Monday, September 28, 2015

Bungalow Motel, Cascade Adventures and Harrison Lake Hunting

Laura and I love Bungalow Cabins at Harrison’s Lake.  They’re rustic and Canadian, truly Canadian.  All the benefits of town living, hot showers, microwaves, gas stoves, refrigerator, and great tv, as well as the privacy of separate living space with view of lake and mountains. They’re right on the water with the beach directly in front of them and a five minute walk into town.  Little flower boxes adorn the outside of the log cabins.  Best of all the area is  quiet.  We love it.  I don’t go often in summer because it requires at least a week booking ahead.  So much of there business is like me, returning year after year.  They’ve always been popular.  I’ve been coming for 25 years always watching the technology, like wifi,   keep up while the setting remains the same.   I come in the fall mainly for hunting but sometimes in the late spring just to get away from the city.
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I love Harrison Hot Springs. The public pool comes from the healing source. Normally Laura and I would walk down the town block to the pool but this time I forgot my bathing suit. I’d planned to buy a new one at one of the terrific little Harrison fashion clothing shops but the glorious bed swallowed me up when I got to the Bungalow. In the dead of winter we like to go the Harrison Hot Spring resort so we don’t have to go outside, other than to walk the dog.  There the hot springs, coming from the same source, are in doors.   We always love to eat at the various Harrison Lake restaurants, our favourite dinner place being the Black Forest Steak and Schnitzel House.  This time we ordered Chinese. After my day in the woods the couch held me hostage.
This time my friend Tom had come along with Laura me and my cockapoo, Gilbert. It was a hectic getaway after a long day of work Friday, after a worse demanding week.  Tom had brought the boat trailer in from his place in Sardis.  My hard bottomed AFB centre console inflatable with 20 hp Honda four stroke engine  was in Coal Harbour. Laura had taxied with her bags to my office.  We met Tom at the marina where he’d found my boat battery was fried.  Nearby Canadian Tire was happy to sell me  new battery.  They even had power steering fluid which the truck needed.
With the new battery, I fired up the Honda  and drove the boat up  2nd narrows  to the park boat launch.  The boat was gutless. I was so very lucky the tide was at the turn.  I’d never have been able to go against a current.   When I met Tom at the ramp towing the trailer now with my truck, we found the boat was carrying half the ocean in barnacles. The whole bottom was a regular ecosystem.  Two  crab an inch or two across fell off when I used a paddle to scrape the bottom.

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We next stopped at  the gun locker. Tom had his Mossburg lever action 30:30. I picked up my stainless Winchester  300 win mag and my stainless Ruger semi auto 22.  Stt]ainless steel, composite stock rifles are good for west coast rain forest hunting. In addition, for the boat I had a waterproof gun sheath.
Our last stop was my place for hunting clothing, VHS radio, binoculars, gps and thermo I’d told the folk at Bungalow Cabins and Cascade Adventures we’d be up around 8 pm.
Thankfully when I said I was planning to use my boat boat to hunt,  the wonderful Cascade Adventures guide Andreas Sartori recommended some prime island hunting.  As well as guiding hikers, photographers and everything else in the outdoors,  he guides alpine hunting tours.  A true Canadian Mountain man, he's also fluent in German and English so guides a lot of Europeans as well as American and Canadians. The last time I visited I asked Andreas  if I could  look in his photograph album.  What an experience to see a true wilderness adventurer’s photograph album.   It only followed that after that we’d share wild game cooking and marinading tips.  He's a chef as well.  Listening to him, I knew I’d met my match in another wild game gourmet chef. My mouth was watering after his photographs and tales.
One of these days I’ll find the time and money to go sheep or goat hunting with him.  I’ve never shot either.  He loves the highcountry.  Sometimes helicopter. Sometimes horseback.
This weekend Tom and I had my boat.  The trouble is when I phoned the insurance folk to ensure the trailer was insured, they dropped off renewal for my ’travel trailer.’  I didn't know the difference between a ’travel trailer’ and a ‘utility trailer’.  So I had Tom put the new travel trailer sticker on the utility trailer plate.  The RCMP stopped us pulling into Bungalow. After an 8 hour clinic and late night with emergencies the night before, 2 hour drive, the hassle with the boat, and rigamarow getting out of the city, now nearly midnight, well, I was exhausted  So the poor fellow was insisting the license didn’t belong to the trailer .  He was really pleasant about it.   Just pointing out that there was a discrepancy.
I had the 5 insurance policies I had for the truck and trailer and boat and other vehicles spread on the truck seat. I can’t see anymore in dim light. I’m seeing double.  I’m utterly overwhelmed. All the lawyer insurance goobly gook has me flummoxed. Every attempt by physicians to make our profession and language inclusive and civilized is destroyed by others making their language increasingly arcane and exclusive. The sheer volume of words is an obscenity.   I just wanted to sleep. We’re supposed to be getting up at 5 am.
 Well, I apologised for being tired and irritable.   It’s a sign of getting old too.  Meanwhile, I want to walk away from my career.   Taking a fetal position on the ground is looking extremely appealing.  I' m thinking I’d like to be arrested if that meant I'd get to bed. They say the only difference between sleep and death is a lack of commitment.  I might be ready to make that commitment. After countless nights on calls, years and years of interrupted sleep I just find these days that my bladder and my desire to sleep are no longer hearing me when I say "wait, wait, just a minute, I'll get to you."
 I’m beginning to want  to sell anything that comes with  insurance. Modern society is fast approaching  utter failure.  I need a lawyer to sort out this goobly gook in semi darkness. Government forms are increasingly confusing. Why do I pay exorbitant amounts of money to everyone and still I'm caught in situations like this.  Totally helpless.   I can’t even see in the darkness. I don’t know why the trailer tags don’t match. Don’t the police have better things to do? I know a dozen criminals who get away with murder. Why me. I'm a good guy.  It really must be time for me to quit.  Is this God telling me that I’ll never be good enough. It’s fruitless to  do everything everyone demands of me.   Maybe I can join a monastery. I am a failure.  I’ve always been a failure.  My life has been an endless series of shaming humiliating events.  People in authority always have an air of infallibility and perfection.  Why don't you floss more says my dentist. That's where my thoughts are.
Meanwhile, what it finally came down to was I didn’t know the difference between a ‘utility trailer’ and a ’travel trailer’.  All the hundreds of times I’ve been told how stupid I was and how I should have known this or that.  Everyone condemns me because I don’t know everything.  I’m imperfect.  A day doesn’t go by that someone isn’t angry with me because I’m not perfect.   It all floods over me. I'm too tired to cry. I just want some time off. I want to sleep. And my bladder is beginning to demand attention too. Getting old isn't for the young. They're not made of stern enough stuff. I wait.  
The  gracious RCMP  explained  that all my insurance was up to date.  He has read his computer again.  The license plate is right but the tag is wrong. I just had to remove the ’travel trailer “ sticker from the utility trailer.   The fellow was great. The situation was a nightmare.
Later when he was gone we figured he was probably out on Friday night watching for boat thieves.  A good guy doing his job.  I can put the Buddhist can of gasoline down and not set my self on fire this moment. I'm actually going to be able to sleep. It was 12:30 am then when we got into the cabin.  Thank god the cabin was perfect.  Everything clean and fresh. Tom and Laura and Gilbert are delighted.  I love Bungalow Cabins.
In the morning Tom and I were up, not at 5 am as planned, but at 7 .  I needed an extra 2 hours of sleep to process the insurance paper trauma. We launched the boat.
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Despite having scraped the bottom we weren’t making good time.  We  beached the boat at the first island and scraped some more. Our speed doubled.  Still it took a couple of hours to get to the island we were headed for.
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We beached the boat at the top of the island.   It was still morning.  No one was about. Lots of deer sign.  Great experience.  I ‘m way too much a desk jockey. I forget I’m  in my 60’s.  Climbing through the woods was exhausting. I fell a lot until we found some logging trails.  Gilbert and I set off stalking in one direction while Tom headed off in the other.

Gilbert and I had a late morning break. He shared my spicy hot Ranger trail mix and beef jerky.   I loved the Starbucks cold vanilla coffee drink.  It began to rain.  I headed back. We had Tom’s little radio and kept in touch. Gilbert was ecstatic to join Tom again.   We drank some thermos coffee by the boat.  We climbed back in the boat and this time found  the place I’d been told about. It  was that much better.  Wonderful slashes. A lot more sign.  I sat on a hill eating more Ranger camp mix and beef jerky with Gilbert.  Tom hiked another logging trail.  Around 3 pm we met up again at the boat. There we finished off the thermos coffee and shared in three equal portions the cheddar cheese we’d brought. When it comes to hunting, Gilbert’s an equal partner.
The way back in the boat was exciting. A 15 knot wind had blown up with 2 foot waves. Harrison’s is a long lake and the south wind made crossing the wide space between the islands  bit treacherous.  My boat, though, is similar to what life guard uses. I could be completely safe going slowly but because the wind was picking up I wanted to go as fast as I could without capsizing.  This made for a rough and exciting ride.  We were relieved when we got to the lee of the island.  Then it was easy going. Once we came out the south end the lake hadn’t as much length to build up waves. The wind had  picked up but the waves were not getting bigger. Waves matter most.
I’ve been knocked down in my 13 ton 40 foot  sailboat in 40 foot seas. I’d even had some exciting times in 10 foot ocean waves but my sailboat has a big keel.  Lake Harrison’s is notorious for wind and waves. So we had a bit of fun in the little open boat. .  Mostly standing at the console I found my back aching.  Tom and Gilbert were both standing too. It  was easier than sitting with the boat crashing into those steep oncoming waves.   I was glad to finally arrive at shore..
We lifted the boat out and ran it up to the Bungalow which sits right beside the boat launch.  I was into the ibuprofen immediately.  Laura had spent the day walking about the private lawns and enjoying reading her book in the cabin, making snacks for breakfast and lunch.  We ordered Chinese. It was fast arriving, hot  and simply delicious.
My friend Victor, hearing we were going to Harrison’s told me he had tickets for Cannery Row, a band playing at the Harrison Cultural Centre.  My back was happy on the couch.  Laura was glad to stay in the evening with me.   Tom, an avid fiddler was keen to hear Cannery Row. He joined Victor for the evening. As it turned out a couple of fellows he knew from St. Mathew’s Church were there with Victor.   I don’t know when he got in.  I was long asleep.  I’d set the alarm for 5 but got up only to turn it off and set it again for 6.
I stayed up when the alarm went off again at 6. Everything was stiff.  Good stiff.  Desk jockey had some exercise climbing through the bushes the day before good stiff.  We loaded the gear and boat in silence. I’d had a cup of coffee and some ibuprofen. I forgot the thermos.  Stupid.  The day before whatever barnacles we’d had on the bottom had been knocked off in the blow.  All that crashing in the waves had been good for something.

We made it up to the island in 45 minutes.  Another great morning.
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I hiked up the logging trail with Gilbert then headed cross country till I found a well trod deep tracked deer trail.  I sat on that with Gilbert, the two of us nibbling hot spicey Ranger trail mix.  My dog has some weird tastes.  No deer came along.  We didn’t see any grouse.  When we got back Tom had found the lake we’d been told about, seen the terrific slashes and watched three deer kibuttzing about below where he was sitting.  A bear had had a dump in the middle of the road as well.  He’d shot nothing but had a terrific time.
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Great drive back in the boat on the plane. We’d have done it in 45 minute but ran out of gas. I bumbled around with the tank and filling and finally got the motor  started again. I love Honda outboards.  We were off on plane roaring back to Bungalow cabins.  Laura had loaded everything into the truck so all that was left was for me to pay.  I can never get over how reasonable the Bungalow Cabins cost compared to the Hotels and the Spa.
I love Bungalow Motels.. The advice on where to hunt was perfect.  It turned out to be  mostly lovely sunny blue sky days.  Boating this time of the year was incredible. It may as well have been summer.  The weather was so mild. The whole weekend was perfect. Even the RCMP police were terrific. I'm feeling so good I'm ready to go back to work.  I love Harrison Lake.

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