March 3, 1997
The following story was written by Patrick Crowe. Patrick is a student in adult education programs at the Prince George campus of the College of New Caledonia.
Looking out the front window, daydreaming of times past, I feel little shudders go down my spine as I watch the snowflakes get bigger. Suddenly, pictures start to flash in my mind, and I see myself looking through the window of an old cabin and remembering how warm and cozy it was there.
It was early spring. I was on my way north to Barkerville. It was sunny and warm in Vancouver, but little did I know it was still winter in the north. Hitchhiking down the road, I was hell bent on finding gold, and I wasn't about to get cheated out of my share. I must have been a sight for sore eyes - big Yukon backpack on, axe in hand, shotgun over my shoulder, not a lick of sense. I had a get - rich - quick scheme.
After countless hours of hitchiking I finally made it to the gold country and hit the trail. The snow wasn't deep, so I made good time. I walked till dark, threw my tent up, started a fire, had something to eat, and went to sleep. My dreams of giant nuggets were shattered by a heavy fall of snow in the middle of the night. Daylight brought a winter wonderland and with it I was cold. I packed up and started moving to keep warm.
The snow was getting deeper by the mile. I saw where a moose was dragging his stomach in the snow. It took all day to walk four miles; by then I was beat. I set up camp by a creek. I had a big fire to dry clothes and boots and to have something to eat. I lay on a bed of pine boughs. I listened to the fire snapping and crackling, and watched the coals glimmer. They looked like the lights of a big city seen from the distance.
When I woke up my boot was on fire. The whole side was burnt out. Now what was I going to do? The snow was too deep to walk in with one boot! Lying there thinking, I remembered that an old timer had told me of a cabin not too far away. I had to get to that cabin and put up there for awhile. I cut two poles, and bent them in a circle. I unbraided some rope, cut grooves in the poles, and lashed them together. Next I tied what was left of my boots to them. The snowshoes weren't the best, but would do in a pinch.
That night it rained and turned cold, and in the morning the tent was frozen as stiff as a board. I walked on the crust on the snow until about 10 a.m. When I started to fall through. I got mad and left the gear behind. I went on with just my snowshoes and gun. I walked for hours, noticing that the snow was getting deeper and deeper. I crossed the creek several times. I remember it well because I had to take my boots and snowshoes off to cross. There wre no borders on the creek - it was straight up and down with snow. I wasn't a happy camper!
I had to keep on moving or freeze. I came to a fork in the creek and turned left, keeping in mind what the old timer said. I had walked 200 yards when I saw the cabin. The snow was so high, it was level with the roofs. I would have walked right by the cabin if it wasn't for the eaves. The snow had melted, leaving drop marks which caught my eye. I will never forget how warm and cozy that cabin felt after I dug my way in and got a fire going.
[This story was taken with permission from IN THIS COUNTRY, personal stories about Northern B.C..]