It all started well enough: Nicky picked me up at 8 and off we went in the truck. I had two sets of directions – one started us off on South Fork Road and the other on Keen Road. We decided to follow the Keen Road instructions. Slight problem – we couldn’t seem to find a Keen Road. No matter – we had to drive into Kaslo anyway after the hike to fill up with gas so may as well do it on our way to the road. Besides, the gas station folks would know about Keen road – right?
We pulled up to the pump and the guy started filling. We both leapt out and asked about Keen Road – it turned out that the South Fork Road and Keen were one and the same. No problem. As we said, we had to fill up anyway. A slightly later start was fine.
And so I paid with my credit card and we went back to the truck – except that both doors were closed and, quite magically – locked! And yes – the keys were in the ignition.
Well then. Did the gas station have a magic door opener? Nope. But a tow truck could come and do that for $40. But wait! I have a BCAA membership and even have my membership card in the truck. Oh – by the way – how did the truck get locked? Nicky said it couldn’t possibly be her fault.
Okey dokey then. It was magic. We called BCAA using the service station phone because Nicky’s phone was in the truck. (of course). The automated system asked me for my BCAA membership number. Well – duh – it’s in the truck! I got a human voice and explained the dilemma. Sadly, they still had my old home number and address from Vancouver Island but they did manage to look me up by last name (whew!)
Fifteen minutes later the tow truck driver shows up on a motorcycle. Well – why not! And presto – we are ready to go. Okay, back to South Fork/Keen Road. And we’re there! Yay! It’s even a good road by Kootenay standards (our standards are very low).
Up we go until we see our first left as per instructions. We turn and go up – the road gets weird and narrow and there’s a big rock in the middle of it (boulder). We go a bit farther. We don’t feel good about the road. Besides, we turned at 6K and Ann said 8K – so we turn around with a bit of delicacy and go back. We continue on the other road until we get to between 9 and 10K – and the road gets icky and muddy. Not good. We decide this might not be a good idea and do another delicate turn.
Plan B – let’s go to Emerald Lake and go up to the ridge for lunch and then back down. I’ve been there once. I can find the way. I hope.
We get back to the highway, turn at Buchanan access and go up. All is good until we get to a fork in the road. Hmmmm – we go right. Another fork. Hmmm We go left. Soon the road ends. We turn – go back to the last fork take it over 9 bad waterbars. This isn’t right either. We go back to the first fork – there – that’s better. Now I feel confident. But at that point a truck comes toward us with a bunch of hunters inside. They ask where we’re going. We tell them and they say we have a very long way to go with several spurs. I know that they’re wrong. But then they tell us there’s another hunter up there.
We turn back – not wanting to be shot at.
It is now almost noon and Nicky is so done with driving on these shitty – um – I mean Kootenay roads. We go to Payne Bluffs, hike to the top in just over half an hour, have lunch and go home.
There – that was the day.
Not as expected. Or planned.
But I did get to have a short nap and a long bubble bath. And there’s a warm fire going and the puppies were happy that I got home early. And tomorrow I’ll make up for it – driving down to Rossland and hiking for as long and hard as I can stand it.
Every day is an adventure of some sort, right? It’s not what happens in life, it’s how you react to it. I think I’m going to choose to giggle about it. After all, we did tell some very good “the time I got deathly drunk” stories on the way back down Payne Bluffs. Those alone were worth the trip. (I think Nicky wins in the drunk category, if only for the mouthing-off bits!)