Ernst first saw the Rockies as a POW at Camp 130 in the Kananaskis Valley and was hooked. After the war he returned, met his wife here and raised a family. All the while he continued to enjoy the mountains, he and his wife taking up scrambling in their 70s when most people are going on cruises. He is particularly interested in the culture of the First Nations and this is what his new book is about, about the coming of age of a young Kootenay boy, later to be named Running Rain. The slow passing of the seasons and the descriptions of the country — all very familiar to Ernst, are beautifully evoked as the young man “learns the lessons that will mold him into a man he is to become, a man with knowledge of the World, a consciousness of right and wrong, and, most importantly, respect and humility for the land that nourished him.”
Another theme running throughout the book is one of loss: loss of the boy’s family, his mentor, his faithful dog (at Running Rain Lake) and the animals he must kill for food, but most of all, perhaps, for the loss of the nomadic way of life which we all know is coming when the white man appears towards the end of the book.
Available from Amazon and Alibris.