by Nicholas P. Snoek



Chapter Thirty


The Spiets family is out on a picnic, in the foothills around Mt Ika. Jack and Addie have wandered off, and they're exploring some abandoned sheds in an old rundown orchard. Across a small ravine is another clearing, and some young fellows seem to be doing the same thing over there. But who knows, they could be up to anything.

Addie rejoins Jack behind one of the weathered buildings.

"Vick, those guys were whistling at me." she says, with a conspiratorial glance, and showing a trace of pride.

Well, thinks Jack. So what? You're telling me that as if you're half expecting I should take you over there or something. Or you want me to leave and you go over. What's with you? Is it so flattering? From that distance they could barely tell that you're female, you know.

I could imagine it was me, over there; what would it mean to me? A whim, a joke, a dash of daydream! A momentary lapse of manners just for fun, from the bushes.

"Yeah?" he replies, frowning a little. And no more is said. They slowly wend their way back to join the others.

Now why would she feel that way. Almost as if she accepted an obligation to them. They gave her something? A bond, an agreement was implied initiated cemented by a wolf whistle?


Is this what was established millennia

Ago, that just by wanting her, a male

Attracts a female so, that she inclines

To go to him although he is a total

Stranger? By way of such a simple and barely

A symbolic sound? And she, a younger girl,

Supposedly a timid child, afraid

Of strangers and of all the outside world

As girls are trained to be, so blatantly

Responds to such a call! It is amazing.

To think, a male and female in the woods;

An elemental paradigm, an Adam-

Eve encounter, down to bare essentials.

Peripheral, the closer ones, just family,

Just friends. A safety back in case it doesn't

Work; in case the call is blemished by

Some civilized contaminant, a lust

Less muted than the native woodnotes wild...

The anonymity vouchsafed by that

Ravine could hide a multitude of sins.

How could you, even in your heart, respond

This way, Addie, presenting from afar!


Jack is back in the mill every summer. He works on the pond usually, floating the logs to the winch ramp, selecting what will be cut next. This is easy work, and he enjoys it.

From this vantage point he can see the logging trucks as they drop their loads. These trucks haul log length wood, not tree lengths such as the larger companies are starting to transport.

The bed of the truck consists of two flat horizontal bunks, each ending in a square upright steel post which is hinged to the end of the bunk. A thick steel cable runs from one side of the bunk up around and behind each post about two feet up and back down to the other side of the bunk, following it to the opposite side of the truck, where it is secured by a trip attachment, designed in such a way that the driver can dislodge it. This arrangement is symmetrical all around, so that all four posts are releasable from the opposite side.

As the logs are piled lengthways between the posts the outside ones come to bear on the cables directly, so that the weight of the wood tightens the cable, makeing the posts press in against the load. Depending on which side the logs should roll off, the driver stations himself on the other side, from where he can trip first the front and then the back cable. The posts turn out, rotating away from the load, and a lot of the logs tumble off. The remaining ones are easily rolled off by hand or with the forklift.

Jack gets quite a kick out of learning to jump-walk on the logs in the water. But sometimes the crew in the mill is shorthanded, so then he fills in for whoever is missing, and the logs are fed right into the mill by forklift, without being soaked. They're dryer then, and more resistant to being pushed and turned on the carriage, and the dirt in the bark wears out the sawblade, and dulls the sawteeth very quickly.

The carriage is a heavy iron frame on six or eight metal wheels. It's like a movable couch, with the back at right angles to the seat, and the back capable of moving forward so as to push anything on it out over the edge. Only, the seat and back consist of flat metal slides, or bunks, three or more, and the log rests on the horizontal ones. The whole affair rolls back and forth for about 75 feet, on two rails like a miniature railway track. The back rail is V-shaped, and the wheels running on it are fashioned to match. This keeps the carriage from shifting sideways, thus holding the log steady in relation to the saw.

The horizontal bunks are pairs of metal angle irons situated so as to make a perfectly flat bed for the log to lie on, and in between each horizontal pair is a vertical bunk, at right angles, so that it comes up against the back of the log to keep it from moving away from the saw. After each cut, when the carriage returns to its starting position opposite the sawyer, he pulls on a lever, which works a ratchet and brings the vertical bunks towards him. One pull advances the log about one inch, for a board, and two will result in a plank. Only the log has to come forward about a quarter inch more each pass, to accommodate the thickness or kerf of the saw.

The vertical bunks are kept oiled so the dogs can slide up and down. These dogs are sharp metal points which the sawyer and-or the canter slams down into the log to keep it from twisting around. A threaded iron pin with a ball on the end for weight is screwed tight against the vertical bunk. The log is pinned in one smooth motion, thunk!

They're cutting railroad ties now, mostly out of yellow pine, which is a very heavy wood, sap soaked to the point of being greasy when cut. Also called Ponderosa Pine, it is so dense it hardly floats in the pond. This species is not popular for lumber and, since it's so heavy, loggers don't care for it either. It's usually the last type of tree to get logged, so it often grows bigger than its more popular cousins. And that makes it suitable for ties. Nobody much cares what sort of wood is used for ties; they all get chemically treated for rot prevention anyway, and railroad crews have mechanical gear to handle them.

The green chain has broken down, so the lumber and ties are being dropped right out the side of the building. Jack has been selected to do that part. The lumber pilers are out in the yard, making stacks in odd spots, radiating out from the ramp so the forklift can get at them.

They use a type of pick to drag the ties around, then they lift them up, one man at each end of a tie, and stack them, the two's in one pile and the one's in another. A number one tie is seven by nine inches, eight feet long, and a number two is six by eight inches.

As the ties come off the headrig, they come barrelling down the live rollers, heading through the mill towards the burner. A good strong man can pick them off those rollers and dump them out through the hole in the wall. A mistake, and they're gone! Jack is six foot two now, and weighs around one eighty, that's why he was volunteered for this.

When a log is big enough to make four ties it's cut back on four sides into almost a square shape, some fourteen by eighteen inches by eight feet. Actually, just a bit larger each way to accommodate the sawkerf. That makes four number one ties. On the next cut the carriage stops just before severance, then the whole thing is brought back and flipped on its other side, so the following cut releases two ties that are free. And they are sent down the rollers to the edgerman, who controls an air powered stopgate, and lets them through at judicious intervals to allow Jack the right amount of handling time. The two that are still joined by a few uncut inches on the far end are flipped off the carriage, and the edgerman has to break them apart before sending them on, one by one. That's what is supposed to happen.

But this one particular time the two unsevered ties get away on the edgerman; he doesn't get to the stopgate lever in time. They're coasting down the roller casing, and Jack is faced with a dilemma. If he tries to get the ties off the rollers without catching and lifting them the usual way, he'll almost certainly end up with a broken leg. There's no way he could control them at that speed. If he lets them go, they will burn.

But he's really worried he'll hurt his back if he tackles two number one yellow pine ties! Could he lift them without hurting himself? If he's very careful, with perfect timing and balance? He'll have to watch his fingers, too. One tie is bad enough for squishing your hand between it and the rollers!

What to do? It takes two men in a slow steady movement to handle a number one yellow pine tie. And they have to watch their fingers and toes, doing it. Just like lead!

Someone is yelling. And everybody is watching.

Jack braces himself and takes a deep breath. His timing has to be perfect!

He catches both ties and, going with the momentum, turns and staggers under the terrible load. It's all he can do, but he does it! He carries both ties to the side of the mill and dumps them. He can hardly believe it!

Wow! What a relief!

"Hurray! Hurray! What a guy!"

"Attaboy, Tarzan!"

The men all think this is terrific, and they talk about it for months! Jack feels almost popular.


One of Jack's chores is grinding up the feed for the pigs. There are several small sheds in a lean-to area at the front part of the barn, each containing a particular grain; oats, barley, wheat. The eight inch pulley on the tractor runs a belt that drives the grinder, an old fashioned monster consisting of a hopper feeding down into a pressure box where several toothed plates rotate in close proximity to crush the grain that flows between them. This makes a terrible high pitched racket, and also raises a fine dust that hangs in an enveloping cloud all over that part of the yard, blanketing everything, including Jack, in a delicate white grey patina.

On a summer evening, when the heat still hangs from the day, his efforts with the pails and buckets, loading and storing all this dusty stuff puts him in a hot sweat, so the dust settling in his hair and going down into his wet neck and chest prickles and itches and blackens him over most of his body.

He has to think of other things to make this bearable. He thinks of the lake on a cool early fall day, and swimming with the girls.

And of have a cold shower before he goes to bed.


It's late on a cold clear evening. Jack is leaning on the fence separating the garden and pigfeed cooker area from the tilled field, and he's watching the deepblack sky with all its twinkling lights.

He looks long and longingly at all that myriad complexity of stars, and remembers how he used to gaze at them from the yard of the monastery.

How clear and clean it all was! And how long ago! So much has happened, so much has changed. Yet all those stars still look as they did then. He is the same Jack, looking at those same stars. What has actually changed? His views? His values? His God? He's had no doubts about God. His road to God? His belief in his road to God! That's what's gone wrong!

He reels in vertigo, dizzy with the shock of displacement, jolted with a sudden shearing-back. What a fool he's been! His world has gone awry, the base on which he always stood has shifted, got misaligned, come out of sync with his former firmer universe.

But God is still God. The heavens are still intact, and all the truths are all still true! Who cares if this or that detail of church or school obscure some tiny corner of a local street-map! Eternal verities remain eternal!

With long and satisfying draughts of grateful air Jack drinks down deep omnipotent relief. He is all right! He's Jack again! And he will not again give in to any foolish doubt that God can hear and God is near, to him... as near as his own mind and soul.

He clutches to the post he leans on, heedless of the barbed wire marking his arms, and stands for a long time absorbing and assimilating the insight he has just had.

And a new Jack enters the house some time later. A Jack transformed, full of faith and hope.

As he sits in the rocker, looking around from time to time with a subdued little smile, Mom turns to him: "Victor, what's happening? You're just sitting there, not reading or watching TV or anything. What's going on?"

Grinning, "Not a thing, Mom. Not a thing! Goodnight."


/// "Hello, Jack."

It's Deborah! "Hi. How are you?"

"Great! And you, too. I'm very happy at the breakthrough you just made. As a matter of fact, I'm proud of you!"

"Breakthrough? What breakthrough?"

"The visionary experience you had beside the garden, before you came into the house. Remember?"

"Oh, yes. That was wonderful! You know about that!"

"Of course."

They're in the same place again, approaching the covered tables, and Jack wonders if they'll play that game now. He motions, with a questioning look.

"Yes, Jack. We're going to play this time. But first I'd like to point out a few things.

Okay. Have a look at the design of this game. Does it remind you of anything? See the way it's laid out?"

"Yes, it looks like a model of the universe, now that I notice all these tiny round circles all over the place. Is that what it is? A model of the universe?"

"That's right. And the center is Paradise. Now this model is not made to scale, and it's not meant to be strictly analogous point for point. It's a representation designed for didactic and illustrative purposes. It portrays life, human life."

"And the object is to get to Paradise?"

"Yes, very good Jack. That's what people are here for, to get to Paradise, where the Trinity is centered. It's also the center for gravity, which is controlled over all the universes from the bottom part of Paradise."

"So Paradise is a place that we go to. And God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are there?"

"That's roughly correct. But to speak of Paradise and place is almost misleading, since your notions of place and of time cease to have much meaning as one approaches Paradise; there's something like a suspension of space and time there. But we need not concern ourselves about that just now.

The purpose of your existence is to attain Paradise, and the same way as in this game you make your way towards that center, overcoming difficulties as you go, so in real life you work and grow your way towards Paradise, over tremendous stretches of time and space."

"You said something about all the universes. That sounds strange. Is there more than one universe?"

"Well, think of the meaning of the word. A universe is what is around you as you make one turn. Right? Uni-verse. One turn.

But do you make that one turn in one plane? Or more than one? What if you turn the way you shake your head for no, and then you turn the way you nod your head for yes. And then in between. You see? If you picture this exercise going on away somewhat from the earth, out in space, it can be confusing.

So you can see, a way of organizing all that vast creation is needed, and the word universe has to be defined in some helpful way, helpful for sectioning and labelling. To make manageable chunks, to keep track of things.

So, we have a local universe, which is an assemblage of some ten million habitable worlds, and we have seven superuniverses, which each consist of about one hundred thousand local universes. You see these seven segments on this board? They are the seven superuniverses."

"You mean to say there are seven times, hundred thousand times, ten million inhabited worlds?"

"More or less. They're not all finished and inhabited, but most of them are. The actual number varies over time."

Jack looks stunned. "Holy mackerel! Why seven superuniverses, Deborah? Why not eight, or ten?"

"Good question. The answer is that each superuniverse is a revelation or realization of an aspect of the Trinity. If you've noticed, the number seven has always had a special spiritual significance and the reason for that is, there are seven ways in which the Three Persons of God can be revealed.

I see you're not familiar with that, so let me illustrate. One would be God the Father with the Son; another, God the Father with the Spirit; a third, God the Son with the Spirit; four, Father Son and Spirit; five, six and seven, each one alone.

We are in number Seven, which is the one revealing God the Father alone. That's why Jesus spoke so often about the Father. You understand?"

"Yes. That's staggering! So many worlds. So huge!"

"Quite. And outside this area of the superuniverses is outer space, and more universes are developing and evolving out there. Isn't that fascinating?"

"Mind boggling, that's what. How can all that be organized and looked after? Or is it?"

"Of course. What you and I are doing right now is a tiny bit of that organization, you see. Nothing very frightening about that, is there?"

Shaking his head, looking for some relief, Jack says "Can we play? I'd like to try it again, to see if I can do better."

As she takes out the tokens and cylinders, Deborah points out "Jack, you likely didn't notice, but when I played I used three cylinders to guide my token, and I held them in a V with the open part towards the center."

"But I thought the token only responded to one particular cylinder?"

"The positive response is to only one, yes, but there is a negative response to all the others. By locking on with its own specific cylinder, and preventing slippage to the side with two other cylinders, you have the best control."

"But why didn't you tell me that before?"

"Don't look at me like that, Jack. You had enough to think about as it was."

"And now I'm in a better position somehow?"

"I think so. Now you've had the experience of trying it a bit, and you've grown and matured, mentally and spiritually, to where you might do this better. It's not just a game, remember."

"Is there a meaning to the three cylinders used? Do they stand for something, too?"

"Well, think of the one that links right on, as the soul, and the other two as the mind and the body. How about that?"

"Is that valid?"

"I think so. Okay, Jack. Go ahead."

Jack takes the key cylinder between his two thumbs, and two of the others between thumbs and forefingers and with a little practice he is soon able to make his way to the center. When he arrives there, he looks up, startled to realize Deborah has not been playing. She's just been watching him.

"Why didn't you play?"

"There was no reason to. My playing before was mostly to show you what it was all about. Look at your crystal now, and see if anything comes through. Do you see any pictures?"

Jack gazes intently at the little smooth ball, but sees nothing there but dull and inert glass. "I don't see anything."

"Oh. I guess your time has not yet come. Some day soon, Jack, some day soon." \\\


One day when the volleyball teams compete in Penticton, accompanied, as are the other teams, with a homeschool cheerleading detail, the boys all notice an attractive young girl with one of the other teams, and they all talk about her, wondering what she's like, how she must look up close, what her voice sounds like, does she have a boyfriend. Which is her home town. Could someone from Enderbush take her out?

Jack is quite intrigued with this behavior, wondering why one of these popular guys doesn't just go over and talk to her. They cannot surely be shy, like he is? But none of them make any move to do anything at all. So he decides to go check this out himself.

At a point when everyone seems busy, and he thinks he can get close to her without attracting too much attention, he walks over with a firm step as if he is intent on something important, and has a good look.

He's partly disappointed, but also relieved, that up close she's not that good looking; she's actually quite plain. So he doesn't feel obliged to do anything at all about her. Good, just as well. A girlfriend in another town would be a problem, and now he can avoid that headache without feeling cheated or deprived.

After he gets back the teammates are talking about her again, so he says "Oh, no. I went over and had a look at her. Up close she's nothing to write home about. Just an ordinary girl, just ordinary."

"What! You just went over there?"

"Yeah. Sure. So what? It's a free country, isn't it? A cat can look at a king. A guy can look at a girl, right?"

"There's balls for you!"

"Nothing chicken about Vick, no sir!"

"Hey, guys. It's no big deal. What would happen, what could happen? Like she's going to bite me, or what?"

Now why would I have felt obliged to do something about it if she had been as attractive up close as from far away? By the same token, why were all the guys so overawed from afar?

Where does that obligation come from. And what is the reason for this beauty worship?

Males are driven creatures. Driven by things they know not of. Automatons in the mindless grip of some implacable Darwin drive. Zombie slaves.

So where is this man dominated world they talk about? Women would have to come down a giant leap to be equal to men; they're so far superior as it is. In principle, a woman can do anything a man can do, and she can do something no man can do -- give the greatest gift of all, life itself.

It's widely thought a man is needed for that, but parthenogenesis is not limited to chicken and under. A low electric current, a sudden shock, almost any disturbance can trigger an ovum into production. A sort of parthenogenesis takes place each time an identical twin is started. A man is just a luxury. No, a man is a nuisance.

After cultural acclimatization, and exposed to the macho posturing that masculine flesh is heir to, most females on the whole could go it alone quite well thank you, without the bother of any man.

And when that number game chosen female conceives without man and says `Behold I am with child, yet I have not known a man' the obvious response is `Yeah, right!' And another virgin birth is on its unsung way.

Or they stone her, maybe. Send her off somewhere, and she locks all these things in her heart and watches the chosen son for signs of greatness -- which of course she would find in abundance. And if he's halfway able, he might just grow up to be the charismatic leader of another cult. Messiah x.

Dan and Jack become active in the debating team, but they don't want people to think they're joined at the hip, so here, as in class, they usually take opposing sides; it adds a bit of spark for them, and for the others too. They are the terrible twosome, and quite enjoy their growing reputation.

Jack decides to be editor of the school paper, and he and Dan have a good time writing nasty things to and about each other. They look for political topics that would make sense to write about. But neither of them is very political. They decide that if man is a political animal as Aristotle suggests, the two of them may not qualify. They agree that as naked two legged upright creatures they probably come closer to Plato's friend's plucked chicken. Ecce, homo!

What is man, that Thou art mindful of him. A bit of dung; inspired, on occasion, to reach above that station just a little. An inspirable bit of dung. Inflatable. Fertilizer fluff.

Mr Sean the counsellor is delighted with all this activity, and the two boys spend a lot of time in his office just visiting. Jack used to go there by himself before he met Daniel. But Daniel participating makes this even more interesting.

Doing this, they start to miss some classes, so Mr Sean suggests he talk to the other teachers about exempting them from whatever classes they do not feel a need to attend.

And he arranges for them to have a small room in which they can meet, away from the distraction of other students.

Of course Jack and Dan think this is a terrific idea. It doesn't much help them be humble, but Mr Sean points out that humility is not really a valid objective for them in any case.

Some of the teachers are not very comfortable with special treatment for the troublesome two. And strangely, the library teacher, Mrs Frohlich, is the one who is most opposed, although both boys are avid readers and use the library constantly. She's usually quite friendly with them. Must be some question of principle, with her.

From time to time there's a writing contest, essays usually, and Jack and Dan always enter these. Typically, the judges are stymied to choose between them, so the standard solution becomes to give them a joint first prize. A couple of times they get to read their entries to some large gatherings.

On one of these occasions Jack, not that happy with his essay, writes a completely new one for the reading. And no one notices, or anyone who does, makes no comment. He wonders, then, what sort of margin for change or variability this implies. What range of contents could he have submitted before he would fall outside the acceptable winning area? Or is content an issue? It almost seems as if entering and winning go together, as if there were some sort of guarantee.

A guaranteed win seems endemic for the volleyball team, too. The school sweeps the playoffs to become the provincial champion time and again.

It's mostly the terrific spike developed by Alan, the son of the bank manager. When he winds up and drives that ball down over the net in that unique and fearsome style, arcing his right arm over his head like the push rod of a steam engine, it's like a cannon shot. The other team might as well stand back and watch; any attempt to counter is futile. No matter how they position themselves or try to cup their hands to cushion the impact, the ball flies off wildly, completely out of control. And Enderbush wins again. Jack quite enjoys sharing in the glow.

He is intrigued by the math teacher, a Mr McFee, a tall English gentleman with a pointy nose and almost black hair combed to the side. One day a question of geometric logic arises. If a beam is suspended over two posts, what part of its weight is carried by each post? The answer obviously, is one half. And what if it protrudes by a third over one post? That's fairly straightforward too, just an algebraic calculation.

Then Jack raises the question: What if two men carry the beam, and one is an inch taller than the other. Does each carry half?

The students all proclaim loudly, it makes no difference, each carries half. And the teacher falls in with them. But Jack insists the shorter man carries more than half.

Jack is thinking that if they were going up a staircase or a ladder, the fellow on the bottom would certainly carry most of the weight. And one person being taller than the other is just a less extreme version of that same situation. But he doesn't succeed in getting this across to the others.

The next class the teacher comes breezing in, papers flying. He has three sheets covered with algebraic and trigonometric formulas, setting forth the solution to Jack's problem. And he starts by apologizing to Jack -- the shorter person carries more than half the weight. Jack asks Mr McFee to explain his solution in detail, but is told it would take too much time.

But wouldn't it be instructive?

It's summer holidays, and again Jack is put in charge of the log pond at the mill. Using a pike pole, a long aluminum pipe with a sharp point and curved hook on the tip, he has to manoeuver the floating logs so he can bundle them up with a logging chain fitted with a large rounded hook on one end and a winch cable on the other, so that Krom, running the electric winch at the top end of the slide ramp just above the log deck, can winch the dripping logs up there, and roll them down the deck towards the carriage.

Logs are put through the pond this way so dirt and gravel will drop out of the bark, and also soften them up a little for easier handling and cutting. This makes for less down time otherwise lost in sharpening and replacing saw bits, and eases the work of the sawyer and canter. The sawyer is the man who does the actual cutting, by working the log carriage and the head rig. A head rig consists of the saw and its controls.

The canter is the worker who uses a canthook to turn the logs on the carriage. He first positions the log so its average center line of bilateral symmetry (most trees, and hence most logs, have at least one direction of curvature) is parallel to the carriage tracks. The smaller or top end is pushed out from the carriage about the distance by which the two radii differ. Also, any crown will be up, on top. This results in optimum stability for handling and cutting, and maximum yield. When the log is situated correctly, it is held in place with one or more dogs -- sharply pointed angle irons free to slide up and down the vertical bunks, held in place with threaded and weighted handles.

A slab is taken off one side, and depending on log size or targeted yield, one or more further slices. When the carriage comes back, after sufficient cutting is done on one surface of the log, which now has one flat side, the canter has a choice: if the log is not to be made into a cant, and is not to be cut live, he flips up a series of steel halfmoons mounted on a shaft running through the deck beams and, putting the swinging bill of his canthook over the top of the log, bears down on its long wooden handle so the hook digs into the wood and the log turns down and rolls towards him, is brought up against the halfmoons which all rotate down together so that the log is flipped back onto the carriage with the flat side down. Sawyer and canter then position it for the next cut. They align it on the carriage, still keeping the narrow end out from the bunks. On the next flip down the resulting right angled wood fits tight against horizontal and vertical bunks.

The other strategy, if a cant is wanted, or the whole thing is to be cut right down to within only two inches left against the vertical bunks (cut live), is for the canter to slip the canthook bill under the log and turn it upwards, rotating it a full 180 degrees till the flat part comes up snug against the vertical bunks. One or more cuts will then result in a cant that can be shunted over to the gangsaw, or repeated passes will reduce the wood to plank thickness.

All this is easier to do if the log is soaked; the wet wood slides better. If there is much dirt in the bark, the saw teeth become dull, and have to be ground back and replaced oftener. Saw teeth, or bits, are removable. They are a good inch long, and curved. The bottom part fits onto a curved shank, and together they slide down into a v-grooved semicircle cut out all around the outer rim of the body of the circular saw blade.

Bit and shank are wedged into these cutouts under pressure, applied by the sawyer with a two foot steel hand tool. All these pressed in parts create a tension in the saw, so it is stiffer than the blade would be without them, and this tension becomes an element in controlling the sawing action.

After some time, when the bits get dull, the corners become rounded, and instead of chisel-biting the wood with a nice clean cut there is more of a tearing action, pulling rather than severing the woodfiber. This takes more power, and the saw will tend to run off course as well.

The bits are sharpened using a high speed drill equipped with an emery grinding wheel. They are ground back to where they have sharp corners again.

Jack asks a lot of questions about how all this works, and he's learning more and more about the sawmill business.


Daniel is showing Jack a school paper or bulletin, from Caribou College in Kemloops. Some students were out cross country skiing and found huge tracks in the snow. Barefoot tracks, quite distinct. They followed the trail for about an hour, but when it started getting dark they abandoned the pursuit and came home.

They went back the following day but another slight skim of snow and the wind made the tracks difficult to see so they didn't go even as far as they had the previous day.

Imagine that! Sasquatch tracks in this area, right close to home! If that's true, they could possibly see one themselves sometime. Exciting! What are they? Is this the missing link?

Daniel, "It's likely just a hoax."

"Hoax my foot! What motive could there be?"

"No, Jack. Hoax HIS foot. Hoax his foot. Oh, just to get attention. To get something in the paper. To have something weird to talk about. People are not beyond that, you know. Anything to make a fuss."

"I doubt it. There's been too many of these cases. With that much smoke there's bound to be a spark of fire someplace. The Indians were talking about these creatures long before the white men came. I can't see any good reason to write this story off as a hoax. The underlying cause for your rejection is simply your not believing that Sasquatches exist."

"You're absolutely right, Jack. You're absolutely right. Until I see some bones and stones, or better yet a body, they just do not exist. Habeus non corpus."

"You're a conservative stone wall."

"You're a gullible will o'the wisp."

Jack had read a long account about a man having been carried, right inside his sleeping bag, far into the bush by a Sasquatch. The man was kept captive in a steepbanked enclosure with a cave at one end, apparently for the purpose of becoming a mate to a young female. He got away when he offered the contents of his snuff box to his male captor, and the resulting discomfort so distracted the poor creature that the entrance was left free just long enough for the man to bolt. The story had a ring of truth about it, and it was written long before such tales became popular and profitable.

Another account told of a young male being captured by some crewmen of the CPR, and kept for quite a while in a cage in Yale, B.C. in 1884. It had been sleeping on a slope above the tracks and they stunned it with a rock and tied it up with ropes. The story included photographed excerpts from the newspaper of the time, The Colonist, July 3, 1884. Hard to fake that.

They called him Jacko.

Chapter Thirty-One