Saturday, September 14, 2013

Wilderness Cabins We Have Known

It was one of our normal Canadian wilderness canoe trips. The Dease River in northern B.C. Canada. Our trips had to be at least 200 miles long, few or no roads, and a take-out that permitted me to hitch-hike back to pick up the truck. We were about 75 miles down the river, soft rain falling most of the time, and a heavy narrow chute of white-water, with a log right in the middle, pointed up-stream, just under the water. There is no walking out in this kind of dense country and I was not sure we would miss the spear of this log pointed right up-stream. We took out on the right side, up-stream of the chute and I scouted for a portage trail. There was none to be found. I used an axe to blaze a trail in the dense, wet timber, surprised that there was not a trail. It was hard sweaty work, with 5 carries of our gear to the top of a ten foot cliff where we lowered our canoe and gear down to the river. The bugs were bad. Our bug jackets and head-nets helped but black flies got under my shirt and my back was covered with red welts. The rain continued but much colder now. It was time to camp but cliffs on both sides were not inviting. Shirley and I were both feeling some numbness and were getting colder. Around a big bend and high on the left bank I saw it. A trappers cabin. But how the heck do you get up the cliff? I finally found steps carved in the cliff side and we climbed up to our home for the night. Plenty of split fire wood, a vegetable garden with all kinds of greens. The out house behind the garden and Grizzly tracks everywhere. A hot fire, stripped ourselves to the bone to dry in the warm heat of the cabin, and Shirley's hot beef & vegetable stew. I stood guard with our shotgun while Shirley used the out-house. We slept like babies that night. Warm and dry. A warm morning sun made the world seem right. We will not forget our wilderness cabin on the Dease.