Thursday, August 28, 2008

Into the mountains

In the early morning light I could see that sometime after dark the previous day I had moved from tall grass to short grass prairie.

The rolling hills looked bare. I spent the morning hours driving across these bare rolling hills and before noon I could see the mountains off in the distance.

I was driving into a strong head wind, had been since the previous afternoon. Briefly during the night it died, but within a couple of hours of dawn it had come up again and on the radio I was hearing wind warnings of gusts up to 100 kph.

My gas mileage was way down, I could feel the truck working hard to move into the wind. When the road veered off north or south I would get broadside gusts that rocked the truck.

As the mountains grew larger the wind turbines appeared.

I don't remember the exact year that they first started putting them up in these parts, but now they are everywhere, hundreds of them in long lines.

The high winds coming down off the mountains in southern Alberta keep them spinning productively.

Somewhere around noon I was in the mountains.

Very quickly the scenery changes from bare hills to well-treed mountain sides.

It was kind of nice to be back in the trees, and I could start to smell the west coast forest. Every forest has its distinctive smell, and the smell of the mountain forest is quite different from that of forests of Nova Scotia and Ontario.

But shortly the truck was starting to make an ominous sound, a kind of rapid ticking at high speeds. I was not happy with that, but it did not appear to be causing any problems with driving.

At one point I stopped to read the map and determine how long it would take to get to Vancouver. I figured I had about 900 km to go, and I could probably do half of that today and half tomorrow. I looked at the locations of rest areas and campgrounds and picked a general area to start looking for something for the night.

I was eating the last of the food I had brought, my cooler was finally starting to lose its coolness. I had just enough milk for coffee and cereal tomorrow morning, a near perfect duration! My bread unfortunately had started to get mouldy early because I couldn't fit it into the cooler and it got left in the sun too many times. But I had enough food for four days so that was pretty good.

The road into Osoyoos is quite spectacular, a very steep drive down a winding mountain trail. I decided I was not up for that at the end of the day, that I would camp somewhere just before Osoyoos so that I wouldn't have to tackle that stretch of road until the morning.

So for the first time, I pulled into a campground before dark. However I was so tired that it made no difference, I was in bed pretty soon after parking.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, Anne the Brave!

Love the word pictures you make as you write and I so appreciate you mention of the different ways forests smell. I didn't know that.

You are also Anne the Wise for planning ahead where to sleep and stopping before you're too tired.