The story goes like this.

It’s the 1950s, and a new RCMP officer stationed to the Lake Louise detachment pulls over some old codger on the Banff-Jasper highway. He’s packing an actual six-shooter—a serious no-no in a national park—but just as the officer is thinking of slapping the cuffs on, he reaches into his pocket and pulls out a yellowed piece of paper: it’s a permit hand-signed by Wilfred Laurier, allowing one Jimmy Simpson to carry firearms in Banff National Park. I have no idea if it’s true, but I think of it every time I stop at Num-Ti-Jah Lodge, the quintessential log cabin hotel built by Simpson that’s just as much of the history of the Rockies as the Chateau Lake Louise or the Banff Springs. Simpson was one of the Park’s legendary outfitters and he could have chosen almost any place to build, but he chose Bow Lake, neon blue dashed with glacial silt and freezing cold, even in the heat of August. The still-rustic lodge is the sort of place that will cook the trout you’ve pulled from a nearby stream, even though I’m sure there’s some regulation against it. But they probably have another yellowed permit for it.lodgeImage via