late october

by underswansea


The skies were clear just before dark. They have been overcast most of the month. Willow and took a drive behind Swansea to get a range between us and the lights of the valley.

Turned a corner on the old mine road and two men were frantically waving their arms. Not something you see everyday near midnight. I stopped and the two young men asked if I could give them a ride off the mountain. I had no intention of leaving them there.

They were members of the Akisqnuk First Nation. We talked about mutual friends on the way to the main road. They couldn’t believe they had found somebody to give them a lift. How they got up the mountain; well, that seemed pretty sketchy.

It is surprising how often you run into people deserted in the bush. I’ve been so on plenty occasions myself. Trucks get stuck and break down. At one time I drove nothing but old trucks with bad tires and weak batteries.

A couple years ago I ran into two men and a women. Their vehicle had become high centred on a rock. They were in their mid twenties and from the city. They were panicked about being stranded in the wilderness. They had been walking for a couple hours and happy to see me. They jumped in the truck. I suggested we go get their vehicle unstuck. When I asked where it was, before the two men could answer, the young women said, “In a place we had no business being!”

I laughed, but the young men did not.

The best and most sheepish of the stranded however, is the man who has been kicked out of the vehicle by a women, usually a wife or girlfriend, and left to walk home off the mountain. Again, this is much more common than you may think. I have personally given more than a few of these guys a lift. They are usually drunk.

I dropped the two young men at the main road. They gave Willow a few more scratches before saying goodbye. They would have no problem getting a ride onward.

I headed back up the mountain. The clouds had rolled in. The stars unveiled here and there. I took a few pictures, but I’d missed the window.

Willow and I walked the trail. When we got back to the truck; it started. We wouldn’t be the second two souls walking off the mountain on the same Friday night.