On Monday, January 11, 2015, we drove 34.7 kilometres west on Highway 28 and turned north on Strathcona Dam Road. Our destination was Orchard Meadow, a campground with 13 sites in need of a camp host couple.
Our direct route, Greenstone Creek Forest Service Road, was covered in ice and snow so Frank gripped Big White’s steering wheel and plowed forward. I became frightened when the bus shifted to the right where the only destination was to plummet down a steep embankment. Frank eased her back onto the path and we carried on bravely. Our travel time was forty-five minutes.
The truck’s diesel engine roars so loud it blocks our attempts to have full sentence conversations. “I hope we don’t come across a logging truck,” Frank shouted.
“Yah,” I hollered back.
|Orchard Meadow Marker|
Just as we arrived at Orchard Meadow we heard the distinct thunder of a logging truck come from behind. The driver bellowed his horn to warn us. Frank plowed Big White into a snow bank covering a roadside pull out. The monster truck roared past throwing up gravel, ice and mud. Frank turned off the ignition and we stepped into the deep snow. We were drawn to the lake ahead and made our way to its edge.
“Have a look at this,” Frank said.
He drew my attention to a fire pit set below the water line.
“It reminds me of an archeological site,” I said.
|Mist Over the Lake|
Other artifacts included a dilapidated wharf, a makeshift boat launch, remnants of recent activities by winter explorers including a beach fire crater, several broken bottles of alcohol and one shoe. We also took in the dramatic mist that floated over the water across the way.
Once back inside our warm bus, we had a picnic and talked about the prospect versus unlikelihood of hosting Orchard Meadow as a summer job.
Our excursion home took two intense hours and was 129 kilometres long. We headed east and got caught up in the labyrinth of logging roads. We got lost. There is no phone service in the back woods and we chastised ourselves for not knowing which roads to take home and not telling anyone our destination that day. Critically, we had made the decision not to return the way we had come.
|Sample of Road Conditions|
|2015 The Year of Endurance|