We bought an Olympus single-lens reflex camera in 1978. It was a fairly sophisticated camera for that time with an internal light meter. I still have it and it still works. It’s a rugged camera that barely escaped destruction and drowning a number of times.
It was in my pack when it fell out of the back of my truck at 50 miles per hour on the way back from Tomahawk Boy Scout Camp. On a canoe trip in Canada we were sitting on a rock having dinner when we heard a muffled “thump, thump, thump.” It was the camera in its leather case rolling down a rock toward the water. Carol made a heroic leap to save the camera from Lake Huron. I have photos of rafting down into Wild Sheep Rapids in Hells Canyon on the Snake River in Idaho taken moments before we got thrashed in a big hole. The camera must have gone into the dry bag just in time.
We took hundreds of photos over the years that we had developed into slides. We bought a Nikon digital camera in 2005, so nearly all our slides are at least 15 years old. Last Saturday morning was rainy so Carol retrieved our slide projector and carousels full of slides. Our projector is an old Sears model with a vertical carousel; a clunky machine but it still works. We sat through an hour of slide shows of trips to Belize and Guatemala in Central America, the Lower French River and Georgian Bay in Ontario, rafting trips in Idaho, and backpacking in Olympic, Glacier and Waterton parks.
A couple of full carousels brought back a memorable trip we took to the Pacific Northwest and Alaska in 1985. We visited John and Lynn Lewinski in McCall, Idaho. We caught a bucketful of big yellow perch and rainbow trout on the Payette River nearby that made a fine fish fry. We went on to Washington State, climbed post-eruption Mount St. Helens, and ogled the beautiful wooden boats in the harbor at Port Townsend.
We hiked along the Hoh River in Olympic National Park from the ocean up through the rain forest with giant spruces and firs dripping with moss. From Port Angeles, Washington, we took a ferry to Victoria on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. We camped in provincial parks on Vancouver Island and then took another B.C. ferry for an epic all-day ride north from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert. We were fortunate to have good weather and were able to watch humpback whales, orcas, mountain goats on the steep slopes, bears on the beach and many waterfalls.
From Prince Rupert we visited Hyder, Alaska where they get over 20 feet of snow each winter, and walked upon the Exit Glacier. We drove up the Stewart Cassiar Highway through the 7-Sisters Range of mountains that look like the Tetons on steroids. We stopped at nearly every river along the way and caught trout, char and grayling. We filled our cooler with glacier ice and enjoyed reading by the campfire at midnight.
I caught a good-sized northern pike on my first cast in the Yukon River. We canoed on the gin-clear Rancheria River in the Yukon where we could watch grayling 30 feet down. We camped at a National Forest campsite outside of Seward, Alaska and watched moose right across the creek from our tent. I caught halibut, lingcod and sea bass on a charter boat. We rode on a tour boat from Seward out Resurrection Bay, around Cape Aialik with thousands of sea birds, watched sea lions and orcas, and ice calving off Holgate Glacier.
On our way back we crossed the Yukon River on a ferry into Dawson City where we met a miner with a huge natural gold nugget. We were astounded by the beauty of the Canadian Rockies in Jasper and Banff National Parks. After hiking and fishing in Waterton Lakes National Park, we drove back home across the prairies that were green and filled with flowers.
It was fun to remember those trips and see photos of friends, animals and fine scenery. We still enjoy trips in wild places.