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.