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Ice Hiking in British Columbia 18

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I took this photo on the day when faint clouds began dot-dashing over Dauntless and Vigilant, like some sort of celestial morse code. The temperature dropped; the air felt different. We knew the first autumn storms could occur over the Waddington massif in late August, and one storm could leave several feet of snow on rock and ice. So we got up before dawn and headed down the Franklin Glacier, happy to be transporting just one pack each. We were in good shape, and we hiked the distance from Icefall Point to the snout in one day.

In the soft Canadian twilight we came off the glacier and shuffled into Last Valley Camp. I had never been so tired in my life. I remember two things: first, the taste of spring water that had been filtered through the soft good earth. It was infinitely more delicious than the pure ice water up on the glacier.

And I remember helping in some way to set up the tent, then being pushed into it. I fell on the air mattress and pulled my bag over me, too tired to unzip and get in it. Much too exhausted to sleep. Larry’s face was drawn with fatigue, but he doggedly got out the little mountaineering stove and started to cook something.

At that point we had our third great wildlife experience. There was a deer mouse convention going on at Last Valley Camp. When it grew dark, a lot of mice came out, and a dozen began to dance.

I watched the little shadows on the tent wall. Silhouetted in the light of the flashlight and stove, they leapt, popcorned, twirled madly. Such a strange thing, so far outside of my human experience. Yet I couldn't help thinking of it as a celebration of our return to the wonderful world of green.

Finally one little dancer outdid itself. It ran up on Larry's pack near the stove and launched itself in a graceful arc. Larry saw the trajectory and shot his hand over the cookpot. There was a confused interaction of mouse, hand, and soup, and the pot went flying off the little stove. My usually soft spoken husband spent the next two minutes cursing himself and the entire province of British Columbia.

Inside the tent, my dimmed brain observed that a faint guffaw was rising from my tired chest. I thought: If we had to experience one disaster out of the many possibilities on this trip, this seemed like a pretty good choice.

……And now, dear friends, As Savannah Nix says in Mad Max
Beyond Thunderdome, this telling is telled and there ain't no more.

-Laurie

by Author
MeadowMom MeadowMom's picture

This Story is part of a Series...

(Here in California, we’re into the lemonade nights of late August. A good time, I guess, to tell... Read Story
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Playing on the Ice. (About a 1952 journey that I will always remember) It was delightful once we... Read Story
The Great Icefall of the Franklin (Continuing the story of a hike into the British Columbian... Read Story
The Most Amazing Moment (Carrying on the story of a journey into the wilderness of British Columbia... Read Story
Remembered Forever by a Very Few (continuing the photo story of a journey made 64 years ago.) At... Read Story
It’s Time to Show You Mt. Waddington Itself (This is a photo story about a walk up the Franklin... Read Story
Luxury is Always Relative (On with the story of a trip to the Waddington ice fields, in 1952)... Read Story
In the Zone (This is a photo story of a trip into the Waddington Ice Massif in 1952.) It was on... Read Story
The Last Four Days (I’ve been telling a photo story about a journey made 64 years ago.) We left the... Read Story
I took this photo on the day when faint clouds began dot-dashing over Dauntless and Vigilant, like... Read Story
MeadowMom's picture
by Author MeadowMom

Comments

Marsh Pitman (not verified)
I remember Laurie telling of
I remember Laurie telling of hiking with Larrythrough Devil's claw ? or club in BC. and camping on a ridge when a grizzley came up one side and walked straight across the ridge, with head swinging back & fourh , just feet from them and barely paused a moment at the edge of the ridge, it sat on it's rump and simply slid down to the glacier below. Meadow Mom is surely adventurous.
Marsh Pitman (not verified)
Comment #2: I wrote the first
Comment #2: I wrote the first one ...after reading only the last part of this epic journeey. Now, after reading the whole thing...I found that what Laurie had told me before ...was just a glimpse ... the Grizzley event on this expedition in 1952 Franklin river, glacier, Waddington area. Devil's Club ; So Well written . Thanks to Laurie ! 5/26,/2017

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Story Copyright
03/22/17