Catalog - Memoirs


The idea for going on this adventure came from Hank, Jack and I having taken several two- and three-day hikes in the High Sierra in the past few years, crossing and re-crossing the John Muir Trail on our way to Shadow Lake, Purple Lake, Duck Lake, and others. Hank and I (mostly Hank) decided to go for the Big One this year (1959) while we still have health and strength. Jack was eager to go, too, as he had been on a week-long backpack trip with the Boy Scouts the year before to earn his Silver Moccasin badge. This was accomplished in the San Gabriel Mountains north of Los Angeles, with his Dad as troop leader. He would now like to earn his John Muir Trail badge, which no one else in the troop has earned.

Hank started in January making out menus from information he had searched out concerning dried foods (mostly DriLite) and other dried nutritious foods. During the spring months, he planned out all the gear we would need, down to the last Band-Aid. Included were plenty of socks, both lightweight and heavier weight. We wore light socks under the heavy ones to prevent blisters--and it worked! The hardest part of choosing the food was trying to get a well-balanced menu that we could carry and cook easily, plus figuring out where to put the food caches so we wouldn’t run out of supplies. Everything was packed in three 5-gallon cans, each being a week’s supply, which we would leave at a pack station ahead of time. Hank bought two brand new Kelty Packs, a backpack with padded shoulders and a belt around the hips to ease the strain on shoulders. They were easy to use and held up very well. Jack used an older wood-frame pack.

– Margaret Olesen



The John Muir Trail from a woman’s point of view

– Margaret Olesen

The story of one family’s month-long hike on the highest elevation, long-distance trail in the continental United States.

  1. Bullet What it was like to do a major high-altitude hike in 1959 without all the high tech equipment available today?

Alec Noble was an observant child and used what he learned from others to become a success. At a young age he witnessed his parents’ struggle to make a living on the prairie of Alberta after leaving a relatively easy life in the Russian railroad town of Harbin, Manchuria. He worked hard on the farm when his father had to take a job in town to make ends meet. He watched his parents start over after losing the farm in the Depression. Moving from a Russian- and Chinese-speaking progressive city to a new land with a new language and a new alphabet and only a few families living on scattered farms was an adventure to a six-year-old. Walking miles to school through several feet of snow was not a cliché to Alec; it was his life for a number of years. When Alec moved from his one-room schoolhouse on the prairie to a high school in bustling Vancouver, he never really caught up. But that didn’t stop his forward momentum. He used his boundless energy, innate intelligence and optimism to climb to the top; spending his entire career with Canadian Pacific Rail and Air divisions. Alec’s life included many adventures: a crash landing on the beach of an Aleutian Island while serving as an aerial photographer in WWII; an earthquake in Mexico City; taking part in negotiations with OPEC during the 1970s fuel crisis. Alec enjoyed spending his off time with his wife and family, Springer Spaniels, and camping and fishing in beautiful British Columbia.

A fascinating and entertaining story of a young immigrant who worked his way up to the top at a world class airline.

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