I haven’t written here in a while and am feeling the pressure. Certainly enough has happened in February and March for me to have a lifetime of things to write about. Topic among topic. As I drive through the woods or adventure and work, I’m constantly writing here.. in my head. When I get back to town I can’t seem to remember what I “wrote” or have the time to sit down and get it down. I’ve been writing a bit in a note book but I can’t seem to finish those and turn them into blogs. I desperately I need internet at the cabin. For this blog I want to touch on some of the things that have happened. A bit of catch up.
My second day working on a bridge site. An actual work site. I attempted being a laborer for a bit (failing miserably) piloted for a lowbed and filled a gravel truck with an excavator. There were wolf tracks the size of my hand all around the job site. We were in Germansen Landing and I was very much enjoying the mountains. The temperature had fell and memories of northern lights flashing above the snow covered mountains in the middle of the night were fresh in my head.
Filled up gravel truck again with the excavator and learned how to scrape the frozen compacted dirt out of it. Couldn’t run an excavator with a bunch of guys watching, yelled at everyone to look away and then I could do it again. Got in a bit of a tiff with the gravel truck driver. Left Germansen to drive back home so I could go to Takla Landing again the next morning. Started coming to terms with my wrinkly eyes, crooked smile and massive pores. I just don’t give a shit anymore. Being up north I feel so much more comfortable, beautiful even.
I took apart the elbow of chimney pipe to clean it and ended up dropping and breaking the elbow. Had to come back to town to get new chimney pipe for that section and then the old self-tapping screws wouldn’t go through new chimney pipe. Came back to town to borrow a drill. Turns out it was that the screws just weren’t sharp enough. Feeling very frustrated and weary of driving back and forth to town I messaged B. He said to meet him at the shop and there were some there (stores were closed at this point, and a fire hadn’t been lit in the cabin since the day before). I felt very relieved to finally get the pipe back together and a fire lit. Happy times once more.
My 25th birthday.
Woke up with no plans or expectations. Hung out a bit with my new room mate, Layla and soon realized that Finley had sliced his leg wide open on a sheet of tin. We spent the day trying to figure out what to do and ended up bringing in a vet one town over on emergency to stitch his leg back up. Both of us watched intently and learned how to do stitches. Afterwards Layla took me out for lunch. I sort of thought turning 25 would have been more exciting.. but for the most part life can be pretty mundane sometimes. In the grand scheme of things nobody cared that I had gotten a year older, to be honest I didn’t really care either.
I fucking hate Valentine’s Day.
I was working this particular Valentine’s Day and felt the sting. I turned on the radio as I drove the logging roads. Love song after shitty love song came on the radio. By the time I got to the road I was headed to, to report on, I was down right miserable. Depressed doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt. I stopped at a bridge to take pictures of the railing and looked down to see the skeleton of a moose in the cold dark water. Later on I talked to a boy from Takla Landing that said that wolves will chase a moose into water, and then once surrounded the wolves will howl. The howling stresses out the moose and the wolves eventually move in and kill the moose in the water. I came back from Takla, and on returning to my cabin felt so very alone. Last year I used to relate to the moose. Ever hunted, ever still.
B and I left to Germansen Landing at 4:00 in the morning. We went up to burn brush piles. This ended up being a really long day. The drive up was really nice, B and I easily get lost in conversation and never seem to run out of subjects to talk about. We get to work as soon as we get to Germansen and instantly I realize I’ve made a few mistakes in my preparations for this trip. 1st mistake – I didn’t dress warm enough. Within the first hours my feet were soaked and numb and the wind went right through me. 2nd mistake – I didn’t eat breakfast and I forgot to pack a proper lunch. By three in the afternoon I could tell B was getting irritated with me and I was finding it hard to focus anymore. Finally I swallowed my stupid pride. “I have no food.” B sends me back to the pick up and says there is food enough for both of us. We work into a bit of the evening and head in to a nearby lodge for the night. Dinner never tasted so good, warmth never felt so good.. beer never tasted so good.
I really don’t want to talk about this day ever, but since I’m reminded of it and asked almost everyday, hopefully this covers it enough and everyone can drop it.
I drove back out to Takla Landing and for whatever reason I felt so full of creativity and inspiration. For blogs, for my cabin, everything. I tried to keep a mental list of all the things I had thought of to do in my mind. I felt relaxed and one with everything. On the drive up to Takla the roads were perfect for driving at a quick hustle. On the way back down I completely lost control on a corner as the conditions had changed. My tidy tank tried to roll me before shooting out of the box of the truck way into the ditch and I proceeded to 360 until I slammed sideways into a snowbank at 90km/h. Someone was behind me and had seen the whole thing happen and all I could think about was the hard time I was about to be given. Next, I realized I couldn’t feel my left arm anymore. The guy pulled up to me and pointed out the tidy tank. His face seemed a bit white and he said we could grab a loader from a camp a kilometer away to put it back into the truck. When we got the loader there the loader-man commented that he hoped I knew how lucky I was to be alive. This hit me like a brick. What if I hadn’t made it. What if I hadn’t got to do all the creative things I had thought of. What if I was never loved. That was it, my last day gone like that. We loaded the tank back into the box and I put the random assortment of things that were in the box, back in the box. I drove myself back to town and a kilometer from town I tried to take a sip of water. I started screaming at how painful it was. I got a hold of Layla and asked her to drive behind me home and to be there just in case. She put her foot down and wouldn’t budge. I was going to the hospital.
I walk into the hospital reeking of diesel and covered in mud. A nurse gives me a rude once over and asks whats going on. I tell her and I feel like I’m wasting their time. I shouldn’t have come here. The doctor comes in to see me and quickly realizes I might have a fractured neck and part of my back might also be fractured. The shock is starting to wear off and I feel like throwing up. My back is killing me. My arm is numb. They strap me to a spine board and send me to Prince George via ambulance. My phone starts blowing up with people asking whats going on. People offer to help with the cabin, but I know that those things were said in the heat of the moment and not genuine. I couldn’t accept their help. I had a CT scan at I don’t know what hour of the morning and I was cleared fracture free. I tried walking a bit after being on the spine board for so long and reached out to a paramedic as I watched my vision go black and feel myself start to pass out. She reaches out to me and sits me down in a wheel chair. This whole time the people I felt support from were Layla and B. I got back to Fort St. James at 3:30 in the morning and the hospital said I was free to go. Except you know, my clothes were cut off and Layla had my boots at the cabin. They let me stay the rest of the night in a room. In the morning I woke up in tears. So. Much. Pain. I got a hold of an old ex of mine and begged him to bring me some clothes and shoes so I could leave. He arrived and I was so grateful. He gave me a hug. The first and only hug I would receive. I felt tears burn at the back of my eyes. He brought me to the Soup Wallah where I could finally eat some food. It had been such a long day, and a long night. In Prince George they weren’t sure if they would have to send me to Vancouver so food was out of the question. The next following weeks were excruciating whiplash, back pain and I still couldn’t feel my left arm. As I type this the whiplash is mostly gone, but the back pain remains. I’ve regained feeling in my arm but still can’t feel my hand from the wrist down. I think the back pain will follow me for the rest of my life. Though I don’t feel like I say that in complaint. I’m so lucky to not only be alive but also to not be paralyzed.
I washed logging trucks on this day and the next. Both mornings I felt ready to work, and as the first day wore on I felt damp and miserable. A thought popped into my head. Will it always be me providing for me? I take a break and warm up in the shop. Angry tears burn my cheeks. Thinking back on this day I feel silly to have let myself get so overwhelmed by my emotions. B walks in the shop and I quickly hide them. It wasn’t the job itself that was miserable, it was my attitude in that moment. The next day washing trucks I didn’t allow myself to fall this low. Making for a much more enjoyable day. Not just that, the sun came out and kept me warm. The first warmth of the spring sun on my skin.
B and I leave town, headed to Edmonton to pick up things from an auction. I drive all night.. rather until 6:30 in the morning while he attempts to sleep in the backseat. I think of the last time I drove this stretch of road, six years ago on my trip across Canada. I couldn’t have even imagined where I am now. I was so helpless and small then. I was terrified of life and I couldn’t stand on my own two feet. I remembered a picture that was taken of me from this stretch of our trip. I show it to B in the morning.
How much different would my life have been if I had stayed in Newfoundland. How much less aged would I feel and look had I of stayed. I feel like I looked and felt so young and fresh there. The world at my feet. Not the washed out piece of shit I am today (writing catch-up blogs irritates me.. but for stories sake.. we’ll keep trucking through here).
I climbed into the backseat and fell asleep. I awoke a few hours later with B driving along the highway in Edmonton. I sit up and feel pale and tired. I quite enjoy spending time with B though so I don’t mind sitting up in the backseat/make shift bed and greet the day with him. We’ve really got the rumor mill going in town now. Last I heard I’m a lesbian at the cabin with Layla, as well as screwing my boss. Gotta love that small town, small-minded trash.
We get to the auction and I relax in the backseat bed while B figures his way through the yard. Still we talk. We pick up a trailer and a loader puts our items onto it. It takes all day for us to get organized and by the time we start on our way back the sun is going down. This is going to be a long night. I sleep for a bit at the beginning of the stretch back and wake up in the backseat and B is gone. I have no idea what town we’re in or where he is. I lie back down and stare at the ceiling of the truck and the backdoor opens and B throws a 4-pack of chocolate pudding at me. Now I’m awake.
I freaking love chocolate pudding, must be the Mennonite in me. I make us some sandwiches from the rest of the groceries he picked up and we are back on the road. I ask if I can drive, I’ve never driven with a trailer and the snow starts to fly. My brain feels heavy with over-tiredness and it’s hard for me to relax enough to learn what B is teaching me. I can tell he is tense towards the situation also and he takes over again. I fall asleep again in the backseat and I wake up a few times during the trip. Twice I woke up and B is snoring in the front seat. He’ll probably kill me for writing that. Once I woke up and asked for a cup of tea in the next town and I guess I fell right back asleep after I asked for it.
Layla and I start to build cabinets and open shelving for the kitchen.
B and I head back up to Germansen Landing to move an excavator, a gravel truck and a low-bed. I got to start the low-bed, I also sat in it while B used the cat to push it up steep snow barren hills. “Were going to make a trucker out of you whether you like it or not.”
I’m famous for being known as the woman that never smiles. B knows this is crap, as almost every time I learn something new I can’t help but smile. I also learned to drive the cat a bit. This is so much different from the excavator it is still hard for me to think about how it moves. It’s a pretty relaxed day for both of us and we turn in early at the lodge. Pretty sure I fell asleep before 7pm. The next morning we are up early.
We were going on an adventure, very north.
We unload our sleds and head north. B has lived in this area most of his life and makes for a fantastic tour guide, not only that we are very close friends at this point and there’s no one I’d rather spend my time with. He enjoys teaching me things and I enjoy learning. Learning how to be a mountain man.
Not just that, we are building two new cabins in this area this year, but that will have to be saved for another blog altogether. Approximately 6 hours north of my first cabin. This time however, a log house. We’re going to be neighbors here.
We head further north yet.
We get to the cabin we’re staying in and unpack a bit of our stuff, light a fire and head out to pack a trail for our trip tomorrow. On the first uphill slope I get very stuck. B has to come rescue me and we dig and dig and dig, fall through and sink into rotten snow. “If my ticker goes, just leave me here. Do not resuscitate.” We are so tired from trying to rescue this stupid sled. “You have no choice, I will resuscitate. I think I need you just as much as you need me.”
To be continued..