- Bonnie Randall
Where *Is* Summit Centre?
Anyone who lives in or has visited Jasper will recognize 'Summit Centre' as being a carbon copy of the (much more poetically named) Palisades Centre, east of town. The differences are:
1. In the novel, Summit Centre is located directly north of the Jasper townsite, up the side of (the also fictional) Summit Mountain., and is accessible by at least two different trailheads. In real life, The Palisades is several kilometres east of town, and if there are trails leading to it, I am not aware of them.
2. I have also implemented a wide berth of lawlessness in that Summit Centre, in my story, is privately owned by the wealthy King family. In reality, only dwellings, not land, can be owned in Canada's National Parks. That said, my fictional Summit Centre is used in much the same way The Palisades is utilized in real life; schools use it for field trips, and organizations use it as a retreat.
3. Summit Centre is haunted.
But...is The Palisades haunted? I have no idea. I've stayed there dozens of times - once, ironically, (considering that Andrew Gavin, Within the Summit's Shadow's hero, is a cop) with a whole gaggle of RCMP members. We were on a joint training for social workers and cops on the (also ironic) topic of child sexual abuse. I learned a lot on that training, but the biggest take-away was that no group I have ever met before or since can party harder, drink more, or are much wilder than a group of cops isolated on the side of a mountain.
Setting all naughty police officers aside though, and re-examining the question - is The Palisades haunted? - I suppose it is possible: there is, after all, an unmarked, yet very fastidiously tended grave just off the grounds. Whose is it?
No one knows.
How did they die?
Why are they buried there?
It is a mystery.
In Within the Summit's Shadow, Patrick King commits suicide by gunshot not far off the Summit Centre trailhead, the memory of which Andrew finds very haunting indeed.
Then there's the Lodge up at old Summit Centre. Elizabeth has always know that something was very...off there. Just listen:
...Goosebumps rushed up her spine and she remembered, years ago, confiding in Drew. “Your class ever go up to Summit?”
“And? What do you think of it?”
He’d shrugged, a typical Drew Gavin response, part of his limited repertoire of one word sentences and indirect body gestures. She’d scowled at the non-answer and, to her surprise, he’d looked sheepish. “Why do you ask?”
“Because that whole place, it feels … dirty.”
He’d frowned. “I’ve ate there before. It’s actually pretty clean.”
“I didn’t mean that kind of dirty.” She’d fiddled with the strings of her guitar. “I mean dirty as in something bad there. Something…wrong.”
He’d stared. “Don’t tell me you think it’s haunted, Beth. I thought you, of all people, were above the Shaynie Grace Gullibles of the world.”
The backhanded compliment had not dawned till much, much later. Because the word he’d used, ‘haunted’, it wasn’t quite right. Summit Centre did not feel haunted. It felt … infected.
It still did.
Shuffling, she scattered pine needles. “Kyle?” She was half repelled and half amazed at the familiar old shudder, awake on her shoulders. A body memory, like the Drew belly-butterflies, it had been obsolete till resurrected by the right setting. She shook it off. From here the piece de resistance of Summit Centre was fully visible despite its shroud of poplars and pines. Summit Centre Lodge looked like a vintage farmhouse tricked out to belong in the mountains: stonework climbing the bottom half of its walls, and the rest painted stock-cabin colours: chocolate with pale yellow trim. The lodge was homey. Cozy. Looked like it should have a cheery plume of smoke coming out of its chimney even in summer.
Yet when it came to ‘infected’, this place, lurking beneath spruce boughs, was the worst of the bunch....'
Would you, like Kyle, be willing to spend the night alone at Summit Centre? Explore it first, then let me know. Here's the 'trailhead' to it: Within The Summit'Shadow