The logging camp had the policy that we worked for 10 days and got 4 days off. The crew would all leave to let off steam, and it saved on air travel. I had no-where to go and Vancouver was too far away. I stayed in the camp alone, except for the cook who stayed to save money.
The “gypo” camp skimped. We had one panel truck that plied the 2-mile road from the lake to the sea, an old newspaper delivery van, and it had NO breaks. We all knew this and to stop one simply geared down and turned the engine key off.
This little poem was written in the style of Robert Service and is true.
Bryan Sanctuary 1962-63 (age 17 or 18)
Alone in the camp to work for a while
Till the others came back to log,
I passed my time building a boom
In the dank September fog.
Yes, the dew was heavy and the work so hard
As logs floated with the tide.
Though little was done while my hands grew numb
At least God knows I tried.
But alone in a camp with nothing but work built a fear in me,
Though neither the bears nor the dark nights
Scared me as did that tree.
At seven I rose, and the rain fell soft
As into the sky I gazed, while liked death’s cloak
‘round the lake did grope a white and eerie haze.
The tide was low and going out, so I figured I’d try my luck
At sowing the boom until it was noon
So I jumped in the brakeless truck.
As I rode down the road, I thought of the logs
And that tide so low and still
And wishing for hone, I rattled still on
Till I came to the top of the hill.
Alone I rolled down, the key for my brake
To the corner I’d seen from the top. I turned it quite fast, and there is my track
Was a tree, oh God could I stop?
Alone in the camp I wondered how
That tree got in my way
Alone in that truck I shook for a time
Scared of all but to stay.
Alone I thought I’d start that truck then back away and flee.
But my heart sank, and I knew my fate
As I turned the silver key.
I often think of that dead truck
And the tree which blocked my way,
Some tell me this, of others that
A beaver some might say
Well maybe it was though at that blind turn
I still have my doubts to the cause.
But I’ll always swear an axe made that cut
And not any teeth or claws.