Sunday, February 11, 2007

The Big Slide...again


A sight becoming more and more common
as less and less is done

Our excitement of yesterday was jumping in my car and rushing down to the Big Slide. Hearing there was an accident, and me so passionate on getting this dangerous stretch of road fixed, I couldn't resist grabbing my camera and hustling down there. I said a quick prayer for whomever had driven off, before turning the corner and seeing an ambulance, RCMP, Tribal Police, and the Rescue Squad. My heart sank as I knew they had called the Fisheries to put a boat in the water, the driver was possibly in the Fraser River, certain death anytime of year. I approached a guy standing at the edge, a nervous look on his face, he feared it was a buddy from Lytton. Within a few minutes a Tribal Police officer came up to us and she said the man had been located, in Lytton, about a 1/2 hour away. A sigh of relief from all.
Apparently the man had climbed out of the wreck and hitched a ride. He called his girlfriend, who lived in Cache Creek, and told her he was okay and the message was relayed from there. Lucky guy, not many survive the Big Slide...a few "ifs" and he wouldn't have made it. I am amazed this man was not only able to survive the rollover of the steep embankment but he was able to crawl to the top, human instincts can be very powerful.

The truck is out of view, it went over a second embankment and is hooked up in a tree.
A member of the Lillooet Rescue Squad risks his life. Clicking on the picture will bring up a larger image and you can see the ropes where they repelled down.
Cleaning up

Read two previous posts regarding the Big Slide.
The Big Slide
Hit! In the Big Slide

There is a meeting set for February 26th 4:00-6:00 PM at the Rec Centre in Lillooet. Speak your mind about this stretch of road. Tell me your story. Leave me a comment and I will take it with me. Something needs to be done, please do your part. If you would like to email your comment or story please send to LillooetBigSlide@hotmail.com

5 comments:

Gerri said...

Hi Kansas,
Just thought I would look at your page this morning. That was one lucky fellow that went over the big slide. He should go and buy a lottery ticket. The big guy in the sky was definitely looking after him.
Gerri

Anonymous said...

The day the “Big Slide” closed, January 10th, 2007, my husband, I and two small children traveled to Vancouver for an appointment we could not miss. Our “Big Slide” story started when we woke up that morning. While getting ready, we talked about knowing the “Big Slide” was going to be closed or in bad shape. We discussed not going, but not taking this trip was not an option.
We debated about going through the Valley but decided against it, as it would have added another hour to our drive and going down the icy hairpin turns would have been worse than dodging boulders and showers of rocks through the Big Slide (you never know what you are going to get but you know for certain there are going to be rocks) and taking the Duffy was not an option because of the snow at the higher levels.

We came up on the Big Slide at about 7:45 am, seeing right away it was “bad.” Rocks were all over the road. Driving through, we weaved around and drove over rocks thinking, “This is really bad.” But not as bad as what we saw coming around one of the last corners. A small avalanche of very sharp rocks. My husband stopped and we looked at each other and debated for about 10 seconds about whether we should back up, or just go over it. I looked up the avalanche, looked behind us, look at the avalanche again, “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t,” the rocks seemed to start to slide faster, I looked at him and said, “The rocks are starting to come down just go!” Needless to say, we got to the other side and pulled off to the side of the road, got out and checked the vehicle. The only damage was, a rock hit the roof of the car but no gashes in the tires from the sharp rocks. While standing outside the car, agreeing how scary that was, my husband said, “Listen to that.” I stopped and listened. All I could hear was a “shhhhhh” of sliding rocks. The rocks were really starting to come down. With a thankful nervous laugh that we made it through, we jumped back in the car.
Not until the next day on our way back from Vancouver did we find out the “Big Slide” was closed. With a reluctant sigh, we took the turn and headed up the road to the Valley where we knew the road through was going to be a sheet of ice. We had the children and we knew the icy road up there was going to be nerve racking to say the least. When you have children in the car, the dangers of the roads seem to be amplified. We did make it home safely. (A week after our trip, friends of ours had to take the Valley road because of the Slide closure and had gotten into a near fatal accident).
A week later, we read in the paper the Big Slide closed January 10 around 8:00 am due to an avalanche of rocks. With a chill, I realized our passing through the Big Slide that day, could have ended up way worse than a rock hitting the roof of our car.

Stacey from Lillooet said...

The “Big Slide” Reality Game

The reality game at the Big Slide goes something like this; at the start of the slide, you turn on your “A” game driving skills. The goal of the game is to make to the other side without getting hit by rocks, going over the edge or getting stuck and having to back up to the beginning. Weather conditions change, but rocks and boulders on the road, is the same every time. Sometime you have snow, slush, ice, rain, fog, or a natural combination of any of these. Spring, winter and fall weather apply with a variety of road conditions that go along with these seasons. Driving through darkness in any of these conditions is the hardest, but is the ultimate challenge.
The road is enough for one car but as part of the game, another vehicle (a car, a truck, semi or logging truck) will be coming in the opposite direction. Figuring out how you and the other vehicle will get though is part of the game. The boulders are dropping all around you, miraculously missing your vehicle. But your life depends on you getting to the otherside.
The worst scenario of the game is when the fog so thick, the only way you can get through it is to drive by memory hoping you do not forget a corner, a narrow part of the road, or another vehicle is not coming in the opposite direction. While you cannot see two feet in front of you, there is a possible fatal hazard that a chunk of road is missing or a boulder the size of your car drops from nowhere crushing you. Winning the game is when you get to other side alive. Although varied, the congratulatory words at the end of the game are similar. “That was close,” Thank God, I got through,” or “A @*!#* rock(s) hit my car!”

I would invite any Minister including the Premier to come and play this game a number of times through the various scenerios and then determine how unimportant fixing this road is to the government. Obviously in order for anyone in Parliament to take this matter or any other seriously is it has to affect them personally. Lets have a few of them come and play our reality game and see how quickly something would be done after that. Of course our other option is, watching and waiting for the government to take action meanwhile having more people added to the “reality game” fatality list. Cabinet Ministers, Mr. Campbell, what is the magic number of people who have die in order for you to take notice and act? Come try our game, maybe you’ll change your mind.

Anonymous said...

In 1969 I was living in Lillooet and we wanted to spend Christmas in Powell River. We had 4 children in our vehicle and the rocks started coming down as we drove through the big slide. We were hit, lots of damage to the vehicle but by the grace of God no one was injured. After the holidays we retuned to our home in Lillooet via the Marble Canyon. It scared me into moving away so in the New year we moved out of Lillooet. That stretch of road is still not any better eh. I am not surprised to hear of accidents in that area of Highway 12.

Fruitloopgirl said...

That stretch of road is scary as it is... they really need to find an alternative.