Nahanni: Then and Now
By: Vivien Lougheed
ISBN: 978-0-88839-697-6 [Trade Paperback]
ISBN: 978-0-88839-698-3 [eBook color] Buy for Kindle
Binding: Trade Paper
Size: 5.5" X 8.5"
Publication Date: August 15 2021
This account, of the geography and history of some of the mountainous country drained by the South Nahanni River, is based on Lougheed’s observations as a hiker and paddler, and on her thorough research — including interviews and correspondence with the people, and the descendants of the people, who made that history.
The journey to the abandoned mining town of Tungsten at the headwaters of the Flat River, and to the Flat Lakes just north, the headwaters of the Little Nahanni, leads to a tour of the ruins and a history of the Lakes. That history starts in the 1930s with the arrival of George Dalziel, the “flying trapper,” who was in the business of dropping his “assistants” into prime martin-trapping areas. The stories of these trappers, the Cormack brothers and Nazar Zenchuk, after whom a feeder creek of the Flat Lakes is named, link to the stories of other trappers along the South Nahanni, the
Flat, and Glacier Lake near the Cirque of the Unclimbables. Raymond Patterson was the first to make these men famous. The RCMP helped too, with their accounts of looking for men who disappeared, some of them Dalziel’s employees or customers.
This leads to journeys and research to the north, to the abandoned mining sites of Howard’s Pass, Lened Creek and Union Carbide, all of which Lougheed passes through
in numerous, Quixotic, attempts to walk to the shores of the South Nahanni.
Finally, success! A trek to the Cirque of the Unclimbables and Glacier Lake, and stories of the scientists and climbers who explored those important destinations in the newly expanded Nahanni National Park.
Vivien Lougheed started her life of exploration around the outskirts of Winnipeg when, in 1952, she got her first bicycle. She expanded these adventures in 1960 when she left her bookkeeping job at A.B. Dick and jumped on a Greyhound heading to Jasper, where she became totally enamoured with the mountains. She moved to Prince George and met her husband John who encouraged her to follow her passion and explore both the mountains and the world and then to write about it all. She’s trekked many times in each of the Rockies, Andes, Himalayas, Alps, Pyrenees, and Coast Mountains, and once in the Simiens in Ethiopia.
In the course of these treks she discovered the St. Elias mountains of Kluane Park, about which she wrote a hiking guide that expanded through four editions. She also wrote From the Chilcotin to the Chilkoot (2005), a guide to short hikes in Northern BC aimed mostly at tourists wanting to discover more of the remoter areas from their cars. Her international hiking first took her to China in 1983, the first year the Chinese allowed independent travel, and in subsequent years to Europe, Asia, Africa, the Middle East, Tibet and Latin America, which resulted in her first guidebook, Central America by Chickenbus. It appeared in 1986, and was reprinted and expanded into three editions between 1988 and 2003. With the encouragement and editorial assistance of Doug Marten, the editor of the Prince George Citizen’s Plus Magazine, she wrote a weekly column from 1991 – 1996 after which she contributed to the Prince George Free Press for three years. This led to her becoming the Latin Correspondent for the American firm, Hunter Publishing for which she wrote fat, comprehensive guides to Belize, Bolivia, Cuba, Mexico’s Pacific West Coast, and the Yucatan. All of these tomes were divided into specialized, regional guides and reprinted.
Finally, there were adventure-travel and history books — about Tibet (Forbidden Mountains, 1996), Bolivia (Understanding Bolivia, a Traveller’s History, 2008), the Mackenzie Mountains in the Northwest Territories (Diary of a Lake, with John Harris, 2002), and BC’s Kakwa Provincial Park (Sidetracked: The Struggle for BC’s Fossils, 2011). Her latest book, Nahanni Then and Now, recreates the stories of exploration in the area north of Tungsten, NWT and provides a limited historical account of the region, ending with a summary of events that led to the expansion of the park and the explosion of recreationalists who head into the Cirque of the Unclimbables, located just above Glacier Lake within the borders of the expanded park.
Vivien writes at her home in Prince George, in between trips and treks.
“The grande dame of English language travel writers heads out of bounds on almost every trip she’s ever taken the world over, and in Nahanni Then And Now she takes the reader well past the mechanics of hiking through one of the world’s great far-north landscapes."
-- Frank Peebles, Writer-Performer-Critic
“She had walked the Great Wall of China and the Inca trail in Peru, and had climbed to lofty mountain villages in Tibet. In a column she wrote weekly for the Prince George Citizen, Vivien extolled the virtues of strapping on a pair of boots and taking to the great outdoors."
-- Wayne Rostad, From 'On the Road Again' TV Series
“Vivien Lougheed knows the North from first-hand experience scrambling over alpine passes, crossing raging mountain streams and venturing far beyond the beaten trail. Her lively descriptions and personal accounts of these incredible adventures brings out the spirit of exploring the unknown. Indeed Viv’s personality is a perfect match to her writings, a walk on the wild side of life! Her latest book, Nahanni, Then and Now sheds light on the fascinating history of this renowned land of legends. A great insight into Canada’s Northwest!"
-- Brent Liddle, Guide & Park Interpreter, Kluane National Park & Reserve
“Whether you’re a hiker, mountain climber, armchair adventurer or have a deep interest in history, Vivien Lougheed’s Nahanni will appeal to you. The author combines meticulous research with current-day experiences to take the reader through the remote land of the Nahanni River in northern Canada. Lougheed’s research is like reading a mystery novel as she sorts through conflicting reports and confusing dates from early explorers, even mysterious disappearances and deaths. She brings this little-known part of Canada to life with her descriptions of the rugged land itself and awes us with the photographs of the majestic mountains themselves. The author’s own adventurous and tenacious personality adds to the enjoyment of the book as she relates the difficulties and joys of exploring this wondrous land. "