by Darcie Thompson
I survived the holiday weekend in the wilds of central B.C. and at last am back in my office. Picture this...
We leave Seattle at 3 am Saturday morning. After a long (9 hr.) and uneventful drive we reach the thriving metropolis of William's Lake, B.C. and get a much needed coffee and bathroom break. While sipping an OK cup of Java and eating a Big Mac Andrew and I decide to test our sense of adventure and brave the 4-wheel drive road into Kloacut Lake (rumored home of huge trout). We are looking forward to having a long relaxing weekend away from the crowds.
Two hours out of William's Lake to the SE we reach our goal: the road (if you can call it that) into Kloacut Lake. We park the truck and walk in to see if the muddy cart track improves any as it gets closer to the lake. All we see is mud and cows. As the wooded path opens up at a marsh we meet two hunters. They are staying in a cabin on the lake for the weekend and had no trouble getting their truck and gear in. "Just stay to the high ground and you'll have no trouble." They offer to pull us out if we get stuck. The really tricky part they say is navigating the marsh. The key thing to note here is that we are a two hour drive to the closest civilization. Andrew and I decide to meet the challenge and venture forth. All is going well until we meet the marsh. We stick to the high ground, what little there is of it in a marsh, and proceed to get firmly stuck. All of the gear comes out of the truck and we dig and push and dig and push. For two hours we dig and push. Now both Andrew and I and the two hunters are covered with mud. Yahoo, the truck is finally free! Back in goes the gear and we are ready to go. Andrew decides that we have pushed our luck and we should find another home of huge trout with easier road access. We say our good-byes to the hunters and thank them profusely for their assistance and high tail it out of there.
About half way out we get stuck again. So much for the sticking to the high ground theory. We unload the gear and try to get free; digging and pushing. Now it is about 8:30 p.m. and the sun is getting low on the horizon. I try to scout out a place for the tent that is dry. No such luck. Andrew is cursing. We have been going since 3 am. I decide to hike back to the cabin to see if the two hunters are still around. After all they offered to help us if we got stuck. I leave Andrew digging and pushing and cursing and start on my hour hike. I have my weapon in hand, a sturdy mag-lite and hope that the bear piles that I am stepping over are none too fresh.
I reach the cabin. Empty. No hunters in sight. I sit and decide what to do. A float plane is taxiing on the lake, waiting to lift out some fly-in fishermen. I frantically wave to get their attention. They send back a friendly wave as they take off. As I am tearfully watching the plane depart a small boat approaches with the two hunters. Salvation! They are not amused to see me. In their boat are three huge trout and a case of beer. I have interrupted their totally guys weekend. They agree to help us, again. We load up with cables and jacks and the three of us short cut our way back to the truck through the marsh and woods. They have hip waders, I have hiking boots. We slog our way back in knee deep water and reach the truck just before dark. At least the marsh water has washed off most of the mud. Have I mentioned yet that I have Bronchitis? Two more hours of digging and pushing and digging and pushing and the four of us free the truck. Victory! No, not quite, ten feet up the road the truck sticks again. Now it is dark. By lantern light in knee deep mud we dig and push. It is now Midnight, we have been up since 3 am. I burn my thumb on the lantern and plunge it into the mud. A good mud cake is the only thing that stops the pain.
The two hunters are very short on humor, Andrew is still cursing, I have my thumb in the mud, and it is the middle of the night. By now I will do about anything to get out of here! I run for the cell phone, no signal, darn. By now they have dug out the truck again and Andrew agrees to give it one last go. He revs up the truck, the hunters in back pushing. I am holding the lantern light and pointing with my muddy thumb and screaming GO! GO! GO! The truck shudders, wallows, groans, and starts to inch forward. I scream GO! GO! GO! The truck jumps forward, Andrew guns it and the truck hops and bumps all the way to dry ground. Hooray! Andrew thanks the hunters as I load the gear back into the truck. The hunters head off back to the cabin and we are on our way. Totally exhausted and muddy from head to toe we decide to pitch the tent at the head of the road. Dinner consists of Power Bars and Pop Tarts and we eat huddled in the truck with the heat on high. Finally we peel off our clothes, toss them out the tent door, and collapse into sleep. The next morning our boots and clothes are frozen stiff... and that begins our long relaxing weekend.