After all the rain we had, it was glorious to have a gorgeous day for the 2016 Tatla Lake Gymkhana.I wanted to be there for the parade starting at 11.00:am and set off in good time. However, things did not go according to plan. En route, I stopped at the dump – and could not start my van.It had gas, it had a good battery, but would not fire. My house was 25 mins drive away – no handy neighbours and of course no cell phones working here. I still wanted to get to the gymkhana, so the only thing that seemed possible was to start walking and hitch-hiking home. Fortunately, it was a fantastic day for a hike.The first three vehicles did not even slow down. All tourists. Any local would stop and at least find out what was going on on this uninhabited stretch of road. Finally a car picked me up – a young man from Vancouver on his first trip to Bella Coola – and took me to the end of my road. I told him it would be too muddy and bumpy for his city car so I walked the final 4 km – a total travel of 2 hours.
I did not go straight to the gymkhana, though. The van was parked at the lip of the pit, right in the place where people often leave items for others to take: if they are left there too long, the manager will bulldoze them into the hole. I doubted I would get a tow over the weekend, so I taped a sign to the back of the van and hoped for the best.I missed the kids’ dress-up parade at the gymkhana, but was in time for the first event. The youngest competitor received a helping hand: one adult leading the horse, the other holding onto the riders’ leg. In case you think this is a dozy horse, you should have seen it fly like the wind when Dad was riding it in the relay race later in the day!The next contestant could ride alone. But the horse was not cooperating, and kept stopping dead.Once again a parent to the rescue.The events livened up with the older kids.
(Bizarre! All that rain and the arena was a cloud of dust!)Lunchtime was announced for 30 mins. It was more like 2 hours!
This event looked more like a jousting tournament.
But the idea was to spear potatoes from the tire and deposit them at the other end of the race.We weren’t quite free of the rain. At one point there was a heavy shower. But the mix of cloud and sun made for great lighting effects.
(The girl in pink is an excellent rider. I have watched her progress since her parents were leading her around the course. Now she gallops hard on her own.)
The final even for the day was the relay. The dramatic moments were when the batons were exchanged. (Mother and daughter here.)
In case you are wondering about the van: I was not able to get a BCAA tow truck until Tuesday morning!Turned out to be a fuel pump so that cost me a bundle. If that van, being AWD, wasn’t so useful, I would have been happy for someone to nudge it into the hole! Fortunately the tow was covered by the BCAA – would have cost between $600 – $900 from here!