Guy Banks’ Last Ride
I saw the email to our local snowmobile club asking if any of the members would be willing to help fulfill the wish of Guy Banks, who is terminally ill from cancer, to go snowmobiling before he passes. As soon as I read it, I wanted to make his wish happen, and started to see what I could do to make the experience enjoyable for him.
As we all know, doubling over bumpy trails on a mountain sled with a tiny seat isn’t very comfortable for the passenger under the best circumstances. So I decided to call up Mt. Washington Alpine Resort on Vancouver Island, not far from Campbell River where Guy lives, to see if they would allow us to ride on their cross-country trails after hours. Not only did the resort make an exception for Guy, but they also offered to let us use one of their trail sleds with a 2-up seat, which is much better suited for comfortably carrying a passenger.
When the day arrived and I picked Guy up, I was happy to be able to chat with him on the drive and listen to his life story.
Guy Banks' Last Ride
Guy is 68 years old, retired and living independently in Campbell River on Vancouver Island. He moved to British Columbia some 20 years ago from Ontario with a lady friend. Even though things didn’t work out with his friend, Guy loved the area so much that he decided to stay. Guy had snowmobiled once back in the early ‘70s in Ontario, but never in BC and he had always wanted to do it again.
It was a beautiful spring day and the weather was perfect. We were a little early before the resort officially closed down for the day, so we grabbed a bite to eat at the cross-country lodge. The lodge overlooks Paradise Meadows, a gateway to Strathcona Park. You can’t have a much more scenic setting for a cross-country ski area.
Once we started riding, I would check on Guy often, asking him how his comfort level was.
“Are you okay back there?” I would ask. And his response was always, “I am, it’s just like doubling on a motorcycle.” So then I knew I could go faster. The trails were groomed to perfection for cross-country skiing, with not a single rut to be found. They were the best trails I have ridden in 20 years!
I could tell that Guy was enjoying the experience because every time we stopped for a break he would say how beautiful the views are, and that he didn’t know places like this existed so close to home.
We rode for about 20 kilometers, with many breaks to take in the scenery. Guy was tired by the end, as he still had to lean into the corners, but he was up for it. The whole ride lasted about three hours.
I learned that Guy Banks is an adventurous person. He told me that he would like to try skiing, and he has tandem skydiving on his list, which can be done at the Campbell River Airport.
In our time together, Guy did reflect a bit on his life and doesn’t have any regrets. Things don’t always go the way you want them to, but he made the best of it and continues to do so.
Riding with Guy is something that will stick with me forever and I hope that maybe one day someone will return the favour to me when I can’t get out and ride like I used to.