again from Hubby Heaven and "Mrs." Mecca!
and it feels so good…” I always hated that song, but the lyrics are
relevant this week. Yes, Prez has returned from the wild and all is right with
end, I had a productive week alone. I cleaned the BBQ inside and out – you
could have constructed a sixty pound Chinook salmon and five chickens from all
the carbon bits in the bottom, I cleaned the house, (surprised? No), cleaned
the truck, (once again evicting the family from Burundi living between the back
seats), got waxed and cracked (by an esthetician and chiropractor,
respectively), made an appointment for a fang cleaning, went out with The
Ladeez whereupon there was much frivolity and free dessert (compliments of the
amorous gentlemen at the next table), wrote, read, cried when Diana died in the
movie “The Queen” – a movie Prez would never rent, (Helen Mirren was uncanny in
her role as Queen E), cuddled endlessly & guiltlessly with Emily, caught up
on emails, sent parcels and gifts I’d been meaning to send, cleaned and
organized the kitchen – our spices are now grouped alphabetically and by region
of origin, (kidding, kidding), dealt with the mass of papers piling up on my
desk, pondered life, the universe, and everything (stole that line from Douglas
around day 3, I began to really, really miss my husband.
phone rang on the afternoon of the 19th: “Hi baby! I’ll be home
soon – we just have to fly over the Kokanee Glacier to check the levels.” It was my Sweety and he was coming home via
seen Prez tired before, but nothing like this. He practically stumbled into the
truck when I met him outside the airport. He wasn’t as dirty as I expected but
the job had definitely beaten him up.
the 411 on the job he did…
Creek is located up in the Purcell Wilderness. The only way in is to hike (or
helicopter) and, where the trail crosses the creek, there was only a cable with
a snatch block. This meant hikers had to bring all their own gear (harness,
carabineer, and sling) to cross the creek. Creek? Well, more like a raging
river from the photos I saw. Tim II, who was a park ranger for years and now
teaches the ranger program at Selkirk College, was given a contract to build a
cable car crossing on the creek. He asked Prez to come along, as he needed
workers who could do a bit of everything; he also asked Darcy “The Naked
Barista”, too, because, besides being handy, NB is also a paramedic…and makes a
morning of the 13th, the three rough n’ ready woodsmen drove to the
staging area, near Argenta, where they began the helicopter commute into the
mountains. Tim II and NB flew out first to prepare the landing area and direct
the loads of equipment; Prez stayed behind at the staging area to help with the
loads for the helicopter. Besides their personal gear, they would be flying up
tools, wood, cable, the cable car & components, a wheelbarrow, cement
mixer, generator, tanks of propane, and 11,000 pounds of cement! On this job,
there would be no running down to Home Depot if you forgot something.
was a logistical challenge. Cement was the biggest concern. With only 6 days to
complete their task, the guys needed to make sure the cement bases were cured
enough before they sat the heavy towers on them. Anyone who’s worked with
cement knows the colder the water you mix it with, the longer it takes to set.
The water they had to use came from the creek – glacier water. The
problem was solved by heating the water using a propane stove and storing it in
the heavy metal towers into place was another challenge – accomplished with a wood
tripod system with a 6-to-1 block and tackle system, (don’t worry, I have no
idea what that means either, but I’ll post a photo). Then they had to be sure
the bolts in the cement lined up perfectly with the base of the towers, without
putting any weight on the cement. Ingeniously, they constructed wood platforms
to sit the towers on, directly over the wet cement. Bolts were lined up while
the cement was still wet and pliable.
were dug, trees were cut down (just one, I think), platforms built, 100’s of
pounds of cable were strung. NB came up with the Lutz-o-matic 2000 – two boards
used for leverage to bend the rigid cable, so they could put the Crosby clips
close enough to the thimbles (again, a photo will be provided as I have no idea
what all these things are). Lattes were sipped (until the camp latte machine
melted on the stove). And remember, these guys had to do all this on both sides
of the creek which meant hauling themselves and all the gear across the water
using the old cable system. If anything happened and they went into that
roaring, freezing water, they’d have about 14 seconds to live.
were two near-tragedies. On the first day, while climbing up onto the newly
constructed “safety platform”, Prez’s foot slipped into a rotten stump up to
his knee. Thank goodness for stunt-reflexes! Falling forward, with visions of a
tibia/fibula fracture dancing through his head (all happening in a
micro-second), Prez catapulted himself into a dive roll, landing on the rocks
below, mere inches from the water. Tim II also tumbled, taking the sharp metal
corner of one of the platforms in the back of the leg. It was bad. Nothing was
broken or cut, but, as Tim II described it, he “went to another place”. Prez
says he’s never seen someone unconscious with their eyes open before – creepy.
Bear in mind, if anyone got hurt, it was a 13km hike out just to call for help!
water worked well as a fridge for beverages, although Prez and Tim II’s milk
floated away. Like good campers they kept all their food far away from forest
critters – each night they hooked the coolers onto the old cable and hung it
out over the middle of the creek.
finished the job on schedule, and with two bags of cement to spare! They did a
load test with 1000lbs (using all the rocks they dug out) and it was a success.
On the last day, the Parks guys came up, tried it out, and gave them the thumbs
up. As if it could have gone any other way…puh-leez! They even let Prez keep
the sign up that he made (see photo).
returned home full of love, not just for me, but also for hot showers and warm,
soft, dry beds! The time away was good. We came back together with
renewed appreciation for each other, and the little luxuries we all take for
granted – like having someone to tell all your fabulous adventures to.
it seemed the homecoming couldn’t get better, it did.
now, I am typing this on the new laptop Prez bought for me. What a terrific
surprise! “That’s why I did that job, to get this for you,” he
explained, as I stared at the Toshiba box in my hands. Ain’t love grand?
tomorrow it’s back to work, back to routine, back to normal. I’m OK with that.
If there’s one thing you can say for sure about Prez and me, there will always
be another adventure… just around the corner!
What’s the most interesting job you’ve ever done?
next week, I hope this finds you healthy, happy, & lovin’ life!
Below are a few photos of the job but I will also post a complete photo