One of the most active clubs in the Lower Mainland is the Chilliwack Outdoor Club. Sandwiched between Vancouver and Hope, we enjoy and have easy access to local trails from the interior to the Mt. Baker area in the US.
This past year, we worked on many projects, including participant and trip leader trips, member socials, promotional materials, safety courses, trail maintenance, a photo contest, and welcome packages for new members. We’ve posted most of our trips on social media!
At the end of many multi-day trips, we often end up sitting in a circle. We’re tired at the end of the day, but still share the day’s adventures, and talk about the next day’s plans. Night after night, this can become routine and a tradition. Of course, there is no other entertainment like our own stories and jokes!
On day 7 of a 14-day trip last summer, our stories were becoming shorter with more pauses in between and quieter talk. I remember thinking “Maybe it’s time for bed? I mean it’s only 8:30, but good enough?”
Then Dave spoke:
“There are strange things done in the midnight sun.
By the men who moil for gold;
The Arctic trails have their secret tales,
That would make your blood run cold.”
We turned our heads, sat up a little straighter, and waited with bated breath as our storyteller continued:
“The Northern Lights have seen queer sights,
But the queerest they ever did see
Was that night on the marge of Lake Lebarge,
I cremated Sam McGee.”
Dave recited the entire Robert Service poem to 11 attentive and delighted adults under the stars that night. What a feat!
He challenged himself to memorize it and thought it would be a good share at the end of a day’s hike.
Now, some of us are doing the same thing and recite different poems and stories!
We never know when someone will stand up and regale us with a performance of the Charge of the Light Brigade, The Big Rock Candy Mountains, or a legend of how the fox got its tail. It’s a magical experience – often followed by enthusiastic clapping.
Not to mention, no one ventures off to bed too early anymore!
Chillwack Outdoor Club (photo submitted by: Christine Camilleri)
Do you have a story to tell or would like to share tips with other backcountry clubs?
Share your tips, trips, and other helpful information with other member clubs.
We invite member clubs to exchange ideas and information about successes. These could include promotional materials and suggestions, safety tips, leadership trips, and more. If you have any ideas, stories, or tips to share, send them to email@example.com