BY GEORGE STRANAHAN
The Capital Creek road winds up past the trailhead to Capital Lake into lodgepole pines and to a shallow pond, perhaps an acre in extent, named Hardscabble Lake. From here is this splendid view of the Capital Creek Valley and Capital peak
Now a pond promoted to a lake and with a name like hardscrabble; surely there’s a story here. “Hardscrabble adj. providing or yielding meagerly in return for much effort.” I asked old timers what they knew of this naming and constructed this history.
Pierre, the same Pierre of the Pierre Lakes just East of Capital Peak, believed heaven on earth to be just as possible as heaven anywhere else. He preached this message to those immigrants worst off in the community and they moved to this pond to build that heaven with hope, faith and love. With or without these ingredients there is no tomorrow without food today; their economic model was to build a beaver ranch; domesticate the little buggers and sell to the fur market.
Heavens don’t exist without gods; Pierre had no pretense of being a god, but merely of a prophet. Because things did not go well with domesticating beaver at this altitude they prayed a lot, exhorting god to honor the promises of what heaven is all about, including eating today to be alive tomorrow. It did not work and they succumbed midwinter, bowed and holding hands.
“Every man, wherever he goes, is encompassed by a cloud of comforting convictions, which move with him like a cloud of flies on a summer day.” – Bertand Russell
“The dead lie in a ditch of fear, In an earth wound, in an old mouth that has sucked them in there.” – Harvey Shapiro