Monday, July 24, 2017

Chilcotin Holidays

Burning daylight

I was returning to the trappers cabin, round two. This time I was heading there alone, to get some perspective on my interests, goals and purpose, and to enjoy a little bit of quiet time. I'd not set a time to leave for my trip, I just knew I needed to get to the cabin before dark.

4pm came around and I was still collecting my gear. A voice called out in my head, “you're burning daylight”. Words a wiseman once told me in a distant land.

“Fish tend to bite at night” I said, reciting my uncles fishing 'wisdom', ignoring that of my mentor.

“I'm in no rush.”

I finished collecting my gear by 5pm. With the car packed I was feeling ready to hit the road. A familiar ringing told me that dinner was ready, the dinner bell sung out. “You're burning daylight” the wise voice warned me.

“Ham and scalloped potatoes, why not get one last solid meal before the cabin” my stomach said aloud, speaking for my brain and better judgement.

7pm rolled around and I was getting sheepish. The voice was constantly in my ear “You're burning daylight” I knew time was of the essence, but I couldn't seem to get my self into the car!

Today, it was May 15th, the day we let our Mountain Cayuse horses graze the hills around the ranch. Not only did I want to learn how to let these creatures run free, I was also needed, as 36 horses are a lot to manage!

We set the horses free, 8pm rolled around. Literally running, I jumped straight in the car and headed south, ignoring the voice no more.

I knew I still had two hours before dark, so I drove at a leisurely pace. The roads are dangerous, gravely with a sharp drop off, no need to risk your life.

Arriving in my area just after 9pm, I looked for the familiar fork in the road, the path to the left that took me to my cabin.

I jovially took the turn, drove down the road in anticipation to find.... a lake! No cabin.

Wrong turn eh, try again.

Driving further up the road, I found another identical fork, that must be it. Not a chance. It lead me to a series of other familiar looking forks in the road. Not overly helpful.

I drove back to the start of the loop, surely I'd just missed the turn.

I went down the exact forks again, seeing nothing.

The only plus side to my misadventure, the voice that kept warning me “you're burning daylight” had stopped. It was now night.

Alas I was sitting in my car, somewhere in the woods, in the dark, lost in bear country.


Despite not heeding my own warnings, I did take safety precautions, bringing bear spray, and a satellite phone (usually to call home top say you made it safely, this time to call for help).

So I called back to the ranch. When my call was received, I uttered the defeated words “I can't find the cabin”.

They were met with laughter, followed by “I warned you before not to burn daylight, people do this all the time. They think they know where they're going, leave last minute, then end up lost in the dark!”

After a few verbal directions and a little problem solving, I burst into the cabin, thrilled to see there was wood waiting for me to warm up the room and curl up cosily.

There is much to be said for conserving daylight hours, especially when heading to an unknown area. There is even more to be said for taking the right safety precautions to save yourself when you make mistakes.

James, Australia

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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