Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Summer Road Trip

        It was about this time just last week that we were excitedly packing our backpacks and checking the road maps in preparation for our summer road trip. This year we decided to visit a place that none of us had ever explored before- Central Oregon and the Painted Hills- fresh tracks for our entire family. The plan was to spend our 11th anniversary on the road with our favourite people- the Littles!

         This trip was a little spontinaity mixed with some actual hotel reservations further down the road in Portland- our final destination- but for the first leg of our trip we had no plans- no idea what to expect. We set off East through the Snoqualmie pass- spending the night at the summit in what must be a busy ski resort come colder months. Friday found us travelling through so many different landscapes- we experienced the wide open big sky plains of Eastern Washington- we crossed down into the gorge and across the Columbia River at Biggs- and wrapped up the day on twisting roads through the badlands of Central Oregon.
           My favourite moment was in the middle of no where- on the plains with the strong, hot summer wind blowing past my face. We had pulled the van over to check out a geographical marker - standing on the side of a two lane highway we were the only humans for miles- we couldn't even see any other vehicles. The deadening quiet engulfed us as we sought to locate the ring of volcanoes surrounding us- a moment that was humbling and breathtaking at the same time.

          By the time we reached the Painted Hills we were all due for a leg stretch- we got out of the van at the same time a tour group arrived so we tagged along to their lecture. Learning how the hills became painted- decaying vegetation in case you were interested. Climate change- as it turns out- is nothing new- these hills were once ancient forests of Ash and Walnut- long since gone- leaving nothing but their pigments smeared across the land.

         I have yet to sort out my thoughts on how this time has changed me- shaped a new line of consciousness- of experience- of colour- of what is important. A revaluation of my own personal connection to the land- or re-connection as the case may be. Time in nature- in quiet- with the people most important to me brings life into focus- gone is the virtual clutter.

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