Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Writing Prompt: The Bermuda of British Columbia

Everyone has heard of the Bermuda Triangle. Disorientation, strange readings from instruments, and outright disappearances have plagued the area for decades. However, Bermuda is not the only place in the world where these things happen; it is merely the most famous. If you have ever been backpacking in the wilds of British Columbia, you know about another place that fits those descriptions.
Perhaps the only reason that the St Christopher Valley* is not more well known is because no one has yet to disappear entirely in the area, which lies between the Dall River and Altin Provincial Park in British Columbia, and stretches northward across the provincial border 50 miles into the Yukon.
The interesting thing about St Christopher Valley is that the landmarks: rocks, trees, even hills, seem to move during the night. Hikers and campers have reported waking in the morning to have their tents turned as much as 180 degrees, or in extreme cases, awakening to find that they are in a completely different area. When checking a compass or a GPS device, however, they discover that they are in the same place.
The only explanation that has so far been accepted by most parties is that the campers themselves are not moving, but rather it is the landscape that changes in the night.
Veteran hikers have gotten used to the odd ways of St Christopher Valley. “It’s just something you get used to,” said Roni Knudsen, who has hiked through the area every year since he was seventeen. “One time I woke up with a bush in my face that had been at the edge of the site when I went to sleep.”
The area has been visited by many people determined to debunk its strange happenings. A camera placed for a week in St Christopher Valley could detect no nefarious persons moving rocks or shrubberies, and the crew that came along could not discover any disturbed soil where trees had been located, nor any holes or even any depressions where rocks had rested the night before.
One would suppose that a valley named for the patron saint of travellers would be more friendly, but St Christopher Valley will always be host to them, at least as long as Roni Knudsen is around. “It’s challenging,” he said. “I can hike the same ground a million times, but it’s different every time. It’s not like any other place in the world.”
Writing Prompt: A Nightly Landscape Change
*The St Christopher Valley came out of my head. To my knowledge, it is not a real place, and any similarity to a real stretch of land in British Columbia or anywhere else in the world is coincidental.

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