Saturday, April 28, 2007

Long and Winding Road.

I just got back from the Okanagan town of Oliver where I spent a couple of nights visiting with my folks. Over the next few days I will put up a few posts about my time there, which will include meeting up with a couple of very special Bloggers!
The drive there is 400KM of mostly winding mountainous road. Out on the prairies, that distance down a straight stretch of highway may take just over three hours. This trip takes even the speeders a good 4.5 hours. It takes me 5.5 hours. That's including stops along the way for a photo or two. Ok, I drive slow. But have you seen how those cliffs drop away from the road along the Hope-Princeton Highway?

There is such a change of scenery along this trip. Starting off from the farms and meadows of my town Maple Ridge and the surrounding Fraser Valley, to Hope where the hyway begins the ascent into mountain country. Towering rock walls and lush dense pine forests right up through the snow level. The road even at the highest point were clear, but some snow was still at the side of the road and in the shaded areas beneath the trees. The ground is covered in dense underbrush and the rocks are wet and mossy. The rivers were running fast and clear. Clean enough you could drink it right out of the stream.
Once you begin the decent on the other side of the Coastal Mountains, the terrain changes. The trees become less dense. And they are a more spindly variety of pine , with red trunks and longer needles. The ground is drier there. The rocks are dry and the grasses are long and pale gold. At this time of year, the hillsides are getting a tint of green to them as the spring grasses are starting to sprout. But by late June, they will have dried to brown again. There is scrub-type, pale green growth that dries into tumble weeds which can be seen blowing along the road by the ever present winds. The earth is dry and sandy but very rich in minerals and nutrients. The parts of this area that are irrigated, are very green and grow some of the best fruits and vegetables in the world. When you get to Keremeos you are greeted by this, the first of many signs promoting the agricultural tourism.

The orchards are just gorgeous at this time of year as the blossoms are all out. One of the biggest crops grown in Oliver these days is grapes. The plentiful vineyards fuel the fast growing wineries in the region. Bottling wines that rival anything produced in California.

This last photo is my decent back down the west side on my way home. Everything has come so alive while I was away. All of a sudden it all looks so very green. Maybe its my mind playing tricks after the desert scenery of the past few days.

I love the drive. Loaded up with a stack of CDs, sunglasses and a full tank of gas....the destination always comes too soon!

So here I am at home again.


Curtis said...

I just love reading your posts and seeing your photos. You have an eye for picture taking. Thanks for the enjoyable trip and have a great Sunday.

Bobbie said...

It really is a scenic drive. We drove that route many times to vacation in Osooyos. Great pictures!

Glad you enjoyed your trip and got home safely.

Herman Verbrugge said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Herman Verbrugge said...

Great travel report Susan and what a gorgeous photos! I am a little bit jealous because I will never see such sceneries. The area where you live in is so beautiful.

leslie said...

Welcome home, Susan, and thanks for your uplifting words last week on my blog. The sun is shining today and during a leisurely stroll to Starbucks, I enjoyed the Japanese cherry trees in full blossom. When I was a kid, we used to summer in Osoyoos, where my aunt and uncle had an orchard. I loved it there and we water skied the lake - I never fell 'cuz I didn't want to end up in the lake weeds I could see under the surface of the water! :(

Enjoyed reading your blog and will pop back more often. You're very welcome at my place, too!

Michael Manning said...

Tremendous, Susan! And here I am with a basic Canon camera unsure of how to use it! :)

Josie said...

Susan, what gorgeous photos! It's been a while since I've been along that stretch of road. One of my favorite things to do is take road trips, so maybe this summer I might take a trip along there. I used to live in Kamloops when I was first married, and I loved the hillsides there in the spring.


Annie said...

Ah, I wouldn't mind driving for 15.5 hours if I could be surrounded by scenery like that.

Sienna said...

Susan, I don't know if you will catch this comment I'm sending but I have done something :) to your descent picture, I am in love with Canada!!

It is the most beautiful country...I wanted to see what your descent pic looked like "lightened" so I used my microsoft picture it program, can black and white pics, lighten, darken etc...I will email it to is the most beautiful drive that you have, as I lightenend the pic I just went Oooooooooooooooooooo my goodness.!


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