Sale Mountain (the Chicken Coop)
It was my first summer in Revelstoke. I was mostly just hanging around getting saucy and riding my bike. Out of the blue a guy named Jocoah (“Fightin Jack” as I would come to know him) I had met that winter, hadn;’t hung out with really at all, asked me if I wanted to go hike up to a backcountry cabin for the night. He explained at the top of the Forest Service Road on Sale Mountain, you could park and then the “Chicken Coup”, as it is called, is only a couple km hike from there. It sounded pretty cruizy so I agreed.
Jocoah picked me up and we departed. After we pulled away from my house he said we were going to go pick up Kristen. “Who is Kristen?” I enquired. “Oh just kind of like the girl I am seeing right now.” He said casually. I was somewhat confused, but I was also somewhat stoned so didn’t question anything out of fear for weirding him out with my unnecessary anxiety over being a potential third wheel in a very intimate setting. “Maybe we were just going to drive her somewhere” I pondered. “Or maybe there is another person with Kristen? A girl maybe, to round this group out nicely?” I hoped. I kept silent.
After picking up Kristen from her house it became painfully evident that this was going to be a trifecta adventure. Well I certainly wasn’t going to pass up an impromptu backcountry mission. “And besides” I thought to myself “who knows what they have planned. Maybe it’s going to get weird.”
It got weird alright. It got weird when we stopped Jocoah’s truck halfway up the logging road, so it could cool down and found his battery leaking. There was green battery acid leaking out over belts and hoses. Well we certainly couldn’t continue on with his battery leaking acid all over his engine. We had to fix it or turn around and limp home. Well it turns out that a beer can, chewing gum and masking tape make a pretty good battery patch. We managed to get the thing sealed and continued on the journey, now pretty confident in our skills.
Two hours later we were still wandering up and down a mountain ridge trying to figure out where the fuck this cabin was. None of us had taken adequate steps to learn the location. I assumed Jocoah had been there before, and he was under the impression that it was pretty easy to find. Double fail. After sprinting to the top of a ridgeline, I was able to get a phone signal and get directions off the web. Pathetic I know but come oooooonnnnn…? Anyway I got directions, we were in the completely wrong part of the mountain. We needed to go back up the ridge, to where the truck was and go back down the road a few hundred metres to the trailhead.
We found A trail head but until we had followed it for 45 minutes we couldn’t be sure if it was a downhill mountain bike trail, or the foot trail. Eventually the loose dirt and shaped corners made it painfully obvious we were going the wrong way again.
By the time we made the real trail and were going in (what we hoped was) the right direction, the sun was setting. In fact it was dark as we left the safety of the trailhead and emerged onto a meadow traverse along a rocky slope. “If we get out of here without someone getting a sprained ankle or cougar attack, it will be a miracle. “ I thought to myself. I could feel everyone’s fatigue. At this point we had been hiking around, up and down, for the last four hours.
Eventually the conversation turned to the idea of just setting up camp in the rock garden we were hiking through. The wind was picking up on that aspect but we could find shelter behind some of the bigger rocks and hold out for the night. It wasn’t a terrible plan, but sweet fuck was it ever not appealing. I was so dejected at the thought of sleeping in the moss after we had come so far. I urged the two of them to let me run ahead and check over the next aspect. As I came up to the crest of the slope I could see right it away, a tiny A-Frame cabin down below us about 200metres. I was so relived I could have shit myself and cried at the same time. I yelled to Jocoah and Kristen that we found it.
I don’t even remember what we ate that night, but I guarantee you it was the best fucking-whatever that I’ve ever had.
Jocoah and Kristen may have banged five feet from my head in the tiny loft that we shared that night but if they did I didn’t wake up and they never asked me to partake. Either way, I had about a pint of vodka and a five glasses of wine in me and I slept like a fucking walrus.
Never be afraid of being a third wheel because you may just end up being the leg of an awesome tripod, and totally saving the day.