The Flower Fed Buffalo
The flower-fed buffaloes of the spring
In the days of long ago,
Ranged where the locomotives sing
And the prarie flowers lie low:
The tossing, blooming, perfumed grass
Is swept away by wheat,
Wheels and wheels and wheels spin by
In the spring that still is sweet.
But the flower-fed buffaloes of the spring
Left us long ago,
They gore no more, they bellow no more:--
With the Blackfeet lying low,
With the Pawnee lying low.
- Vachel Lindsay

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Anticipating our departure ...

Although we haven't left home yet the day is getting closer. Can't wait: two weeks until we leave Hobart!

In the meantime we've been flat out like a lizard drinking, trying to get our backyard project finished before we go. It seems to have gone on forever: digging holes for footings, dealing with council, digging trenches, building retaining walls, digging more holes, tidying up, making more mess, tidying up again, painting ...

However, amongst all this chaos, we have purchased a vehicle for our trip!

Big Blue is our modern day covered wagon, awaiting our arrival at Doug's parents place in Comox on Vancouver Island. It's a 1990 Dodge RAM Getaway camper van, bought with the help of Doug's mom and dad before our arrival. It needs a new fridge, which should be installed the day after we arrive in Canada if all goes to plan. Yes, it does look like a bit of a sled, but we think it should allow us to roam about the place in relative comfort - if at a somewhat leisurely pace!

Our route is something we've spent quite a while discussing. There are places we've been before that we want to revisit, and new places we want to explore. Here's a rough map of where we intend to go:

After visiting Doug's parents, we plan to head to Penticton to climb at Skaha Bluffs and climb with our friend Jon Jones. The Okanagan Valley is a real fruit bowl but it will be a bit early when we arrive so we might have to stop in for another visit later in the summer!
However, when we move south to spend a week to ten days hiking and climbing around Leavenworth in Washington, there should be lots of stone fruit ready. Leavenworth is a funny, friendly little Austrian-themed town on the drier side of the Cascade mountain range. It's a beautiful place that we look forward to revisiting. This is what the hiking is like:

We both wish that Di still looked as svelte and youthful
as she does in this photo, but it was taken 26 years ago!

From there we intend to head south to historic City of Rocks which is in central southern Idaho, just north of the Utah border. City of Rocks and the little town of Almo nearby were on the old Oregon trail. The camping is beautiful and, as you can see from the link above, there are lots of fantastic rock formations with climbs all over them.

After a week or ten days we'll make our way north towards Calgary to visit some friends, and the spectacular Canadian Rockies for some climbing and hiking (are you surprised?).

Hmmm.  Doug isn't as spry
as he was in this photo taken in 1992 ...

The rest of our time will be spent in B.C., including a trip back across to Vancouver Island before we leave. We are toying with the idea of keeping our van for future trips if we like it enough, but most likely we'll be spending a bit of time trying to sell it before flying home to springtime in Tasmania.
Let's see how all this pans out! We'll keep you posted ....

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