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Don King; 1949

Don King

A longtime resident of High River, Don King and friends were some of the earliest mountain enthusiasts to explore the Misty Range and other mountains west of their hometown. In 1943 when they began their explorations, the road to Highwood Pass had not been built and they began hiking at the coal mines at Cat Creek or on the Sheep River below Rickert's Pass. They began a tradition, which lasted for several summers, of camping on the summit of a mountain west of their home town and, at a pre-arranged time and date, shooting flares into the night sky. Hundreds of people in the area would assemble on hilltops and other suitable sites to watch the show that occurred precisely on the second as planned. The summit of Mount Armstrong was was to be their first launch site. During July, 1943, Don, Robert Cousins, Leonard Blayney, Ken Logan, and Dennis Gibson drove a Model "T" named "Old Mayfolower" to the Highwood Ranger Station before hiking up what were then still fire-blackened valleys to the peak. They climbed the mountain with the flares but determined that they were not prepared to bivouac on the summit nor climb down after dark so a hill above their campsite at the base of the mountain was the launch site. At 11:00 pm on July 7th, 1946, the launch site was the summit of Mist Mountain - the first ascent of the mountain. In subsequent years they ascended other peaks including Mount Rae where a large cairn without record was found on the summit. Don is the author of "Beyond the Hills," a book of poetry related to his experiences in the foothills and mountains west of High River.