Lupe’s PupJoy Experience (12-6-16)

On the day after Thanksgiving, Erik told SPHP that a gift from Erik & Ana would be arriving soon in the form of an email.  Erik & Ana know how crazy SPHP is about Lupe, so they had chosen wisely.  When the email turned up a couple of days later it said “Congratulations!!  You’ve Received a Gift Subscription to PupJoy!”

When SPHP told Lupe about the email, she quickly agreed it sounded promising, despite the fact that, neither SPHP nor Lupe had the faintest idea what it really meant.

The email contained a link to claim the gift subscription, which took SPHP to a screen where basic information about Lupe had to be entered to proceed (size, age, sex – that sort of thing).  That was easy enough, but next came a few options about various subscriptions – how many boxes did Lupe want, how often, etc?

All SPHP wanted to do was claim Lupe’s free gift, not sign up for an ongoing subscription, so SPHP used PupJoy’s online chat feature and wound up speaking with a very pleasant fellow by the name of Dustin.  Dustin explained that Lupe’s free gift subscription was for a single shipment of one box.  The box would contain items chosen by PupJoy for Lupe based on the initial information SPHP had provided about her.  Only a few clicks later, Lupe’s PupJoy box was on order.

SPHP told Lupe that her PupJoy box was on its way!  Every morning after that, SPHP made a big deal about letting Lupe out on the front step to see if her PupJoy box was here yet.  Lupe enjoyed this routine, but seemed a little puzzled by it, since even using her amazingly keen Carolina Dog sensory powers, she didn’t notice a single thing different about the front step than before.

Nothing changed until the morning of December 6th.  When Lupe went out to inspect the front step, there it was!  Lupe’s PupJoy box had arrived!  Even though what might be in the PupJoy box was still a total mystery, Lupe already seemed happy.

On the morning of December 6th, 2016, when Lupe went out to check on the front step – there it was! Lupe’s first PupJoy box had arrived! She already seemed happy about it, although what might be inside remained a complete mystery.

Both Lupe and SPHP were curious.  What was in this PupJoy box?

When you’re about to open a treasure chest, you don’t do it in front of the whole world.  SPHP took the box in the house.  Moments later, it was open.  Inside were 4 items – 2 dog toys and 2 bags of treats.  Before trying any of it out, Lupe agreed to pose briefly on the back step with all her newly acquired PupJoy loot.

Lupe on the back step with all her new PupJoy loot.

All of Lupe’s new possessions looked like high quality items.  SPHP was hopeful Lupe would like them.  Maybe Lupe would like to try the dog treats first?  SPHP opened the 8 oz. green bag of Down Dog Snacks – Peas, Love & Carrots flavor.  The package said they were made of All-Natural, Real, Simple Ingredients.

Lupe received an 8 oz. bag of Down Dog Snacks – Peas, Love & Carrots flavor in her PupJoy box.
According to the back of the Down Dog Snacks package, these Peas, Love & Carrots flavor treats had received the paw of approval by Rumi, the Chief Tasting Officer.

The Down Dog Treats were shaped like hearts, about the size of a half dollar.  When SPHP gave one to Lupe, she took it in her mouth, held it for a second or two, then dropped it on the ground.  SPHP gave it back to her several times.  Each time she did the same thing, except faster than before.  Lupe didn’t want one.

Well, that was disappointing.  Maybe she would like some of Grandma Lucy’s Organic Baked Dog Treats – Pumpkin Recipe?  Lupe had a big 14 oz. bag of those.  Pumpkin seemed like an odd flavor for dogs, but who knew?  Sometimes Lupe likes things one wouldn’t expect.  SPHP opened the bag.  The treats were small and shaped like little teddy bears.  Lupe could have several of them, if she liked them.  They did smell like pumpkin.

The biggest bag of treats Lupe received in her PupJoy box was a 14 oz. bag of Grandma Lucy’s Organic Oven Baked Dog Treats – Pumpkin Recipe.
The Grandma Lucy’s pumpkin recipe treats were small and shaped like little teddy bears as shown on the back side of the package. If Lupe liked them, she could have several at a time.

Unfortunately, the Grandma Lucy’s Pumpkin Recipe treats suffered the same fate as the Down Dog Snacks.  Into the mouth, then dropped almost immediately on the ground.  Lupe simply didn’t want them.  She didn’t have the slightest interest.

Normally, when Lupe gets dog treats, she practically inhales them.  One wonders if she can even taste them?  Half a second and the treats are gone, with Lupe begging for more.  Not with the PupJoy treats, though.  She didn’t want a thing to do with either of them.

Well, it was too bad.  Although Lupe sometimes likes to share oatmeal, squash, sweet potatoes and a few things like that with SPHP, Lupe wasn’t used to organic vegetable treats.  Peas, carrots, and pumpkin aren’t on the usual Lupe menu.  All the treats she gets regularly are meat flavored or animal-based – chicken, beef, pork, bacon, cheese.  Maybe Lupe would eventually get used to these PupJoy treats, if SPHP kept giving them to her over a few days?  If not, SPHP could try giving them away to a more appreciative neighbor’s dog.

What about the PupJoy toys?  The American Dog brand carrot was bright and colorful, but seemed like a strange thing for a dog to play with.  It did have a squeaker inside.  Besides making the squeaker squeak, though, what would Lupe do with it?  Not a darn thing was the immediate response.  When SPHP offered her the American Dog carrot, Lupe sniffed it with almost total disinterest before walking away.  Hmm, so far, PupJoy was 0 for 3.  Not good.

However, SPHP hoped the best had been saved for last.  The last toy was the Tuffy Ultflyer by  It was like a Frisbee, but made of cloth.  Like the American Dog carrot, it also had a squeaker sewn inside.

The last item from Lupe’s PupJoy box that she got to try was a Tuffy Ultflyer by It was like a Frisbee made of fabric instead of plastic.
The Tuffy Ultflyer was the last great hope from Lupe’s PupJoy box. A flying disc made of cloth did seem like a good idea to SPHP. Surely, Lupe would like this toy?

When Lupe was very young, she used to play with a hard plastic Frisbee.  She liked the Frisbee, but the hard plastic often resulted in mouth injuries that bled.  For that reason, Lupe’s early days playing with a Frisbee were confined to only a few months.  After a while, the mouth injuries didn’t seem worth it, even though Lupe completely ignored them and appeared to be having lots of fun.

When Lupe was a still growing Carolina Dog, she used to play with Frisbees, but the hard plastic often caused minor wounds that made her mouth bleed.

Lupe’s cousin Dusty has a soft pliable plastic flying disc like a Frisbee, but Lupe never plays with it.  Lupe prefers to play defense, trying to herd Dusty when Dusty tries to catch it.  Even the soft pliable plastic flying disc occasionally makes Dusty’s mouth bleed.  The worst part of it, though, is that both Dusty and Lupe will chew pieces off of it when no one is watching.

A cloth Frisbee made of really tough material seemed like a good idea to SPHP, but it had been years since Lupe had chased a flying disc.  Would she like it?

Yes, she did!  Lupe did like the Tuffy Ultflyer.  Her new flying disc was an instant hit!

Lupe and SPHP weren’t in very good flying disc form at the beginning.  SPHP found the disc rather stiff and hard to throw accurately.  Lupe’s favorite toys have been balls.  She is used to letting them bounce once before snatching them out of the air.  Lupe kept making the mistake of letting the flying disc hit the ground before trying to grab it.  The flying disc didn’t bounce at all, although once in a while it landed rolling on edge.

The flying disc almost always died right where it first hit the ground.  Still, Lupe did have fun chasing it.  In hot pursuit, Lupe kept coming to screeching stops, before scrambling back to grab it.  She then thought it was fun to try to make the flying disc squeak.  The squeaker wasn’t very loud, but those big soft Dingo ears could hear the squeaker well enough.

Lupe was very happy with her new Tuffy Ultflyer flying disc. It was the only one of the four items in the PupJoy box she showed any interest in on the day she received it.
Come on, let’s play!

Lupe wanted to go practice with the flying disc many times that afternoon.  She kept bringing it to SPHP, who obliged her with a few more tosses each session.  Gradually SPHP was getting the hang of throwing the flying disc.  It took a while for Lupe to realize she could catch her new flying disc in the air without letting it bounce.  She had even more fun streaking after it then!

Mind flinging this flying disc for me a few more times, SPHP?
At least the flying disc was a success!

Despite SPHP offering the Down Dog Snacks and Grandma Lucy’s Dog Treats to Lupe several more times that first day, Lupe’s opinion of them hadn’t changed.  She didn’t eat a single one of either kind.  Neither did she show any interest in the American Dog fabric carrot.  1 out of 4 isn’t very good, but at least Lupe did get some real enjoyment out of her Tuffy Ultflyer.  PupJoy hadn’t struck out completely.

The next morning, there was another email from PupJoy.  This one requested feedback from Lupe.  Ouch!  It wasn’t going to be too pretty.  SPHP felt sort of bad filling out the response questionnaire, but the truth was the truth.  Besides, the opinions were really Lupe’s, and Carolina Dogs are always honest about their feelings.  Still it seemed a shame, when all the PupJoy products were high quality, and Dustin had been so nice to deal with.

On a scale of 1 to 5, with 5 being the best, SPHP gave PupJoy a ranking of only 2.  SPHP wrote a detailed explanation of what Lupe thought of each product to explain the low ranking, then hit the send button.  Nothing happened.  The feedback didn’t go through.  Maybe there was a limit to the number of characters or time taken for the response?  Technology – who knew?

No matter, PupJoy would have been disappointed in Lupe’s opinion anyway.  Although, if PupJoy was really interested in making their services better, it’s patterns of negative responses that are most apt to alert them to potential problems in need of solutions.  However, Lupe’s opinion was only a single data point.  SPHP wasn’t going to try to rewrite and resend all that again.

And that’s how things stayed until the evening of that second day.  Sometime after dark, an unexpected visitor showed up at the door of SPHP’s office.  By golly, if it wasn’t Bugs Dingo!

Aww, what’s up, SPHP? An unexpected visitor showed up at the door of SPHP’s office on the evening of the 2nd day. Bugs Dingo was here and ready for some wild American Dog squeaker carrot action!

Bugs Dingo was looking bright-eyed, curly tailed, and cute as a button.  A carrot still seemed like a crazy dog toy, but Bugs Dingo had a different opinion.  She was ready for some wild American Dog squeaker carrot action!

The game was Keep Away.  Up and down the stairs.  From the living room through the hall to the bedroom and back.  Over and over again.  Bugs Dingo was lightning fast and elusive despite the confined quarters.  However, when SPHP did manage to corner Bugs and make a grab for the carrot, it was made of such slick material that Bugs Dingo had a hard time managing to hang on to it.

Keep Away evolved into Tug-O-War.  It took Bugs a while to learn how to maintain a good grip on the fat end of the carrot.  When SPHP got sole possession, the carrot was flung to the far side of the room, or up or down the stairs.  Bugs Dingo dashed after it every time, bringing it back to SPHP instantly, for more carrot fun.

The games went on to the extent of SPHP’s endurance.  Bugs Dingo didn’t want to let that carrot get put away.  She wanted to make it squeak, and like any rodent, she wanted to gnaw on it.  Bugs Dingo took it to bed with her that evening.  She wanted that American Dog carrot, and not her usual rawhide stick.

Bugs Dingo took her American Dog carrot to bed with her on the 2nd evening after it arrived in the PupJoy box. She wanted it instead of her usual rawhide stick. SPHP had to watch her so she didn’t chew it to pieces, though.

The American Dog carrot wasn’t the only thing Lupe changed her mind about.  After a couple of days of offering the Down Dog Snacks and Grandma Lucy’s Oven Baked Dog Treats to Lupe multiple times a day, only to be turned down each time, SPHP started just leaving a few treats scattered around on the floor.

At first, nothing happened.  On the floor they remained.  SPHP was about to conclude that those healthy treats really were going to have to be given away.  However, Lupe had been pondering something.  Since she was now part rabbit, as Bugs Dingo, maybe she didn’t have to be a total meat-eating predator?  Maybe some veggies were OK?

After laying on the floor for a couple of days, one morning SPHP woke up to find the treats had all disappeared.  SPHP tossed a few more on the floor.  Those disappeared, too.  Not right away, but eventually.  Gradually, Lupe was warming up to healthy veggie treats.  Grandma Lucy’s Pumpkin Recipe was her early favorite, but soon she was just as ready to accept the Down Dog Snacks Peas, Love & Carrots treats.

Over the course of a week, a new PupJoy routine emerged.  With snow on the ground, balls didn’t bounce.  During the day, Lupe preferred chasing her new Tuffy Ultflyer.  In addition to becoming quite good at catching it in mid-air, she enjoyed making it squeak.  She really liked latching onto it with her jaws, and being slung around by SPHP whirling in a circle with all 4 paws off the ground.  Whee!

Many times each day, Lupe brought her flying disc to SPHP to announce that it was time for another flying disc session.  When her birthday came on 12-14-16, Lupe started her day off right with her flying disc.

Lupe with her flying disc on her 6th birthday on December 14th, 2016.

In the evenings, Bugs Dingo wanted to play with the American Dog carrot.  Up and down the stairs, racing back and forth between rooms.  Keep Away and Tug-O-War.  When SPHP tired out, Lupe still wanted to make that carrot squeak, and still wanted to gnaw on it.  Although it’s made of tough material, SPHP had to put the carrot away to keep it from being totally demolished in short order.

On Christmas Eve, Lupe even took her carrot with her to Grandma’s house.

Lupe took her American Dog carrot with her to Grandma’s house on Christmas Eve for something to do while waiting for Santa.
Bugs Dingo at Grandma’s house. Christmas Eve 2016.

At bedtime, Lupe continued hopping up on the bed with SPHP like she usually does.  Instead of wanting her usual rawhide stick, though, she had a new idea for a nightly routine.

Apparently Lupe had read the part on the Down Dog Snacks bag about “Feed as a training snack.”  It worked!  She quickly trained SPHP to feed her more snacks.  Lupe stayed next to SPHP on the bed, happily munching and crunching away on Grandma Lucy’s Pumpkin Recipe and Down Dog Snacks Peas, Love & Carrots flavor treats.  Every so often, she would bark or growl to signal the need for a fresh supply.

So where do things stand now, nearly 2 months after Lupe received her PupJoy box?  The Tuffy Ultflyer flying disc from is looking kind of bedraggled, but remains basically intact.  SPHP continues to throw it for Lupe many times each day.

The American Dog carrot has suffered quite a bit of gnawing damage, inflicted during a couple of brief oversights when Bugs Dingo was left alone with it for a few minutes.  One of the two green tops is completely gone.  The end of the carrot is missing, and half of the stuffing torn out.  Bugs Dingo still loves the carrot, though, and still gets to play Keep Away and Tug-O-War with it most evenings.

The American Dog carrot has suffered some gnawing damage from Bugs Dingo, but Lupe still likes to play with it.

Lupe still has quite a supply of her usual treats received from Santa and other benefactors at Christmas.  However, all of the Grandma Lucy’s Pumpkin Recipe and Down Dog Snacks Peas, Love & Carrots flavor treats were munched and crunched up long ago.  Well before they ran out, it was clear Lupe was really enjoying them.

First impressions aren’t always right.  Lupe’s initial 2 out of 5 stars first impression drastically under-rated PupJoy.  Lupe wound up enjoying all 4 of the products in her PupJoy box.  SPHP thought only the carrot was a little weak for Lupe.  Even though it is made of military grade material and designed to be tough, Bugs Dingo had no problem causing significant gnawing damage in only a few minutes when left alone with the American Dog carrot.

So maybe PupJoy should have been given 3.5 out of 4 stars for the products Lupe received.  The 5th star should be saved for evaluating cost, always an important consideration.  Of course, Lupe’s first PupJoy box was a gift from Erik & Ana (thank you!), so to Lupe, the price was an unbeatable free of charge.

SPHP did a little checking online and found the following approximate retail costs for the items Lupe got in her first PupJoy box:  Down Dog Snacks $10, Grandma Lucy’s Oven Baked Treats $9, American Dog carrot $10, Tuffy Ultimate Flyer $16.70.  Total retail value of $45.70.  Since the PupJoy website shows a cost for gift boxes ranging from $23 to $44 with free shipping in the USA ($5 in Canada), it appears PupJoy does offer at least fair value for money spent, and perhaps a discount.

What it all boils down to is Lupe’s new PupJoy rating is 4.5 out of 5 stars.  Is she hoping there’s more PupJoy in her future?  Of course, she is!

Reasons to try PupJoy

  • Healthy treats with All Natural, Grain Sensitive, Protein Sensitive & Organic options
  • Premium quality toys
  • Customizable box contents – 28 possible configurations
  • Choice of subscription plans available – a one time single box; or quarterly, bi-monthly, or monthly regularly scheduled shipments
  • Gift plans available
  • Convenient home delivery
  • $2 of each PupJoy box purchase is donated to help give shelter animals a chance at life

Interested in trying PupJoy?  Tell them Bugs Dingo sent you!  Use this link to receive a $10 PupJoy welcome before ordering, and Lupe will receive a PupJoy credit, too!  Simply enter your information where Lupe’s appears and submit.  Lupe thanks you, and hopes you have a wonderful PupJoy experience, too!


$10 PupJoy welcome

Tell ’em Bugs Dingo sent you!

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Book Review: Banff & Lake Louise History Explorer – An Altitude SuperGuide by Ernie Lakusta

In early May, 2015, SPHP’s spouse presented SPHP with the book Banff & Lake Louise History Explorer – An Altitude SuperGuide by Ernie Lakusta as a gift.  This 160 page book was published in 2004 by Altitude Publishing Canada Ltd., The Canadian Rockies, 1500 Railway Avenue, Canmore, Alberta T1W 1P6.  ISBN  1-55153-636-6 (pbk.)

Lupe and SPHP spent much of Lupe’s 2013 & 2014 summer Dingo Vacations in the spectacular Canadian Rockies.  So SPHP was excited to have the opportunity to learn more about the region when SPHP received the Banff & Lake Louise History Explorer – An Altitude SuperGuide by Ernie Lakusta as a gift.

SPHP wasn’t exactly sure what the book was going to be about, but it turns out the title accurately describes it as a history explorer.  This is not a book for anyone looking for hiking/backpacking trails or mountaineering information for planning new excursions into the Canadian wilderness.  It is a book for anyone interested in the history of the exploration of the Banff and Lake Louise areas.

The Banff & Lake Louise History Explorer – An Altitude SuperGuide starts with some of what little is known about early settlement of the region by prehistoric peoples, but mainly deals with the history of exploration by those of European descent starting with the Palliser Expedition led by Captain John Palliser in 1858.  The book features many black and white photos of explorers, climbers, guides, politicians, and businessmen important during the frontier days and early development of the area.

The book’s chapters are organized mainly by geographical regions in and around Banff and Lake Louise.  There are maps showing the locations of many mountain peaks, rivers, lakes and glaciers.  In addition to the historical black and white photos, which focus mainly on individuals, there are many color photographs.  The color photographs mostly feature various mountain peaks, but also include waterfalls, lakes, rivers, glaciers, wildlife and other points of interest.  Within each region’s chapter, each of the most prominent mountains has a write-up of its own giving the summit elevation and anywhere from a paragraph to a page of historical information about the peak.

At the end of the book are a chronology, references, and an index.  The references list many sources of more detailed information which might be of interest to the reader.

SPHP enjoyed reading the many stories in Banff & Lake Louise History Explorer – An Altitude SuperGuide about the historical personalities and their connections to the mountains.  (SPHP was a little disappointed that Bill Peyto was not mentioned.)  SPHP especially enjoyed the color photographs and write ups on mountains Lupe and SPHP have seen during Lupe’s two trips to the Canadian Rockies.  Although the book contains no information on specific trails for present day exploring, SPHP did get some ideas on new places Lupe might want to check out the next time she and SPHP get back to the Canadian Rockies.

Overall, the Banff & Lake Louise History Explorer – An Altitude SuperGuide is an excellent concise introduction to the general history of the early exploration and settlement of the Canadian Rockies.  Reading it and seeing all the beautiful mountain photographs made SPHP eager to return to the Canadian Rockies with Lupe.  This book is a great souvenir of the Canadian Rockies, but if you want to get out and explore them you will need more detailed information from other sources.  The Banff & Lake Louise History Explorer – An Altitude SuperGuide can, however, give you ideas on where you might like to go.

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Book Review: Ain’t it Hell, Bill Peyto’s Mountain Journal

A spring snowstorm hit the Black Hills, SD on May 9-10, 2015 putting Lupe’s planned Expedition No. 129 on hold.  The G6 wasn’t going anywhere in this weather.  Lupe’s options were down to romping around in the snow in the back yard, attacking the snow shovel when SPHP went out to shovel the walk out front, or snoozing and warming herself by the fire in the fireplace.  She did some of each.

Lupe’s back yard on May 10, 2015.

Lupe 5-10-15

So instead of a trip report on Lupe’s postponed Expedition No. 129, it is time for a book review!  SPHP’s spouse bought and gave the paperback book “Ain’t it Hell, Bill Peyto’s Mountain Journal” to SPHP while on vacation in the Canadian Rockies in July, 2003.  The edition SPHP has is the 3rd printing, 2001 (ISBN 0-9699732-0-9) and says it is available from EJH Literary Enterprises in Banff, Canada.  The book was originally copyrighted in 1995 by author E. J. Hart.

Ain’t it Hell is largely based on a journal Bill Peyto kept only sporadically from 1895 to 1921.  Hart gathered additional information from many sources; “not enough for that biography, but plenty for a work of historical fiction using the known facts as a basis around which to structure the story.  Ain’t it Hell is Bill’s story, as closely as I can recreate it over 50 years after his death.”

Banff where Bill Peyto used to have his guide and outfitting business is now an upscale tourist destination.
Banff was a wilderness community served by the Canadian Pacific Railroad back in the 1890’s when Bill Peyto used to have his guide and outfitting business here on the Bow River.  Now Banff is an upscale tourist destination.  This photo looks N along Banff Avenue from just S of the bridge over the Bow River towards downtown and Cascade Mountain.

Ebenezer William Peyto was born in England on February 14, 1869.  In early 1887 he left England, and by late March or April of that year was working for the Canadian Pacific Railroad near Kicking Horse Pass in the Canadian Rockies.  From then on “Wild Bill” Peyto spent most of his rough and varied life in the Canadian Rockies.

The Banff Springs Hotel was built in 1887-1888 by the Canadian Pacific Railroad to attract tourists to the Canadian Rockies.
The Banff Springs Hotel was built in 1887-1888 by the Canadian Pacific Railroad to attract tourists to the Canadian Rockies.

He soon knew as much or more about the mountains as almost anyone else around.  Bill Peyto’s usual base of operations was Banff, and he became Banff’s most legendary mountain man.  Bill Peyto was a hunter and trapper, prospector, guide and outfitter.  Eventually he became one of the early wardens for the national park service.  After marrying his first wife, Emily, Bill built a small cabin for her in town along the Bow River.  He continued to spend a lot of time, though, at his other hideouts in the mountains, most notably one near a copper mining claim in an area he called the “Bookrest”.

Lupe at the Banff Springs Hotel in July, 2013
Lupe at the Banff Springs Hotel in July, 2013

Prior to the 1890’s, many of the peaks of the Canadian Rockies had never been climbed.  Tourists and alpinists were just starting to arrive on the scene in significant numbers.  Bill Peyto’s initial fame grew mostly out of his work as a guide and outfitter for climbers like Walter Wilcox, Dr. J. Norman Collie, Edward Whymper, and Reverend James Outram who either were or would become famous mountaineers.  Many years later, as a park warden, Bill Peyto helped find and rescue Mrs. Stone alive from a ledge on the slopes of Mt. Eon eight days after her husband, Dr. Winthrop Stone, fell to his death.

Banff Park and Cascade Mountain, July 2013
Banff Park and Cascade Mountain (9,836 ft.), July 2013
Lupe in Banff Park
Lupe in Banff Park, July 2014
Lupe in Banff Park, July 2014
Lupe in Banff Park, July 2014

Twice Bill Peyto left Banff and the Canadian Rockies to go to war on behalf of the British Empire.  In 1900, he was wounded fighting the Boers in South Africa.  Despite being 46 years old, in 1915 he enlisted again.  By 1916 he wound up as a machine gunner fighting the Germans in Europe during WWI.  Bill tried to enlist a third time in Calgary following the outbreak of WWII, but was turned down at over 70 years old.

Lupe at Bow Falls just downstream from Banff in July, 2013.
Lupe at Bow Falls just downstream from Banff in July, 2013.

Ain’t it Hell is full of stories from Bill Peyto’s life.  Once he brought a live lynx into a bar in Banff.  After his first wife passed away, a photo of Bill that won an award at the Toronto Fair eventually brought him a second wife.  He slept outside in minus 30 degree weather to keep from getting soft.  Ain’t it Hell is also full of references to famous mountains, lakes, and rivers in the Canadian Rockies and to his experiences dealing with climbers, explorers, other guides, prospectors, businessmen, and politicians of the age.

The tack storage building Bill Peyto owned currently on the grounds of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in Banff.
Bill Peyto’s storage building on the grounds of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in Banff.  His old cabin is also there near by, and can be toured.

Bill’s life was not easy.  The mountains were wild and spectacularly beautiful, but there were also very real dangers and almost none of the amenities providing the comforts of life we take for granted now.  He was a tough guy and frequently tough to get along with, living in a time and place where self-reliance was necessary to survive.

Bill Peyto died of cancer on March 24, 1943 at the age of 74.  He is buried in Banff Cemetery next his first wife, Emily.  Bill Peyto’s cabin and a small log storage building he used to own have been moved from their original locations along the Bow River to the grounds of the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies in Banff.  Bill Peyto is also commemorated by a restaurant named Wild Bill’s Legendary Saloon in Banff.  Near Lake Louise, is Bill Peyto’s Café at the International Hostel and Alpine Center.

However, it seems likely the tributes that would have pleased Bill Peyto most are farther N.  Along Icefields Parkway No. 93, on the way from Lake Louise to Jasper, is Bow Pass a few kilometers N of Bow Lake.  Just to the W of Bow Pass is Peyto Lake, fed by the melt waters of the Peyto Glacier coming down from the Wapta Icefield below Peyto Peak.

Lupe at Peyto Lake 7-28-14
Lupe at Peyto Lake 7-28-14

At 224 pages including the introduction and epilogue, Ain’t it Hell is a pretty easy, quick and fun read.  SPHP has read Ain’t it Hell several times over the years, and each time gets more out of it.  On her summer vacations in 2013 and 2014, Lupe went to see quite a few of the lakes, rivers, mountains and passes mentioned in the book.  Having been there with Lupe, it is even more fun to read about the events that once took place in the beautiful and dramatic locations mentioned in Ain’t it Hell.

Peyto Lake
This view of Peyto Lake is from a lookout deck accessible by a relatively short paved trail.  The turnoff to the trailhead parking lot is at Bow Pass on the W side of the Icefields Parkway Hwy No. 93 a few kilometers N of Bow Lake and the Crowfoot Glacier.

Is Ain’t it Hell a book you might enjoy?  Your reaction to the following May 15, 1910 entry from Bill Peyto’s mountain journal featured on the back cover of Ain’t it Hell is probably a good indication:

“I headed downslope to where the cubs were feeding and came up at them, hoping to scare them into one or another of my mining shafts for protection.  It worked perfectly, as they ran for the nearest dark hole, and I went in with my ropes on the ready to see if I could catch one.  I could hear the little fellows squealing in the dark and I paused a moment to let my eyes adjust.  Just then I heard a tremendous roar and knew the sow was coming on the run looking for her wayward offspring.  It didn’t take her a moment to pick up the scent and she headed straight for the mouth of the shaft bent on destruction.  I knew the jig was up for sure if I lost my head and so very deliberately drew the Colt from my belt and waited for her to find us out …”

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Book Review: The River of Doubt – Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey

The River of Doubt – Theodore Roosevelt’s Darkest Journey by Candice Millard, historian and former writer and editor for National Geographic, was originally published in hardcover by Doubleday in 2005.  The paperback edition shown in the photo above was published by Broadway Books, an imprint of The Doubleday Broadway Publishing Group, a division of Random House, Inc.

101 years ago today, on February 27, 1914, former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt stepped into one of 7 heavy dugout canoes in the jungles of Brazil and set out to explore a river known only to native tribes, the Rio da Duvida (River of Doubt).  It was a little over a year since his stinging election defeat seeking a 3rd term as U.S. President in the fall of 1912, this time as the candidate of the newly formed Bull Moose (Progressive) Party.

The great Age of Exploration was virtually over.  In 1909, American Robert Perry had reached the North Pole.  In late December, 1911, Norwegian Roald Amundsen had beaten the ill-fated British explorer and hero Robert Scott to the South Pole.  Yet Roosevelt, famous for his daring, energy, and vitality, still dreamed of completing a journey of scientific and geographic importance.

Accompanying Roosevelt were 3 Brazilians, 2 Americans, and a workforce of 16 Brazilian camaradas.  The Brazilian explorers included co-commander Colonel Candido Mareno da Silva Rondon, heroic commander of Brazil’s Strategic Telegraph Commission; military engineer and surveyor Lieutenant Joao Salustiano Lyra; and Dr. Jose Cajazeira.  The Americans included naturalist George Cherrie and Roosevelt’s own son, Kermit Roosevelt.

Colonel Rondon had discovered and named the Rio da Duvida 5 years earlier, when he had stumbled onto its source while on a telegraph line expedition in the Brazilian highlands.  Even he had no clear idea where the river went.  He suspected it might flow into the Madeira, the principal tributary of the Amazon.  The Madeira itself is 2,000 miles long and has a flow equal to that of the Congo, the 2nd largest river in the world by volume.  If Rondon was right, Roosevelt’s expedition would place on the Brazilian map a river nearly 1,000 miles long through a huge mysterious and hitherto uncharted region.

It is difficult, if not impossible, to envision any modern high-ranking American official, much less a President, having the desire or will to undertake such an arduous and perilous journey.  Teddy Roosevelt’s expedition faced rapids, waterfalls, wild animals, tropical diseases, potentially hostile natives, deadly in-fighting, exhaustion and starvation.  All these dangers were personally braved by each and every member of the expedition for 2 entire months while completely cut off from any contact with, or hope of assistance from, the outside world.

Candice Millard’s book is an exciting, fast-paced read.  The River of Doubt is also well-documented, beautifully written, and full of surprising information.  I had never heard anything about this expedition before.  The most disappointing thing about The River of Doubt was how quickly it was over.  In the end, it was a bold, adventurous, but also sad tale that left me wanting more.  Five stars and two thumbs up!  – SPHP

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