On Sunday, January the 4th, an ice storm hit Hope and surrounding areas. It hit Camp Hope as well, hard. In the wee hours of the morning on Jan. 5th, trees started falling apart, and continued to do so through Tuesday the 6th. Tree tops, branches, half trees and whole trees all burdened by the weight of the incessant freezing rain downpour, came crashing to the ground. It was loud and it was everywhere.
The mess that the storm left behind at the camp is hard to imagine and truly, seeing is believing. We have a blanket of broken wood all over the campus.
Click on the picture above to watch the GlobalNews BC TV Report
A significant portion of our power lines are down, with poles snapped in two, on our access road and on the camp as well. We have been without power since 5:20 a.m. on the 5th. We hope to have that restored in the next few days. We scrambled to get our emergency lighting going, and power rigged up to our fridge and freezer. Our only heat source in the lodge has been our little wood stove. The staff have continued to work uncomplainingly and valiantly despite the cold.
Besides the power lines, most of trees on the campus were hit hard. The horse corral was hit hard. The zip line was hit hard. As the destruction continued, it seemed surreal. We struggled to keep the road to the highway open with chainsaws, snow plow and back hoe.
We thank God that no one was hurt and damage to our buildings and structures were minimal. There were numerous near misses by falling trees. Six roofs on smaller cabins and buildings were slightly damaged or impaled by branches. It was two very discouraging days, but as pictures were posted online and word got out, first one phone call offering help, then another and another, and when the sun came out on Wednesday, and the sky was bright blue, amidst the destruction there was still beauty. Our spirits were lifted and the task of cleaning up suddenly started to feel doable.
We already have an excavator clearing away trees along our access road and a professional faller clearing away potential danger trees that could repeat this power line problem in another storm. Restoring power is going to be expensive, and of course there will be other expenses as well.
We are still sorting out financial issues. A Skid-steer tractor is being loaned to us, and another is loaning us an attachment for picking up sticks and roots etc. Someone else is loaning us a large chipper.
We don’t have the Canadian army to call in, but we have the army of you, our brothers and sisters here in BC, Yukon and beyond. We will need many, many helping hands in the weeks and months to follow. If you can lend us a hand, please let us know as we continue to formulate our cleanup plans. We have many pictures and videos posted on the Camp Hope – Mountain View Camp and Conference Centre Facebook page.