The kids were all sitting in the school gym for the magic show. The whole town had come out to see this great magician all the way from Vancouver. Now, granted the towns population could actually all fit into the gym – but still everyone was excited! His first great trick, and only trick, was not appearing at all in the old mining town of Granisle up in Northern B.C. You see – he was lost in the woods running away from bears, and that was all right after he ran over and killed the rabbit. Yes, the magician who killed the rabbit got cursed. Maybe a little explanation is in order.
Mike Norden, otherwise known as Norden the Magician, is a five time winner of the Children’s Magician of the Year award and was traveling to 15 cities in Northern BC with his library and school assembly shows based on literacy and anti-bullying. On Thursday May 26th he was scheduled to be in Granisle for 1pm and left Smithers at 10am. He punched in the location in his GPS, checked a map, asked a local for directions and followed the signs. Still 1 hour later he was 70 km up a dirt road with his car stuck in mud with no way out. No cell phone coverage and no one else on the road. He was only 20 km from his destination but he knew he was only 15 km back to the main road from the turnoff. So back he went.
It was a 2 1/2 hour hike out and other than the encounter with the bear – it went well. Yes, a brown bear decided that Norden might make a nice snack. After some yelling on Norden’s part and advising the bear that he would not taste very good – the bear went back into the woods. That was after he followed Norden for about half a kilometer. This all could have been avoided if he had listened to his instinct.
“When I ran over the poor bunny I thought that was a bad omen for a magician. I even said that out loud to myself” Norden reflects. “I really should have turned back at the turn off, but all the signs were saying this was the way”. He had no idea there was a different route he could take that was paved. “Yes, that would have been a better way” Norden chips in.
After he got the main road and flagged down a motorist and got a ride into Smithers, he called a tow-truck to get him out. $250 and 4 hours later Norden was back on the road, but he had missed the show in Granisle and the library show in Houston at 4pm. He had contacted both venues and they were relieved he was alright and were very understanding.
“They say is happens a lot. Perhaps they should put up more signs!” Norden laughs. “Or at least keep the signs they have standing up. You see, my favorite part was on my walk out of the woods to get help I came across a sign lying face down in the mud. When I picked it up I nearly cried. It said ‘Road Temporary Closed’. That would have been helpful.”
He was able to get his car to the Kal Tire in Burns Lake where they fixed his wheel that had gotten pretty loose on the ride – and they did it all for free. “You have to love small towns” Norden says. “And then I had a 5 hour drive to get to Fort St. James that night for 3 shows the next day! So I was very happy to have my car out of the mud. And very sorry I had to disappoint some kids that day. That was the worst part.”
Norden offered to re-schedule the show at Houston but they could not find time in his short trip. He was able to take the paved road back to Granisle and do a show later in the week to make that one up. “They were very happy to see me coming from the correct direction” said Norden.
Aside from that one day, he had a great time on the tour and they are already planning on his return next year for an even bigger tour. He promises to stay on only paved roads – and to carry a shovel in his car from now on too!
If you want to too see some pictures of his adventure up North you can check him out on Facebook by searching ‘Norden the Magician’