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Synopsis

Traversing the historic trails of the Rockies today is done in much the same manner as it was two centuries ago—primarily on foot with heavy packs, with little better defence against mosquitoes or the elements. Although accurate maps are available, and modern technology such as global positioning systems stand as a bulwark to a complete wilderness experience, in many cases it is as difficult and challenging to cross these mountain passes, or even more so, than it was two centuries ago. Routes such as Athabasca Pass are far less travelled today than they were in the golden era of the fur trade. If our society has become so rich that we continually seek out physical and mental challenges in the wilderness—adventure and eco-travel—perhaps it would be a sign of respect to follow at least for a while in the footsteps of those who in many ways paved the way for gernerations to come. We began to form the idea of hiking all the significant historical trails to see what we could learn from the early pathfinders, about the difficulty of wilderness life and travel. What window would be opened to times past in a land where the terrain has remained essentially unchanged? —from the authors' introduction

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