The Birth of an Adventurer
By Bruce Kirkby, Author, Photographer & Speaker
At the age of 13, the Mountain Parks changed my life. Growing up in southern Ontario, my first visit to the Rockies came in the summer of Grade 8, when Dad attended a conference in Victoria. We tagged along–Mom and three impatient kids. After the meetings, family and camping gear was packed into a Rent-a-Wreck car, and we hit the road, exploring the beaches of Pacific Rim National Park before boarding the ferry and heading inland.
After a week of water slides and beaches of Penticton, Dad decided to press on, towards the turquoise waters of Lake Louise. He had never forgotten his first visit to the mountains as a young exchange student (from Britain), decades earlier. Among the kids, the prospect of more camping and hiking was met with resistance. The waterslide was all we wanted. But Dad insisted. The next day our heavily-loaded car crawled over Roger¹s Pass, under dark clouds and pouring rain. Barely able to see beyond the windshield, we inched towards Yoho National Park. The weather grew continually worse.
Finally, Mom suggested a motel. The kids heartily concurred. Despite a 4-to-1 vote, Dad invoked veto power, and as dusk settled, we set up tents in drenching showers, cooking a quick meal on the Coleman, and diving into damp sleeping bags. The mood was low. This was a pathetic vacation.
The next morning, I woke early. It was silent. Crawling over Dad to unzip the door of our sodden pup tent, the scene outside caused me to gasp. Beyond our camp, snowy, glaciated peaks soared about forested ridges. I could hardly believe my eyes.
It looked like something from the movies. We spent the next week exploring the mountain parks; transfixed, never complaining, always wanting to go further, higher, farther–exhausting our parents. From that day on, I knew where I wanted to spend my life.
Bruce Kirkby now resides in Kimberley, BC when he isn’t leading trips in remote and exotic locations around the world. Check out his web site at www.brucekirkby.com.