Camels on the Cariboo Wagon Trail, a rattlesnake crossing over the rapids and fantastic tales of gold discoveries and trophy steelhead.
If ever there was a landmark that could link those disparate elements, it's the Thompson River.
And if ever there was an author who could bring those elements together into a captivating narrative, it's Bernie Fandrich.
Fandrich is the owner of Kumsheen Resort and a pioneering whitewater rafter whose new book, British Columbia's Majestic Thompson River, is winning praise from critics and readers alike.
"It's doing very well," said Fandrich.
"I've had some very good reviews. . . . so, I'm really pleased."
Fandrich's paperback is part river guide, part historical account of a waterway he knows well.
Having lived in Lytton since 1973, when he opened his first business (Bernie's Raft Rides), Fandrich has had a passionate relationship with the Thompson.
Even in those early days of riding the rapids, he was captivated with the river and its history.
"The more I learned, the more fascinated I became with the historical aspect," he said.
Fandrich co-authored a guidebook of the river in the 1980s.
He builds upon that first book for the new one, offering a detailed, GPS-driven account of the Thompson from Savona to Lytton, along with anecdotes, photographs and tales about the river's history.
He begins with a short account of the first recorded descent by Hudson's Bay governor George Simpson in 1828.
"He was coming across the country and stopped in the Thompson River district Hudson's Bay post, which is now Kamloops, and had a boat built specifically for running the Thompson," said Fandrich.
Other stories delve into the more unusual history of the river, like the story about the 23 camels purchased from the military in California in 1862 and brought to B.C. to carry supplies along the famed Cariboo Wagon Trail.
"They didn't last long," Fandrich said.
The camel experiment survived one summer and was ill-fated from the start, writes Fandrich.
The camels' hooves were no match for the trail's rocky terrain. What's more, they smelled so foul they spooked all other animals lugging supplies along the trail.
"The teams of oxen and horses would literally panic when they started smelling the camels," said Fandrich.
"So, the owners actually tried to bathe them in perfume to disguise the smell, but, you know, it didn't work very well."
There are other entertaining stories in the book, including stories of famous characters such as Chief Nicolas, an influential aboriginal leader who had at least 15 wives and up to 50 children.
Fandrich weaves the historical details throughout 10 of the 14 chapters and also throws in some interesting information about plants and trees common to the region.
As for his target audience, Fandrich says his book should appeal to everyone from armchair readers to outdoor adventurers.
"You don't have to be on the river to enjoy it," he said.
"Anybody near the river will enjoy it, or anybody driving next to it. It creates a whole new awareness of the history of what's taken place there. And it's right in our backyard, a fascinating history."
The author is planning a book signing in September at Chapters bookstore in Kamloops, the date and time to be announced.
In the meantime, British Columbia's Majestic Thompson River can be found in bookstores throughout the region, including Costco.