I’m in The luxurious dining car of a Canadian Pacific Railway train, rolling westbound out on the vast Canadian prairie, chasing the sunset. The ride is smooth, the dinner excellent, and the company interesting. The gentleman sitting across from me, Robert, is a fellow hunter heading out west to go elk hunting. I’m heading that direction as well, to go on a mountain hunt for a very different species.
Earlier in the day when I introduced myself he immediately recognized my name, Lee Sherman Chadwick, and knew of my association with the Chadwick car. We spent quite a bit of time chatting about this, along with hunting of course.
Back in 1905, thirty years ago, I started Chadwick Engine Works and we manufactured the Chadwick Touring Car. For a time it was quite a popular luxury vehicle with a four-cylinder motor. As one of my great loves in life is automobile engines, I set out to produce a faster, six-cylinder car for the following year. It was so fast it won the first One Mile Race at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. My friend Willie Haupt was the driver, and both he and the vehicle performed flawlessly.
Although the mass production system designed by Henry Ford was the death-knell of many a small car company, you still see the Chadwick Touring car today. Perhaps the car was just a bit before its time. Whenever I encounter people like Robert who recognize my connection, I feel a sense of pride.
With dessert over and the warm fall sun setting in the distance, I tell Robert about my hunt, and how I feel it’s going to be a most grand adventure. The trip is to take place in both British Columbia and Alberta. I’d be hunting the mighty Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep along the Great Divide of the Rocky Mountains. Even the name creates visions of grandeur and beauty.
After hearing the details, Robert agreed I was heading on the Hunt of a Lifetime, following in the famous footsteps of Hornaday and Baille-Grohman, hunting on trails rarely travelled. He had a hard time, though, believing I’d be on the road for almost two months.
When we reached Edmonton, Alberta I bade a fond farewell to Robert as he set off for his elk hunt in the foothills. The next day I breathed a sigh of relief when the train finally reached Mount Robson, BC where I’d be offloading.
I was met at the station by Roy Hargreaves, my outfitter for the quest. At the time, I had no idea this meeting was the beginning of a lifelong friendship. Many people disembarking were picked up by horseback. Maybe even most were. Roy, however, picked me up in his Buick car and drove me to his nearby home, where we would spend the night prior to heading out to his base camp over by Mount Robson.
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