Thursday, December 1, 2016

Chilcotin Holidays

Life at Spruce

The next day, our boss woke us up at 5:30am. Quite early right? Well, apparently not, because Adam and me were supposed to join Guide School to go get the horses from the meadows at 5 am. Should I explain Guide School? You can find better stories on that subject on this website, so I guess not.

During the following two days, we set up camp as promised. We repaired all the stoves for the tents, painted the backside of the cabin and the front of the shed, put a new roof on the shed, built a bookshelf out of a tree, created a communal area where visitors and staff can relax (with a trap for when it rains), built a campfire, fixed the canoe, got the showers running (with warm water), removed dead trees (more safe and more firewood) and we organized the shed. We worked a lot, but so did our boss. In my life so far, I haven't seen many people work like he did and maybe even more impressive were his chainsaw skills. During work, he constantly reminded us to get the job done and told us that we weren't building a piano, but what he created with that chainsaw, was no piano, but it was pretty damn' close.

We worked long hours, but we got time to relax and enjoy the wilderness around Spruce Lake. On the second day, three staff and myself went out for a ride with the horses. Two of them bareback on Windy and Duke, Adam and me on Willy and Fortress with a saddle. We went to this lookout over the Lake. The view was stunning: no words! On the way back, we saw deer and we checked out these fossils. Pretty cool. Back at camp, I tried riding bareback myself. I don't wanna brag, but it only took me one jump to get on Duke's back. In the evening, we made ourselves a big – white man's – campfire. What do you need for that? That's right: a lot of wood. So we chopped wood and made kindle (kindle are the small pieces of wood to get the fire started). Fun fact: the word kindle probably stems from a Scandinavian source akin to Old Norse kynda "to kindle, to light a fire," or the Swedish quindla"kindle,". Once we got the fire going, we pulled out the marshmallows. Good stuff. At one point, while chopping wood or when we sat down around the campfire, I can’t really remember, one of the staff turned to me and asked: “Sam, your experience so far, is it what you expected before coming to Canada?” I will answer that question at the end of this story, you'll see why.

What else is there to tell about life at Spruce Lake? Lake, water, fish and fishing. So Adam and me, we went fishing. Our scenery: a lake like a mirror, snow capped mountains surrounding us, a deer drinking at the shore, a loon swimming by, fish jumping everywhere. Last time I went fishing with Vasco, I already told you guys about this, we didn't catch a single fish. At Spruce, it was the other way around. Less than a minute on the water: fish on (an expression I've learned from my buddy Adam). I think we caught more than 30 fish, but because the day limit is only two a person, we had to catch and release. Still, it was fun: I managed to catch my first fish, cook it and eat it. There's a first!

So you see, we had lots of fun. Especially Adam and me, but boys will be will be boys and they do stupid things from time to time. What did we do? Well, we went on the lake without life jackets, I've almost burned off my eyebrows when lighting the propane stove, we've put the stoves in the tents too close to the tarp and I've put the wrong lighter fluid in this lantern. What exactly happened with this lantern? On the evening of our arrival, Adam and me were setting up our tents: sweeping, getting the stove going and putting our sleeping bags on the wooden bed frames. In the shed I saw these lanterns and I found a container with lighter fluid. One plus one equals two, so I filled the lantern with the fluid and took it back to our tent. Very proud of myself, I placed it in front of our tent and I went in to find my hat (it was getting cold). At the same time, Adam came back from the outhouse, took out is lighter and asked: “Is the lantern good to go bud?”. I told him to go ahead. Suddenly: "BOOSH!" I ran out of the tent, and there was Adam holding the handle with two fingers, the lantern looking like a fireball. He looked at me and asked: “Wrong fluid bud?”

I can go on and on about life at Spruce, but it is time to talk about how we got back, but before I do that, I have to tell you two more anecdotes. At one point I was holding a ladder, the boss on top, cutting down branches with a chainsaw. I’m telling you guys, that cowboy got skills. The second anecdote? During dinner, our boss taught us this beautiful expression : “Cowboy up, or stop whining”. This expression would come in handy the next day!

Chilcotin Holidays

About Chilcotin Holidays

We are a licensed guide outfitter and we conduct guided wilderness adventures throughout our 5,000 square km operating area. This guide area has been operational since 1880, making it the oldest in British Columbia. More about us HERE.

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