By Jenny Feick, PhD, Editor of Tales from the Great Divide
Tales from the Great Divide, Vignettes on the Origins and Early History of Canada’s Great Divide Trail and Great Divide Trail Association is a self-published compendium of stories from individuals involved firsthand in the start and development of the GDT and the GDTA. First published in September 2019, Tales from the Great Divide brings to life the memories of many of the ‘originals’ whose vision, idealism, dedication, and hard work over five decades made Canada’s Great Divide Trail a reality. Transcripts of interviews and storytelling sessions, combined with excerpts from letters and other documents and hundreds of photographs and illustrations, reveal the adventurous, heartbreaking, and hilarious moments that characterized the early history of the GDT. Devising and establishing a route for this wilderness long-distance trail along the crest of the Canadian Rocky Mountains demonstrated naive courage and optimism. These pathfinders faced personal hardships and their trail work took place at a time before lightweight gear existed and without technological aids such as GPS, inReach, cell phones or satellite phones. In their quest to establish the GDT with a protected corridor, they confronted numerous threats and challenges.
The Second Edition of Tales from the Great Divide (416 pages, 300+ images) includes more than 100 pages of new material, over 100 additional images, and other enhancements. It also corrects errors found in the first edition after it was printed. This long awaited second edition was finally completed in mid-June, 2021 just as my husband Ian Hatter and I moved from Victoria on Vancouver Island to live near Invermere in the Upper Columbia Valley.
There are several ways to obtain a copy of the second edition:
- Order a print-on-demand version from Amazon for Cdn $85.00 (rate in US$ varies with the exchange rate) plus shipping (free for Amazon Prime members).
- Arrange to purchase a copy directly in person from Jenny Feick, the editor, for Cdn $65.00 (shipping anywhere in Canada would cost $20.00) by emailing email@example.com.
- Order a PDF version from the Nature Wise Consulting website for Cdn $25.00 – https://naturewise.me/consulting/product/tales-from-the-great-divide-second-edition/
- Arrange an appointment to view a donated copy in the GDTA fonds within the Glenbow Archives in the University of Calgary’s Special Collections and Archives in the Taylor Family Digital Library by contacting the archivist at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Several people who have already purchased the second edition sent me their first impressions.
“Tales From the Great Divide, 2nd edition – contains everything you want to know about the origins of the Great Divide Trail and the resulting non-profit association. Packed with a comprehensive history of the GDT and GDTA, it is also full of fascinating first-hand anecdotes from those movers and shakers who propelled the vision forward.” — Mary Jane Kreisel, Victoria, B.C. and Edmonton, Alta.
“David McCullough (Brave Companions: Portrait in History) states “How can we know who we are and where we are going if we don’t know anything about where we have come from and what we have been through, the courage shown, the costs paid, to be where we are?” Thanks so much to the GDT leadership and all those that preceded you for your vision in publishing this important part of the Great Divide Trail adventure.” — Kasy Kaczanowski, Brooks, Alta.
“A wonderful story of how young people undertook a formidable task and pioneered the Great Divide Trail in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. Young heroes and heroines describe hardships and excitements as they pioneered the Great Divide Trail in The Canadian Rockies on a mere shoestring of support.” — Des Allen, Calgary, Alta.
“No bridge plank left unturned. Extremely thorough. Comprehensive. Exhaustive research. Easy to start reading at any point. Delightful reading. Copy available for on-site perusal at the University of Calgary’s Library, Archives and Special Collections, Glenbow Collection via prior arrangement by appointment for U of C students, faculty and staff. Details here: https://asc.ucalgary.ca/contact/ “— Jeff Gruttz, Calgary, Alta.
“Thorough, informative, in depth, well-rounded. Offers a thorough and intimate perspective into the origins of the GDT. A well founded body of information which can be drawn upon to inform potential trajectories forward for the trail and its community. Thoughtfully written and laid out. The humor is just as prevalent in the conversations as the challenges faced.” — Bethany “Fidget” Hughes and Lauren “Neon” Reed of Her Odyssey, based in the U.S.A.
“Delightful read that brings alive the Great Divide Trail, from its birth, through its life – its infancy to its current growth spurt. Supported by a very impressive collection of photos, illustrations, and maps.” — Joan Pendleton, San Jose, Calif., U.S.A.
“Thanks to you, Louise [the desk top publisher who worked on Tales], and all the others for all the effort and time you have put into this – it will be a historical treasure. I marvel at all the work you and your team put into this effort. Thank you for the initiative turning an idea in to something tangible and historical… Although I am only on page 24 of the book, I am impressed with the detail included in those few pages. I enjoyed learning about the early history of the Trail and in particular the vision and dedication of Jim Thorsell when he saw an opportunity to share the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains in a unique and historic way – by foot.” — Wayne Marshall, Calgary, Alta.
“… the size and heft of the book looks intimidating and I thought it would take forever to read! But once you get by all [of] the preamble, it is an extremely interesting book. It is the first book I have read where it is a verbatim record of people talking and it surprisingly flows very nicely. I love the stories of how the GDTA came to be and especially the tales of circumstances that happened during the survey hikes. There is a massive amount of background detail included in the footnotes that further explains certain comments. I find I have to keep reading the stories to a point where the topic shifts so that the flow is not interrupted and then I go back to the footnotes to read those. I am impressed by the volume of information in this book and the thorough, detailed research. It is great to have so many photos as well to help explain or illuminate certain aspects of the story. It is indeed a labour of love and will be a valuable resource for those who are interested in keeping the history of the GTDA alive and informing others about it. Well done, Jenny!! … what an incredible legacy you have, both in being part of the hikes and surveys and now in helping to record the history. I will look forward to the rest of the read. Bummer that you did not get a photo of the tree in the car!! “ — Peggy Taylor, Victoria, B.C.
“Amazing to see how long some people have been involved with the trail! This book is on our coffee table.” — Gail DesMoulins, Municipality of Crowsnest Pass, Alta.
“I’m loving this new second edition. Wow! Wonderful. To me, the additional content made the whole book flow together. It reads better. The new edition to me has a more in-depth storyline. It holds my interest to keep reading. And of course, there are NO MISTAKES! It’s more enjoyable to read. The additions you added [like the subtitles] make this book make more sense than the first edition. It makes a much better read than the first Edition.” — Lani Smith, Olds, Alta.