The winter by the creek had been much harsher than anticipated. The twists and turns of the water and the weather had threatened existence and seemed to suspend time. Finally the spring thaw appeared to be around the next bend of the river but it was too soon to relax and assume that it would be easy sailing ahead. As the birds returned to the area so perhaps would mankind. That would be a relief.
They had managed quite well for three months given the circumstances but now the ordeal was almost over, especially for their families who must have waited in agony for any word after their disappearance. When they set out on a three day kayak trip to celebrate her thesis completion it had seemed like a dream long weekend trip. It was fortunate that they were both experienced outdoor types and had gone prepared for three nights in the wilderness.
One broken tibia later and a smashed kayak had played havoc with plans to be back to school on Tuesday. One second of inattentiveness had led to a catastrophe of events and here they still were.
Fortunately the BC coast winter had been mild enough that their camping gear got them through. The wet cell phones were the only fail in the pack and given their remote location coverage would have been questionable anyway. She had worked diligently to keep the fire burning day and night for many reasons. The first and foremost had been as a distress signal but when the winter storm hit it was needed for warmth and to dry out. The kayak as shelter was quickly replaced with boughs and branches woven together. They had always had fresh water to drink but there were days where they gone hungry, when she hadn’t been able to catch salmon or there were no berries left within scrounging distance. And there was always the concern of wildlife.
But, without a doubt, the hardest part of all had been setting his tibia. It was such an obvious break that x-rays weren’t needed to diagnose the fracture. First aid training only went so far when you were in the wilderness with no supplies and no help. The saving grace had been when the pain made him pass out but still it had been a tough job to distract and rotate his leg until it felt right. Binding it with wood splints and the emergency tensor bandage had held her work in place but the worry was almost as debilitating for her as the fracture was for him.
They had held on though. To each other and to positive vibes that they could persevere in the true wilderness. This was no Survivor game show but the reality that he couldn’t walk and she couldn’t leave him to go for help.
Now, as she heard an engine in the distance, when help was close by she knew it would be a story that they would tell their children and grandchildren. Sitting warm and toasty around a fire they would talk about the winter by the creek.
PS If you are a regular reader of the blog you will recognize that this is a different type of post. I spotted a post by Alice Kuipers, a local author, about using this setting as a starting or ending point for a 500 word short story. So I did it because part of the challenge is to encourage myself to write and fiction is somewhere I haven’t gone before. I kept the photo of an up close creek with ice on it and created a story that meshed a myriad of unrelated details into, hopefully, a cohesive story.