It was a week of cat and mouse that culminated in the forestry guys putting me on a wild goose chase. They’ll be spraying down the 1400 Road tonight, a nighttime spray, he said over the phone. Kilometer 28. So I loaded up my camera gear in my backpack and hopped on my Honda 100, a little trail bike that barely ran, and with its motor gasping away I tore off down the road.
I thought I’d sneak up on them and parked in the trees, stealthily making my way to kilometer 28 by foot through the bush. I had the idea of setting up on a little knoll that I saw through the trees, but wanted to remain unobserved. After much labour and a long hike I made my way up to the viewpoint, a vast expanse of a view below me. The clear cut extended for many kilometers in every direction and I was in the heart of it, and alone. Not a soul. I looked all over for the support trucks that should have been awaiting for the helicopter. I pricked my ears against the wind for the throbbing dub-step drone of the helicopter, but all I could hear was the ghost-like buzz of my dirt bike motor still reverberating in my eardrums.
I scanned the expanse of young forest to see what they were going to spray. There was one section with a lush stand of aspen, the “pest” that the spraying was supposed to deal with. Maybe this was the spot? So I decided I’d better wait. And I waited. I had a magnificent view of the Telegraph Range, a low-slung stretch of volcanic ridges that rose up out of the sandy expanse of pine-grass range land I stood in the middle of. I laid myself out, did some drawing, took some time lapse pictures. I waited until the sun sank behind the mountains and still no helicopter.
The whole week had been an unsuccessful, multimedia mission to record the process of herbicide spraying. Every morning I was driving all the way to Lynx Lake where they had sprayed, where I had a time-lapse operation set up. I had made a little shelter for the camera and set it up deep in a block, set to take a photo every five minutes. The problem was I didn’t have enough time and had to pull my one camera before any changes were noticeable. I was also trying to get some video of the herbicide helicopter that was operating in the area. I would hear the chopper over the hill and would try to chase it down, always arriving too late. I’d see the tracks of the refueling trucks, the bags on the trees notifying of the date it had been sprayed, and the faint odor of chemicals. It was a string of bad luck that I hoped wouldn’t last. And luckily it didn’t.