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Ice Hiking in British Columbia 7

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The Mouth of the Franklin River, at last!

(This happened 60 years ago, to two young Californians in British Columbia.)

We were held up at Stanton’s cabin by a fire closure, waiting for rain.

It did not rain. On the fourth day Jim talked to us again about our plans. "You know there are hand-loggers moored right around the Head?" he asked. We nodded. You couldn't miss the little houses on the big log rafts with motorboats tied up alongside, idle because of the closure.

“It would be hard to hike out of here without them seeing you," Jim said. "But if I gave you permission, you might be able to get up the Franklin. I could let you go up there if you don't camp or make a fire. You could get to the ice in one day, couldn't you?"

Nobody could get up the Franklin to the ice in one day. But Jim and Larry were two of the very few people who knew that. Larry caught the look in Jim's eye and said, "Of course.”

Early next morning we were waiting with our packs in the forest southeast of Stanton's float. Jim came round the point in his Hudson Bay cargo canoe, with a big kicker mounted on its stern. (What was the biggest outboard motor in those days....five or ten horsepower?) We waded out and climbed in. Jim suggested that we make ourselves less conspicuous by lying down in the boat. That was dramatic enough to satisfy me.

He circled the big canoe out into the inlet and came back at the Franklin full throttle. The canoe reared up, bucking and pitching as it slowly fought its way up the rushing glacial river. Finally we were sufficiently out of sight to tie up precariously and unload. Jim gave us a big grin. "Good luck!" he called as he cast off and shot away with the current.



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