The last night of our traverse of the Selkirk Range from Kootenay Pass to Mica dam saw us camped in a draw on flat beds of morainal rock. Over the 34 days, tents have been slowly losing their appeal and we were all pretty excited to spend the beautiful night under the stars. Gear packed in the frost of the morning was strewn out in the rocks regaining their shapes after the dark, crammed, collapsed experience being lugged through the mountains in our packs.
With barely a wisp of moving clouds, our basin of choice for the evening had these intermittent winds that tried to untangle our matted hair. We covered our pads and sleeping bags with rocks to anchor our prized possessions agains these gusts. A warm pad in snow covered mountains for sleeping is beyond valuable.
So you can imagine Douglas' reaction when he turned to see his big inflatable Therm-a-rest blowing away in a particular gust that paid no mind to the rocks anchoring it. While we all sat around our cooking area, Douglas found his nerve endings jolting as soon as the sight checked in. He was sprinting over the rocks towards the pad as it skittered over the snow. Coming to the edge of the rock, he didn't break stride for a moment, leaping over the small gap with speed. The speed of Douglas' reaction and the intensity of his determination made what followed all the more comical. Had I taken a sip of tea in that moment, bubbled liquids would have gone surging up my nose.
As his first foot landed, it broke the surface of the snow, following it, the other foot, also breaking through. With all the speed and resolve in his previous strides, Douglas found himself flossing his teeth with snow as his pad bounded away in the wind.
His puffy jacket must have given him a lot of rebound because he picked himself up surprisingly quickly before moving again on the semi-supportive surface, before punching through again...
Though we were all laughing at the comedy of the moment, it was lucky that a moat on the opposite side of the drainage caught hold of the pad because who knows how far it would have gotten.
After we all recovered from laughing so hard, moments later, Steve's pad did the exact same thing. Steve who knew better now was more careful trying to run across the snow but though the snow pretended to be firm, it still managed to booby trap him. Unfortunately for Steve, the pad flitted out of the moat just as he reached it. We watched, worrying, as Steve ran after it far out of sight. Coming back later with the pad securely under his arm.
The image of that heroic flying leap will be ingrained in my mind for a long time still.