Flash Back Fridays
GEOFF EVANS 1974
I went through the usual college stuff to obtain a teaching diploma and taught Phys. Ed. at an all-boys school in Plymouth, England for three years. Following that I worked at the Out- ward Bound Mountain School in the Lake District for two years. This was followed by my “wandering” years where I traveled and worked at the Minnesota O.B. School during the summers and returned to the U.K. in the fall. I was eventually asked to stay as Assistant Director with the goal of establishing a year round program and this I did until I received a letter requesting me to register for the “draft”. This annoyed me as I had already served my two years in the RAF when I was 18!!! So I returned to the U.K with family in tow. All of this took place between1959 and 1970. In 1971 I was offered the directorship of the recently opened Outward Bound (O.B.) School in Keremeos B.C. which I took on and I stayed there until 1974. That was the year that we all met the government people in Victoria. Anyway that began my association with the Lodge. As you probably know I started my own whitewater kayaking school in 1976 and Barb and I ran it until 1998 when I lost my depth perception due to an eye injury. We still kayak. Both Barb and I are partly bionic, having had new hips but we are still able to get out and about.
I met Ray Preece at the Keremeos O.B. School in 1971 and we worked together there and at the Lodge. I recommended him to Jim and yourself. I knew little of his life prior to that time, but spent many a happy time times with him in the mountains and on the rivers. His great sense of humor was legendary. One such time occurred when we were both at the Lodge working with a group of teachers setting up a Tyrolean Traverse over a gorge somewhere There was quite a group of tourists watching the activity, what with all the ropes and hardware. I was there giving directions when Ray was approached by a young boy who pointed at me and said to Ray “That man must have told a lot of lies when he was young judging by the length of his nose.” He came close to being hurled into the river but I didn’t think his parents would have appreciated that.
Ray, being Ray, never let me forget that incident and the tale would be retold whenever old friends got together. There were other humorous times, like when Brian and Mark Creer, Annie (14 at the time), Barb and I paddled the upper Gold River as part of my B.C. Whitewater Instructor certification. In a shallow part of the river Brian hit some rocks and fell over. He didn’t really capsize because the water was not deep but when he tried to roll up, it was to no avail. After what seemed like minutes he emerged from his boat, standing in ankle deep water, paddle in hand but still encased in his spray-skirt and the entire seat and cockpit of the kayak. Mark, with the aid of yards of duct tape, managed to strap the boat together and we proceeded to finish our trip. This was probably the first descent of that stretch of the river.
Finally, the most bizarre!!! I was sitting at home in Keremeos in June of 1974, when the telephone rang. I answered and a voice asked if I was Geoff Evans, to which I replied “Yes” The voice then continued that I was going to work for him that summer. “No I’m not” I replied because “I’ve already accepted a summer position with the army cadets instructing kayaking and rock climbing in Vernon for the summer”. “No you’re not” Jim said “it is written that you will work at Strathcona Park Lodge this summer. Can you catch a flight to Campbell River and we will go to Victoria and meet with Eileen Daily?” Well, you know the rest, but I’ll never forget that phone call from Jim!