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Tuesday, June 21, 2005

9:53 a.m. - Mt English - Part 2

When we met some of the members of the club in Kelowna at 11, we offered to give someone a ride up to the camp. Deren was our man, who then announced he wanted us to drop him off in Lumby at his mate’s house. Lumby was a bit out of our way but we didn’t mind. Actually, he suggested we take the Mable Lake road which is kind of a short cut to the meeting point the others were heading for. We agreed to meet them there at 2pm.

Deren squeezed an amazing amount of gear into the toad including two rucsacs, skis and ski boots, leaving little room for himself.

From Lumby we turned right instead of left to take the Mable Lake Road. Before we could realize our mistake we found ourselves with 60km of dirt-track logging road ahead. All I can say is it’s a good job we were in the toad and were able to storm along at a decent speed - bumps no trauma.

By 13:55 we realized we weren’t going to make the meet. At 14:25 we passed our turn off but saw no tracks going up so we continued North to the meet to let the others know where we were, or join the convoy as it came towards us – which we did – a flurry of off-road vehicles coming the other way, their drivers waving and smiling.

The track to camp was interesting to say the least – more interesting watching the others’ cars jiggling, scraping and rolling as they climbed over water butts and slid around fallen trees. The convoy was momentarily halted to saw and tow away a purposefully felled tree designed to keep us out of the camp area but to no avail for the 4x4 is supreme and the Toyota towed it away easily. OK, it was a dead tree so it offered little resistance.

The weather was drizzly on and off as we set up camp. Well, it took Hubby and I five minutes to make the bed and unwrap our sleeping bags and then we settled down with a cup of tea brewed in the toad to watch everyone else wrestle with rapidly dampening tents and rocky ground. The toad acted as a firm anchor for the communal tarp and the whole thing started to take on the appearance of Silver’s hen night except we had a camp-fire and the tarp was higher off the ground and it didn’t rain nearly so much and someone was bright enough to put a centre-pole in to minimize the amount of water accumulating in the tarp. Plus we had chairs.

9:30 was our limit of resistance to the slowly crawling dark so we retired to the bunks of the toad to watch the shadows of the trees dance to the flicker of the campfire and to wake only occasionally to the sounds of showers on the metal roof and the occasional paranoia of, “Is that dripping on my rucsac?” but the toad is good now and sound and water-tight(ish) so the 6am alarm clock was not too much of a jolt.

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