Saturday, July 23, 2016

On Going North

We are leaving in the morning, driving north, in the direction of longer days, just east of the coastal mountains through the interior of British Columbia

Our shopping list included mosquito nets and bear spray.  We will be traveling through Hells Canyon and Kitwango.  We have to be sure to fuel up before long stretches with no gas stations.  We won’t have cell service for much of the drive. It takes two AAA maps to trace our route.

We will brush with glaciers, look for bears, and explore this new direction. We are traveling in our 1993 Toyota Dolphin camper.  Maximum speed: 55 mph.  Gas mileage: 14 mpg average.

I am looking forward to waking up each morning in our nesty camper, sliding open the curtains and looking out on 10 Mile lake or a meadow in the shadow of a mountain. I look forward to having nothing more pressing to do than make breakfast, go for a walk, and drive to our next campground.  I look forward to being a minority among the mammals around us and a spectator to nature’s symphony.

We’ll make it to southeast Alaska, and then float our way home, slowly, on the Alaska ferry. I look forward to this sail: the passing islands, the possibility of seeing humpback whales or white sided dolphins, of watching the shorelines and the distant peaks. I look forward to the meditative experience of not being in charge, of letting the captain do the driving and absorbing the energy of the Inside Passage, immersion in a vast place where my presence is insignificant. 

I can generalize that this is what I am looking forward to that motivates all the effort required to get us on the road.  I want to wake up in peaceful places, hearing birds, wind, and not much more.  No background of traffic on I-5, no piercing distant train whistles, no sirens, no neighbors starting up their engines.  I want to walk along nature rich paths with close up encounters with northern trees and vegetation, clear lakes, awesome geological formations and vistas of mountain peaks.  I want to be outnumbered by animals and birds, I want to be an inconsequential presence in ecosystems that are not overrun with humans.

T minus 18 hours, and counting.

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