Christmas 2017 was going to be a special one. It was the first Christmas that I was having with my Girlfriend, Maelys, and it was going to be the first time she was going to spend it without her family. We were going to make this one our own.
I was really excited as not only were we going to be together, but we had plenty of adventure ahead of us. We had booked our first 3 days in a cabin at Revelstoke where we would ski and relax, and the rest would be spent between Banff and Jasper doing some back country snowshoeing and day hikes. It was going to be perfect.
We set out on the Saturday 23rd and the car was full with everything we would need. The food, the presents, the gear and most important, the warm clothes, including fluffy socks.
On the road up, we were planning all the cozy log fires we were going to have, the best way for me to re-learn how to ski and whether or not it would be worth packing out a whole roast dinner into the mountains. Our faces were brimming with excitement.
The drive was long so we had plenty of time to dream and plan a little more. As we got to the Coquihalla, just past Hope, the views from out of the window whet our appetite even more. The Mountains were rising, the snow was deeper at the side of the road and the summer waterfalls had turned into frozen ice walls.
This is where our Christmas plans were upended. We could see the sun glisten on the road and as we head to the downhill section of the Coqu, the cars ahead began to slow. I tapped/squeezed the breaks.
Upside down, I looked to Maelys next to me. She looked back, her eyes searching for an answer as to “what the fuck just happened?”. There was silence all around apart from the 80’s Christmas song bleeding from the bluetooth speaker. We paused for what was probably only 5 seconds but it felt like a lifetime and then the images of people trapped in burning cars that you seen in the films flashed before my eyes. “We’ve got to get out” I thought.
I unplugged my seat-belt and came crashing to the floor. I hit my head and kicked Maelys all at the same time. I momentarily forgot it was the only thing keeping me in my seat. I managed to get myself in the right position and I could see that he snow was halfway up the window. I managed open it about half a foot and barged it open wide enough to crawl through. The snow was quite soft so it wasn’t too difficult. I looked around bleary eyed, as if I was a bear coming out of hibernation, not sure as to what I was going to see outside. A couple of cars had parked up and a man standing at the edge of the road shouted over to me “are you OK? How many of there are you?”
I managed to reply and confirm that both of us were fine. I walked up to him with a struggle. I sank into the snow with each step and I could feel it pour over my shoes. I was only wearing Converse.
Another guy said “woah, do you have a dashcam? That would be awesome to watch back”. I’m sure he only said this in the knowledge that we were safe but I was slightly miffed. I looked back and Maelys had started climbing out the car.
I realised it was cold. Very cold. The first guy suggested we get what we wanted from the car and put it in the back of his truck. He would take us into town. He was an off duty RCMP, which made us feel a lot better. I helped Maelys up to the side of the road and I climbed back in to the car in a state of hurry to recover some bits. Jackets. Bags. Electronics. Oh and keys for the ignition. I’d probably better take those.
As I dragged the stuff out of the door, I heard a soft but loud *THUD*. I looked up to see Maelys silhouetted against a cloud of white snow being hurled towards us. Through it, I could see a car that had left the ground. They landed upside down too. Everyone stopped and waited. The driver crawled out and shouted “we’re OK” through a strained voice. Everyone continued on as before.
We were driven into Merritt and our ride tried making polite conversation but we were distracted, thinking silently “wtf do we do now?”. Once in town, we got a hotel room (thanks Carrie)and sorted out the insurance. It was a strange night of flashbacks and “what-ifs”.
Needless to say our Christmas trip ended here. We didn’t make it to Revelstoke, or the Rockies. We rode back to Vancouver on Christmas Eve in the back of a tow-truck and spent Christmas Day at the house. Not all was lost though. We did get our roast dinner and we did get to ski at Grouse Mountain on NYE.
We just count our lucky stars that we came out without a scratch. Peace.
We wold both like to thank you to our tow truck driver from Tom’s & Merritt Towing for spending his day off on Christmas Eve taking us 260k back to Vancouver