She was taking us to the community center, she said. It was used as an emergency shelter for those who became stranded. She thought there was a phone there with a land line.
The community center (aka emergency shelter) was about seven miles back to Klondyke and turned out to be the one-room schoolhouse that we had passed on the way in. It was no longer used as a school because there were no more children living in Klondyke.
The Klondyke Community Center
Our rescuer led us into the building, which was completely empty except for a few broken down desks and a dead bird on the dirty wooden floor. It turned out there was no phone, but our rescuer had Verizon service on her cell and we were able to get a signal and call Eric’s parents.
“Are they mad?” I asked Eric. Honestly, I couldn’t imagine them not being mad.
But Eric smiled and said “No it’s fine. They’re fine.”
So we took our packs out from our rescuer’s truck and waved our goodbyes. She waved back and then backed up right over Dave’s backpack. Eric’s camera was sitting on top of the pack and toppled to the ground on impact. She stopped the truck. Eric was staring at his camera, but didn’t make a move toward it.
“Did I just run over your stuff?” she asked, sticking her head out the window.
“Yeah,” Eric said. “But don’t worry. It’s fine.”
It turns out his camera was fine. And except for a tire track on Dave’s backpack, it was fine too.
Dave and Eric standing next to the run over pack.
So the day turned out to be beautiful and sunny. And I think in the back of our minds we were all wondering if we had made the right decision to not hike the canyon. But I figured it was better not to know and be alive then to know and be dead. We had four hours to kill, so we hung our wet tents over the brick wall outside the school and sat around talking. Although we didn’t get to see the beauty of the canyon we did meet a few nice people, including a large rancher who drove the road grader and stopped to say hello and give us a quick history of the region.
And while Dave and Eric didn’t capture breathtaking images of the canyon, they did get some nice shots of the town of Klondyke, a visiting praying mantis, and the picturesque mountains that surrounded the region.
Taking pictures of a visiting praying mantis
The best part was that Eric’s parents were smiling and in good humor when they arrived with the dogs to pick us up. And so, after cleaning out a new pile of puppy puke from the back seat of Eric’s Jeep, we loaded up and headed home.