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Francis Drake – The Last Spike

The gold disappeared, and people moved on and it was time to seek a new adventure. I wandered around the Cariboo – found a string of lakes that looked like they would be fun to swim so I swam and portaged the length of them. (Actually I cheated on the portaging bit and just flew from one lake to the other.) They form circle so I ended up where I began. I guess its fun for those who like going round in circles. Maybe it’ll catch on some day.

I headed east into the heart of what I thought would be uncharted territory. Not so – for there I found a couple of survey parties. They told me they were trying to find a good rout to run a railway to the west coast. They mumbled something about confederation and provinces and CPR land grants. Anyway, they asked me to scout for them and I told them to forget it – no self-respecting train could travel in that country! It wasn’t long after that I was enjoying some r’n’r on a lake that was so green that I called it Emerald Lake, and then I found this huge waterfall that just sort of burst through the mountainside and plunged hundreds of metres. I found out it was known as Takakkaw Falls (second highest in the whole country.) But I digress. As I was enjoying the beautiful scenery I became aware of a growing commotion in the valley. A quick flight revealed work crews and there they were – laying the last of the rails for the railway I had heard about. I hung around for a while and became quite friendly with most of the workers. One day at Craigellachie there was a great hoopla and about three hundred men surrounded one old guy called Smith who could hardly hold the hammer. Well, they set up a spike for him and he managed to miss it – many times. It was raining and miserable the guys were muttering about getting the spike in before it snowed, so I volunteered to hold the spike and guide the hammer. We all smiled while someone took lots of pictures. They managed to cut me out of all of them so nobody knows how I helped join this country together! Anyway, he finally hit it square on and drove it right into the tie – and almost smashed my wing in the process. It was the last spike and the famous railway was done.

I figured I would hang around and catch the first train to the coast since I figured it was about time I touched base with my family again. Well, I had to wait six months, but it did finally arrive and I did get to ride the first transcontinental train from Craigellachie to Port Moody. It was a short flight over to Victoria where I discovered there was a railway running from Esquimalt to Nanaimo. They were having problems with it and I figure no one would ever unravel the “can of worms” so I decided to do what I do best – I flew! And so I returned to the beautiful land of plenty that I had left many years ago to reunite with my family.Francis Drake duck

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