The Black Dragon
MacGregor watches the morning horizon while he drinks his fresh cup of coffee on his balcony. He loves his job as a motorcycle mechanic, but it is a privilege to get on his Harley and ride. Today is the first day of his vacation and he looks forward to it. He plans to ride his motorcycle from Calgary, Alberta to anywhere, British Columbia. He plans to randomly pick a place and find Sasquatch. Along with riding his motorcycle, he loves watching all those documentaries about cryptids and aliens. He hopes that one day, he will see something. Maybe he will get lucky on this trip.
He finishes his coffee and gets ready for his day. He washes his face, trims his brown beard, and brushes his teeth. He puts his black Harley Davidson T-Shirt over his large round head, puts on his old blue jeans, and finishes everything off with a black leather jacket and biker boots.
Once he gets outside of his apartment, MacGregor jumps on his Harley and hits the open r
oad. As he rides the wind whips around his helmeted head, the sun beams down on his face, and the smell of fresh air fills his lungs. To him, it couldn’t get any better than this.
MacGregor stops at a gas station just outside of Canmore to fill his bike. He is in for a treat when he notices an ice cream stand and a good-sized fruit tent. He walks over to the “Big Cones Ice Cream” stand and greets the bohemian lady behind the counter. After studying the menu board, MacGregor chooses the “All Canadian Moose” ice cream flavor. One bite of that rich, creamy concoction has him sigh with pleasure.
He makes his way to the fruit and vegetable tent that promises the best from the Okanogan. It turns out that it is not just a fruit stand, but it has jewelry and other little gifts inside. MacGregor contemplated on getting a gift for a woman he just started seeing. It might be a sweet gesture but it could be too soon. Suddenly, some peaches catch his eye and he realizes that he could get good points from the lady for bringing something both original and delicious to her. So it is an easy decision. As he pays for two bags of peaches, he overhears two grocers talking.
“Well it looks like the black dragon is in a good mood this year.” The older grocer says.
“How so?” The younger spindly grocer asks.
“More harvest for us and less forest fires for one.”
“Well the rain helps that not some giant lizard that hides in the mountains and eats lost hikers.” The young guy says cynically. “Where do you hear this crap anyway?”
“The Alternative Herald!” The older grocer replies. “That’s where you hear the truth.”
The young grocer rolls his eyes as MacGregor leaves with his peaches and intrigued by what he heard. A dragon in the Rockies? That seems strange. In the last few years there have been a lot of forest fires but a dragon? He puts the peaches in his hidden seat compartment and gets back on his bike. These guys could be crackpots, but he promises to investigate it as soon as he gets to Golden.
He looks around the mountains and admires the natural beauty around him. The majestic mountains make him think of how easy it would be for mythological creatures to live there. Whether it is a dragon or Sasquatch, this would be the ideal place for them to hide. They would get an incredible view of the waterfalls, wildlife, and anyone who could come close. This would be paradise for them as much for him.
Soon, he comes up to some trees and sees how deathly black they look. He pulls over his bike to inspect them. He comes close enough to see that the one in front of him is nearly burnt to a crisp. That seems so odd, as there are plenty of other trees surrounding it that look untouched. MacGregor walks around the tree and sees some other trees a couple yards away that look singed as well. He goes to get look closer at them. If there was a forest fire here, so many more of these trees would be burned too.
MacGregor’s interest is piqued. He turns around to go back to his bike and realizes that there are a whole bunch of fireweeds around. These bright pink flowers are underfoot, snaking around the ground, and surrounding the burnt trees but not the healthy ones. This is very odd. Could a dragon really do this? If not a dragon then what?
MacGregor stops for lunch in Golden, British Columbia. It is rare for him, but he could not resist the look of this restaurant along the river called, “The Island.” Luckily for him, it is a Mexican theme that day. Always partial to nachos, quesadillas, and fajitas, MacGregor can’t wait to enjoy the meal. He orders a burrito with rice from the server. Being the beautiful day that it is, he chooses to sit out on the patio and beholds the beautiful sight of green trees and the blue river flowing through the town. He sips his beer and watches the birds flying around.
MacGregor can’t get the black dragon out of his mind. Could there actually be one in BC? He didn’t know but he did have his phone. He intended to look up any articles there might be about this on google. He finds lots about forest fires and an increase in fireweed population but nothing about a dragon in BC. It looks like those guys were just a couple of crackpots after all. MacGregor looks up from his phone and sees a man in a black outfit complete with sunglasses take the table beside him.
The man in black looks at him, cracks a smile, and says, “Going to see the black dragon?”
“What?” MacGregor asks puzzled.
“The Black Dragon of the Rockies.” The man repeats, “It lives around here you know. It seems this creature has taken this area as its territory.”
MacGregor inquires, “What do you know about this dragon?”
“Well for starters,” The man explains. “You’re not going to find it on the internet. It was only discovered about six months ago.”
Always a man to make a new friend, MacGregor invites the man over to his table and they begin talking.
The man explains. “This dragon has caused a lot of forest fires in British Columbia and in the United States. It’s a bigger problem than people know.”
“How do you know?” MacGregor asks.
“Because there was one man from Montana whose seen it. This man was hiking one day in the mountains and he saw the dragon when he went off trail.”
“Did he report what he saw to anyone?” MacGregor asks.
“Yes, every authority he could think of but they dismissed him as crazy.” The man explains. “All he had was a fuzzy photograph on his phone that could be anything from a truck to a horse.” The man sighs with sadness. “No one believed him, and he was determined to find this creature again. So much that he loses his job, his friends, his girlfriend, and everything else that mattered to him over this obsession. When he went back into the Rockies he disappears without a trace.”
“That is incredible.” MacGregor speaks. “So, you think the dragon is here?”
ry likely. All you have to do is follow the burnt trees and fireweeds. Fireweeds grow whenever this monster sheds it’s skin. If you find those two things, no doubt you will find the dragon.
“Wow!” MacGregor gasps but now looks at the stranger confusedly. “But who are you? How do you know this? And why tell me this when you can look for the creature yourself?”
The man leans forward and explains. “I know this because that man I told you about was my friend and he saw what this dragon does. I would look for this creature myself, but I am practically allergic to everything out there. As for who I am. I go by Doctor Coole.”
MacGregor doesn’t know what to make of Coole, but he is fascinated by his story. MacGregor excuses himself to go to use the washroom. The more he thinks about it, the more he wants to find this dragon. Not for any fame or glory but to say that he made the discovery of a lifetime. Next to Doctor Coole’s friend, he would be the only one to find it. How amazing would that be? He walks out of the bathroom to return to his table, where the mysterious Doctor Coole has disappeared.
MacGregor asks the server walking by, “Where did that guy I was sitting with go?”
She tells him, “I don’t know. He just left but he took care of your bill.”
The server walks away as the shock hits him and not in a pleasant way. He got a free lunch, but something is off about that guy. Who leaves like that?
Despite the weirdness of the lunch, MacGregor puts that out of his head and decides to put his focus into finding this creature before learning more about the enigmatic Doctor Coole. Never mind sasquatch, this dragon he really wants to find. He makes the decision to stay in Revelstoke as opposed to Golden. In his opinion, he would have better access to the things like the hiking gear he’ll need for this adventure. So, he looks on his Airbnb app and finds an available room to stay.
The next morning, he goes into town and picks up a newspaper to look for anything about forest fires. Luckily, there is a low chance of them and that means it is a perfect time to go looking but unlikely to find a dragon. MacGregor still intends to go ahead with his mission. He jumps on his Harley and goes for a ride down the Trans-Canada Highway.
He drives for a couple of hours and doesn’t see anything except nature. So, it isn’t a total loss. Out of the corner of his eye, MacGregor sees some burnt debris at the edge of the road. He pulls his motorcycle over, steps off, and walks to the rubble. It is charred wood and not like wood you would have for a campfire. It belonged to a house at one point, he figured. With his gloved hand, he presses his finger into the thick wooden post, and it goes clear through before melting into dust. MacGregor knows that whatever burned this wood was very high in heat, like a blowtorch. Something major happened to this wood.
MacGregor opens his pack and pulls out his collapsible hiking sticks. Before he begins his journey into the forest, he makes sure that he has enough snacks and water for the hike. Seeing that he is prepared enough, he roams the side of the road looking for a trail of any kind. Sadly, there is nothing and he must make his own.
“Damn!” He thinks as he takes a deep breath in and steps into the bush.
All the plants and bushes keep smacking him in the face. He shakes his head and scolds himself for not picking a better way to come into the mountains. After a couple of hours, he finally finds an opening where he comes across a tiny waterfall and a stream. It looks so delicate and lovely that he longed to touch it. But he doesn’t. Instead, he sees a trail and follows it. The ever-changing elevation of his hike has him see the most beautiful sights. Tall waterfalls, gloriously green trees, and small critters reside in each vision. Each of these experiences are tattooed in his mind.
Sadly, he doesn’t see a dragon or any other evidence of a dragon being there. With a heavy groan, MacGregor calls it quits. He goes back the exact way he came and when he finds the little waterfall, and stream he finds the trail that he made. He pops out of the forest exactly where he came in and hops on his bike. Although happy to find his ride, he finds himself disheartened over not finding the dragon. Now he must fix that.
He pulls up to Revelstoke Mountain Resort and decides to have a little fun, starting with pipe mountain. Pipe mountain is a roller coaster that trails down a mountain. The guys at MacGregor’s shop swear that it is almost as good as riding a motorcycle. As the gondola ride helps him reach his destination, he finds to his delight that there isn’t a lot of people in line. He jumps on the open car and lets the ride technician get him ready. After hearing the instructions, he puts the pedal to the metal, and flies on the track. It’s this feeling that makes him love motorcycles so much. The speed, the adrenaline, the rush. He loves it all. When he reaches the end of the track, he focuses on the freedom that he feels. The guys were right, this is a great ride.
His next stop is the axe-throwing. A perfect way to get over his disappointment and get a clear head again. He sees PEAK AXE over the wooden target and takes a deep breath to get into the zone. He lifts the small axe, slowly bringing it behind his back, and throws it hard at the target. When he hears that wooden thud, MacGregor feels his discontent slowly slip away. The more axes he throws the better he feels. When he hits the center of the target, the axe host gives him a sticker that he proudly accepts. Once MacGregor feels better, he decides to go find a good place to eat.
Some people recommended the Mt. Begbie Brewing Co and he is not disappointed. He orders himself the four tester beers to enjoy out on their sunny patio. The view of the mountains is both relaxing and breath-taking. He places his order for a grilled cheese sandwich with a side salad. Normally he wouldn’t order a salad but just for a change since he practically lives on fries. The cheesy comfort food has a subtle relish-like taste to it and the sweet but tart salad rounds everything out. It is a lovely appetizer for him, but a big guy like him needs more. That is why he orders the pepperoni pizza with extra toppings. That is what fills him up before he asks for a tall timber ale to wash it all down with before calling it a night.
The next morning, he stops at the Modern Bakeshop and Café to pick up a coffee and a bunch of random pastries including a fancy chocolate brownie. After a good night sleep, MacGregor feels ready for another day of searching for the dragon. This time he has a really good idea where to start. He’ll go to Mount Revelstoke National Park just so he can park his bike there. Then he will go off trail, farther, and deeper into the mountains.
He walks out of the bakery eating that amazing brownie and puts the rest of the pastries in his pack to take with him. He walks down the sidewalk towards his bike around the corner from the Revelstoke museum. MacGregor jumps on his motorcycle and rides out of town, towards the park. The sky is a bit overcast which is a big relief to him. It won’t be so hot to hike out there and perhaps corner the dragon if it has a cave to hide in. The colors of the mountains and trees seem richer because of all the clouds. It gives this place a bit of mystery that he’s sure will make the experience more incredible.
In less than ten minutes, he is at the entrance of the park and stops his bike close to the outhouses. He takes a deep breath in before taking out his walking sticks. With those in his hands he begins the hike. He walks along a forested area until he comes to a curve in the trail, MacGregor notices caution tape to his left. This is interesting because he sees a lot of trees that look burned.
He looks over the tape and below these trees are thousands of fireweeds. MacGregor gets the sense that if the dragon is around, then it is close. He goes under the tape towards the trees and weeds. He gets close to the nearest scorched tree to inspect it. It is so charred that the tree must be dead. He presses a hand to the tree, gently at first but when he applies a small amount of pressure, the tree falls over. As soon as it hits the ground, the branches explode into ash. A bit startled, MacGregor backs away from the fallen tree and looks around.
He starts to get second thoughts and wonders if he should be here. He sighs and silently whispers to himself. “With all these trees and fireweeds around, this dragon isn’t playing games.” A loud squawk of a bird startles him and he looks around. He sees that it is nothing to worry about and continues. “Yes. It is dangerous and this thing is BIG by the looks of this disaster, but I came here for a reason. If this dragon is real, then it might as well be me that finds it and not some hapless family.”
Resolute, MacGregor takes a few deep breaths to calm down. After gaining his composure, he follows the black trees and pink flowers.
After a lot of hiking and a little bit of rock-climbing, MacGregor finds himself close to the peak of a mountain. By the direction of the sun, he can tell that it is early evening. He stops and sits on a rock to think of his next move. He followed every singed tree with fireweeds below it and it is here that he ends up. He takes a big swig of his water bottle and looks out the world below him. Maybe there isn’t any dragon. This could all have been some kind of practical joke. From the grocers to the odd Doctor Coole.
Give the tourists a hard time. MacGregor thought. Ha Ha!
Suddenly, he hears a quiet rumble. He thinks nothing of it until he not only hears it again and louder but feels the earth vibrate under him. He quickly stands up and looks around for where this loud noise is coming from. He hears a large growl and falls down the slope, into a large pool of mud. Bushes are close to him, so MacGregor anxiously crawls into them and hides. He sees a large black claw slam onto the side of the mountain where he was. In a few moments the dragon moves around the mountain to reveal itself.
The dragon has a crocodile-like face with black scales, sapphire blue eyes, and is at least 40 feet long. Several long horns stick out on top of its head and wings that resemble a giant bat sit folded on its back. None of those things are as frightening as the creature’s teeth and long sharp claws. The sun shines on the dragon’s scales and brightens them enough to look like there is a rainbow on them. This creature, although intimidating is beautiful. MacGregor doesn’t move a muscle as the dragon lifts its nose into the air and lets out a loud snort. Clearly, it is trying to smell him out.
Slowly, the creature crawls down the hill. MacGregor shakily takes out his cell phone to get a picture of the great beast. As soon as he holds up his phone, the creature is right in front of him, but it doesn’t notice him. He remembers that he is covered in mud and that covers his scent and body heat. That’s why the beast can’t find him.
With a closer look at this creature, MacGregor realizes that it doesn’t just have scales, but it has large furry paws and underside. The dragon looks incredible, but it starts to roam away with its long scaly/furry tail swinging back and forth. Finally, with all the courage he has he snaps a picture, but he could only get the beast’s giant back paw. Slowly, he crawls away from the hill until he is sure that he and the creature are a good distance apart before runs straight into the forest.
He runs through every bush and tall grass that is in front of him. MacGregor is sure that he is far away from the dragon, but the problem now is that he is lost. He slows down to look around. Ahead of him, there is a clearing. If he can get there, will be able to look at his compass and figure out exactly where he is. He treads carefully to the clearing and gets the shock of his life.
A giant nest made of branches and logs is right in front of him. When he looks inside, he sees these ivory eggs that are the size of an average man. One of them begins to crack and out pops a small black dragon head with the same blue eyes as the bigger dragon. It dawns on him that the black dragon is a female and the mother of these eggs. He shouldn’t be here when she gets back.
Without thinking, he runs around the nest and goes back into the forest in the direction he thinks his bike is. He frantically tries to find the entrance of the park. Every tree, plant, and even the waterfalls look the same. That doesn’t stop him from making like a prey to a dangerous animal and getting the hell out of there.
Suddenly, he finds himself on a trail again and realizes he is back at Mount Revelstoke Natural Park. He follows a path until he sees a sign of where he is. He is on the Soren Sorenson pathway and knows exactly where his bike is. He makes his way down the path until he reaches his motorcycle. He jumps on his motorcycle and starts it up. He turns it around, races out of the park, and doesn’t look back.
The black dragon is still there to this day. It wanders the mountains with its young, starts forest fires, and feeds on anything or anyone that crosses its path. Despite having some evidence MacGregor never talks about his experience or goes hiking again. He still rides his motorcycle but lives a quieter life where there are no unusual creatures involved. He hasn’t seen Doctor Coole again either, but he does an internet search of him and finds nothing about him. He doesn’t know what to think of Doctor Coole but with all that’s happened, he didn’t want to know or see him again anyway. MacGregor has had enough mysteries for a lifetime.
Special Thanks to:
Big Cone's Ice Cream : For the ice cream and fun conversation! Trans-Canada Highway - Outside Golden, BC
Okanagan Orchard Fruit Tent: For the world's best peaches. Trans-Canada Highway - Outside Golden, BC
And my beautiful foot model: Scarlet the Guinea Pig as the Black Dragon