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Alexandra Peak
Argus Mountain
Bate/Alava Sanctuary
Beaufort Range
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Big Interior Mtn 1913
Part 1
Part 2
Bolton Expedition 1896
Cliffe Glacier
Clinton Wood
Comox Glacier
Comox Glacier 1922
Comox Glacier 1925
Comstock Mtn
Conuma Peak
Copper King Mine
Crown Mtn
Elkhorn 1912
Elkhorn 1949
Elkhorn 1968
Eugene Croteau
Golden Bullets
Golden Hinde 1913/14
Golden Hinde 1937
Golden Hinde 1983
Harry Winstone Tragedy
Jack Mitchell
Jim Mitchell Tragedy
John Buttle
Judges Route
Koksilah's Silver Mine
Landslide Lake
Mackenzie Range
Malaspina Peak
Mariner Mtn
Marjories Load
Matchlee Mountain
Mount McQuillan
Mt. Albert Edward
Mt. Albert Edward 1927
Mt. Albert Edward 1938
Mt. Becher
Mt. Benson 1913
Mt. Benson
Mt. Doogie Dowler
Mt. Colonel Foster
Mt. Hayes/Thistle Claim
Mt. Maxwell
Mt. Sicker
Mt. Tzouhalem
Mt. Whymper
Muqin/Brooks Peninsula
Nine Peaks
Ralph Rosseau 1947
Rosseau Chalet
Ralph Rosseau Tragedy
Rambler Peak
Red Pillar
Rex Gibson Tragedy
Sid's Cabin
Steamboat Mtn
Strathcona Park 1980's
The Misthorns
The Unwild Side
Victoria Peak
Waterloo Mountain 1865
Wheaton Hut/Marble Meadows
William DeVoe
Woss Lake
You Creek Mine
Zeballos Peak

Other Stories:
Sierra de los Tuxtlas
Cerro del Tepozteco
Mt. Roraima
Nevada Alpamayo
Nevada del Tolima
Nevado de Toluca
Pico Bolivar
Uluru/Ayers Rock
Volcan Purace
Volcan San Jose

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Ranald MacDonald

1824 - 1894

Ranald MacDonald was born on February 3, 1824 at Fort George at the mouth of the Columbia River (today Astoria, Oregon.) The son of Hudson's Bay Company chief factor Archibald McDonald and Princess Raven, sometimes called Princess Sunday, the daughter of the powerful and prominent Chief Comcomly of the Chinooks. At the time there was only one white woman who was brought out to the Pacific Northwest for a short stay in 1814 and a blueblood Chinook princess was an attractive match despite the vast cultural differences. She helped cement relations with the Chinook tribe.

Ranald was educated at academies to which the Hudson's Bay Company chief officers sent their children, which included the Red River Missionary School in Fort Garry, Manitoba. He then worked briefly as a banker in St. Thomas Ontario but found that this career did not suit him. He smarted from the social rejection he attributed to the Indian side of his ancestry and besides he felt "uncontrollably in my blood, the wild strain of wandering freedom." In 1842 Ranald went to sea and spent time sailing the Pacific visiting China, Indonesia, India and Australia until he finally decided to head to Japan (1848 - 1849.) He had heard and read that the North American Indians originally came from Japan - "The land of his ancestors." For nearly two and a half centuries the nation of Japan had been closed to the rest of the world. Ranald MacDonald had heard compelling stories about the Japanese nation, and not withstanding these strict edicts, he was determined to learn more. His plan was to find work on a whaling ship, then convince the captain to put him afloat near Japan. He would then capsize his small boat and swim ashore, placing himself at the mercy of whoever found him. This he did thus becoming the first American to willingly go to Japan - and the first native speaker to teach English there. Historians regard Ranald MacDonald as the man who set the stage for the opening of Japan to the West.

While in Australia Ranald took part in the goldrush and mined for a time at Ballarat. Returning from Australia he sailed around the Cape of Good Hope to Europe and eventually back to North America in 1853. With his brother Allen MacDonald they had a ranch on the Bonaparte River, and conducted a supply-house and ran pack-trains to the gold mines on the Upper Fraser River in the Cariboo District. In 1861 he was associated with John G. Barnston, a barrister attorney of Lower Canada, and some capitalists of San Francisco where the idea was conceived of finding a shorter way to the gold mines on the upper Fraser River. He searched for a route from Fort Alexandra to a bay or inlet around Bentinck Arm, where boats could go up the Coast and land freight and passengers. Ranald was successful in his explorations and secured a permit to establish a toll-trail there. The trail was built and a small quantity of freight was packed in over it, but it was never a commercial success, and promoters failed to secure a line of steamer connection. Their original grant was small, simply for a pack trail. Other parties, perhaps more influential with the government, built a wagon road which eventually took all the business.

From 1859 to 1861 Ranald and his brother, Allen, secured a government license and ran a ferry across the Fraser River at Lillooet, then in 1862 his brother sold out. Ranald then became interested in mining and was one of the pioneers in the Bonaparte and Horsefly districts, 1862 - 1863. He continued prospecting and mining in northern British Columbia for some ten years more, spending his summer in the mountains and his winters on his ranch in Bonaparte.

In 1864 Ranald found himself in a leading role in Robert Brown's Vancouver Island Exploring Expedition. It was probably because of his mining and prospecting background that he received the position, but also because of his association with Vancouver Island's Governor Sir James Douglas. Ranald's father was a close friend of Sir James Douglas, and the Governor's wife was a distant relative of Ranald's foster mother, Jane Klyne MacDonald. Ranald and his brothers Allen and Benjamin were occasional guests at the residence of the Governor in Victoria.

Ranald MacDonald lived in the Pacific Northwest for the next twenty years until he settled in Toroda near old Fort Colville, a short distance from his birthplace. He died on August 4, 1894 at the age of seventy.

MacDonald, Ranald. Ranald MacDonald: The Narrative of His Life, 1824 - 1894. Oregon Historical Society Press. Portland, Oregon. 1990.

Roe, Jo Ann. Ranald MacDonald: Pacific Rim Adventurer. Washington State University Press. Pullman, Washington. 1997.


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