Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 08/13/2013

Photo taken on August 10, 2013

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Simpson family
Num-Ti-Jah Lodge
near British Columbia border
Bow Glacier Trail
Icefields Parkway
Bow Lake
Banff National Park
log and stone

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Num-Ti-Jah Lodge, Bow Lake

Num-Ti-Jah Lodge, Bow Lake
On 10 August 2013, I went with friend Sandy to Bow Lake, in Banff National Park. It is located along Highway 93, the Icefields Parkway, said to be the most beautiful, scenic road in the world. When we returned to the parking lot at the end of our hike, we went inside the Num-Ti-Jah Lodge to look around. A very interesting place inside and it has a great story to go with it.

"Num-Ti-Jah Lodge is the dream of the remarkable Simpson family.

Our story begins with a wild, red-haired 19 year old named Jimmy Simpson who left England for Canada in 1896. He was to become the legendary outfitter known as the last and greatest of the Canadian mountain men. He guided scientists, mountaineers, big game hunters and artists through the little-explored Rocky mountains. His wild character, quick wit, and tall tales of the trail made him one of Canada's most eccentric pioneers.

When Jimmy Simpson camped at Bow Lake in 1898, he vowed that one day he would "build a shack here". Twenty-five years later he began building the first log cabin on the site and had a permanent base for his outfitting tours. He called his operation Num-Ti-Jah, a Stoney Plain word for pine marten, a small animal similar to a sable.

In 1937, the Banff-Jasper highway was completed as far as Bow Lake. Jimmy, his wife Billie and their children Margaret, Mary and Jimmy jr. began expanding on the original dream of a "shack". With the earnings from Margaret and Mary's professional ice-skating tours, the building of Num-Ti-Jah Lodge began. In 1940, the Lodge had six guest rooms. By 1950, a beautiful log and stone hotel with 16 rooms stood on the shores of Bow Lake.

In the fifties and sixties, Jimmy Simpson's reputation attracted tourists keen to hear his stories. While Jimmy became a living legend, his son took charge of the Num-Ti-Jah operation. Jimmy jr. has his own mountain stories from an outfitting career that spanned thirty-five years ending in 1974, two years after his father died. Although he retired from managing Num-Ti-Jah Lodge in 1996, with his remarkable memory, he is the keeper of the old tales of Bow Lake.

"Num-Ti-Jah Lodge hasn't changed much since it was completed in 1950. What you'll see and feel here is the dream of the Simpson family." From the Num-Ti-Jah website - I can't get the link to work.

LeapFrog has particularly liked this photo

A lovely lodge and excellent use of wood ... one of the better places I stayed was at Rundle Ridge Chalets/Lodge in Canmore ... the last time I went to Banff in 2009, I decided to stay there again .. but was very disappointed, as it was with new owners that modernized it ... too bad ... I much prefer the rustic approach ... so I drove back to Banff and book the same room I had just left ... LOL
4 years ago. Edited 4 years ago.
Anne Elliott has replied to LeapFrog
Everyone has a different idea of what lodgings should be like. Some complain about so many things. I remember reading endless bad reviews online about the cabins where my friends and I stayed last September, in Yellowstone. They were very basic but all one needed, especially as we were out of them from maybe 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. or later. They were clean, which is important : )
4 years ago.
Jim Boynton
Jim Boynton
Such a great Canadian story. Sad that we don't hear too many. I love the rustic atmosphere as well. Our cottage (sadly gone now) had no electricity, heat, internet or cel service (that drove our guests crazy), but we had propane for lights, hot water and fridge and stove (we do need some comforts). Our water was pumped from the lake and it gave such a feeling of cleanliness sorely lacking with city water. Unfortunately it was not winterized so was only used in the summer months, but even some nights in August we would have to get up and put another blanket on. And the wildlife up there was AMAZING. Sadly I was not clicking back then.
4 years ago.
Cats 99
Cats 99
It is now a beautiful and grand place! I'm glad you were able to share it's history with us!
4 years ago.