The Life and Times of a Kootenay Boy
By Erin Knutson
For Nolan Rad, life in the Kootenays has been an adventure worth documenting in his chronological memoir ‘The Life and Times of a Kootenay Boy,’ a heartfelt recollection over two decades in the making.
Following knee surgery, Rad, while recovering in the hospital, began to write about his epic journey to Invermere from Vancouver with his family in 1946.
“It was just after the war, and all I can say as I looked at the lakes and the mountains here, was, God is good to me,” he said.
He remembers the pristine and untouched beauty of the area in that period, something that has disappeared with time, according to the avid outdoorsman, adventurer, hunter, and trapper.
“I wouldn’t trade those days for anything,” said Rad.
Rad’s legacy explores life in the mountains with his exceptional parents and brother Daryl, running a horse ranch, and life with his wife and four children.
“I wrote this book for my family and because it’s a story worth telling,” he said.
The 87-year-old has travelled the world, embarking on hunting expeditions to Africa, the Yukon, and Alaska.
His adventurous spirit is evident as he talks of fostering a love for wildlife and the outdoors early on, using a crosscut saw, and reading by kerosene lamp while following in the footsteps of his ingenious father.
Of Scandinavian heritage and recalling tales of Erik the Red, Rad now enjoys bear watching as a favourite pastime, especially the antics of mother bears and their cubs.
“They’re just like little kids,” he says of the cubs’ activities.
Rad cautions that black bears are far more likely to kill in an attack than a grizzly. He recalled the shooting of a grizzly that got too close in the bush and another occasion where he went bear hunting for sport, something he would not do again, in preference to enjoying them from a distance.
The conservationist has a keen sense of wildlife and the environment. He spoke passionately about current issues with wolves, bears, ungulates, and the impact of people on the backcountry.
Along with working his ranch and building sawmills, Rad has assisted with search and rescue crews and forest fires.
He’s been a member and on the board of directors of the Lake Windermere District Rod & Gun Club, the East Kootenay Trapping Association, the Toby Benches Society, and the Jumbo Creek Conservation Society.
The rancher, history buff, and local author attributed his longevity to good genetics and a healthy, hardworking childhood, which instilled a solid work ethic, a sense of wonder, and appreciation of the land.
Rad credits his mother, a nurse, and father as excellent parents, which created a strong foundation for him and his brother, something he’s passed on to his children.
“Working never hurt us. It was a lot of hard work, and things were different, but it was good for us, and it was a lot of fun,” he said of the bygone era.
Content in the mountains, one thing Rad misses as he’s gotten older are the mountain goats; he used to go hiking and spend time on the mountainside, something he can’t do anymore.
“It’s tears to a glass eye when I drive by; I loved it, the mountainside,” he said.
Rad was candid about his views on the ever-changing progression of life and imparted some wisdom for living.
“That’s the thing about life, never worry, never be afraid, and whether it’s your dog or brother, when the time comes, the time comes,” he said.
For a glimpse into the history and adventurous living of the East Kootenay, copies of Rad’s book are available at Lambert Kipp Pharmacy and, Local View Printing & Design in Invermere.
e-KNOW file photos