Got up and made coffee. It rained
all night and didn't look like it
was going to let up anytime soon.
Started keeping a daily journal.
Water is at it's highest point now
after another night's rain. We have
to hold tight today, because of the
weather Aron's not going for a load
today. He's going to clear the trail
so his Jeep can get through.
Denis is still insisting they go home as he's feeling like they are going to be trapped here, and he wants to go now before it's too late. Some of us were trying to make the best of the situation. There is plenty of canned food in the Lodge and we have lake water, wood, fire and a roof over our heads. Even if you know things are getting rough the last thing anyone wants to be reminded of is our worst case scenario all the time. With all the distractions I concentrated and remained focused. We started a fire to boil water, found a charcoal filter in the Lodge and used a clean t-shirt to pre-filter the water, in no time we had a few days worth of drinking water. Even found flavored powdered drinking crystals to make it taste better.
We found bleach and cleaned large
glass jars and starting filling them
with our clean, filtered and distilled
water that we had boiled on the wood
stove. We all had wet clothes that
needed to dry as all our clothes were
back at the trucks. We kept water boiling
for dishes and checked all the cabins
and Lodge for any supplies we could use.
We cooked over an open fire or the woodstove to save what little propane was left on site for lights at night, as our new tanks were...you guessed it - back at the trucks! I think Louise and I did a fantastic job - let's be serious, we weren't suffering by any means! The spaghetti noodles and sauce were compliments of what we found on site still stored safely in containers. Full bellies all around. From the extreme workout and little food Aron got over the 5 days - he had dropped about 8 lbs. His pants needed a belt to hold them up. Being out there it's so easy to forget to eat because you just get busy doing things. I found it easy to lose weight as I didn't have much of an appetite. I prefered just grazing here and there and kept my fluids up. Aron chainsawed all morning and afternoon to widen the trail and brought his Jeep down to the resort. Louise hacked away with an axe clearing parts of the overgrown waterfront. Denis kept busy with the door on the cabin, trying to get it to close properly. It was a long day that was mainly spent organizing ourselves from a stressful journey. At least the guys were working out their differences and addressed the "elephant in the room".
The plan is to go get a load today
rain or shine, clothes are nicely
dried out and we are more focused
- today is overcast and light rain.
Aron is still resting up as you can
see. He still gets coffee in bed, and
I have a hard time even getting him
out of bed as he deserves to just lay
there all day!
But we are eager for our supplies so Aron and Denis head out with the Jeep. Halfway through to the field about 2 km out the Jeep just quit on a downslope right in the middle of the trail. Aron & Denis walked back and Louise and I knew right away what happened when we saw them hike in. Then it was harder than ever to keep people calm as that was the only vehicle that could cross Irene. Aron started making calls with the satellite phone to get a few suspect Jeep parts sent to Anahim airport from Williams Lake. Am I happy that my husbands a mechanic by trade? You betcha! Aron and I have been together for 23 years - I know what he is capable of and back home they didn't call him MacGyver for nothing! No one went 4 wheeling without Aron, he can carve engine body mounts out of trees with a chainsaw. True story.
Aron left with the quad and trailer and was headed to Dan's cabin. The rest of us decided we needed some fresh fish for dinner. We decided to take turns fishing. We had one rod, and a small ice fishing rod but no tackle (it was back at the truck). After searching everywhere we came up with a few choices - one of which was of no use at all, lol! I caught and landed a fish on my 4th cast with the red & white spoon lure we found. Denis cleared some brush on the lakeshore and then tried his luck fishing in the boat. He came back with a trout so we kept them in water until dinner.
Back to worrying about where the hell Aron was. It had been almost 8 hours since anyone had seen him, seems to be the story of my life lately... I need to put a beacon on that man! Everyone had their input to his whereabouts, and I had said - "if I know my man, like I think I do...then he went back for a load."
We heard a quad coming and Aron pulls in dirty, wet and weighed down with a full load from the trucks. He had done the whole trail, river crossings and all on the quad and trailer. After he couldn't find Dan's cabin he just headed for the trucks. It's not like he could take anyone with him and he knew how badly everyone wanted supplies. At the trucks he had to go through everything and pick the most important items to bring back. When he went to look for Denis's hidden key for his truck it wasn't there, he needed it to retrieve their cooler of meat. At least we had enough in our cooler for everyone to get by. At this point however our ice is getting low and the coolers aren't as cold as they should be. So we unpack, get Aron in and changed and by the fire to warm up. We have a drink, pan fry up some fish and he tells us all about his journey.
The most memorable part was
coming back with the full load,
crossing Irene, he was so weighed
down he sank and jumped off the
quad. It immediately floated back
up and he literally dragged the quad
and trailer through the river crossing
and amazingly the quad started up
at the other side. Feeling much better
about having some crucial supplies
we sleep a little better that night. It
stays really light out late into the
night this far North/West. It's light
out until 10:30pm, and I could never
stay awake long enough to see the milky way.
The 6-8" foam beds in all the cabins are amazing! I've had the best sleeps I've ever had in my life right here in the cabin. I suppose being snuggled deep in sleeping bags with a cold nose, windows wide open, moonlight shining in and the loon calls echoing up and down the lake really add to the ambiance!
Mmmm...Pancakes, bacon & pure maple syrup. Cooked on the woodstove.
OK! Time to get serious and get some work done. After all we came to clean and prep cabins, clear brush, get a water tower built, water running and cabins stocked. So far we haven't really accomplished anything. Louise and I stake out cabins and try to decide how to house the 12-15 men coming in August. Options are limited, as so many cabins are in disrepair and we don't have all the tools required to fix them. Bats have overtaken many of the cabins. One large 3 bedroom cabin that can sleep 9 is in good shape, however the stairs are caved in and we can't access it well. I let Aron know our dilemma and with limited tools he takes his chainsaw up into the bush. Louise and I get another cabin cleaned and prepped. A while later we check on his progress...
Not having the proper carving tools, he sharpens one of his pry bars to use as a chisel. Not many people have their own personal hero, but he's mine :)
Dan Schiller and his father in law stopped by on quads and Dan toured us all over the property giving us insight as to it's history, property markers, and answered any questions we had. We sat in the cabin, had a drink and chatted. Dan holds the record amount of trout caught in a single day - and it still stuns me to write it out 464! HOLY - WOW!! My arms would have detached from my body after the first 100! I had been asking everyone in the area what "Eliguk" means, so far no one has been able to answer. Of course Dan knew,...it means "Fish Bone", hence the title of this blog.
It's always nice to have company stop by literally in the middle of nowhere! Aron called Dave at the airport to confirm when his parts would arrive from Williams Lake. He said 10am. Denis and Louise decided they would head out with Aron in the morning and travel back to Kelowna. So we BBQ'd steak bites, cooked baby potatoes and had a caesar salad. Sat around the fire, enjoyed a few drinks and had an early bedtime.
The Loons had caused a ruckus early that morning and had me up at 4:30am, they weren't just doing their normal calls. Dan said that means a change in the weather or a system coming in. Thinking it was at least 6:30am according to the light out the windows, I got up and put the coffee on and to my surprise it was only 4:30am - Oops! Now that I had everyone awake with all my rustling, (we share an open cabin) I announced the time and they all let out a groan. I turned the propane burner off for the coffee pot and crawled back in bed. Aron repairing cable on the windmill atop the boathouse, Denis is in the background fishing - I think that spot is where he cut the rope to the anchor he couldn't pull up. Good thing it was floating rope! We rescued it a few days later.
Before long 7:30am came we said our goodbyes. Aron towed out a load of recycling and I wouldn't see him until later afternoon (if all goes well). It was just me, the dogs and my trusty rifle. I sent a grocery list with Aron mainly ice & meat. If there's one thing I miss the most, it's not flush toilets or running water...it's ice for my drinks!
Time to get some work done. Cleaned and organized the cabin and supplies. Did laundry in the sink with water heated over the fire, hung everything outside to dry, swept and washed floors. Washed and braided my hair and had a nice hot sponge bath. Cleaned and organized the coolers. I learned not to keep vegetables in the cooler with ice as it keeps them too wet and they rot fast. Cleaned them up and stored them in a dry bin under the sink. Put the lettuce in glass jars with water where they lasted another week.
I had no problem keeping myself busy all day. Just like the loons had predicted the wind changed direction and was blowing from the East, and shortly after that a thunderstorm rolled through. Then the sun came out and it reached 22 *C . Aron came just as expected at 5pm with the quad and trailer in tow and another full load. He was dry! He stood on the quad seat crossing Irene. It was a long drive for him and he had his Jeep parts, more food and supplies to last us another week. Denis & Louise were just going to throw out the contents of their meat cooler so Aron took it to see what we could salvage. It was still cold so we added what we thought was edible to our cooler. We decided the prime rib had to be eaten first.
Storm was not to be trusted by
the grill! He had previously swiped
a smokie clean off it days before.
Burning his lips and tongue did not
teach him anything. So as things are
cooking on the grill he drags himself
around the fire and moans. Don't
feel sorry for the dog - he stuffed
himself daily on what we couldn't
eat or keep fresh. As I BBQ each night
outside, I'm treated to this amazing
sunset over the Ilgachuz.
Isn't life great?
Our resident loons were very noisy around 11pm tonight, and wouldn't you know it...a thunderstorm rolled in around 2 am. Who needs a weather station?
Sunny and clear at 7am and 12*C. The 10 or so resident white Pelicans are across the lake perched on the South bank catching the morning sunrise. The North side of the Ilgachuz that face our resort are snow splashed and majestic. The Ilgachuz Range is a name given to an extinct shield volcano in British Columbia, Canada. It is not a mountain range in the normal sense, because it was formed as a single volcano that has been eroded for the past 5 million years. It lies on the Chilcotin Plateau - to which I have the pleasure of keeping an eye on!
Have I mentioned the jumping trout? When the lake is still, you can see at any one time about 20 rings across the lake as trout jump clear out of the water to catch flies. The sound of them doing this almost mimics waves lapping the shoreline. Just an incredible sight, right from my balcony.
Aron cleaned and tuned up the honda water pump, and then we headed out with the new Jeep parts by quad to see if we could get our stranded Jeep home. We just had a light rain and back in the bush the mosquitos were thick. I used a shrub branch and constantly rubbed Aron down from head to toe while he worked under the Jeeps hood. The first part he tried that he suspected the most was the crank sensor. When Aron opened the box it was the wrong part! All the other parts were for a 1994 YJ - this one was for a 1984. It took 3 days to get this part deep into the wilderness...but let's try all the other parts just in case. One thing I know about being in the remote wilderness with Aron, is that in a pickle he is a top pick of someone you want to be stranded with. So, in the other parts he ordered a coil. The Jeep has an aftermarket Aurora ignition system, so he bypassed it and just used a stock coil, but needing the proper plug ends he had to tear apart our CB for its connectors, and with some splicing...the Jeep started! YAY! We were on our way to fetch our 1000L water tote from the field and head back to camp.
East end of Eliguk "the field".
Home to a family of Bald Eagles.
A few days ago we watched an
Osprey dive for a fish and an
Eagle chased him down for his
lunch. They are already eyeing
up my little Paperanian, and he
knows it. Murphy lays under
chairs and tables. I hope he's
always that smart!
Back at the resort we continued clearing brush. The lake was calm and we decided it was a good opportunity to go get one of our docks stored at the West end of the lake. It had reached 28*C, so I was happy to get out on the lake. Here is a little slide show of the beautiful ride....
On the way back to the resort with the dock in tow, I was just about to jump to shore with the rope as Aron gave the motor an extra shot. The recoil action of the dock behind lurched our boat back and I was propelled out onto the rocky shoreline, and bounced off the rocks into the water. More bruises to add to my increasing collection! I was soaked...
A little bruised, but ok!
We cooked chicken over
the fire and made a caesar
salad. Prepared a priority
"TO DO LIST" for the coming
week and were fast asleep
Continued in "Part Three"....
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