(A post of the actual hike is soon to follow)
While road tripping from Calgary to Vancouver for the Spartan Sprint at Mount Seymour, my friend Jason and I decided to break up the long drive by doing some hiking. A quick google searched revealed that Eaton Lake is a must do hike near the town of Hope in British Columbia that is not too far off of the hi-way.
The trail head is about a 25 minute drive south of Hope along a dirt road. While driving along we drove passed a beat up old trailer that was sitting right off the side of the road. A car, bicycles, and a BBQ were all sitting outside the trailer among a bunch of other junk, which made it look like someone was indeed living there. As we drove by Jason and I had a laugh as we joked about the legality of the trailer parked haphazardly on the side of the road.
Once we made it to the trail head we packed our bags and headed out for the hike. We only made it two steps before Jason decided he needed to wear his bandana (he thinks he’s a pretty cool hippy/grunge person). Jason headed back to his car and dug around for a few minutes searching for his bandana. Unable to find it he shuts the door and begins to head towards me and the trail head. He only made it about three steps before I see him pat his pocket and say “shit, I don’t know where my keys are. I just had them because I just got into my car.” Jason searched ever pocket on him and no keys were found. He checked his back pack…no keys. He headed back to the car and tried to open the door…it was locked. Then peering through the windshield he says pointing towards the driver’s seat “there are my keys.”
“Wooooow! What a dumb ass!” I thought to myself, as Jason started yapping to himself about how stupid he was for doing that. I have to admit I totally agreed with him, it was a pretty stupid thing to do but oh well shit happens.
Although a little annoyed I wasn’t overly concerned about our situation. Getting stressed or worried wasn’t going to help us at this point. We were out of cell service but an hour walk back down the road would have gotten us back in to cell service where we’d be able to call a locksmith or tow truck. That’s what I wanted to do. I told Jason that we need to head back to cell service, call someone and just wait for them to show up. Jason responded with asking if we should worry about the keys now or after the hike…FYI I may sound like an asshole right now, but seriously Jason we are locked out of our car with no cell service and you want to go do a 3-4 hour hike and then worry about getting back into your car and driving to Vancouver, how stupid are you? Maybe it’s just me but my first priority is to get those keys and then we can worry about hiking.
Jason really didn’t want to call for help though. Instead we spent an hour picking up branches and trying to prop his door open enough to press the unlock button on the car door. Many failed attempts and numerous broken branches later, Jason finally agrees that we should head back to cell service and call a locksmith. Luckily around this time a nice older couple stopped at the trail head and offered to drive us back to where we could get cell service.
The couple was super friendly, but almost in a stepford wives sort of way. There happy-go-lucky persona gave me an unnerving feeling as they smiled and told us about how they are both widowers (seriously was the first thing to come out of their mouth…not the best icebreaker in my opinion) and that they met in a bar in Palm Springs, which the older lady continually reminded us that it’s a “a true story, we did meet in a bar.” I had no need to feel unease around this couple they were just two old folks who have a fling and are having fun like a 21 year old. I guess that’s what made me feel uncomfortable…old people acting young. I know that sounds odd but that’s just the way it is. I’m sure when I’m old I’ll make the younger generation feel uncomfortable as I still plan on making penis and fart jokes in my old age.
Anyway, as they were driving us back to get cell service we came across the sketchy looking trailer on the side of the road when the older guy said “Hey why not see if that guy can help?”
“Are you fucking kidding me!?” I thought to myself “This is like the making of a horror movie. Who in their right mind would go knock on some dudes trailer that is clearly illegally parked on the side of the road?” The whole thing cried sketch city, but we pulled over and got out of the car. I had my bear spray with me which made me feel a little more comfortable about approaching the trailer, even though I didn’t go up to the trailer, I let Jason do that. I just hung out by the car and let Jason go up to the trailer as I kept watch at a safe distance (yeah I’m pussy, so what).
Jason banged on the trailer door and walked along the side of the trailer banging on the walls and calling out to see if anyone was in the trailer. Jason was greeted by a short heavyset man covered in tattoos. Jason told him about our situation and the man (can’t remember his name) agreed to help us without a second thought.
The guy from the trailer was incredibly nice, but I still had an uneasy feeling about the whole living on the side of the road thing in the middle of nowhere. Everything just didn’t add up, but the guy was friendly and willing to help us so that was great. He grabbed his crowbar and a big screw driver and told us that he used to be a repo man so this shouldn’t be a problem.
Jason and I hopped into this guy’s car and headed back to Jason’s vehicle. I was in the back seat with the crowbar, tools and my bear spray. Even though this guy didn’t seem like he wanted to harm us, I was still a little on edge and was glad that I had the potential weapons with me and not him. Small talk ensued and he told us that he had recently decided to live off the grid, as he was fed up with all the big cities so he was taking his trailer deep into the mountains to live far away from society. According to him his trailer was parked legally and it sounded like he had done his research on where he can and cannot live. We told the guy that we were from Calgary and Drumheller. The guy then mentioned that he had spent some time in Drumheller. Jason having lived essentially his whole life in Drumheller asked him where he lived in Drumheller. The guy replied “Club Fed”, I didn’t think anything of this comment I just assumed it was some club he worked at in town. Jason however was confused and replied quizzically “um where is that?” The guy responded with “The Pen” and had a chuckle. I still didn’t think anything of this comment, and Jason seemed to shrug it off.
Finally back at Jason’s vehicle we were able to prop the door open far enough with the crowbar so that we could hit the unlock button with a tree branch and we were saved! Joyous that we finally got the vehicle unlocked we thanked the guy numerous times for helping us out. I even tried to give him $20 but he wouldn’t take it, all he said was “next time someone asks you for help, help them.” Like I said this guy was incredibly nice even though it was all little unnerving be around him at first but now we had the keys and we could finally get on with the hike!
…As we began the hike we immediately began to reminisce about the day’s events. I don’t remember exactly how but we started talking about “Club Fed/The Pen” in Drumheller. I had to ask Jason where/what that is because I had no idea…Jason then informed me that the guy was talking about the Penitentiary, he had been an inmate…Even now knowing this I have nothing bad to say about this guy. He was incredibly friendly and helped us out when in need. Guess you truly can’t judge a book by its cover.