while Joan was recovering and a collection to help defray hospital expenses in those pre-health care days.
Following this accident, the Ramblers adopted a compulsory trip insurance to cover medical expenses in case of accident. It cost 10 cents per person per day and covered all persons on organized trips from Calgary back to Calgary. Later that summer, as an extra precaution, 12 Ramblers took the St. Johns Ambulance first aid course.
Although there bad probably been previous ones, the first Ramblers party written up in "The Pack Rat" was a ski season wind-up party thrown on April 25, 1958 by Bernie Taylor and Wally Drew at the horse of her parents. 38 Ramblers and guests showed up to enjoy a full evening of games and other activities planned by Bernie.
The start of the 1958 hiking season was delayed a week because the Cypress Hills trip scheduled for May 3 and 4 was cancelled when Sandy Vair learned that 2% of the ticks in the area were carrying Rocky Mountain Spotted fever.
Completion of the Trans Canada Highway on the south side of the Bow River through the Gap that summer opened up some new country for Ramblers to explore. The epic trip of the summer, however, was a backpack to Floe Lake July 26 and 27 described in "Memorable Trips". It was memorable not only for lasting into Monday a.m., but because romance blossomed and three Rambler couples were married within the next few months; Sandy Vair and Nancy Gay Stewart on September 19, 1958, Tom Moffat and Lucia Van de Werve on December 20, 1958, and Henk Oliemans and Ruth Weisberg on April 4, 1959. Many Ramblers enjoyed big reception banquets with the first and third weddings.
The first half of August was almost a continuous Ramblers excursion. It started with Tom Moffat, Ken Bailie and Fred Marsh backpacking 50 miles into Mt. Assiniboine from Eisenhower Junction, visa Shadow Lake, Simpson Pass and Sunshine Village. Tom stayed in to join other Ramblers who spent August 9 - 15 backpacking in the Mt. Assiniboine area. Then they were joined by five more Ramblers at Lake O'Hara on the August 16 - 17 weekend.
This year also brought its snare or firsts. Wally Drew organized the club's first of many Gull Lake swimming trips and 10 Ramblers enjoyed a warm, sunny day on August 3. Wally also led the Ramblers first canoe trip. Canoes were rented in Banff and five Ramblers paddled about 5 miles up the Bow River on September 7 and floated back.
At the end of our membership year On September 30, 1958 we had 57 members, more than three times the number 2 years previous.
Although Ron Smylie was given an honorary membership in the Ramblers for 1958 in recognition of his generosity in allowing the club to use his store for meetings, the first honorary life membership was awarded to John Hickey, our founder, at the 1958 Annual General Meeting on Wednesday evening, November 11. Nancy Vair and Wally Drew were awarded silver pins at this meeting. Ted de Waal's parents had been given a gift of appreciation of their frequent generous hospitality in offering their house for Rambler square dance evenings and other functions. As a matter of interest, the banquet cost $2.25 per person and included a turkey dinner and dancing. 34 attended.
The new executive, elected at the A.G.M. or appointed subsequently, included: Chairman, Sandy Vair; Vice Chairman, Wally Drew; Secretary, Mary Hodgkison Treasurer, Bernie Taylor; Program Chairman, Pam Turner; Publicity Chairman, Ted de Waal; Membership Chairman, Nancy Vair; Senior Trip Leader, Torn Moffat; and Social
Chairmen, Charlie Neill and Lucia Van de Werve. Wally also continued as "Pack Rat" editor.
With so much time spent in the wilderness, it wouldn't be unusual for Ramblers to sight all sorts of wildlife. But perhaps one of the strangest sightings occurred on a ski trip into Waterton Lakes Park near Cameron Lake in November when Anita Witte swore that she saw a green mouse run across her skis.
The first of many ice skating trips on the Ghost Reservoir was organized by Wally Drew on December 21.
1958 ended with a New Years Eve party at the horse of Torn and Lucia Moffat. Because of the worst blizzard of the winter that evening, only about 2/3 of the 35 who had signed up made it to the party. Barbara Thompson, Nancy Vair and Lucia Moffat had spent most of the day preparing food.
The year began with the coldest ski tour of the winter on January 4. A temperature of 41 below F convinced Bob Tennant, Charlie Neill and Wally Drew that it was too cold to tour around Eisenhower Junction, so they drove back to Mt. Norquay, where it wasn't quite so cold. There two would ski down the lower North American run to the Timberline Hotel while the third drove the car down. Then all three would drive back up. With a different person driving down each time, each one had a chance to thaw out in the car after every second run.
Over the Easter weekend, March 27 - 29, Ramblers had a choice of two three-day ski trips. 12 went to Skoki and 6 went to Waterton. Wally Drew led the first of many Easter ski weekends into Skoki. The main tour from the lodge was to Merlin Ridge. Sandy Vair's Waterton group found the Red Rock Canyon and Cameron Lake roads closed to the public and insufficient snow elsewhere. Not prepared to give up, they talked to the Park Superintendent and the Ramblers' reputation worked its usual magic; the key to the Cameron Lake road was theirs for the week-end. The snow? It was beautiful powder up there.
The best deep powder trip was in April when a large group enjoyed lift skiing and touring in 38 inches of new snow at Sunshine.
Bears were encountered on early season hikes on the Jumping Pound road and up Heart Mountain.
The summer's most ambitious backpack was from Moraine Lake over Wenkchemna Pass and down Tokuum Creek to Marble Canyon, co-lead by Tom Moffat, Ted de Waal and Wally Drew. While eight did the backpack, six others drove the cars around to Marble Canyon. After camping Saturday night beside Tokuum Creek near the Yoho-Kootenay Park boundary, the struggle began. The trail disappeared beneath tangles of brush and logs brought down by avalanches. In places it was washed away by the creek. Further down, the trail improved but quite a number of big, swift streams had to be crossed. At first the group looked for crossings on rocks or logs, or made bridges, but eventually some gave up and just waded through.
The week long backpack that year was to Shadow Lake, August 22 - 29. A lengthy description appears in the September 1959 issue of "The Pack Rat" entitled , "A Week at Shadow Lake, or the Rains Came", by Mary Hodgkinson.
Over Thanksgiving weekend Wally Drew showed Gerda Leer, Lillian Garland and Gerry Schlee one of his old stamping grounds, Glacier National Park, Montana. We biked from Many Glacier in pouring rain with snow underfoot. Because of the rain and cold and snow, we opted not to camp and persuaded an elderly caretaker to open a nice one-room log cabin between Babb and St. Mary that had already been closed for the winter. It cost $4.00 for the weekend - 50 cents per person per night.
Besides Henk and Ruth Oliemans' wedding in April, the year brought another Ramblers wedding, that of Bernie Taylor and Rudi Schipperus on October 9 and the Ramblers first baby, Sharon Marle Vair, born July 14. Nancy was hiking so close to the time Sharon arrived that Ramblers anticipated she would be born with hiking boots on. Boots or not, she started attending Rambler meetings when two weeks old and went on her first club trip, the annual Gull Lake swimming trip, before she was a month old.
The Rambler head count remained at 57 members that year, but one member, Ron Smylie, gained recognition when he was one of those expedition members who conquered Mt. Logan, Canada's highest peak, in late spring.
In the summer of 1959 the club initiated having a host and hostess greet new people arriving at Wednesday meetings. At, the A.G.M. and banquet in October silver pins were awarded to Pam Turner and Ted de Waal. For the fourth year in a row Sandy Vair and Wally Drew were re-elected as Chairman and Vice-Chairman respectively. Other members of the next executive were: Jean Nicholls,
Gerry Schlee, Pam Turner. Ted de Waal, Isobel and Bill Kiborn, Nancy Vair and Ed Lynn. Tom Moffat agreed to serve a fourth year as Senior Trip Leader and Wally Drew agreed to stay on a fourth term, as "Pack Rat" editor, Winter Trips Chairman and Day Trips Chairman.
After 21 turned out for the season's first ski trip to the Turner Valley ski hill it turned very cold early in the winter. On the mid-November ski trip to Lake Louise and Bow Summit, the temperature overnight at Lake Louise plunged to 37 F below zero and Wally's car refused to start (no plug in). By the time we got it going and drove to Bow Summit, the sun was slipping behind the mountain and it was 21 below. In contrast during most of December chinooks swept Ghost Reservoir free of snow for good ice skating.
1959 ended with a Ramblers New Years party at the Vair's. Ed Lynn and Jean Nicholls helped them with the arrangements. As at every Ramblers New Years Eve party at midnight we all joined hands in a circle and sang "Auld Lang Syne". Then the New Year was welcomed with noise makers, shouts, handshakes and kisses.