is part of a ten-part serialization of the story of a special hike I
made with my Brother in 1989. It is based on a journal entry I made on
August 19, 1989. It was recently revised into this semi-haibun format.
Friday, April 21, 2006
Part I: Brass Capsule
is Friday evening, August 18, 1989. We are visiting our folks in
British Columbia, Canada. A high mountain overlooks the town to the
North East. My brother Gord and I prepare to ascend the summit. We pack
a small brass cannister with time capsule items including a folded
sheet of parchment with messages, a dollar, two shiney new 1989
pennies, and three dried beans.
Summer evening... more than beans and pennies sealed in brass.
Saturday, April 22, 2006
Part II: Brambles
Early this morning we set off in fog
rising off the river. We choose to head straight up the steep western
slope. The climb starts off easy but soon we are clambering almost
vertically up a broken rock face. After several hours of steady
climbing we encounter a wide clump of tangled branches hanging over the
cliff edge. We can either go straight up or work our way back down. We
decide it is less dangerous to go forward. We go hand-over-hand through
the tangled mass, trusting the branches, some dead, to hold our
weights. One slip and we will hurtle straight back down.
We put our lives in the hands of brambles... hot morning.
Sunday, April 23, 2006
Part III: Puffballs
Our efforts up the steep side of the
mountain eventually result in bringing us to a bit of a plateau and a
forestry road. We choose to follow the road in a southerly direction as
we feel that it will lead us to the mountain top. Along the way we find
puffballs. Gord says we should collect them and we'll make miso soup
with them later. Another puffball in the road...my pack gets a little heavier.
Monday, April 24, 2006
Part IV: A Detour
Our choice of going South appears
wrong after an hour or so of walking. Instead of going straight up to
the top, the road winds around the mountain and to the East. Way down
below to the South is the valley...we are so high up the mountain that
the river can no longer be seen. We seem to be going away from the
summit but it never gets out of our site. Mountain trail... we get further along, but no closer to the top.
Tuesday, April 25, 2006
Part V: Middle of Nowhere
We eventually convince ourselves to take a shortcut and plunge into the moderately thick brush. We pick our way through scrub and rock outcroppings. At what seems to be about half-way, we suddenly discovers huckleberries. They are nice and sweet and we spend no little time enjoying them! Middle of nowhere... we dine on berries at a grizzly's table.
Wednesday, April 26, 2006
Part VI: Summit
It seems like forever that we have
been tramping through the bush. We are relieved as the trees thin out
and we finally reach what we believe is the summit at exactly 1:31 pm.
There seems to be other summits to the East and we later discover one
further to the West. This summit consists of a large flat out-cropping
surrounded by pines on all sides. Here and there around us are
clearings that treat us to amazing panoramic views. How the views take our breaths away -- summit clearing.
Thursday, April 27, 2006
Part VII: The Planting
The rock clearing at the summit has numerous cracks in it, one of them in the very centre is "doubled". We remove a couple of small chunks of rock from it, dig it out, and place the capsule in the small crevice. We cover it back with dirt, rocks, and moss. We then put in place a large, flat rock and cover it with a pile of other rocks. Hopefully, it will mark the spot for us some day in the future and it may conceal the capsule somewhat. Off in the distance is the sound of thunder. Summit cairn: a brass seed is planted for a future reaping.
Friday, April 28, 2006
Part VIII: The Road Back
After a bit of lunch we enjoy the
fruits of our efforts for a while and then its time to head back down.
We depart shortly after 2:00 pm. We discover that a large section of
the mountain to the southwest is clear cut. The going is therefore
incredibly easy. The view to the West is spectacular and we can see all
the way up the river valley. We eventually reach the limit of the clear
cut. Fortunatey we find a road that leads back down the mountain. The road we find is the one from the start: mountain side.
Saturday, April 29, 2006
Part IX: Hungry & Tired
It is now mid-afternoon and our
thoughts are toward getting back home. We are feeling hungry and our
feet, ankles, and legs are very, very tired. I had earlier severely
buised my shin and my left knee is quite sore. The road eventually
winds back to the South. This time we take a fork in the road that
leads down the mountain and past a saw mill about half-way down. There
is switch back after switch back and the way is quite steep. We are
struck by evidence of recent torrential flooding as several switchbacks
are completely washed out. The way down is easier than the way up -- cloudy afternoon.
Sunday, April 30, 2006
Part X: Journey's End
After endless switching back and
forth we eventually reach the valley floor. The sun has been behind
clouds for much of the day but as we reach the highway it comes out
with a big smile. With tired bones we hike along the highway. We get a
ride in the back of a truck to the bridge. Gord jogs to the car while I
wait at the bridge with our gear. When we reach back home it is a joy
to see everyone again and to tell of our journey. Gord cooks a nice pot
of miso with the puff-balls from our packs. Puffball miso... a bit of mountain in each mouthful.