I've been to Yahk and back.
Yahk, British Columbia, Canada.
A small town located 70 kilometres (44 miles) southwest of Cranbrook, British Columbia.
Just another sleepy little town one could easily drive right by. Then again, the enticement to stop and purchase a world famous: 'I've Bin to Yahk 'N Back' t-shirt can prove too hard to resist.
This most certainly proved to be the case as far as we, my partner Veronica and myself were concerned. So we purchased two t-shirts and thought, 'what the heck, let's stay the night in the local campground'. So we set up our tent and proceeded to do some wandering around.
In the distance, we could could hear the ever increasing thunder from the oncoming freight train. Realising that there was not much happening in Yahk; we thought it would be fun to watch the train as it clattered ever closer. Boxcar after boxcar passed by. It seemed to take ages until finally, boxcar, boxcar, caboose. Soon the caboose was a distant speck and tranquil silence returned.
So that was the thrill of watching a train go by. It was now time for us to get settled in for the evening at the Yahk provincial park campground. Ah bliss! The evening was drawing in, it was time to relax, to absorb the wonders of the natural environment. The gentle breeze rustling through the trees, the soothing sound of the rushing river, the occasional crackle from the campfire, the distinctive roar of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. The what?
A group of bikers had descended upon the peaceful and serene camping community. Were they quiet and unassuming? Did they discreetly set up their tents without causing attention? Did they heck. These dudes and chicks were ready to party man!
So did we hide in our tent? Or did we pose proudly in front of our 1973 Dodge Polara (our very own 'Smokie and the Bandit mobile')? Well, maybe just a tiny bit to our own surprise, we posed beside our gas-guzzlin' beast of a car. Hey, check us out bikers. Suddenly the song 'Born to be wild', by Steppenwolf, started blasting in my head.
We were well and truly observed by them and they invited us over. We thought it best that we take something to drink over to their campsite. Anyway, being of generous nature, they proceeded to offer us beer after beer after...Then they noticed the bottle we had brought over. "Hey man, how about sharing some of that vodka with us?" said one of the guys. 'Whoops', I thought, 'now we may just have a slight problem'. The vodka bottle was actually full of water. We had used the empty vodka bottle to use for extra water supplies. I explained this to them and suddenly a new song came into my head, 'Born to be mild'. Stay calm and hope they will see the funny side of this.
They all laughed and some guy handed me yet another beer. We had a great time that night, a memorable night that taught me some valuable lessons. We cannot judge others by perceptions or misconceptions that have been ingrained into us by ignorance and assumption. Yes they were loud, but I know they meant no harm to anyone. They were just a bunch of folks having a good time. Indeed, they were a group of friends who shared the freedom of the open road. That, to me, is a great ideal.
Somewhat groggy, we woke up the next morning in our tent. The sun was shining, the birds were singing, all was at peace with the world. The bikers had gone but the memory of that brilliant night still resonates to this very day. If you ever manage to visit Yahk, purchasing an 'Ive Bin to Yahk 'N Back' t-shirt is a must.