One of the great outdoorsmen and community builders in Maple Ridge has passed away, and members of the Ridge Meadows Outdoor Club have been honouring their founder John Brown Hume.
His legacy is a lot bigger than the outdoor adventure club that Hume is best known for, says his good friend Ken Stewart.
Hume started the club almost 30 years ago, in April of 1994. He approached the Maple Ridge Parks and Recreation department about forming a hiking group and managed to get a meeting organized, which more than 200 people turned out for. Hume started running the club, along with fellow volunteers Fran Siebert and Paul Crosby, to offer a variety of outdoor activities.
“I want to send a huge thank you to John,” said Ria Kok. “I hiked at least for 12 years with him as our leader and mentor, we learned a lot of nature survival and Scottish songs.”
“His saying was ‘Rain is just Rain.’ Rest in peace John,” she added.
Hume was born in Scotland, where he was a mountaineer and star athlete as a rugby player and runner. He and his wife Alison moved to Maple Ridge in 1959, and fell in love with the natural beauty of the place.
“I found a second paradise for myself in the Golden Ears group of mountains and when I arrived in Haney, I went hog wild in the area,” he said in his memoirs. “In the early years in Maple Ridge, I would often go alone and climb any peak I fancied.”
Hume was a standout in track and field, and directed the Dewdney Mile event, which attracted top athletes. He also started the Maple Ridge Athletic Club, which grew to 300 people, and coached the Maple Ridge High secondary track team.
An organizer by nature, he also started the city’s first mountain rescue team, drawing on his experience doing rescues in Europe. He mapped trails in Golden Ears Provincial Park and lobbied for improvements such as bridges.
“We’ve been on every peak that you can see from your house in Maple Ridge,” said Stewart, who was Hume’s climbing partner. “He loved the outdoors, and he loved the mountains.”
Hume was a mentor to the man who would go on to be an MLA for Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows, instructing him in mountain rescue when Stewart was just in Grade 12.
“You’re very fortunate to meet someone like that in your life, and more fortunate to have them for a friend,” said Stewart.
They did numerous mountain trips together, including in the Rockies.
“We had many ascents, canoe trips, and the odd perilous situation where I was glad it was Ken who was with me,” said Hume in his memoirs. “He was most reliable and forgave me for the odd hairy rappel that I foisted on him.”
When Hume was in his 60s, they climbed Mt. Athabasca in Jasper National Park, as their last climb.
Hume pushed to have Evans Peak named after his good friend Les Evans, who went missing in the area with his son John.
He was an electrician by trade, but also worked for Corrections and rehabilitating young offenders through the challenges of outdoor adventures, developing a model that is still used in Outward Bound schools.
Hume passed away on Dec. 30, 2022, at the age of 91.
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