It?s seven minutes past seven on the morning of the 7th day of the 7th month, 2007. A champagne cork blows for four friends, congregating in Tumbler Ridge for a unique, annual task: this year it?s seven waterfalls to go!
It started in the summer of 1999. Everyone was talking of the Y2K problem. Ben and Lorraine built a special outhouse as a statement of faith in the future, something that would not be held ransom by power failures or computer errors. Craig and Maurianne came to help.
They decided to be in Liard Hot Springs for the actual millennium moment, with hoar frost on the frozen ferns, the Northern Lights sparkling above, the crisp air and of course, the springs. It was magical.
Then someone said that the millennium actually began in 2001, not 2000, so all four returned to the Hot Springs for January 1st, 2001, just to make sure. With candles floating in the pool, they toasted each other under a full moon.
It doesn?t matter who thought of it first. History will record that the four were one at the moment, as they drove back down the Alaska Highway. Suddenly, it all clicked: they had just celebrated 01/01/01, and could celebrate one day, one month, and one year, every year until 12/12/12! What a concept!
And so the twelve year project began. In 2012, would they all still be friends or even still alive? What changes would they see? They were committed!
Maurianne and Craig moved to Ontario. Lorraine and Ben flew there for 02/02/02. Lorraine and Ben had a condo in Tumbler Ridge so Maurianne and Craig visited for 03/03/03. They blew the cork at 03h03, climbed to the Bald Spot and slid back down.
In 2004 they flew to Florence, Italy for April 4th, in a restored 1000 year old villa, amid apple blossoms. In Mexico ?Cinco de Mayo?, May 5th, is a national holiday, and the famed Copper Canyon formed an obvious destination, celebrated with apple cider on a mansion roof, followed by a cycle ride. June 6th 2006 involved a lengthy canoe jaunt on Lake Manitoulin in Ontario.
Ben Foster and Lorraine Harrison take up the 2007 story: ?We returned to Tumbler Ridge where we promised our friends seven waterfalls. First we hiked down hill to Flatbed Falls. We checked out some people swimming and snapped our photos. Second, we drove to Quality Falls, hiked in and took our photos. Next we hiked off to the 3rd at Bergeron Falls and the 4th at Dipper Falls. We hiked the Bergeron Cliffs and finished off the evening with the Dino Tour by lantern!?
?Next day we drove south, hiked the Stone Corral, and checked out the big 5th at Kinuseo Falls, hiking down to the bottom. For the 6th we saw Barbour Falls, and the 7th was Nesbitt?s Knee Falls, both of them new for all of us. All were spectacular. Our waterfall bagging was complete. We had our seven waterfalls, Yippee! Yahoo!
?For bonuses, we hiked Quintette Mtn and the Boulder Gardens. We relocated the Elephant Rock. We collected stamps in each of our Passports. All of us were very impressed with all the trail clearing and signage done by Wolverine Nordic and Mountain Society. Maurianne Reade and Craig Maxwell drove off wearing their new museum T-shirts with a car full of new books and memories. All good things must end! But we are all together, still friends and healthy. We look forward to more 08/08/08, etc. Life is Good.?
Ben and Lorraine have been true advertisements for the beauty of the Tumbler Ridge wilderness and the hiking trail system, having brought numerous adventurous hikers to the area of varying levels of experience. They have hiked extensively in the Canadian Rockies and are in contention for being among the first to bag all the Grande Cache ?Passport to the Peaks? summits. Lorraine has won gold in the Emperor?s Challenge walking event, and Ben has taken an avid interest in the building of the Monkman Pass Memorial Trail and the restoration of the old Monkman Homestead. Thanks to friends like these, Tumbler Ridge is increasingly known as a hiking destination, and is a natural venue for any lovers of waterfalls.