Local author a lucky man

Bob Kjos never had any intention of becoming an author.

Of all the jobs he's held in his life - outfitter, pilot, guide - writer wasn't ever on the list.

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That all changed nearly 10 years ago when friends and family told him he should chronicle his life. The result was Horseshoe In My Hip Pocket: Lucky Again!

I've lead a real interesting life, I've done a lot of things, that's why we called it Horseshoe in my Hip Pocket - I've had so many experiences that could have turned out the other way, so that's why we called it that," said Kjos.

Kjos was born in Alberta and grew up near the Sundre foothills during the late 30s and early 40s. He said his father started him "breaking in horses when he was far too young to be breaking in horses."

"I got in a few wrecks that way," he laughed.

His lucky streak continued as he grew older - the book chronicles many instances when Kjos should have been seriously injured and even killed, but walked away practically unscathed.

In 1946, his father moved the family near Jasper, Alta. As he got older, Kjos worked as an outfitter and guide, taking hunters into taking geologists into the mountains to do their work.

"It was a beautiful life, we got well-paid for it, travelled around, beautiful scenery, free as a breeze," he reminisced. "Once they went to work, you had all day to yourself, go fishing, do whatever you want."

The need for guides to take geologists into the mountains waned once helicopters made their appearance. Outfitting wasn't quite the same anymore either, with outfitting services popping up all over Alberta, leaving no where to hunt.

This lead Kjos and his wife, Maxine, to make their way up to Mile 422 of the Alaska Highway to Toad River, where they started outfitting again and ran the Toad River Lodge.

They outfitted out of there for 20 years before finally making their way to Fort St. John.

It wasn't until 2001 that Kjos decided to put pen to paper and detail his life's adventures.

"Everyone told me that I'd led such a interesting life that I should write a book, so I started writing it," he said.

The writing process wasn't as easy as he thought. Kjos said he'd gotten fed up with it and quit writing on more than one occasion.

"I quit for about two or three years and then finally everybody kept bugging me about this and last year I decided well I better finish it, so I did."

The book sold out its original 3,000 copy run, but a second printing has been ordered and is now available.

"We're getting e-mails from all over the country, it's amazing how the book's spread," said Kjos, adding that copies have been sold from Toad River all the way down to Calgary and everywhere in between.

"I'm pretty lucky actually - I'm local for about 1,000 miles," he laughed.

Horseshoe In My Hip Pocket: Lucky Again! Is available in Fort St. John at the Fort St. John North Peace Museum, the Mile 54 Truck Stop, Backcountry, Coles and Peace Feeds. Find it in Dawson Creek at the Dawson Creek Co-op, Bills News and Corlaine Sports. In Fort Nelson at the Fort Nelson Museum and Trappers Den and at the Cecil Lake Store and Goodlow General Store.

© Copyright Alaska Highway News

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