August 14th, 2004
You're driving through Manning Park.
It's another hot-spell this relentless summer but the shelter of the
mountain pass, flanked by steep terain, towering evergreens and cool running
rivers, preside. As you come up on Allison flats,
the acrid smell of wood-smoke greets you.
Not the smell of holiday camp-fires, so
much as it is the smell of a wild-fire; your attention turns investigative. By
the time you get to the lodge, still no sign of the source and as you distance
yourself from the lodge, the smoke disipates and you begin to relax, again.
It appeared to be hotter back there on
the flats and though it is still relatively flat, the pass has
narrowed, winding along with the turns of the Similikimeen River, the
smoke is gone and the cool breeze returns to your nostrils. As you look ahead,
down the road, you see the structure of a park boundary sign....but what's
Okay, so you're driving down the big
hill off the Anarchist Pass, coming down into Osooyos. The road twists and turns
down the steep grade, rock outcroppings blasted to make way for the road, here
and there, marked with graffitti. What's this?
Okay, so you're leaving Osooyos, heading
up the big into the Anarchist Pass. As you aproach the big hair-pin near the
Okay, okay - you're at the intersection
of Highways 33 and 3. You can go left towards Midway, Greenwood, Grand Forks and
on to the East Kootenays. As you round the corner past the Goldpanner cafe
(GREAT burgers! ;-), you can't miss it right in front of you on the bridge
Okay, Okay - so you go west, instead and
you're just going around that last big hair-pin, leaving Rock Creek and the
Goldpanner Cafe, nestled below and behind you in the valley bottom as you begin
your westerly pilgrimage. There, on the right side of the road, just ahead of
So you keep driving, determined to take
in the beauty of southern British Columbia, in spite of all that graffitti.
Now, when you travel this route, the
Anarchist Pass, or any other route through British Columbia, a working knowledge
of the history of that area, never ceases to enhance the experience. It is for
this reason that you will want to stop in at the Canyon Creek Ranch, talk to the
proprietor, Wolfgang Schmidt and browse through his collection of curios,
artifacts, historical references, ancient medicinal compounds, poetry, famous
quotes and timeless words of wisdom. You'll be thrilled that you
The Canyon Creek bridge is an awesome
structure, the longest span of any bridge in the Commonwealth, that spans a
gorge, more than 300 feet above the canyon floor. Built in the fifties with
hand-poured concrete, in the middle of winter, lanterns were employed to keep
the concrete from freezing.
A man was seen on this bridge with
my stencil. No, he wasn't "a jumper". You guessed it -
and had just finished "tagging" the
right side on the beginning of the bridge approach, travelling west. He was
working the south side, on his 2nd "tag", when a pick-up truck rolled to a
"What are you doing?!" the passenger
inquired, some-what incredulously. "I'm tagging the bridge." he replied.
"You can't do that!" was the retort.
The 1st clue was the flashing
lights in the grill of the truck, a clever disguise though it was, with the
a.t.v. in the back. As they rolled ahead to park safely off the bridge, he
furiously sprayed to complete what he anticipated to be, his final
tag. As he wrapped up the final pass of the spray-bomb, they stood hovering
over my crouched form, one of them dangling his RCMP badge for
They had the courtesy (and curiosity) to
ask the all-important WHY he was
doing this - "defacing public property".
He explained that he'd tried the
"civil route", tried protesting quietly and had even paraded
with a sign as big as the one, the subject of this conversation, in front
of the local courthouse but that he was still being ignored - so
now he's escalating the campaign.
The officer patiently listened and then
agreed that it was his right to his opinion and that the web-site
was also his right - a proper and rightful way to conduct himself - but not
by defacing public property. He politely listened and then explained
that the officer was mistaken - the website is about fact and not
opinion - it is about allegations of criminal wrong-doing, carried out by those
who administer our justice system. As a criminal investigator, it was now his
duty to investigate these allegations.
And then the
graffiti-artist acquiessed, admitting that there are undoubtedly other ways
to get the message across without "defacing public property".
By the smiles on their faces, it
was plain they were pleased, leaving them with the impression that justice had
been served, right there on the side of the road - no need for punitive damages
as there was shown sufficient remorse, along with a promise to "change
Yeah, right! Just long enough for them
to turn around and disappear over the hill on their way back to Ossooyos
- he tagged the bridge at least 6 more times!
This truck has been seen
crossing the American Border @ Osooyos, British
(I'm surprised they let me back in!
Suspected involvement in indiscriminate
defacing of public property.
Yours very truly,
The OurCourtsSuck guy