Sunday, November 02, 2008

Just When You Thought Nobody Cared

Our little town of Summerland lies alongside the very large Okanagan Lake. Several small towns in a row lie along the lakeshore, separated by a few miles of a twisting, and at times steep, two lane road called "Highway 97". There's a lot of traffic, especially in the summer. So the province has been widening the congested section between Summerland and Peachland, the next small town to the north along 97.

It's been a bit of a pain. The highway lies at the base of steep cliffs and hillsides, and there's no place to put a detour. So traffic is stopped at each end of the construction zone for 30 minutes to an hour several times a day. During these interludes the construction workers blast away hillside, push the debris into piles on the road and then load it into trucks and cart it away.

Mountain goats and deer frequent these slopes. In fact this area is the preferred spot for mountain goats to kid in the spring, as it is inaccessible to most predators. The work was stopped during the kidding season, and stayed stopped until the mother goats moved their kids to better pasture a couple of months later.

About 10 days ago the construction crew noticed that a large crack had developed along the hillside (see line indicated by the yellow arrow), and an entire section of the mountain was threatening to crumble onto the road below. We're talking massive amounts of rock here, an estimated 30,000 truckloads! They stopped traffic immediately, and now travelers have to take a very long detour.

A few days ago the crew noticed that a young goat had fallen into the crevice, and was unable to get out. They dubbed him Houdini and mounted a rescue attempt, which eventually included tranquilizing the goat and one of the crew giving it mouth-to-mouth resuscitation! LOL

For a first hand account of the rescue go here And take heart, there are apparently still a lot of really good people in the world.

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