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Thread: DIY Art

  1. #176
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Lillooet Canoe Trip

    The summers in Pemberton Valley are long and hot. I eventually became accustomed to the heat but I really helps to have some nice cold water nearby to take the edge off.

    As we got out of the trucks at the Meager Creek Bridge, I could here the roar of the river. According to the Backcountry Map Book, this section should be 8 hours of fast, deep water. It should carry our two canoes 32 kilometers southeast, to the Upper Lillooet Bridge.

    We were hoping that the majority of the volume of water would be split up into smaller, braided channels that we could cleanly navigate in open canoes. From the bridge, however, all of the river was one, as we could see several taller standing waves interspersed with consistent smaller waves. We figured that we could just steer around the taller waves and make it around a few corners to where it would hopefully calm down.

    Around 11am we launched. Sam, Calita and their dog Cody were in the first canoe. Jamie, my self and my dog Po were in the second canoe. About 10 seconds into our float I had to start bailing. At 20 seconds I had to paddle furiously then at 30 seconds I had to bail again, now at a frenzied pace. At 40 seconds the gunnels started to go under as I watched Po start to swim in my lap. From 45 to 60 seconds I was swimming with one arm, with all of my might as my other hand is gripped around Po’s collar and scruff. We crashed and swam together through a train of standing waves as the whole river made an obvious drop. I could see Sam and Calita already on shore as I struggled the last 10 ft, dog in hand.

    At first I was stunned at how quickly things turned sour. Canoe #1 pitch poled off to the horizon as Jamie was still in the water struggling with freeing his dry bag from the submerged cross bar. In the meanwhile Cody the dog was on the other side of the river as we watched him jump back in to join us. I raced 200meters down the boulder-strewn sandbar at pace with the current as I yelled to Jamie “The dog! The dog!” as Cody made it to shore.

    Luckily we were only 1 kilometer from the trucks so we sprinted upstream, then drove 5k downstream, parked, ran through the woods and then huge, open sandbar. I could see the tops of waves in the hazy distance. We hit the river and ran downstream another kilometer. There was our boat, pinned upside down on the bottom, on the other side of three deep, fast, cold channels.

    I was responsible for the borrowed boat so I had to navigate, claw and swim my way across the river. I got to the boat after some real Navy Seal maneuvering! As I began prying her loose from the suction and weight of the water, I realized that the river had beaten her badly. No seats, no gunnels, no throw-bag, no paddles, just a floppy fiberglass hull. I hiked upstream and pushed into the torrent and free-styled through a wave train that carried me across to the other shore as Jamie tossed me a line made of tie-downs tied together and a stick for weight. The line came up just short as I speed crawled from the intact stern to the fractured bow and into the water with bow in one hand and now the rope in the other as I swung like a pendulum to shore.

    For Sammy’s boat we decided to search upstream to where the first shallow braids might catch a canoe. We found it about 2 kilometers upstream from our boat. It was stuck in a similar scenario except with deeper and faster currents.

    Jamie took to the lead and committed to powerful forward strokes to get across the main channel. This boat was equally as mangled with gunnels and seats hanging limp and broken. This canoe was constructed out of plastic and it began to ‘taco’ because the gunnels were part of the structure apparently. Because of this ‘taco’ effect and its accompanying extreme instability, Jamie decided to swim across with a line in his hand connected to the canoe trailing downstream from him.

    He came whizzing by me and my out reached stick. Sammy again had to use our jimmy rigged safety line and hauled Jamie to the shore. But the boat slipped from his grasp and began running down stream again as I had to sprint along the shore another 100meters and wade out into waist deep water to finally salvage our lost vessel. The time was 4pm.

    We made our way to the trucks to sit in the sun, drink a couple of warm beers and reflect on potential lessons learned.

  2. #177
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Birkenhead Packraft Trip

    My knee was still sore from our botched Lilloet River expedition. I had banged it pretty good as I crab crawled across the current trying to save the canoe. Not to be beaten though, I decided to try the Birkenhead River with Bougie. Our mode of transportation would be the pack raft.

    Imagine a little kiddie raft built for one person. Now imagine that basic design constructed out of reinforced Kevlar with a spray skirt and a carbon fiber paddle. They are pretty nimble and light. I have never really done any kayaking or rafting. I had done mellow canoeing, Lilloet trip aside.

    Bougie was optimistic in my abilities and our route. The Birkenhead flowed right past our house just outside Pemberton. He pickled me up in the afternoon and figured that the trip would only take a couple of hours. The lower bit is smooth Class I and the middle section is up to Class III. Bougie had a little guidebook in his lap as we negotiated under the power lines right of ways looking for our access point.

    He wanted to catch the very last section of Class IV and was confident that I could do it. I was nervous. The river seemed to be more rock then water. It had about one tenth the volume of the Lilloet River, but from what I could see, this was way steeper. Bougie had two of these little boats and we both squeezed in and pushed from shore. It was actually more of a pulling motion as I gripped on the rocks with my hands and scooted my butt through the super tight channels. I did not even have a chance to practice paddling before the first five foot drop. It was exhilarating! I paddled and dashed from channel to channel barely in control.

    Bougie dropped over another cliff and I followed close on his stern. We hit drop after drop as we came around a bend and saw a stairway feature of drops spiraling away to the distance. I was right on Bougie’s tail as we plunged over 1, 2, 3, 4 cliffs in a row. On the fifth drop there was a he log across the river about 2 feet off the surface. Bougie pulled off a smooth ducking motion and cleanly avoided hitting his head. I struggled to do the same maneuver but ended up over leaning and flipped backwards right in the crux of the waterfall. The bottom of the boat hit the log as I dove out and came to the surface,

    I attempted in vain to hang onto the one paddle and the boat and swim at the same time. My coat pockets filled with water and I clawed at the cliffs along the waters edge and had to let the boat and paddle go. I climbed up on the boulder like a near drowned rat. As Bougie power stroked downstream to catch my ride I was left barefoot and alone on the wrong side of the river.

    I first tried to walk through the woods but that did not work on my soft feet. The boulders along the stream were large and slippery. My only option was to jump back in and swim across to the other side where the road was so I could walk on pavement.
    After about 20 minutes we were reunited. I got back in my boat and Bougie reassured me that we had come through the worst of it and it turns out he was right.

    The rest of the trip was awesome as we rode over wave after wave for 2 hours straight. Nothing was too scary but it was still challenging.

    Right at the last 50 meters of the river before our pull out, there were three young 1st nation guys sitting on the beach. One of them jumped up and ran into the water and dove right in front of Bougie. He stood there drunk and cross-eyed and grabbed Bougie’s boat and told us “No white people here.”

    He made a fist menacingly. I thought “yeah right these drunk guys are going to stop us after the challenges we already surpassed.” He came to me and I shook his hand and told him that I knew it was his river and I asked permission to go through. He said yes only if I bought him some beer. I agreed and he let us go. We loaded in the car and drove away.

  3. #178
    Join Date
    May 2008
    North to Alaska

    I started driving at 4am on the morning of February 6, 2008. I drove for 18 hours straight from Pemberton, BC to Prince Rupert, BC. The last 3 hours from Terrace to Rupert were the worse. It was snowing harder then I had seen it snow in a while. With my dog Po as my co-pilot, I was road buzzed from driving solo for so long but was still keeping a good time, though I did almost go off the road in the slush just out side of Rupert. My flat deck truck was loaded to the gills with my snowmobile and my entire ski-building factory. I was going to get on the ferry and ride north to Haines, AK. From there I planned on driving to Anchorage where I would stay at my parents house for three months so I could build and sell Carpathian Skis. Carpathian Peak is the biggest peak in the area so I named my ski company after it. I also was planning on competing in three world championship events on my own gear at Alyeska Resort. It was an epic homecoming and I was excited.

    With the first stage of my journey complete, I could relax for a couple of days on the ferry. It is a scenic voyage and I enjoyed the spirit of adventure. It seemed ironic that I was this Alaskan native with so much experience actually in Alaska but here I was no feeling like a green horn, rolling into new territory.

    It was cold outside Juneau. Normally on the ocean the temperature is somewhat moderated, even in the winter it never will get too cold. This was different though as it was –25C and blowing hard as we chugged north to Haines. From Haines I would be stepping into the most hazardous stage of the journey. Outside of Haines, Alaska you cross the border back into BC and climb up to Haines Pass. As you descend the other side of the pass you cross another border into the Yukon. You are also going into the interior side of the Coast Range where the temperature drops precipitously. I was nervous as I departed Haines around 7am. I knew I was ‘going deep’ so to speak, but I was up to the challenge.

    My main concern was my diesel truck. I had bad experiences in northern Saskatchewan with my work truck gelling up once it hit –40 Celsius. Right now it was –35 in Haines Junction, Yukon. I still had summer fuel in my truck and I knew that in Haines Junction they would sell cold weather diesel. As I descended the pass the temp dropped and my truck started to act up. It sneaks up on you. The gas pedal feels a little sluggish and she kind of stalls out a bit. Soon it stalls more and more then picks up again like there is no problem. I can feel the fear rising in my gut because I am in the middle of nowhere. There are not even people to hitch with on this spur highway and if I don’t get to town before the border closes at the end of the day, I am stuck.

    I limped into Haines Junction and found a gas station. Apparently the temperature was dropping and no one was outside as I fiddled with the fuel pump. I could not get it to work. The gas attendant person told me that I was the first customer to use it for the day and that I would have to hold it in front of my idling exhaust pipe to thaw the pump mechanism.

    Sure enough, after a few minutes of choking on exhaust, the pump would flow and I thought I was saved. I topped her up and started for the Alaska border some 300 miles north. This stretch is bleak with the mountains on your left and the cold interior plains on your right. It was deceiving though. The sun was out and it looked nice out from the heated confines of my truck cab. But when I stopped to take breaks of the side of the road, it quickly became clear that it was very fucking cold. I sensed that it might be colder then –40 but I was not sure. The truck was driving all right and I was going to make it home that night. Five minutes later the truck starts acting up. She feels sluggish in forth gear so I downshift and keep driving. Soon she is sluggish and stalling in 3rd so I drop to 2nd, then 1st. I am crawling on the side of the empty highway at walking speed and I am still 200 miles from the town of Beaver Creek, located right at the border.

    Po is looking at me like he knows we are in trouble and he cowers next to me, slightly shaking. The truck dies. I don’t get out of the truck so as to preserve what tiny amount of heat I have trapped in the cab. I feel like crying at this point. A minute later I start the truck and resume walking speed. The fuel lines run past the engine and they will thaw if giving enough time near the engine heat. She stalls again. I wait five minutes and start crawling again. I know it is futile but like a good captain I do not want to abandon ship.

    She stalls again and this time will not start. I have to hitch hike. It was about noon and there is usually a car or truck going by every half an hour. I stick my thumb out and get picked up by the first car. Everyone knows that if anyone needs help out here you had better offer assistance.

    We left my truck and drove for two hours to the tiny border town of Beaver Creek. Not really a town but more like a motel, and gas station. I get dropped off near a couple of abandoned looking garages after the gas station person told me this is where the tow truck is. The place is sketchy and looks like it was last renovated in the fifties. I call the number and an old lady answered. She told me that her husband was out on a job but would be back in a couple of hours.

    I go back to the gas station/motel and ask for a room. The guy starts lecturing me on why I am driving out there. “Don’t you know it is –55C out there? Not even the locals are driving! Blah, blah, blah.”

    I got comfortable with the TV in the weird room I was in and waited for the call.
    The next day was Sunday and the guy “would not go out until 10am to get my truck,” he told me. I waited all the next day and walked over to the garage around 4pm. They had my truck but she did not want to start. I guess it got down to –70C the last night, ushering in the coldest spell of the winter. I remember using the old pull start method back in Saskatchewan and sure enough she roared to life, like being resurrected from the dead.
    Problem was that the heater did not work because it was frozen or something but I had to go anyway. The guy charged me $500 for the tow truck and bid me farewell. It was the warmest part of the day and oddly enough it felt balmy at –40C.

  4. #179
    Join Date
    May 2008
    After taking 6 days to get to Anchorage, everything else felt easy. The Telepalooza 1st Annual World Extreme Telemark Championships almost caught me off guard. It was all right though, because with telemark boots these days and these super fat skis I was rocking, I figured that I would just ski the terrain that you could not telemark turn in anyway. I got away with it for the first day. I aimed for the heart of the ‘no fall zone’ as a confident alpine skier.

    My first run was a super gnarly first descent and my second run I went bigger then ever before in my life with a 20-80ft double. I ended up in 5th place, as unfortunately the judges did not count Run 2 because some guy hurt himself and the last 10 guys did not get to ski so my score did not count.

    In Day 2 of the Tele comp I was confident that I had a secret weapon. Everyone was poking around ‘the Prow’ area as I figured on going over into the ‘Postal Pocket’ area for better snow and longer steep sections. Right at the top of the run I piled into a chest deep fresh snow drift and front flipped right back to my feet and sent the slab rolling down ‘Christmas Chute’. The judges totally saw me roll as I made alpine turns down the lower, mellow terrain. I fell from 5th place to 25th.

    Two days later the North Face sponsored Big Mountain Snowboard Masters comp began. It was fun because I could get on the lift and not have to talk to the telemark skiers anymore. Up until this point in my building season, I had constructed 19 pairs of skis. The day before the snowboard comp started I finished my first snowboard. This thing was as stiff as a 2x6 but she had clean lines. I am barely managing to turn this thing and end up in 11th overall at the end of it. Either says something about my riding or something of the state of snowboarding…

    By now, according to my plan, I would be so immersed in competition mode that by the time the IFSA event came along I would have a mental advantage over the other guys. At first I was struck by the cult like qualities of the IFSA in general. Or more specifically if felt like a positive ‘spiritual group for athletes’. Compared to the two previous competitions I had just participated in, the IFSA definitely has a longer history, which leads to more ‘unity’, and an over all family feel. In the introduction meeting we were reminded to celebrate life and remember the people who had died doing what we all loved to do, which is rip big mountain lines. Tomorrow would be the one-year anniversary of Neal Valiton’s death in the Tignes World Championship event, so we all wanted to ski safe.

    The next day the clouds were in and out but the skies remained mostly sunny. I was 5th from the end of a strong field of 75 male competitors. I had several hours to hike around on the venue to scope lines and watch other skiers. I could also hear the announcers at the bottom so I knew which skiers scored well on which lines. All I can say is that dudes were charging. I cringed a couple of times as there were several close calls coupling speed with exposure. There were a lot of tomahawks and you could tell that that some skiers were probably skiing faster then they ever had before on the long, steep, smooth run-out.

    I eventually hiked up to the start right when John Nicoletta was charging into his line. I did not know who he was at the time. A moment later I noticed the group of ski patrollers nearby perking up to their radios in unison. A couple of them skied into the venue quickly then a minute later the rescue sled was dispatched from the top. Word was that they were performing CPR. A helicopter appeared soon thereafter and landed briefly then took off again without loading anyone. That is not good sign, I thought to myself. A few minutes later the organizers called off the event for the day.

    John Nicoletta had died soon after sustaining severe head and chest injuries after rag-dolling right in the same spot I had watched those close calls earlier in the day. In the evening we were informed officially of his death. We were also told that the event would continue the next day following an early morning memorial at the top of the venue. I still felt kind of numb. I was not sure how the emotions would set in. I was not sure what to think.

    We all hiked slowly and silently up the steep head wall boot-pack. At the top we were greeted by a stunning clear vista of all of the surrounding mountains of the mighty Chugach and the lesser-known Kenai Range to the south. These are my favorite mountains in the world. I grew up hiking from peak to peak trying to forever expand my vision of the area. The views compelled me to do so. As I stood there I realized that I had climbed every single peak that you could see at one time or another over the previous 12 years.

    It was not the loving memories of John’s friends that piqued my emotions. It was standing there in the familiar trance that the stunning view evokes. I suddenly felt extreme sadness for John’s family and friends but I felt more sadness for John who would never get to look across these mountains again.

    After the memorial everyone who had skied the day before the accident got a free run down to the bottom while the remaining competitors, myself included, had to get back into competition mode. It all seemed silly. The only reason I skied was because I said I was doing all three comps come hell or high water, so I felt I had to.

    The snow had changed but I stuck with my line. After an air I skidded a turn, flipped backwards but then managed to regain control in mid flip. I slashed two turns into a nice, long, low air into fresh powder and sunlight. I ended up in 54th place. I retired from 10 years competitive big-mountain skiing at the end of that run.

    The week before the competitions started there was fund-raiser for my old friend Fred Bull. As it turns out he had been battling a rare form of brain cancer for several years and was in need of money to complete his third operation. The doctors had been removing chunks of his brain in hopes of stopping its spread. Fred was there and I had not seen him in several years. He was as jovial as ever and about 300 people from the ski community showed up to support one of their own.

    He was the one who literally instilled a sense of awe and respect for the Chugach Mountains in general and specifically, Carpathian Peak, the namesake of my company. It struck me as crazy that here I was trying to sell these skis while trying kill myself by skiing huge cliffs and showing off for the judges and here is my old friend dying of cancer. I really believed the surgery was going to work and I was taken in by his contagious lust for life, as it was 10 years ago when I first met him. Fred was so happy to see that I was building skis but he refused the pair I had brought as a gift for him. He preferred that I auctioned them off with the other stuff being auctioned to raise money.

    After two weeks of being in ‘competition mode’ I was burnt out. My lovely and supportive wife, Vesna, and I went on a nice sailing trip into Prince William Sound then we made our way over to Valdez for a few snow mobile runs and then eventually back to Haines, where the ferry awaited to take us south to Prince Rupert and Whistler.

    Fred and I never did ski Carpathian Peak and I have not to this day. It is kind of like the carrot on the stick but is also a place for gods and men turned to the heavens. Fred’s last goal of his life was to finish building a house for his wife and unborn daughter. They were living in Seattle where Fred was getting treatment and Fred knew he had to finish the house sooner then later. He did finish the house and his daughter was born a month later. Fred died one week after that.

  5. #180
    Join Date
    May 2008
    The Power of Perception.

    I like trying to capture various aspects of quantum theory on canvas.

    Click image for larger version. 

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  6. #181
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Franti Concert

    It was time to go, the party was over, the people were leaving. How did we get there? It does not matter because the way out is completely different.

    Four hours earlier… The warm evening sun dappled through the tall majestic trees of Stanley Park. It was a beautiful day in late August. We arranged our blanket on the grassy hillside with all of the other eager concert goers. We were here to see Michael Franti and it was going to rock!

    The outdoor venue filled up fast with an assorted crowd and good vibes were in the air. The sky turned to purple dusk and the stage lights now shined bright.

    The concert started. We moved forward into the crowd. Everyone was happy and friendly and mostly Canadian as the beats started thumping.

    “That guy is tall,” I would think as Franti rapped and rocked about this and that. The music rumbled and the crowd loved it. By about the 4th song the sky was dark and the air was thick and muggy with patchouli and THC smoke. The first set was awesome! We took a break and sooner then later the band was back out on stage and then they cut the lights. Soon there was 1, 2, 10 then 1000’s of lighters shining in the warm night air. The song was languid and guttural and drawn out like good sex.

    I watched the crowd transfixed by the sea of light and it looked like a rolling sea of flesh blending with the music and aroma. The tempo began to build. A rain drop hit my nose. Then another. Within 10 seconds the sky unleashed a downpour of rain water as the band ratcheted things up about 1000 times. I was impressed. This show could not have been choreographed any better assuming full cooperation from the heavens.

    The stage lights blazed with Franti in stark silhouette getting drenched. I felt like I was immersed in a bad ass rock video as the people danced around like they were literally insane. We probably all were. The rain kept up hard for 3-4 songs and the band never missed a beat. I recall the guitar guys moving back under cover while Franti stayed out front and the energy intensified.

    The rain slowed down. The mud squished in between our toes and the legs grew tired from 3 hours of ‘hippy shuffling’ as I call it. Last song, time to go.

    We were in deep. Downtown Vancouver on LSD and we had to get out of the city and safely back home to Pemberton, an hour and half north. When you leave Stanley park it can be a rude adjustment. One loop through the forest leads to another and the hapless concert goers are thrust back into the general population. Pender, Cambie, Georgia… all streets I don’t like.

    We were driving on the periphery of downtown into the heart of downtown as we needed to loop into the city to make a turn around to get back on the Lions Gate Bridge. There is an intersection at Pender and Cordova maybe, where the road branches off on long angles like the peace signs we were waving about just 20 minutes earlier. We had to go left through the intersection but the stop lights were sooo far away. And the street signals…!

    They alternate lanes based on traffic flow one way or the other depending on the time of day. Red X’s and Green Arrows blinking and shimmering in the cacophony bright lights. I made the intersection cleanly, turn left, turn left, turn left again then turn right… we were heading out of the city! We passed the concert venue on our right and passed through the tall trees of Stanley Park proper.

    A few minutes later we emerged from the canopy of forest and began to climb the mighty architecture of the Lions Gate Bridge. We had one lane of Green Arrows going our way with about 2” of clearance between oncoming traffic on the left and the guard rail on the right. So badly I wanted to look out over the city lights and watch them dance and shout but Vesna would shout, “Eyes on the road!”

    The bridge was coming to an end and I was heading due east. There was a key off ramp that we could not afford to miss and as we spiraled around a full 270 deg I completely lost all internal reference markers as to which direction we were traveling until I saw a sign that indicated we were Whistler bound.

    I was tired and wanted to get home fast and was pushing maybe 10% over the speed limit of 100kph. I was soon passed by a FedEx van that was going way faster, like in the 140kph range. I was determined to keep pace with this guy as he was our pace car and our decoy and our savior. As we blasted up the highway my favorite part was how the speed trap signs would top out at 150 kph and just start blinking. We arrived home in Pemberton in record time.

  7. #182
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Mount Currie Traverse

    Spring is long upon us here in Smithers, BC. Vesna is approximately 8 and half months along and we half expect the baby any day. I have been busy for the last month building on our soon to be home. Each day seems to be warmer and warmer as we are also becoming more excited to have this baby and get on with a new chapter in this adventure called life.

    Smithers always seems to be a place of reflection for me. A back eddy from the mainstream current pulsing in more high traffic regions. It stands in contrast to the amped up atmosphere of Whistler and the Lower Mainland in general and even though the area is pumped up from huge cash flow and extreme sport, there is still some room for the remnants of the spirit world as told through the stories of the local first nation people.

    From our lawn, JJ would point up to the bulk of Mt Currie and the connecting horizon line that circles Gravell Creek and connects around to the Bastion, the mountain I had earlier climbed and skied solo. Apparently Mt Currie is a spiritual power place, as it should be, towering 7000feet about Pemberton, Valley. The local tribes would send young men up into the drainage to go on their spirit quest because it is a nexus, or intersection between this world and the world of unseen shadows you only half glimpse ducking behind a tree when you turn to look.

    Every time I looked around in appreciation of the Pemberton and Whistler area, I was reminded of the helicopter crash and how we immediately moving south to run away. I remember one of the first hot days of the following summer when we went swimming at Lost Lake. I was out a ways from shore and all of the sudden a helicopter flew over the area and I felt a panic start to rise in my gut. I didn’t want to seize up and drown here in this lake that would be silly.

    Later when Pete’s wife called and blamed me for his death and relinquished his spirit name from me I did not know what to think. All I knew is that it was ironic that his spirit name was ‘Great Swimming Wolf.’ Was my spirit jarred from my body, leaving me hollow and void of emotion? Or was I finally looking at the world through my own spirit eyes, free of subjective interpretation?

    Ryan Bougie and I were up at 5am. We had to get an early start in order to beat the heat as we power climbed straight up the broad treed shoulder of Mt Currie’s NE flank. At 7:30am we were 4000ft up above the scenic Pemberton Valley. The Lilloet River stretched west and the Birkenhead curved away to the north from our vantage. At tree line we took to dodging the sun in the very last scraps of shade we would see for the day. As it turns out, this would be the hottest day of the year with temperatures breaking 40C in the valley. It seemed like the higher we climbed, the heat followed, licking at our heels as we managed to stay one step ahead.

    We ascended the glacier that spills off Mt Curries North Bowl. There were a couple of crevasse crossings that made me nervous. We were able to divert on to the adjacent mossy cliffs around the gaping blue holes. We sat and took a breather and I remembered hearing a story from my friend Ryan back in Alaska.

    He had gone out on a day trip with the objective of climbing Byron Peak, just south of Girdwood in Portage Valley. The easiest way to get up the mountain is to climb straight up Byron Glacier 2000ft to a obvious col. From there you have another 1500 feet of exposed ridge up to the summit. I had only climbed the peak once but clearly remember a couple of technical moves where you could not fall.

    It did not matter because they never made it that far. Ryan and his friend, Ben from Maine, were cruising up the glacier with no ropes but using crampons. In the summer you can see all the crevasses so you can at least see where not to go. They were climbing up the last steep pitch when Ben’s crampon got caught up in his pant leg and he started tumbling and he rolled about 100 feet before smacking into a gaping crevasse in which he slid down into some 30 feet. Ryan hurried back down the pitch to see his friend wedged in tightly. He even went so far as to down climb with one foot on each side of the crack and stem his way down to his friend.

    Ben was conscious and hurt and he knew it. His head was cracked open and he told Ryan that he knew he was going to die. Ryan tried with all of his might to dislodge Ben but to no avail. He told Ryan to go and run to the parking lot for help and they said their goodbyes. By time the rescue party made it to the scene, he was dead.

    Bougie and I had to continue. The day was young and we had a long way to go. We ended up hitting the summit after five and a half hours of speed hiking. It was a spectacular view but we could not dawdle. By my calculations we still had another 10 hours of technical ridge climbing ahead of us to complete the circuit.

    The descent off of the peak of Currie was crazy. The ridge narrowed to maybe 2 feet wide with 3000ft sheer drop under our left side and only 1500 feet on the right. After a few scary moves we were into the heart of the journey. There is point along any treacherous path referred to as ‘the point of no return.’ It is place in space or time where you can only go forward and you can’t deviate, even if you wanted to. 3000ft below us was the sacred headwaters of local lore and here we were climbing above the place of spirits into the realm of the gods.

    The ridge broadened into a rolling plateau. It was a desert like landscape with no water, no wind. Only silence and endless vistas as our feet kept moving from stone to stone. Occasionally the ridge would narrow and jumble into huge blocky steps as we negotiated each crux with a deep breath or maybe a nervous joke about our escape options, because we knew that we had none. We would have to take what the mountain threw at us.

    The thing about technical ridge travel is that there are always more ups and downs then you might expect. After Currie we negotiated ten more sub peaks, each a mountain in its own right. The 7th or 8th peak looked daunting. It rose in a sharp fang with three sides falling away vertical. Luckily there was an odd geomorphic feature that appeared as a chalky colored diagonal slash across one of the near vertical faces. It was our only option and proved barely manageable. Like always we were traveling without ropes so small technical moves can have huge consequences. We nimbly maneuvered across the loose minefield of boulders that were perched, ready to let loose for 2000ft to the valley below.

    Every step is life or death and you have to be in a state of relaxed concentration. We made it across the face to only come across another crux. The hard summer snow had held tight to the ridge as we squeezed between it and the wet bedrock. At one point we had to come out of the safety behind the ice to negotiate across precarious placed rocks over full exposure. Or rather 150 feet of super steep summer snow that I could imagine my finger claw marks skidding down and into oblivion.

    There was a two-foot section of ice leading to a boulder with a small depression that had melted at its base. The move was this: Stretch with all commitment and lean first hand across to solid boulder then step right foot across and into depression leaving body in full down hill facing position. We then had to step the left foot and hop at the same time to slide into mini depression while clinging to the boulder at same time. Finally there was a three-foot boulder move to climb the rock and scramble back on to the ridge. Not pretty but it worked.

    We crested the ridge and promptly saw that we could have easily avoided the death-defying move if we had gone through a previously unseen notch. Such is life! We ran down the summer snow with reckless abandon, careening and cart wheeling all the way. We had three more peaks to go but they were all technically easy considering what we had come through.

    By the end of it I was tired. The sole of my shoe was coming unglued as we slipped and skidded through the forest trying to find the cut block and our salvation. As the last rays of the hottest day of the year shined horizontally through the trees in our face we ran the last kilometer to the waiting truck.

  8. #183
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Pemberton Music Festival

    There was much anticipation leading up to the 1st annual Pemberton Music Festival. Pemberton is a sleepy farming community of about 2500 people located 20 km north of Whistler, BC. While Whistler gets all of the hype Pemberton residents enjoy cheaper real estate and small town vibe with hardly a trickle of the tourism numbers that Whistler sees.

    As the long weekend approached in late July over 40,000 people from near and far would be clearing their calendars and descending upon a small town that was not altogether confident that they could handle the sheer numbers.

    While the event itself was to be held on 300 acre sprawling acres of fertile farm land with stunning views of Mt. Currie, visitors were going to have to park several mile away and school buses would be used to shuttle the people to and from the festivities. It was almost guaranteed to be a cluster fuck while Vesna and I were stoked be living just 5 km north, within easy striking distance on bike.

    99% of the estimated 40,000 people that were going to arrive would do so from the south, from Vancouver and beyond. Sure enough, on the Friday morning things were going to kick off, we rode our bikes and slid in the back entrance only to hear that the traffic was backed up to the south over 20 km, all the way through Whistler! We were in a ready to party!

    The line up included The Flaming Lips, Cold Play, Tom Petty, Jay Z, Tragically Hip, Crystal Method, MSTRKRFT, DeadMaus, Nine Inch Nails, Matisyahu and Wolf Mother among others. I had always been a fan of Nine Inch Nails since high school and Vesna really wanted to see The Hip. We both agreed we wanted to see Tom Petty. Besides that we were just going to roll with the flow and see where the action took us.

    Jay Z gave a weird performance with him rap yelling while holding a guitar and not really playing it. Matisyahu gave a surprise quality show as we had never heard of him before. We danced away into the late evening sun as long cool shadows cut across the valley. It had been hot and dusty during the day and the dropping temperature was appreciated.

    Wolf Mother was cool and The Flaming Lips were like some kind of circus act with bubble machines and robots and huge beach balls bouncing around the audience.

    Tom Petty was due to play at 9pm on the Saturday night main stage. We knew from the night before that after the main stage shut down at 11pm every single person was going to try and get into the ‘Rave Tent’. It was by the far the largest portable tent structure I have ever seen. It was tucked towards the back of the main fair grounds and the party would roll on until 2 or 3 in the morning.

    We had to make a decision; stay outside and watch Tom Petty, a true rock legend live and in concert! Or go to the Rave Tent early and lose our minds to some heavy electric dance beats… Last dance with mary jane or stay up all night with Molly?!

    We opted for the EDM and the guaranteed good time. We arrived to the tent early, like awkwardly early. The only people in the secure rave compound were security guards and serious tweekers… and us lol. The tent was maybe 300ft long and 98% empty. There was some generic techno playing but no real DJ. We checked out the huge rows of porta potties and then found a weird little food court. It was more like a sad collection of street vendors huddled in the confines of a chainlink fence.

    There were maybe 8 or 10 picnic tables and 20-30 people hanging around on various drugs. It was kind of a gross scene but I eventually yielded to temptation and bought a pulled pork sandwich that I was convinced would give me Ebola or some shit.

    While eating the pork I noticed a couple of people had moved a picnic table over near the 8ft tall wooden fence. They were standing on the table and watching Tom Petty! Sure he was a ways off but with the Jumbotron and huge speakers we could clearly see and hear everything. How awesome!

    The Rave Tent was not supposed to get going until 11pm when MSTRKRFT would start the show followed by The Crystal Method at 1am. It was now about 10pm and we had a good way to kill and hour. Soon there were more people in the food court and we were all lined up along the fence enjoying the show.

    We could see clearly over the heads of the people who were quickly stacking up to get inside the Tent. It was one of those huge line ups where the people stand 10 abreast and it ran down the whole length of fence we were looking over. It was separated by a 20 foot buffer space. Some of the people in the line started yelling at us to leave so that they could come in. There was some dance music going on while Petty had only 10 minutes left. The Rave Tent had filled quickly in the last hour.

    They would have to understand… they did not understand! Soon the people surged and the 1st fence fell to the under trampling feet. Security pushed us back off the table and took our position so they could defend the castle. I managed into a good spot where I could watch the chaos of people trying to scale the fence down the line.

    Just when things were getting crazy we scampered inside in time to see a guy scale the fence right behind the porta-potties. He sprinted into the tent so happy because he thought he made it then from out of no where a huge security guard cloths-lined the guy and took him away.

    The Tent was pumping now! Of course everyone wanted to get in there, it was the heartbeat of the whole event. Through the previous 2 days you could always hear the ubiquitous ‘thump, thump, thump’ of the heavy beats being pumped into the fertile soil of Pemberton Valley. And now we were in it!

    30ft tall speakers lined the stage and clusters of 20ft tall speakers hanged form the ceiling adorned with flashing light arrays. Everything was covered in lights. Fluorescent pinks and blues and yellows and reds bumped and pulsated with the rhythm and beat.

    Early on we pushed to the front to be nearest the music, though the room was over flowing. There were various joints and bottles of booze being passed around as you could see the music vibrate through the smoke. MSTRKRFT was a pretty fun act. It is made of a duo with one guy acting all serious and keeping the music going while the other guy was all sweaty and shiny and chugging from a bottle og whiskey and throwing his hair around. It was obviously rehearsed but effective, the party was raging now!

    But my ears were ringing. I felt like we were missing the forest for the trees. We moved back through the crowd. Towards the back of the room there was a set of stairs that led up to a mezzanine level. Crystal Method had just taken the stage. We emerged into the light and could now gaze across the top of every ones heads. All of the individuals were now a unified mass that was writhing under the lights. We had been part of the crowd now we were above it, on another plane so to speak.

    Now, I am finally writing this story down for the first time though I may have verbally told it over 20 times. I’ll never forget the scene. Vesna laughs because I act like we witnessed some historical music experience of our generation. The bass had stopped and the snare tempo was accelerating. As it accelerated the choreographed light show also accelerated. “Where is the bass?!! This is crazy!” The strobe lights were now going so fast that it appeared that the crowd was frozen as the music had transcended time and space.

    We were so in it that it was no longer there. And then a distant memory began to take form and I wondered, “How could the bass even drop now? We are too high! It can’t reach us… But drop it did.

    I imagined a giant with enormous wooden mallets deciding to rain hellfire down upon all of us and smash our feeble minds to oblivion. And I knew that was the climax of the entire weekend. We were in it. We saw it. It would be all downhill from here I thought as we mounted our bikes and pedaled home in the wee hours.

    The next day we were slow moving to go anywhere. We made it down to the festival ground by about 2pm. The crowds were thinning, the mood had shifted. There were no security guards at the gates any more. The sky was grey, the wind blew dust in billowing clouds. We wandered around catching a few mellow acts here and there. All acts from this day forth would seem mellow compared to last night.

    I looked over to the Rave Tent. It was silent now, its story had been told.

    All of the people who camped in the fair grounds were leaving. By the late afternoon the only thing left was a sea of abandoned tents and coolers and trash. It was the most depressing apocalyptic hangover I have witnessed. Vesna was keen to salvage some stuff but was reluctant. So many lawn chairs to choose from.

    It was sickening to see such waste. I didn’t know people would buy so much stuff and just leave it?

    The electric beats ran through my head all day everyday for the following two weeks. We would drive to work past the festival grounds and watch as it was slowly cleaned and soon there was no sign that it ever was.

  9. #184
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Whistler Film Festival

    As the 2007 Whistler Film festival draws to a close, I sit and reflect on the events of the weekend and watch the snow pile high…

    I knew there might be trouble around 9am on Saturday morning en route to Base 2 from our house out on Reid Road, 3km past Mt. Currie. We were just passing Green Lake when my wife’s cell phone went off three consecutive times from random ‘long lost friends in town who wanted to party’. I became concerned when I then realized that I did not bring a change of clothes for an evening in Whistler. That is a bummer because as it was, we already had plans to go to an outdoor bonfire sort of thing down at the RV park.

    We live far enough out of town such that when you go to town, you bring everything you might need. I was prepared for the mountains not the bar, but I would have to make due.

    The skiing was all right. It was clear and cold and I was testing a new pair of skis I had recently constructed myself. I made a few laps on Jersey Cream while diagnosing and critiquing the performance of my new rides. To tell the truth, they kind of sucked. They were too stiff, slight railing in one ski, slight asymmetry in the other etc, etc. They sure looked nice though and I was stoked. It was a beautiful day so I spent a couple of hours hiking around chasing powder.

    After skiing we went to Meadow Park Rec Center to ‘clean up’ and kill time until our first social engagement of the evening. I tell ya, there is nothing better at killing the post-sauna buzz then coming back to your locker and opening the door to be greeted by a rush of damp sickly air poring out. I think it literally fell to the locker room floor and oozed out into the pool only to dye it red like they tell little kids if they pee in the pool. OK, maybe not that bad, but either way the socks were the worse, offering no relief to my thoroughly water logged feet. So I went sockless in wet shoes.

    I was complaining loudly now and would have been happy to rush home to warm slippers. I also wanted to avoid any awkward situations that seemed inevitable. But alas, I am but a social recluse for the most part and my wife, who is a growing Whistler socialite, was all too suspicious that I was looking for an easy out. She then pulled out a nice warm pair of socks from deep in the car trunk. So now I had socks and if anything I could stay outside at the bonfire while she partied on to more intimate and enclosed venues.

    5 minutes later we are at the RV Park and as it turns out the bonfire thing is cancelled and there goes my last chance to at least borrow a clean shirt when the phone rings and we are off to the GLC! Okay, if I can just keep this beast of a poly pro under a couple of layers everything will be all right. All along I was all too aware of the unspoken social rules followed by the apres ski crowd and people in general.

    #1) Wearing ski boots and perhaps aromatic ski gear is accepted if and only if you skied to the bars doorstep. If you have to drive, take your boots off at least. If the bar scene looks like it is going to carry on into the night, don’t stay. Go home, shower, change clothes and then go back. I would say that you can get away with the après ski thing until 6pm at the latest. We were pushing 10pm. The GLC was cool though, no close contact with strangers and some independent short films to watch. I was basically drunk by 11:30pm when the crew decided to hop next door to some ‘lounge/photographer shin dig’ sort of thing. Although this event was the most specific of events I wanted avoid for the evening, it seemed it was my fate, nay, My destiny to really see what the night had in store for me as I pushed the limits of proper social behavior.

    We slipped in the back patio door right as an auctioneer was calling out numbers on many several beautiful still photos blown up to poster size. Each one was going for a couple of hundred dollars and all proceeds were going to charity. See this is great! The people are stoked, good vibes in the air. I actually felt like we had inadvertently tapped into a vein of this elusive Whistler community only long time locals talk about.

    The auction is over, the DJ is pumping out beats and I am feeling good. My wife comes over and introduces me to some guy in along fur coat. I can’t hear is name as he kicks my feet and I realize that he is Feet Banks. Feet is perhaps one of Whistlers most famous (self named?) celebrities. He is well spoken, creative, witty and observant. From what I gather he could be the coolest guy in town and as we talk some drunken politics for less then 1minute he seems to be quite friendly. I was taking mental notes that this might be the closest I would even get to meeting ole HS Thompson himself.

    Feet gets sucked back into the crowd and I am left with the glow of his presence—no! The presence of Whistler embodied or maybe it was just the Christmas spirit. So we danced. The music was awesome and as I shed inhibitions I also shed some layers. I absorbed the funk and my funk was absorbed into the crowd. I didn’t care though, I figured if I just moved around strategically I could make it seem like it was some other guy. You know, look around in disgust just when you think someone is on to you.

    Moments later Feet comes back and he is holding a drink in my direction and yelling into my wife’s ear. I can’t hear anything and as I take the apparent gin and tonic, Feet yells something in my direction and then disappears as I take a swig. It is ice water and it tastes delicious as I yell/ask “What did he say?” My wife, who loves me no matter what, yells back, “He says, YOUSTINK!”

    I finish the water quickly in a vain attempt to sober up if not assess the situation. I felt like one of the victim’s of one of Paris Hiltons scathing cut downs in her recent National Lampoon debut. I have to go outside. I get my coat and wish that I had heard what the little bugger had said when he said it. I should have thrown the water in his face and then smashed the glass on his beanie and start one of those bar room brawls you always wish you could be in. I knew I was outnumbered. I figured I could take Feet and Chili together but I knew the crowd was on his side.

    And besides, what he says is true. I pushed the limits and got spanked. As I sat outside looking at the clear night sky I thought about getting a haircut, maybe shaving more then once a week. What do they say? Prior Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance.

    I was the dirty dude sitting outside watching the party through the window and even though I wanted to shed a tear I had to laugh! I could not be hurt or confused. I could only marvel at the symmetry by which the universe operates. I guess my stink was to such a frequency that the higher echelons of the social structure had to respond. A call from on high, if you will.

    Anyway, I drove home drunk and fast, so as to minimize my time on the roads while I blamed my wife, then the universe, then eventually myself, for allowing the events to transpire thus far. Honestly I never did find myself being mad at Feet. He was just doing his job as a social observer if not a person with a nose. And besides, I got to live through a valuable life lesson and for better or worse Feet Banks knows who I am.

  10. #185
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Back to Smithers

    The Mt Currie trip proved to be one of the best outings I had while living down south. After I had that under my belt I felt like I had achieved what I had come to do, though I was still not sure what that was. By the end of the summer Vesna and I knew that we had to move back north to Smithers and hopefully Alaska. Smithers was a step in the right direction. Vesna figured out that she was pregnant sometime in September and we knew the clock was ticking. Picking up and moving can be tricky but we had done it in the past and we would do it again.

    The plan was to be out of JJ’s house by the end of November. I worked up until the day before we were to move and we were ready to go. A month prior Vesna’s brother Alec and I drove up to Smithers in a blitzkrieg mission to start building our cabin. We purchased a cabin kit from some guy out in Mission Ridge and managed to fit the entire stack of lumber on my truck. We drove 15 hours to Smithers, built nonstop for a week and then power drove back. We ended up finishing the outer shell of the cabin but there was still tons of work to be done.

    The next step was for Vesna and I to drive over to our piece of property near Revelstoke and pick up the camper that was sitting on the land. Of course the truck broke down again and to make a long story short, her parents came through in a pinch and I finally diagnosed the issue with truck…

    In the meanwhile we negotiated a deal with a coworker of mine who sorely wanted to purchase the Revelstoke land from us and we sealed the deal with a bag of cash on the day before we were to leave town. Good thing because we were short on cash otherwise and it would have been tricky with no gas money.

    When Vesna and I were finally ready to make the move we had my truck with a huge camper and trailer loaded to the gills. Vesna was in here car and she was towing a trailer too. It was smooth sailing all the way through the Frazier Canyon and up to Quesnel, where we stayed in a motel for the night. The next morning we woke up to a foot on new snow and the highways were a mess. It was the first snowstorm of the year and everyone was caught off guard.

    For whatever reason we pulled out of the safety of the motel parking lot and ventured into the blizzard. We made it about two hours before Vesna’s car started fishtailing. The road was real bumpy from the way the snow compacted and my truck vibrated loudly. We had little radios to communicate along the way. As we pulled through Hixon, we had to slow way down and then right out of town there was a long hill that already had several big rigs and couple of RVs stopped on the side. Vesna was going for it and I could see her back tires skidding out. I radioed for her to stop because I could see that she was not going to make.

    We pulled over in the blizzard and hopped to out assess the situation. I turned my truck off and walked back to Vesna. When I got to her car I saw that my truck was sliding backward and I had to run back and get the parking block out.

    In the meanwhile a highway patrol person came by and offered to help. We unhooked Vesna’s trailer and attached it to his truck. He started going down the hill and I was going to follow in the car when all of the sudden the trailer became unattached and started running down the hill by itself. I recall actually seeing the kitchen sink tap sticking out of the load as the trailer careened to a stop in the snow bank just as a big rig crawled by with chains in low gear. I had to laugh at this point as I reattached the trailer and followed the guy back to Hixon, about 1km.

    I left the car and trailer and returned to Vesna at the truck. The new plan was to drive to Prince George about 50 km up the road to get some chains for the car and then return to retrieve the car. About half way to P.G. we realized that we did not want to drive the car at all in this weather. The problem now was that we had left our important documents in the car. If we were to go to Smithers without the car we would at least not want to leave passports and such in a random parking lot for who knows how long.

    My truck still needed to be fueled up so we had to go to P.G. anyway. At the gas station I unhooked the trailer and we ventured back through the eye of the storm to grab the passports. Two hours later we had passports in hand and we were back in P.G. I wanted to reattach my trailer but sometime during the long drive, the heavy contents had shifted backwards and for the life of me, I could not get the trailer tongue back down on the hitch. I had to ask a random guy to help with his body weight and in the process I was pushing somewhere and my hand slipped and I gashed my finger.

    Holysmokes! We were back on the road with plans to retrieve the car and trailer at a later date. We just had to get the camper to the property. We made it to Burns Lake and stayed the night. The next morning we rolled into Smithers no worse for wear. Over the following week we got the camper off the truck and started to prepare the mini cabin we would be living in until the real house was complete. Another week later, under the only sunny skies in weeks, we made the 500km one way drive back to Hixon to get the car and trailer and drive back all in one day.

  11. #186
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Bird Point Trip

    One day Ryan and I decided to go for a bike ride. It was a beautiful crisp day in late August or early September. We were looking for a nice bike ride out to Bird Point to enjoy the last remnants of summer before the dark and rain of winter. We cruised out along the new bike path that used to be the old highway and dawdled at the over-looks as Ryan drilled some golf balls out into the ocean.

    We made our way to the parking lot and left the bikes in the bushes and followed the trail that leads towards the waters edge. We cut off the trail and made our way to the beach and started combing along through the debris and logs piled high. The tide was beginning to make it ways out to sea and the lower rocks were coming into view. As Ryan was now throwing rocks I climbed over a crest of logs to peer into the next collection of debris.

    I saw something that caught my eye. It looked human at first glance. I thought I saw long hair of a girl but could not be sure. I called Ryan and we were both petrified. Whatever it was, it was obviously dead. It was bloated and distended so it made identification tricky coupled with the fact that we did not want to go near it.

    It was tangled in the logs and had various body parts that could be from different animals. Besides a person, it looked most a pig because it was all pink flesh. We slowly ventured closer actually afraid that whatever it was might leap up and get us. The head bent over on it self and I had to get to about 10 feet away. I then thought it was a huge dead dog, maybe a rottweiler.

    We were stuck looking at this creature afraid that it might be human but feeling more confident that it was not. We had to go on and maybe we would come investigate on the way back through. As soon as we climbed out of the little grotto of death the air lifted on our thoughts and the day became beautiful again.

    The shore along Bird Point is riddled with many miniature inlets that are surrounded by rock with mud revealed in the middle as the tide retreats. Our goal was to make it to the furthest point of rock possible as the tide continued to fall. We went out to the present moment furthest point and waited.

    It was easy waiting with a splendid view of Alpenglow Mountain across the arm and all the stunning Chugach to our east and north. From this vantage we could see all the way out towards Anchorage and the tail end of the Alaska Range in the far west across Cook Inlet. The day seemed overtly crisp. The shapes of the mountains down to the tiny rivulets of water trickling across the mud back to the ocean. The sky was an impenetrable blue and we soaked up the sun as the tide fell. Every half hour or so we could move out another 20 or 30 feet to the most freshly exposed rock. It was exhilarating as far as slow motion patience games go.

    I remember we had decided that the tide was low enough and we should go back to see what was up with the dead animal. Just as we stood to go I was over come by a great confusion that was subtle at first then became more startling by the second. At first I could not tell what was wrong. I looked at my self and at Ryan and it appeared that we had become black and white. I thought I might be having some sort of head rush until I looked up into the sky towards the east and it appeared as if a great slash or schism had opened up across the sky and earth and it was angled at about a 45 degrees. I turned behind me and the slash continued to the west as far as I could see and I felt a panic. Did we somehow inadvertently slip through a rip in the fabric of space-time? Ryan and I looked at each other in disbelief, each confirming what we were experiencing. Just then I looked straight up and could see a long thin cloud cutting across the sky.

    Holy Smokes! It was a contrail from a passing jet liner up in the sky. We were in the shadow of the contrail as the sun was perfectly lined up behind the thin line of what was actually a brief cloud cover for the day! I was flabbergasted. A moment later the cloud drifted and the sun came back in full force and our world was one piece again.

    Now back on track. We had to really see what was all twisted up in the logs on route back to the bikes. We approached cautiously but more confident considering the earth shattering experience ten minutes prior. I got close. I could see a hoof. It was a mountain sheep. We were elated! The poor thing must have got ripped off a nearby peak by an avalanche and thrown into the ocean where it half decomposed only to be washed up on shore here.

    With that mystery solved we made our way back to the bikes and home to Girdwood.

    I was living in my truck these days so I guess home could be anywhere. That night I was hanging out with a girl. We were not boyfriend and girlfriend though there was an obvious, weird connection. This night was particular because we had a crazy communication breakthrough. I guess you could describe it as a brother/sister psychic thing, where we were basically reading each others thoughts and seeing the world through one mind. I know, I know, hippy ju-ju bullshit, but I know what I experienced.

    So if the day was not weird enough, it was going to get weirder. I remember pacing around the living room all worked up as we tried to figure out what to do with ‘this.’ You know ‘this’ right here? She was sitting on the couch peaking behind a blanket. She assured me that she was not cowering from me, though I did feel crazy. We were stuck in the moment and it would pass.

    I had to go to sleep. I went to my truck out in the condo parking lot. There were banks of condos on three sides of me effectively making for a man made canyon of sorts. The gravel was dry and firm as I crawled into the back of truck. I was exhausted but my head was spinning from the day’s events. My conversation with the girl was crazy. We had come to the conclusion that the world is as you see it. You expect XYZ and you get XYZ. If you talk about and expect ABC then you get ABC. It depends on what you want, I guess.

    I had a thought as I lay in the back of my truck. What if you somehow manifested something that you did not want? You know, get stuck thinking about something you don’t want to think about and it happens. Maybe as result or maybe you have a case of premonition, either way it would be enough to make you go crazy. Just then, as if on cue, I heard some faint footsteps off in the far end of the parking lot. It seemed as if the crunch was amplified by the acoustics of the condo canyon shape I was parked in. I had a brief flash in my mind of

    “Oh shit, what if that is the Devil down at the other end of the parking lot and he is only coming for me because I tapped into the whole fucking point of all of this?!”

  12. #187
    Join Date
    May 2008
    As I thought that, the steps did not go into a nearby building. They were getting louder and heading in my direction. As I could clearly hear the steps getting louder I was thinking

    “This is it, this is the devil coming right now because I think it is the devil coming for me right now!” If felt as if the more I panicked at the idea that I was manifesting my supernatural demise I had the notion of mentally fighting the devil off before he got to me. If I could bring him to me I could ward him off. He could read my thoughts and he knew his power was controlling my thoughts towards him.

    I could envision the hoofed feet inside heavy boots as the crunch became louder and more menacing. I repeatedly pinched myself to make sure I was awake. It was an act of sheer will to steer my mind around to a request of protection from on high. Whoever god is, I was struggling to make my thought clear as the steps were now approaching my truck. Just as they were within 5-10 feet of me I managed to burst out and declare in my head a personal exorcism--…

    Just as I was doing a spell check on that last word, Vesna jumped up in bed behind me and started asking if Rosie was okay.

    “What do you mean is she okay?” I was startled out of my reverie from the past. I turned and looked and little Rosie was all silent and ‘stopped up’ looking. We could hear labored, tiny squeaks of air trying to move in and out. She has a little spittle on her chin and she was kind of hanging like a rag doll.

    I jumped up as Vesna was holding her face down patting her vigorously on the back trying to dislodge whatever was stuck in her throat. Five seconds, ten seconds we gently shook Rosie around trying to get her to start breathing. I took her and listened carefully and I could hear breath barely getting through what sounded like a barrier of mucus or something.

    She did just feed an hour before so she could have spit something up and then start choking on it. Her face was becoming more pink in complexion and she was just staring like how you would imagine a choking baby to stare.

    I ran to start the car and ran back in to help Vesna get dressed. For a moment I looked at the computer screen on which I had been talking about manifesting and fighting off the Devil and here he was, coming after my baby. I could sense his grip around her little body and I drove as fast a possible the three minutes to the local hospital. We were lucky we were so close. The whole drive Vesna was holding Rosie and trying to get her to breath, or to do anything. She was just limp and staring. We whipped into the ER and made our way into the doctor immediately.

    “Our baby is not breathing!” I cried as he took her from Vesna and said,
    “Yes she is.”

    Rosie seemed perplexed at all the commotion as she now seemed to be breathing on her own. She was not crying but sitting there very, very gently as the doctor looked at her while Vesna and I kind of paced around.

    In the end Vesna and Rosie stayed the night at the hospital where they will stay today and tonight as well. Apparently there is a little trigger in a babies throat that can shut off when it senses potential choke hazard, like when you dunk them under water as an infant swimmer.

    I did not tell Vesna what I was writing about and how I had not felt that rush of super natural anticipation since the night long ago that I was writing about. I drove home to get some things for Vesna for the night and I felt spooked walking to the house, like a child afraid of the dark. Or more like a child who is afraid of what is lurking in the dark waiting to pounce.

    I guess I should finish the story:

    In my head I literally cried out with conviction, “Fuck you Devil, you’re not taking me!”

    Right at that instant the heavy boot steps came up along aside the out side of my truck and a deep voice cursed from not two feet away, “God Damn it!” The sound sent chills through my body as the steps kept walking on by and I listened somewhat petrified but relieved as the heavy steps crunched across the gravel and carried the voice away through the deep parking lot corridor and around the corner into the night.

  13. #188
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Part 4… my 30’s

    There is a cave nearby. When you go into this cave you go back and it curves and on the left is a map of the universe all lined out in the quartz crystals in the rock. And behind the mural is a woman positioned facing to the right. You go back past her and there is a spring coming up that you drink from and when you do it aligns your frequency with that of the universe, the cave.

    And you go back to the map and the woman behind it is now facing to the left and a portal opens up and you go into it and there is the Old Man, the man from Orion. And he shows you the prism and he aligns it and the beam of light shines out of the mountain and points right to the middle star in Orion's belt.

    And outside, white wolves with black eyes and black wolves with white eyes circle the entrance to the cave. I have never been there but I know someone who knows someone who has.

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