Friday, 12 May 2017

Big Silver

It took me almost 2 1/2 hours to get up, go to the bathroom, and get dressed today. There were difficulties and a tremendous lack of motivation blocking my way. I spent most of the time between struggles and strains thinking about suicide. I think about it a lot these days.

There is a place, high up in the coastal mountains, call Nahatlatch. Most people who know if it at all, know of the Nahatlatch Lake Park, or the Nahatlatch River. They come there across the bridge from Boston Bar to North Bend, deep in the walls of the Fraser Canyon, north of Hope, BC. I've never come at it that way.

Many years ago, you could drive up the East Harrison Logging Road, out of Harrison Hot Springs, BC. That road would take you to Big Silver Creek. From there you could follow the logging roads high into the mountains, right up to the glacial tops, squiggle over the rocks and ice, then drive down the Nahatlatch road, right down to the Fraser River. From there, you could follow Highway 1 down to Hope, and Highway 7 right back to Harrison, making it a big circle of adventure. My Dad and I did it a couple of times in my little Ford Ranger.

It was a beautiful drive, or clamber if you will, up steep mountainsides where water dribbled and dripped and creeked and cracked its way down the western slopes, off of the glacier and snow melt, into a deep canyon, steep sided, slicing its way down the mountain into the soft marsh where Big Silver Creek runs into Harrison Lake. It is a land of massive trees, plentiful deer and bear, incredible waterways, and danger.

A few years back, perhaps 25 or so, four boys in big a 4X4 truck tried to muscle their way across the slick surface of the smooth rocks at the top. They didn't understand the physics of moving water. They were full of themselves and their truck and their youth. A couple of the boys got out to take pictures while the other two horsed the truck across the high creek and rock face. They didn't understand that big tires don't bring big friction on that surface. The truck went sideways, down the 1,000 foot drop at the edge of the rocks. Two boys died. Two walked out. The government completely closed the road in another example of protecting the stupid at the cost of the intelligent.

About halfway up that Big Silver Creek Road, coming from the Harrison side, the logging road cuts across that water, that driblet and pool at the top becoming a raging torrent, cutting through a vertical sided canyon, crashing over a round of giant boulders pushed out by the water, smashing into another thin crack of rock, only to pound into a deep, swirling pool of black, perpetual motion. The water is hypnotizing as you sit on that bridge, watching it crash and carom through the granite sides, into that deep pool, then down even more falls as it collapses down the mountainside. The spray rises to the decks of the bridge above; you can smell the iron and other minerals in the water, feel the rinse of ice still within the droplets. Sometimes the mist would be thick enough that you could wash your face in it.

The bridge across is a logging bridge, laid of nearby timbers, nothing but a couple of 12X12 in beams on either side to stop the wheels of logging trucks from straying to far to the left or right. In all my life, I never approached the edge of that bridge, never took the risk that some did of sitting on the beam, dangling my legs into the swirling dark below. I am not that brave. Yet now I think, that would be a lovely place to die, and so easy for me.

I could take one last drive into the BC wilderness, up the East Harrison Lake Forestry Service Road. I could look for bear and deer. I may yet again see a cougar stalking a deer in the wild, dense temperate rain forest. I could stop for a while and gaze at the broad, smooth outflow of the Big Silver as it neared its junction with Harrison Lake. I could put my truck into four wheel drive and muscle up that mountain road, something I have long wished to do. Then, when I got to the bridge, I could park right up close to the edge. I could open my door, slide onto my transfer seat, then simply push off, down a hundred feet, into the dark, churning waters below.

I don't know if they would ever find my body; that water has a way of pushing downward eternally, especially in the black pool below the rocks. Certainly they would know what happened, simply by looking at the truck position. It wouldn't take long to determine that I was missing; I might even leave a note. But maybe not. It is a story that would tell itself.

It would be over. I would be gone, to become one with the water and mountain, to become one with the land and sky. It would be done.


  1. Good idea to have a vision of how you might end this. Its comforting for me to have an idea--it isn't a plan yet--but on days like this week when I fell, had to take two 200-mile round trips to Boston in two consecutive days, and then have to spend an entire day in the recliner because I'm so damned exhausted, it's good to know that there can be an out for when this disease becomes too much.

  2. I've been a firm believer in, this is your life and one should have a choice on how to end it... We all die... Some sooner then others. And who really knows what happens after.

  3. Mmm-hmm. Comforting to hear others with ALS having same thoughts I do. This sounds like a much more beautiful plan than I have, though I have one....not sure, which is a little hard...wondering if/when I'll be sure..