The Whisky Jacks
It was a Tuesday and I found myself in the kitchen of Blaire’s apartment in Vancouver. Halfway across the country from my home in Ontario I had a job cancel, and made a last minute decision to make use of my free time on the west coast of Canada. (I was already partially out west to photograph a wedding in Slave Lake, AB) I fell in love with Vancouver in April when I began a cross country road trip and I was itching to go back. I was itching to travel again.
There was a knock at the door and Trevor, not waiting for an introduction clambered inside with his bike in tow. Blaire was working like a respectable citizen on a Tuesday – I was on a spontaneous vacation, and Trevor was Fun-Employed. I needed a hiking partner that day and Blaire connected the two of us and a peak not too far away.
It was almost noon and the day’s heat was creeping in when Trevor and I set off for Hollyburn Peak. He carried a camel pack of water, and as per usual I lugged some heavy camera gear. Hollyburn peak is primarily a snowshoeing trail located in Northern Vancouver, and though a disgruntled hiker told us the view wasn’t anything great I begged to differ. The hike itself was beautiful. There was bear prints in the wet mud we trekked through, and the trees were bigger than anything I’d ever seen in Ontario. But it was the whiskey jacks – little brave birds that made the hike a little magical.
After about an hour and half of hiking Trevor beat me to the top, he was sitting in the centre of the peak surrounded by a circle of trees on the rim of the mountain when I arrived a few minutes behind him. He pulled out a handful of trail mix and held it to the air. The whiskey jacks took their cue. Three little birds chirped and hopped around the ground in front of him, testing the situation; feeling out the risk of the peanuts in Trevor’s palm. I stood a ways back in awe – of the view, of Trevor’s apparent bird whispering abilities, and the fact that I was in Vancouver.
The birds had little fear, they trusted their gut instinct, and in a sense the whiskey jacks aren’t too far off. It was a Tuesday in Vancouver, and a week before I had no idea I would be further west than Guelph, Ontario. It was exciting and scary, and I think that’s what makes travel worth while. Trusting your gut, and getting over the little fear that is holding you back.