Newsletter #144-C: Aug, 2017
© Chris Harris. All rights reserved.
EVACUATION NEWSLETTER – Part III
This is a milestone newsletter. Not only is it the 144th monthly photographic newsletter without missing a single month (that’s twelve years), it’s a 3-part “Evacuation Special” newsletter. Share it with your friends. Enjoy!
On Saturday, July 15th, I said goodbye to my wonderful cabin on Lac La Hache and headed south to my third evacuation home. We begin this visual story where I left off in Newsletter #144-B – Part II.
This is the last part of my evacuation story before being allowed home. Having a hobby such as photography provided me with a wonderful and creative outlet during this homeless and stressful time. I value my camera as a friend.
Our goal at the Chris Harris Gallery is to share photographic adventures and inspire others in the creative process. Please share this Newsletter with friends. We appreciate your interest and continued support for my work.
- Evacuation: On the road again
- Reuniting with family in North Vancouver
- Duggan and I reunite with Rita and return Home
- The Aftermath
Evacuation: On the road again
On July 15, nine days after the fire started, I woke up with a strong feeling to get in my vehicle and leave my cozy retreat on Lac La Hache. Smoke covered the lake, breathing was becoming more difficult, and the possibility of being evacuated further north was an increasing possibility. I packed my few belongings into the car, with the idea of heading south. I did not want to go further north.
Blockade at Lac La Hache
I immediately ran into a roadblock. Highway 97 south was closed and 100 Mile House was evacuated. After a long chat with the officer, explaining how I ‘needed’ to get to North Vancouver to see my niece, I found myself with a private police escort through 100 Mile House.
Police escort past 105 Mile
Passing 105 Mile was difficult. I wanted to escape my convoy and get to my house just up the road, but instead, hoping the cop wouldn’t notice, I made this image as I drove by. As you can see, a raven was circling my highway Gallery sign as if it was saying, ‘don’t worry, I’ve got you’re place covered’. Although the smoke was thick, I could see that fire had not reached where we lived. Feeling relieved, I drove on. I thanked the police officer for the escort, joined highway 24, and then drove to the Lower Mainland.
2. Reuniting with family in North Vancouver
Welcomed by my niece
My niece, Karen Wrinkle, an Upledger Certified Craniosacral Therapist and licensed massage therapist, welcomed me into her home.
Karen’s tiny garden
It was a special place for her and her son Chris, so using my camera, I tried to paint it as if it were a ‘Monet’ garden.
Karen remains grounded to the natural world, even though her business has her living and working in the city. Every day she walks amidst the tall cedars, hemlocks, and firs of Capilano River Reginal Park. She took me there, and every day we walked and talked about my art of photography and her art of healing.
Karen leads me along her favourite trails
Fishing. People from all walks of life seemed to come here to connect with nature after their day at work in a hectic urban environment
As always, I tried to activate the paint brush hidden in my camera.
Towering trees in a magical forest
Karen and I spent a wonderful time reconnecting. She even gave me a few sessions where her craniosacral knowledge and gentle hands erased the tension I had developed in my stiff neck. Thank you Karen for sharing your energy and home.
3. Duggan and I reunite with Rita and return Home
Once again, it was time to leave. Firefighters were beginning to contain the fire around 100 Mile House and we were sensing the evacuation order would soon be lifted. Rita made her way south and I made my way north; we reunited in Kamloops for the first time in 15 days. By this time, we had officially heard our home was safe; we were excited to get home.
What a welcoming sight to see our home and gallery buildings in tact
Rita, Duggan, and I, relish an emotional walk to our home.
Thanks to the often heroic efforts of so many people, most homes in our immediate area were saved. Those of us who had homes to return to are incredibly thankful and grateful. Those two emotions will remain with us, always.
A smoky sunset that night was a reminder that fires were still a threat and much work still had to be done to remain safe
4. The Aftermath
Not all of us were so fortunate. Many, including personal friends of ours, returned to find unimaginable destruction. (made with permission from Judy Turnbull)
In my next Newsletter, I will share my visual and emotional experience of visiting a home that was lost.