Long River / Gordon Lightfoot
So we’re half way through the Rockies – which we can’t see because of the smoke. – in Yoho National Park – near Kicking Horse Pass (that’s just South of Greenhorn Gulch – just kidding)- on our way to Vernon – and Rose gets a notion to make a little side trip to see the Natural Bridge …
Though I had passed by it a hundred times, I’d never bothered to check it out.
The name Yoho comes from the Cree Native word for awe and wonder.
From this vantage point it looks like it would be pretty easy to get across there, Right?
It’s entirely different once you get out on the bridge.
The threat of falling in being killed here is real.
I wonder how many may have fallen in here over the years?
Not many I guess – or they wouldn’t let them do it.
That being said, I only saw one person – a young man – go across while I was here.
Two adventurers venture forth.
Ladies first …
This would be a great place to Propose wouldn’t it?
But they just took some pics.
And they never crossed that Bridge.
I venture out …
Trying to figure out my new camera …
What you can’t see from over there …
I try a short video …
I didn’t go across either. I’m ashamed to admit that I was scared.
But I didn’t feel it was worth the risk.
I saw only one person go across – a young man.
Good for him.
Why you wouldn’t want to fall in that water …
A Tale of 3 Hikers
Circa: early ’80’s
Myself, my buddy Pete, and a friend of his, go hiking into the backcountry.
Destination: Lake of the Hanging Glaciers.
We encounter a strong and rapid Glacier stream.
We have to cross.
A makeshift bridge of 3 narrow logs spans the 15 feet gap.
It looks precarious.
I decide I’ll wade across – holding on to the bridge for support.
A bad idea.
A very bad idea.
The water’s only about 2 feet deep, but is so rapid and powerful
that when it hits you it rides up on you much higher.
I get about 5 feet out …
… then it hits me.
Like a ton of icebergs.
I have NEVER EVER experienced COLD like this before!!!
You can’t imagine it until you do yourself.
It hits my central nervous system.
It’s almost like instantly going into shock.
I can’t breathe …
I start to hyperventilate.
I realize that I will shortly be completely paralyzed.
But I’m still close enough – and strong enough – to Get the Hell back to the bank.
I do. I recover.
I decide to use the bridge instead.
I heave my pack across the stream.
Essentially I crawl across the rickety log bridge.
I takes about 5 minutes.
I make it.
When I turn around I see Pete is in the water!!! He’s trying to wade across too!!!
Weren’t these idiots watching what I had just gone through!!??
I start yelling like hell:
“PETE STOP! STOP! GO BACK!! YOU WON’T MAKE IT!!!”
“IT’S TOO COLD!!!”
He won’t listen.
“I’m going to be OK”, he yells.
And he keeps going.
Incredibly, he actually makes it about half way across!!?
THEN … it hits him …
I see him seizing up …
He’s starting to hyperventilate …
He’s paralyzed …
Soon he’ll lose his grip on the bridge …
and be swept downstream.
He’s going to die …
EIther from drowning or hypothermia.
I have to do something!!!
I look at his buddy on the other side …
It’s evident to me that he’s not going to do a thing.
I get a back a short distance …
Then I run and leap into the creek …
… and grab Pete.
I know, however that in a few short seconds I’m going
to be just like him.
“I’VE GOT YOU PETE!” I yell.
“WE’VE GOT TO GET OUTTA HERE!”
“ON THE COUNT OF THREE WE’RE GOING FOR BANK!”
“ONE .. TWO .. THREE!!!”
The bridge breaks.
(I don’t think Pete was able to let go of it.)
We’re floating down stream …
Do you believe GOD and Miracles?
Because the next thing I know we’re both at the bank!
How we got there I have no idea.
The bank is high, but there’s some willow type branches hanging over the edge.
“GRAB THESE BRANCHES.” I yell.
I grab Pete the rump.
“ONE, TWO, THREE …”
I throw him up on the bank.
(It’s amazing what you can do when death is calling)
Then I get myself up before I’m frozen.
We lay there for ten minutes.
Soaked and exhausted.
Don’t go in that damn water.