Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Buy My Vote!

Rather than allow the Kokanee Corporation to use my free vote for their own advertising campaign; I’ve chosen to permit either the Ranger or the Sasquatch to purchase my vote for a miniscule sum – to be revealed at the conclusion of this story.
Years ago, we decided our next mountain top venture would be to conquer Bald Mountain (prior to the erection of a lodge barely outside the park boundary and the hordes of out-of-shape tourists) in Glacier National Park, and stay overnight for a rustic campout. Now this is not an extremely high vista – 2317 meters – and not a huge elevation gain – 1130 meters – and only a middling distance – 17 kilometres one way. So because it was to be two day venture, we didn’t hit the trailhead until one in the afternoon which left plenty of time to climb up to the designated camping area near the upper ‘Ranger’ cabin, pitch the tent on the side of a barely trickling streamlet and put together a one-pot supper before turning in at dusk. Bless the mountain weather. Less than two hours later, a walloping storm blew in bringing not only gargantuan downpours, but a thunder and lightening show on a cosmic scale. In moments the wee stream became a six foot wide creek, lapping at the edge of the tent which had decided to give up and allow the rain, propelled by sudden swirling winds, to enter at every possible seam. Gathering our stuff, leaving the shelter to its own devices, we scrambled over to the cabin which had a small covered front deck where hay was stored. Being on the east side out of the wind, we used the bales as a mattress, wrapped ourselves up in our sleeping bags and lay back to enjoy the spectacle. Very interesting to watch bolt after bolt of lightening, not only skyward above Copperstain and Moonraker, but hitting constantly down below in the Grizzly Creek valley. A couple of the closer strikes were only about one hundred meters distant which tends to leave a jagged pattern of light seared on the eyeball for quite a few seconds. Once the storm abated, we were able to grab some shut eye and awoke to a gorgeous sunny day.
After a quick breakfast, we headed up to the summit, realizing why it received the appellation ‘bald’ and spent three or four hours enjoying the tremendous view of the Selkirks, with Mount Sir Donald right in your face. Interestingly, we spotted a large, hairy creature disappearing into the undercover as we passed the ‘Ranger’ cabin on the way down. While we assumed it must have been an elk, over the years the tale leans toward the sighting of the elusive Sasquatch. Then it was an easy return trip to the vehicle and over to the park headquarters at Rogers Pass to check in. There we learned from one of the long term employees that the storm was considered to be one of the most intense in the past forty years. Deciding to salute our own accomplishment of braving the extreme elements, we headed to the Glacier Park Lodge for a victory supper. Opting to quaff a couple of ales, we were introduced to Glacier Light – direct from Creston and the Columbia Brewing Company. Then and there, we decided the attainment of future peaks were to be rewarded with the downing of a Glacier Light, a ritual to be upheld through the ensuing years. Unfortunately, some misguided marketing type chose to eventually re-brand our traditional beer by sticking a great big Kokanee on the cans and bottles while reducing the glacier and light to secondary importance.
Therefore, in order to receive our votes, either the ‘Ranger’ or ‘Sasquatch’ must convince management to return Glacier Light to its former glorious position in the pubs of BC; and once accomplished, deliver one dozen properly chilled cans to a British Columbia peak of our choosing to celebrate our summit party.

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