12 Mile Creek, British Columbia - Janice Weninger
If you drive 6 hours up a dirt road, heading north out of Vanderhoof, which is our nearest small town, you’d arrive at where I lived for 8 years, from 1980-88, and there’s not much there. There were just about a hundred of us spread out over 17 square miles. It was off the grid living, and all we had was surface water, which came from 12 Mile Creek. I just wanted to live in the woods and build a log house, and the person I was with at the time, well that was their dream as well. That’s where my kids were born.
People would ask me once I moved back, what university I went to, but that was just life up there that taught me. My friends would ask me ‘what do you do up there?’. I did everything you take for granted. There’s no store up there, if you want bread you bake it, if you want water, you haul it. There’s no grid up there so if you need power, you had better have solar powers or generators. I’d still be up there but my kids needed to go to school. We realized quickly that school was more than just learning your ABCs, it was about learning social interaction, so we moved to a small town for that.
I lived up there for 8 years and our water source the whole time was 12 Mile Creek. In the wintertime we had to pack in water by hand, you really learn the value of water that way. I could remember coming down to visit my parents and I remember running a bath and laying in all of that water and thinking ‘wow would this ever be a lot of work to get this here’.
At the time, I took out a water licence to protect the creek, and they were talking about logging the area, and I ended up taking it out just to protect it. You know, it’s a phenomenal place to live. That water tasted so good!
I’d do it again, maybe not at this point in my life, but at some other point. It’s still just the same up there, and in the back of my mind, and that kind of experience I want to do again.
That’s why I go camping and hiking and paddling so I can get back out there without the buzz of electricity, and go and appreciate where my water comes from.