Kicking Horse Cascade

The Kicking Horse Pass was first mentioned in the report of the Palliser expedition in 1860. This team was investigating various routes for the C.P.R. between what became Lake Louise and Golden, B.C. Dramatic scenery draws armies of tourists today. Although the spiral tunnel (that engineering wonder that eased the gradient for train traffic) is much talked about, I found myself more impressed by the natural wonder of the pass itself.

From an elevated ledge, I noticed a group of people down by the river. I decided to scramble down the steep incline to get really good photos of the waters as they rushed through the pass. Once down there, I realized that I was not nearly as fit as the young people beside the torrents. The drizzly conditions made for treacherous conditions as I moved carefully to new vantage points. My bride is not very happy when I do these small adventures, thinking that I may well end up in the drink. She has some reason to be concerned, I admit, as I did have a bad spill on some seaweed-draped rocks in Prince Edward Island some years ago. I managed in that episode to also cause great damage to my camera when I went east and it went west. I knew that I was going to get old. I just didn’t realize that it would happen so soon.

Places of natural beauty like this one drive me crazy because of the potential paintings that I see at each vantage point. I know that I can’t record it all or deal with even a miniscule portion of the countless views. I actually get a physical response to such a painting opportunity. My heart races as I see new possibilities. Excitement combined with the physical exertion of demanding terrain produces quite a sweat.

I was not alone in my interest in this noisy site. The water plunging and crashing attracted a group of black leather-clad Harley riders who jumped from rock to rock, cameras in hand. Some of these same motorcyclists showed up at our hotel that evening. Their powerful machines leaned in a neat parallel fashion near the door of our lodgings. I remember the days when Harley riders were tough and nasty. I recall vividly the broad black leather belts studded with “coloured” gems that old time hard rocks wore over their scuffed leather jackets.

The next morning the motorcycle guys and gals drifted into the breakfast room. One of their group looked like the nasties that I remembered from years ago. He was a large man with a pirate-style bandana, dodgy dental work, and a stomach that perched precariously, cantilevered over his saucer-sized, silver, Harley belt buckle. When asked by one of his group in line for the breakfast bar whether he wanted some toast, the big man erupted, “No, no. I gotta stay away from the carbs.” I’m sure that those tough guys from years ago thought that a carb was part of an engine.