"Smelled kind of like an RV septic tank"

1980 or 81, near Spuzzum

In 1980 or 81 I was placer mining in the Fraser Canyon about 1 and a half miles upstream from Spuzzum. On a Friday, I  think, in late April a native fisherman asked me if I had seen any sign of bear or cat in the area in the last few days. He was wondering because he had lost 2 very large Spring salmon in the 30 lb. weight class. One fish had been carried off and of the other only the head was left and as the fisherman put it "it had some funny teeth marks on it". He also noted that there were no tracks of any kind and whatever took his fish must have stayed in the creek and on the rocks. We were both a little puzzled, but I wasn't worried about wildlife as I was usually armed and Wilf said he was going to be thereafter.

On the following Sunday I was giving a co-worker, from my part-time job on a mushroom farm in Langley, a demonstration on site of how the equipment at the mine worked and what the various pieces of equipment did. While we were talking a stench came wafting down from the rock bluff above us causing the hair on our necks, and other places, to stand on end and cause Russell and I to unsling both of our rifles and point them upslope, in response to the unseen, unknown threat? Our actions were instinctual and probably would have looked rehearsed if someone had been watching. We were both avid outdoorsmen, (Russell died in a car accident a couple of years later) and this incident was completely beyond our experience. The stink which smelled kind of like an RV septic tank being dumped down the bluff above us drifted off but came back about 45 minutes later. This time we were a little more cool about it (yeah right) and reacted a bit more calmly, tried to see what it was but weren't about to go hunting for trouble. The smell could not have come from an RV because the nearest road was the TransCanada Highway over 600 yards away on the other side of the Fraser Canyon.

Just another one of life's little mysteries until about 2 years later when I read about the capture of "Jacko" the young BC wild ape in the 1880s at the North end of the No. 4 tunnel on the C.P.R. mainline. WE WERE AT THE SOUTH END OF THAT SAME TUNNEL only 150 yards or so from where Jacko was kidnapped.

Well that's my story. I worked there for roughly 2 more months until the freshet pushed us out, and I have been back there many, many times without seeing, or smelling, anything like that again in spite of actually going looking for some sign after reasoning(?) out what it might have been.

Fred Forman, Aldergrove - May 2002