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Southesk River

The Southesk River flows into the Brazeau River about 90 kilometres southeast of Jasper. According to historian Merrily Aubrey, the river was named in 1907 after one of Alberta's earliest and most eccentric travellers, James Carnegie, the ninth earl of Southesk.

In the spring of 1859, Carnegie, at the ripe old age of 32, left England for Rupert's Land in British North America in an attempt to help his declining health. He wasn't feeling well, so I guess he thought: "there's nothing like a vigorous jaunt in the Rocky Mountains through undiscovered territory to build up the strengthÂ…" He was a literate person, and he spent his evenings after a long day on the trail reading Shakespeare and writing in his journal. Sounds a little eccentric to me!

Carnegie was not known for travelling light. His entourage included trained guides, trackers, horses, dogs, and guns. And he also employed an Iroquois cook, Toma, for whom Carnegie had much regard. Toma had also done some work for Sir George Simpson as well. He was especially appreciated for his mastery of making Saskatoon jelly. Carnegie did not leave home without some other creature comforts, including a portable table and camp stove and his Indian Rubber Bath. Imagine one guy traveling through the mountains with all that! He had a bigger entourage than P. Diddy or Jennifer Lopez!

After the extensive exploration of the Rockies and foothills areas, his party returned to Fort Edmonton on October 12th. And it was here that he drafted "Saskatchewan and the Rocky Mountains", describing his travels along the mighty river to the mountains.
However, it was another sixteen years before Carnegie, the ninth Earl of Southesk, published his travelogue.And as for his declining health, the rugged adventure through the Wild West must have been just the cure he needed, because he lived another 46 years.

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Southesk River Near Jasper