This is the smallest-town road trip ever. Eagle Bay and Bankier aren’t even towns, they are just settlements: the first being the homestead where my German family set down over a hundred years ago, the latter being the settlement closest to the land we just bought. It’s not wilderness travel, but we won’t have cel or Internet access either.
Eagle Bay is where I spent all my summers until I was about seventeen. My grandfather gifted each of his children with a 1/2 acre on Shuswap Lake, and all my mother’s siblings (save one) had cabins just down the road from one another. When I was six, my father and uncle spent a summer building our cabin which we spent our whole summers at every year after until my parents sold it because the taxes got too high (fourteen years ago now). The last time I was up there was in the early summer of 1999, to commemorate the death of my grandfather — and I’ve meant to go back every year since.
But the closer we get to leaving, the more I wonder how much I want to see it again anyway. It’s the whole “you can never go home again” feeling, where the memories of being there don’t square up with the reality of the changes, and you’ve moved on anyway, so there’s a dissonance between what was and what is. Or who was, and who is. What made the place special to us — the people, the bustle of our family in the summer, the childhood freedom of going shoeless all summer and swimming whenever we wanted — all that is gone and we haven’t created new memories of the place in the intervening years to carry forward into our present.
We’re only there for two days — camping down the road at a a private site in Sorrento — with one day of family activities and hopefully some time to drive around the take a look at things. I think it might be my last time going there, because there isn’t much left to go and visit. I don’t know most of my family there very well, there are only two cabins left in family hands (and my uncle’s place, where he lived full time until he moved into Salmon Arm. burned down a few years ago which makes me so sad – I remember it being built), and the rest of the community has turned into a hyper-developed Calagary oil money retreat – summer houses tucked into every other corner. Even if we did still own the cabin, it’s not an area I would want to spend a lot of time — it’s no longer the quiet dirt road community of my childhood.
After Eagle Bay, we drive to Bankier on the holiday Monday where we will commence work on the new cabin property in my life. A nice counter-balance to leaving the past behind. We’re meeting with a backhoe operator first thing, getting culverts and a driveway put in, and starting to clear the land with chainsaws and machetes and axes! A couple friends will be coming along for extra hands and I plan to swim in Link Lake every day since the weather should get sunny again around Monday.
I hope to find some Internet access either at the place we are staying or in the town of Princeton so I can post photos as we start to do land-clearing. But if that doesn’t happen? I will return on the 11th with many stories to share. I’m nervous, really — the cabin project is so beyond the scope of anything I’ve ever done — getting into the beginnings of it makes me a little twitchy. By the end of next week though I should be getting the hang of the land clearing part at least – and by the fall? I’ll be swinging that machete like a pro!
Have a great long weekend people!