Thursday, October 9, 2008

Yellow Bellied

I moved up front into First Class for the long leg of the trip. We lifted smoothly out of Dallas as I leaned my chair back and closed my eyes. When I opened them, we were flying out of the panhandle into Eastern New Mexico.  For the next two hours I gazed down at the landscape as we crossed over Santa Fe, Taos and the Southern Rockies, Central Colorado, Western Wyoming and Utah. The mountaintops had a new blanket of snow but the forests in their midst were spectacular. A sea of green pine trees, snow capped rocky steeples with swatches of yellow and amber Aspens – rivulets of warm shades edging the canyons, meadows and textures below – like the colors of the sun melting down the mountainside. For as far as I could see, the land was blessed with Falls contrast. I imagined my many treks walking in the mountain woods – the wind rustling the leaves, the wake of the wind sweeping overhead. As I landed in Vancouver, we flew over the cranberry bogs ripe for the Thanksgiving harvest.


Without much fanfare, I raced through Customs, hooked up with John and we left the City. By sunset we’d arrived in Pender Harbor, a small town about two hours North of Vancouver by ferry. It’s dark here John said, “ you can’t see your hand in front of your face.” He was right about that – quiet and dark – although it seems the RCMP raided a house on our street the night I arrived. Grow ops are popular in these woods. John joked about the many power failure here and attributed them to the surges in the grid as all the pot growers flipped on and off their gro-lights.


We are near the sea and at mornings light we were out the door, hiking down the hillside toward the ocean. Any day is a good day – which you all know – but what had been predicted to be horrible weather turned out to be extraordinarily beautiful. My first new discover was a pod of stranded blood jellyfish on the shore. I flushed out a small flock of partridge – a hen sized, turkey looking game hen. A bald eagle sailing across the sound dropped a king salmon under its heavy weight – being chased by seagulls. Before anyone flying had a chance to grab it, a sea lion broke the surface grabbing the fish and waving it back and forth in its mouth. The Eagle flew on, flying right overhead.


The woods here are lush and wet and mossy, but to get to the pub, we’re driving an award winning completely restored and apparently one of a kind in Canada - a Toyota Land Cruiser Turbo Diesel. As we drove out of Vancouver, it definitely tuned a few heads. I’m just back from a days hike through a reserve – a coastal enclave of small forested islands attached by very narrow legs of land. It was a good trek, challenging at times. I feel like I went to the gym and did a set of squats. The sky is gray and it has rained a good bit – but it’s a good day for pictures.

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