June Mickle: One Woman’s Life in the Foothills and Mountains of Western Canada
by Kathy Calvert
Rocky Mountain Books, 348 pages, $25 Author and adventurer Kathy Calvert’s engaging memoir of June Mickle chronicles the life and times of a remarkable artist, guide, outfitter, businesswoman, and parent who, despite health challenges and personal tragedy, emerged to tell the story of her life in the rugged foothills and mountains of Western Canada — “the tail end of nowhere,” as Mickle herself describes it.
Born in 1920, Mickle spent several years on a farm before relocating to Cal-
gary. She returned to the ranch life — and to the backcountry and Rocky Mountains passes she loved — as a teenager.
Calvert’s biography of Mickle includes the stories of her learning from her cowboy stepfather, Tip, how to train young horses for sale and of her many adventures guiding horses and people through the wind, hail, and snow encountered in some of the most dangerous passes in the Rockies. These episodes provide snapshots of a life lived passionately from childhood to old age.
The author’s own life as a park warden, skier, and adventurer resonates in many ways with Mickle’s. Calvert’s recounting of Mickle’s adventures displays her admiration for a woman who enthusiastically embraced challenge and adversity to create a life all her own.