Monday, July 17, 2017

On Seeing the Sunnybrae Slide

July 16, 2017

A morning walk with a companion is more fun and safer as well. I don’t have to yell “go bear, go” quite as often when I walk with someone else. Glen says if two people are walking and one is talking, the bear will be as frightened as I would be on contact. So Marcia and I set out to walk on Sunday morning. She was wearing Art’s shoes, having lost one of her own. I was wearing a pair of runners to which I say on every wearing, “This is your last time on my feet. I am going to get new runners”. We didn’t know we were headed for a walk that would require better footwear.

Glen joined us half way down Bernie road. At the rate he was going, I thought he was trying to catch up with someone who was walking ahead of us, but no, he was just joining us … for good health’s sake.

Glen was right.  
I couldn't get a good picture of this.  
In the first place, the sky is in whiteout mode
and can only be imagined.
But dead centre in the picture is a straight line, 
the beginning of the rock side.
Then the slide veers to the right, coming all
of the way down the hill and covering a home.
Picture taken from TRC at the end of the passing lane.
which is the path where the mud slide began.

“Do you want to see where the slide was that killed the 75 year old man?”, he asked. I had previously suggested to Marcia that we check this spot out, Glen having said it is just passed the passing lane as you enter the Trans-Canada going west. I wasn’t sure of the exact spot. She gave the idea a pass. But now that we had someone to show us the spot, off we went down the highway, which I quickly discovered was not down. That passing lane is uphill all of the way – much longer when a person is walking it than driving it.

At an appropriate break in the trees Glen took us to the north side of the highway and began to show us how the slide had happened: a few rocks starting to fall at the top of Bastion Mountain, and gaining momentum and picking up other debris on the way down each gorge until at the base of the mountain it found the easiest path – down a man’s driveway and over his house.

Marcia and I were sobered as the three of us remembered that lot 12 has had 6 feet taken off of its gorge on the west side – not that a slide is immanent, but in the course of time no one knows where the next rockslide will occur.

On the way home we stopped to look at a fallen stand of Douglas fir. Glen said that anyone can collect wood that has fallen, but there has to be no green branches on the trunks of the trees. Forestry regulations. The boles that Glen scrambled over stood the test – the branches were yellowed and the wood could have been bucked up. Someone had been there before us, taking the easiest pieces, but a chain and a truck could have worked and produced some wonderful wood for the winter.

Glen had just had a truckload delivered -- $750 for a load. That will be the cost of the winter heat. That is why people in BC burn wood for fuel.

On the way home Glen hopped over cement barriers and then back – checking for flat places in the forest, ones where logging could be done. I guess a forester's work is never done.

As well he stopped to point out beautiful stands of trees, showing us specimens that don’t usually grow at our elevation, one where we usually see Douglas fir and larch.

On the way home my fitbit buzzed that we had already done 10,000 steps – my goal for the day, but on that Sunday?

I ended up with 17,000 steps.

Good for me.

Good for my heart.

And time to get a better pair of runners.


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