Monday, August 6, 2012

Closing the Circle

Kids, it was a fun trip. We took the ferry from Nanaimo to Tsawassen, and this was the scenery  going through the Lower Mainland outside of Vancouver.
You can see Mount Baker, in northern Washington,  faintly in the background.
My childhood name was Baker, so I always thought of it as my mountain.

Lush farmland of the Lower Mainland.
We saw pickers working in the fields in the roasting heat. 

Just beyond Hope, a small community nestled at the base 
of the mountains. A kazillion tourists pass through there on there way to Everywhere Else.

We stopped in Hope to get something cold to drink. There were so many tourists in the one food store that it felt like Human Hell. The manager was trying frenziedly to deal with the population explosion occurring in all of his aisles, just as a woman walked through the main door and spilled an entire gallon of milk. Yikes.

Here we were into the Okanagan, a vast desert-like area that takes up a LOT
of territory. We made a full circuit, through the Hope-Princeton, then home 
by way of  Kamloops, along the Thompson River,  and through 
the Fraser Canyon. 
The landscape basically stayed brown and sparse, with scrub and sage, 
till just before we came full circle 
and found ourselves back in Hope again.

Just before we got to Keremeos, we pulled over
to admire the setting. There are rivers and lakes all through the Okanagan and, in fact, the province. We are really blessed with water resources in Canada,
which I never take for granted.

My sister was in charge of filming the wedding, so will have to blog that using her photos......
but  here are a couple of shots of how busy the water was outside the El Dorado, where the reception was held. 

Boats and people having a frenzy of fun in the hot weather. Kelowna is such a beach town, whose hey-dey is definitely summer.

This was our view leaving Penticton Sunday morning, on our way through Summerland.
An old flame told me once that these cliffs were the banks of a deep riverbed thousands of years ago. What is now Okanagan Lake used to be a massive river, apparently, 
carving these mesmerizing cliffs, in which I always see faces.

We passed through Kelowna, and headed towards Vernon. Here we stopped at a lookout, 
to admire Kalamalka, the Lake of Many Colors. See the turquoise patches?

This is the view looking towards Vernon.

Looking the other way, to Rattlesnake Point.
Very different landscape from the Island. Beautiful, in a different way.

Lori, enjoying the Road Trip, though becoming increasingly alarmed
at the extent to which my care and feeding needs to be supervised:)
You will note an absence of photos of myself. 
That is so on purpose!!!!!

Between Vernon and Kamloops, we passed through some very smatterings of farms and ranches, very beautiful ranch country. But there didnt seem to be any way to survive, not even many small stores or businesses. We saw a lot of empty and/or abandoned places,one court-ordered sale, and a lot of for sale signs - the slump in the economy shows itself, not among the moneyed in thriving metro centers, but among the small farmers and business owners of 
Small Town Canada, 
those barely hanging on who, 
when the pinch bites deeper, finally have to let go and freefall
without any safety net. No corporate bailouts for the poor.

On the other side of  Kamloops, which was a total nightmare of people and traffic
we couldn't escape fast enough, 
we pulled off to look back at the Thompson River.
I meant to gather sage outside Kamloops, but
we had to make up lost time in order to make our ferry at night.

We followed that river for some time.
At some point, the Thompson crossed the road and went another way, 
and we found ourselves 
following the Fraser River.

It's peeking through the trees.

Through the Fraser Canyon, the scenery was pretty spectacular.
Note the train following the base of the mountain across the river. 
We often saw both trains, the CNR and the CPR,
on opposite sides of the river.
Apparently there is one spot, where they cross. 
Hopefully synchronized crossings:)

with people.....

...and without!

This place is called Hell's Gate - which refers to a narrowing of the rock walls,
which forces the water through a narrow passage.
Wikipedia says it is a great salmon fishing spot, and also that the gold rush miners 
also used this route.
In 1880, the CPR laid the first railway tracks to cross Canada. In 1911, the CNR laid tracks on the other side of the river. They are still competing for freight business today.

Train travel used to be wonderful for passengers. But, as usual,  Progress has made everything too expensive and now it is likely cheaper to take a plane to Hawaii than it is to take the train to Calgary. A shame. As a girl, I so loved taking the train down to stay with my grandma every summer. Nothing like being rocked to sleep in a berth on the train.
The porters used to keep their eye on me, to make sure I arrived safely.

When I got married, I took the train across Canada to Ottawa, which was very inexpensive in those days, and I remember watching the landscape change as we went from one sunrise and one province to the next. I hope for one more train trip this lifetime. In the Observation Car (which is actually  a fitting name for this journey of life we are on:))

Then came the Most Fun Ever - tunnels!

I was so excited. For a moment, I felt like Princess Diana,
before the crash.

I did take what I thought was going to be my money shot - I took a photo from inside one tunnel, looking through into the next one. But it seems to have not turned out. Argh.

There are a series of these tunnels - and I remember the train going through 
very long tunnels as well.

So that's it, folks. I stopped taking photos around here. It was hot, we were getting tired, and we needed to pay attention to signage so we didnt lose our way.

By the time we caught the 8:15 ferry and were eating something, we were more than a bit hysterical. Much laughter. Was SOOOOOOO good to get home at midnight.

Along the pathways of our childhood

we drove, reflecting on what was,
the long way we have come,
all that has changed,
some of what
has stayed the same.

Closing the circle,
from youth to age,
from Hope-Princeton to Fraser Canyon,
each journey beginning and ending
with a ferry.

Riding with the silver-haired
cackling crone,
tucked into her breast pocket,
is the freckle-faced eight year old,
the teen in search of love,
the young single mom
taking her babies back home to raise,
the wanna be hippy of coffeehouse days,
the wilderness lover and environmentalist 
of Tofino years.

From ocean to desert, 
from desert to ocean,
she has traveled.
Grasping  that the only thing 
that stays the same  is change,
she learned to carry home 
in her hip pocket,
and to always be ready to laugh.

The highway from birth to death
is long, circuitous
and without road signs.
Great scenery passes by
in a blur
out the window,
as we grasp fleetingly
the golden moments
we will always remember.

We sit like bemused passengers
in the front seat.
It takes a while to discover
we are the ones 
guiding the wheel.


  1. Impossibly rich visually...I am reminded of the Canada I left behind. And the poem, WOW! Pregnant with wisdom.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Sherry,

    It seems that you had a most wonderful time on your short vacation. The scenery is fantastic and inspirational. It reminds me very much of my first visit to the USA and Seattle. Followed by a great weekend in Port Townsend, almost touching Canada at Neah Bay.Lost for words with the views.
    Glad you have had some fun-time Sherry:)

  4. Dear Sherry,

    Yes I was mostly in Ontario - Thorold for one year (Niagara Falls became my playground!) and Ottawa for four years.

    It was a time of growing up and picking up skating on the Rideau River and a little French. I loved Quebec and travelled to Quebec City and Montreal. Hull bordering Ottawa was beautiful too and the parks were gorgeous in the fall. Unfortunately I did not venture west much except Vancouver for transit back home.

    Oh yes I loved Canada, no doubt about it.

  5. The pics are all fabulous Sherry. Reminds me a bit of St John and into Maine. So glad you had a good time but still, good to be home eh...and as far as Jas is concerned too. :)

  6. So beautiful, Sherry. I so enjoyed all of the photos and your words!

  7. Such beautiful photos and I loved all the things you had to share. How amazing travel is when it can carry us in the present with elements that take us back home to memories.

  8. Your glorious poem:

    "Riding with the silver-haired
    cackling crone,
    tucked into her breast pocket,
    is the freckle-faced eight year old,
    the teen in search of love,
    the young single mom
    taking her babies back home to raise,
    the wanna be hippy of coffeehouse days,
    the wilderness lover and environmentalist
    of Tofino years."

    First you give us the illustrated journey there and then the word journey back again--with all your selves in the breast pocket and all the change in your hip pocket--I visualize you laughing and sighing, sitting bemused and laughing again,
    then feeling your hands on the will as you turn.

  9. What a beautiful place B.C. is! Gotta get further west than Alberta someday.

  10. All your pics are "money shots", but your words along the pathways of your childhood are pure gold Sherry!

    Thanks for sharing your joy with us. What a magnificent place! What a magnificent life!

  11. What a lovely travelogue, Sherry. Great scenery.

  12. Lovely scenery dear, I can feel myself riding along the train with you. And change is the only thing constant ~ Hopefully some day, I can see these places ~

  13. Oh how I love all of these photos. Beautiful, beautiful ... and the poem ties them all together beautifully.

  14. wow...between the mountains and the water...just beautiful....i would love to take a train ride again.....

  15. Fantastic journey, and great photos. Glad you are back safe and sound. Sounds and looks fabulous.


  16. I love the photos, so fun to see your journey! Wonderful poem to capture the circle of life~ Beautiful!

  17. Sherry, we have spoken often and at length about your unfortunate battle with the Canadian health care system. Yet you love your country, I know, just as I love mine, for all its flaws.

    This trip down your Memory Lane made me hungry for home, for the foothills of the Adirondacks, the carousels (5 working in Binghamton, and all of them free).

    I often say to Riley, "Put it in your pocket/Keep it close/ Hold it with the treasures you love most" and that became a song lyric, so there you go. Wish you had been in a picture. BAD GIRL! Ha ha, love you, Amy

  18. Fascinating,Sherry! I like the 1st person account given here. You led us by the hand on such a wonderful journey. And the scenery was just fantastic. So also the pics.Glad you're safely home now!



I so appreciate you taking the time to read and comment.
Thank you so much. I will be over to see you soon!