Sunday, July 10, 2011

The Gully in Kitimat

“Monday’s” blog post is a half day early because I’m away Mon-Tues. Likewise I’ll either post a late blog posting on Tuesday or two on Wednesday.

Lots of stories to follow about Kitimat, where I grew up, most not that pleasant. But this one’s a fun one. There’s this short cut in down into a gully between Dunn St (the street I lived on) and Lahakas. Lots of luscious greenery, though almost impossible to travel through the path in the winter due to the deep snow. The Dunn St section is between people’s property so I don’t know if you can still access it. This being a gully shortcut there were lots of skunk cabbage. A couple of bridges.

Once I was running along one of the bridges, the one closest to the Dunn St side, this one made of a series of wooden tiles. One tile broke while I was running over it and I shot forward, having only time to mutter “Oh @#$%” (the f word I think) before landing. The skin on my arms and legs actually melted very slightly from the friction of landing and I was still picking out wood from my arm days later. Nothing broken but one night I forget to roll up the sleeve of my pyjamas and found them affixed to my arm, so I had to peel them off the arm under running water. And yes, getting back to the first paragraph, by Kitimat standards this constitutes one of my more fun memories of the town.

Years later, a car (a taxi from what my dad recalled) drove down into the gully from the Lahakas. For the new few years I got a free lesson on how a car erodes in a gully over time. Quite fascinating to watch the disintegration process. Given that in the years I saw it it was never removed, I’m betting it’s still there.

One time on the Lahakas side I was about to enter the gully and there was a bird in front of the entrance. I never figured out the kind of bird. Maybe some kind of owl. It was on the ground. Each time I tried to enter the gully it hissed at me and blocked my entrance, even though I towered over it. I was actually more afraid of accidently hurting the bird then being hurt, though with the hindsight of many years past that bird probably could have done some damage with its beat and claws. I was amused by the bravery of this bird, though I also wanted to head home. Happily just by waiting off to the side for a few minutes the would-be guardian of the path disappeared and I was able to go home.

I haven’t been to Kitimat since 1995 but if I ever return, I’ll visit that gulley, plugging my nose at the skunk cabbage and taking photos of that car in whatever state it's now in.

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