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Day 3

Page history last edited by Steven Marx 14 years, 5 months ago

Day 2


May 23


Coffee, oatmeal, gorp and dried fruit again launched us forward, but for Robert cycling was becoming a terrible ordeal.  He needed to lie down and rest along the trail every kilometer or so, and it was clear that he was too sick to proceed despite his valiant efforts.  At the Wilkinson Creek Bridge, we again split into subgroups, Andy hanging back with Rob.  A few kilometers further, the rest of us waited at a junction with a road in the middle of a logging slash.  With time on our hands there was extended deliberation about how to rescue Rob and allow us to proceed.  A flatbed truck on the road was flagged down and the long haired driver and two young passengers were told of our dilemma.  They said they were looking for cedar higher up the mountain and would be passing back down in an hour and a half. 


Robert finally arrived, ashen and exhausted.  John reached Ty in Beaverdell by cell phone and managed to persuade him to drive up and take Rob to the Hotel.  Unfortunately John made the erroneous assumption that we were on the Wilkenson Creek Road.  Another hour passed and Ty didn’t show up but the truck fully loaded with cedar came back down the hill.  More conversation revealed that we weren’t at Wilkenson Creek Road but at Rupert Road and that Ty was out on a wild goose chase.  The guys in the truck agreed to take Rob and his bike down to the Beaverdell Hotel, and he welcomed the prospect of lying in a bed rather than alongside the road. 


Eager to proceed, the rest of the company pedaled uphill for another 30 km across dozens of huge culverted stone embankments built to maintain the steady grade, learning to negotiate the soft sand in places and the deep puddles in others.  We were tempted to stay at the forestry campsite we found by Arlington lakes where we stopped for salami and cheese, but the remaining hours of daylight and the expectation of beer and different food at a place called McCulloch Lake drew us forward. Our 1992 guidebook borrowed from the Courtenay library was a little out of date which misled us at times. By the  time we reached McCulloch it turned out that the lodge there was closed, replaced by a large resort now under construction along the shores of Hydraulic Lake.  We backtracked to a campground just above the trail, welcomed by a friendly Australian attendant. He advised us there was a second lcampground about a kilometer further away.  A short altercation between John, who led the group off to  Minnow Lake without informing the others where we were going, and the exhausted Murray, who was ready to stop near a group of high school girls, was resolved by apologies and the recognition that it was worth the extra mile to find this quiet spot near beautiful Minnow Lake.  As we rolled in, an osprey dove and pulled a fish (no minnow) out of the golden-light water.


We shared these beautiful campsites along the lake with a few fishermen, some who were kind enough to give us some drinking water. The Aussie attendant then brought us sufficent water for our stay. Later that night during brandy and cigars, we heard the haunting cries of loons out on the lake.


Once again we enjoyed rice and vegetable stew for dinner, amid concern that oatmeal, rice, vegetables, salami, and cheese rations were running low.  John, in an effort to lure his mother up to the tracks with reinforcements to the rations, called her in Kelowna suggesting she join us for a walk next day. She declined because of other plans so he didn't get to mention that we were desparate for someone to bring us food.


wilkinson creek – hydraulic lake

friday, may 23


dropping off


sick man down

beyond th state of reason

makes change of default settings

and roadside wait

for mythical return

of rescue backwoods hillbilly truck


stopped and waiting

for pairing up

happens after solo sighting

of two young brown bears

is done by one

before cougar crossing for others

lets reason prevail


arriving with communication breakdown

after summit passing

to hydraulic campsite

where peace returns

with more gourmet vegy stew

leaving little more than waiting

for canyon to come



Day 4


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