By: Korie Marshall
He’s been keeping his fundraising plans a secret from the Library Board. But this week, armed with a pledge sheet with $1275 already pledged in a couple hours of canvassing, Vern Pawloske broke the news to Library staff and board – he’s going to bike/hike from McBride to the top of the Berg Lake trail and back, in one day – about 200 km – to help raise money for their proposed move and expansion.
“I wanted to do something for them, and this is something I can do,” Pawloske told the Goat several weeks ago. Pawloske uses the Library regularly, and with help from staff and friends he’s met there, he’s learned to use computers, the internet and Facebook, his camera, and his first mobile phone.
“The Library means a lot to me, and is an asset to McBride and is a very busy place,” says Pawloske. “If I did anything ordinary and easy, I probably would not get much support. I am used to hard work all of my life and am tough.”
“He was going to wait several more weeks,” said Elsie Stanley, who has helped him with printing the pledge forms. “But once I got the papers printed for him, he was out there working. It’s a huge project but I’m wishing him well.”
Pawloske is an avid biker, and is hoping to get some sponsorship from some of the bike companies he uses, as well as some businesses in the valley. It’s 80 kilometers each way from McBride to the Visitor Info Centre at Mount Robson, and the Berg Lake Trail is about 42 kilometers round trip. Pawloske plans to bike right up to the bike lock-up along Kinney Lake, about 7 kilometers in from the trail head. Bikes aren’t allowed on the trail past that point, so he’ll continue on foot.
When he told Librarian Naomi Balla-Boudreau about his plans, and the money he’s already received, she asked if he was sure he could do it.
“Sure I can, I just have to pick the right day. I don’t want a headwind,” Pawloske says. He’s aiming for the end of June, but he wants to make sure it’s a calm mild day, or he might have to put it off and try another day. He plans to leave his home just east of McBride at 4am on the day, make it up to Berg and Adolphus Lakes, and back home again.
“I am thinking that it might take 18 hours of steady going – but it might be more or less,” says Pawloske. “But I am determined and will not stop until done. I will do it,” Pawloske insists, though he acknowledges there may be things that are out of his control, like a flat tire. If that happens, he says he’ll try again.
“I will not let the Library or those who pledged down.”
Pawloske’s hoping to join the Library/Museum float during McBride’s Pioneer Days Parade in early June, complete with his 27-gear mountain bike and hiking equipment. He’s also hoping there might be a party afterward.