Friday, October 02, 2009

A date to go driving

A couple of weeks ago while we were out for a picture taking drive Charles and I looked speculatively at the Cawston Basin, and the groves of deciduous trees that had not yet turned colour, but were on the verge.

We figured a couple of 85 year old could maneuver a trip up the old logging road in the 4x4! At the beginning of the week we eyed the calendar and the state of the aspens on the hillside, and made a date for Thursday morning, come what may....

Some of the children looked askance at this adventurous plan, but we poohpooed any objections.

We packed the necessities, including an axe and an axe sharpener in case a tree came down behind us (always thinking). And the other necessities, - coffee and cookies, - and off we went.

Charles is familiar with this road, - nay, Charles is intimate with this road....
Fifty year's ago he piloted a logging truck down its steep slopes, around its narrow corners, and over its rocky outcroppings.

As we traveled he offered comments, - 'this is where we started watering the brakes, to keep them from getting too hot' and 'this is where M.. turned over a load of logs down a steep slope'. 'We are coming to a narrow part of the road, through the trees, that was always icy in the winter' - he knew that road like the back of his hand, so to speak.

Charles was surprised at what good shape the 'road' was in, - to his way of thinking. We climbed through the trees, rumbled over the rocks and eventually came to a clearing where we could look down and see the valley below us.

Onward and upward, through shady groves with moss encrusted trees and old stumps full of doorways to the homes of squirrels and birds.

We left the trees behind and came out into the open hillside. Across the valley
the tops of the far off mountains of the Coast Range were visible, and down through the cut of the valley and up the Ashnola there were more brilliant colours.

Behind us the glowing grove of deciduous trees we watch for, miles away at home, loomed splendidly, right at our elbow!

We stopped for coffee and to get the glasses out to pick out familiar spots in the valley below.

Renewed and refreshed we carried on across the open hillside, the road gradually petering out into range land for the local ranchers.

We turned for home and passed a few cows, a dozen bluebirds, two chipmunks and some amazingly quick squirrels. We came to a rocky part of the road where the combination of water and the roots of a rambunctious fir tree had forced great blocks of stone to rise from the ground around the tree.

We went through a sheltered spot where once upon a time, a great many years ago. our flock of 30 sheep spent the winter after they were enticed up the mountain on a clear moonlit night by the rising warmth of the air (as explained to us by an old shepherd). It snowed in the night, and although Charles and the boys looked for days they seemed to have disappeared over the mountain.

The following spring I was washing breakfast dishes when the ram came trotting down the hillside with the remnants of the ewes and a few spring lambs, heading straight for the barn, - an epiphianic moment. (don't look up the word, - it is made up, mine alone...) Charles found wool in the grove where they sheltered, while out hunting.

Down the road we went, the 4x4 finding it a much more relaxing trip. Through colourful bushes, delicate aspens, gazing at the beautiful hillsides all around us.

It is such a dear and splendid valley, and I was spilling over with gratitude for the opportunity to enjoy its beauty, - and in such good company, too.


The Weaver of Grass said...

Hildred - that has been one wonderful ride out with you. I never hear the word aspen without thinking of "willows whiten, aspens quiver, little breezes dart and shiver" - what a lovely place you live in. And I so enjoyed the story about the sheep - that must have been a wonderful moment when they returned - did you lose some for ever? I also love the made up word, which i shall not attenpt to spell! Have a lovely weekend - although after that jaunt everything else will be a bit of an anticlimax methinks.

Dimple said...

It sounds as though you had a wonderful day, thanks for sharing it! I'm glad you didn't lose all your sheep that winter!

Life's poetry said...

Hildred - you and Charles have done it again. What a trip. What grand autumn scenes, not neglecting Charles' stories about life on that logging road so long ago. The colours are breathtaking. How wonderful to look down on dear and familiar landscapes! I also enjoyed the story about the sheep. Who'd a thought they could have survived a cold winter in the mountains on their own? Thanks again Hildred!

Aussiemade said...

Hildred thank you for your journal of your trip. Such an incredible place wonderful photos, somewhere to add to my list of places to visit before I pop of the perch.

I love that you guys are such great inspirational people who show such a positive portrayal to growing older and enjoying life. Life is always a journey of discovery and contentment..

Fonnell/Grammie/mom said...

Oh what a trip. Loved the missing sheep story! Reminds me life has a way all it's own. What a lovely day it must have been. The trees are so colorful and it only lasts a moment how smart you were to not put the drive off.


Barb said...

Dear Hildred, What an adventure! Glad Charles knew that road - it did look steep and rocky. The aspens look like a river of gold. All the pictures help take us along on your journey. Thanks for sharing - now if only I had one of the cookies!

Hildred said...

Thank you - I hope you all enjoyed the drive, bumpy as it was in spots. The Similkameen is truly beautiful, and we are grateful for reasonable health and fairly active minds that ensure we enjoy it, despite being ancient!

Weaver, what a romantic poet Tennyson was, - think that's something it's important to keep alive too!

And Barb, - cookies always available here!

I am encouraging Charles to get back to From the Back Pasture, - he has so many interesting stories to tell, like the one about the faller with enormous hands whose abilities in determining which way a tree was going to fall didn't match them in size. He can tell you about the tree that he felled on a load that one of the fellows was up on top, and describe the great leaps he took off the load on to the cab, the engine and then the ground.

Thanks for visits, please come again.