June Mickle: One Wo­man’s Life in the Foothills and Moun­tains of Western Canada

Canada's History - - BOOKS - — Karine Duhamel

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.

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