Updated: Nov 23, 2022
Four men cruise Kinney Lake, British Columbia on their 1,200 mile journey in 1910.
"A Pleasure Cruise Across Kinney Lake, British Columbia" Top: Kinney Lake, 1910 / Bottom: Kinney Lake, 2012
In its earliest days of development, the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway line was explored by a group of four men, including a writer and a photographer. They set out to preview the proposed route for determining the line's most significant (and worst) features.
The men began their 1,200-mile journey to Prince Rupert, BC in Edmonton, Alberta. From Jasper National Park, they journeyed the Yellowhead Pass with pack horses and canoes until travelling by foot was their only option. They bushwhacked their way through thick brush until they reached the turquoise waters of Helena Lake at the foot of Mount Robson (right of photo), the tallest peak in the Canadian Rockies at the height of almost 13,000 feet to the heavens. Too beautiful to pass it by, the men hastily fashioned a raft by roping together 4 logs and enjoyed a long cruise across the long lake.
Helena Lake is known today as Kinney Lake, named after Reverend Kinney of Victoria, BC. He was a pastor who claimed to have reached the summit of Mount Robson the previous year in 1909 and named the lake 'Helena' as he looked down on it from up above. His story is for another day.
"Map of Route Taken by Grand Trunk Pacific Men"
The men in this story said that as they cruised Kinney Lake, they discovered an old post and sign on the shoreline with the words 'Site of MacKenzie's Hotel' and were surprised to learn that someone long before them had the good sense to claim the rural property, hoping to cash in when the rail eventually brought tourists to the area... or at least until the rail company bought out his property. It seems the rail line took too long and MacKenzie's hope, whoever he was, was abandoned. (also, Jasper had by then been designated as a National Park)
"Mount Robson, BC at the right of photo."
Reverend Kinney of Victoria, BC, the namesake of this turquoise watered lake, had claimed to have climbed to the summit of Mount Robson in 1910 (to the right of photo). His story is for another day.
"Mount Robson Observation Platform"
Clip: Free Press Prairie Farmer (1922)
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
An observation platform was constructed on the spot where the photo of the men crossing the lake was taken.
"1915::Five years later... "
Clip: The Oregon Daily Journal (1915) Portland, Oregon
Five years after the men's 1,200 mile journey.