A Day's Adventure with Annalee Part 2.
Post by Annalee McCoy - Part 2...
After a short water and snack break at the view point, it is time to make our way back down the long switchbacks to the valley floor. The heli van is still there waiting for us, despite the fact that it had remained unlocked on the side of the road.’ Wow ‘the mother says, “in Holland that would never be ok to leave your car unlocked. It would be gone in a second.” “Yes,” I reply, “anywhere else but in Bella Coola, that would be the case….”
Children are fighting sleep as we drive a few kilometers up the road to our last stop… the secret canyon. The trail winds down from the highway, starting in an undisclosed spot and leads the lucky ones who find it through a carpet of tiny white flowers. Their fragrance fills the air with the sweetest smell you can imagine! “Twin flowers,” I say, “they always grow in pairs.” We stoop over to get a better look; sure enough, each thin stalk growing through the moss carries two bell shaped delicate flowers.
As we carry on past another boulder, perhaps left over from a retreating glacier million of years ago, we can hear the river rushing and crashing through the narrow gorge below.
In some areas, we have to scramble over piles of drift wood, logs and branches and walk through gravel bars, debris created by last fall’s flood waters. Suddenly we can see the river. The amount of water flowing past at breakneck speed is jaw dropping: with all the rain and snow melting off the mountains above, the swirling water is brown and foaming around enormous half submerged boulders at the river’s edge. We inch our way to the top of one of the sleeping giants and peer down at the rushing current below. “Wow” says the little boy, “you don’t want to swim in there!”
After standing on the big rock and watching the swollen river for a few minutes, you start to feel very small compared to the grandeur you are surrounded with. When we continue our journey along the trail, it narrows to a ledge overlooking the river. I turn back and look at the woman. “How are you feeling” I ask. Earlier in the day, she revealed that she had a fear of heights. “I ‘m fine” she says “this is an adventure, we can go on”. “Good Job” I say, feeling protective, “you’re doing well!” We make our way carefully across the ledge and down the heap of debris below, which used to be a trail. We spot the continuing path further down, coming out of another pile of sticks, leading up the steep river bank.
“We’re almost done” I tell them, as the kids stop for a breather once we all hike to the top. “Just one more question: what type of leaf is that?” “Rosehip berry” the little boy pipes up; “The one with all the seeds, good to eat if you’re bored, because you can spit the seeds for hours!” “That’s it!” I say, “Now if you ever decide to hike to Quesnel, you will not go hungry even if you forget your lunch.” The family laughs.” Please let’s not go to Quesnel today. The sun is almost out, I think it’s about time to go and relax on my deck chair!” the mother says. “That’s a good idea; let’s see if the van is still there…”
Side note: on the drive home, we pass a group of boys loading fishing gear into a truck.
In the corner of my eye, I catch a glimpse of silver flash in the sunlight and notice a boy bent over, with the appearance of someone carrying a great weight on their shoulders.
I put on the brakes: “Get your cameras out! These boys caught a salmon.”
Sure enough, we pull up and roll down the window and we can see nothing but smiles and there it was, a huge spring salmon, almost as tall as the boy holding it. "What did you catch it on" I ask, "a fly?"
He laughs, “No, I wish! I was using a lure and spin rod.” “Well good catch” I say. “What do you think crew? Looking at the dad and kids sitting in the back seat: “Time to go fishing?”
“-Nope, mom says, still time to go sunbathing.”