Getting up in the morning goes a little slow today. It has been a great adventure but many days dong so many things has left me a little tired. After having breakfast and packing up, it’s time to get on the road. Continuing along Highway 16 there is so much to see along this stretch of road from natures wonders to historic sites. I will be back to visit Fort St. James, Vanderhoof, and many of the Provincial Parks along its route.
Crossing back through British Columbia’s 9th largest city, Prince George, the route continues east for Japer and Banff National Parks along BC Route 16, The Yellowhead Highway. Traffic passing through the city is a little strange on my senses, there have been so many empty stretches of roads that all the traffic is hard to come back to. I remember going through Whitehorse, Yukon with the same feeling. So many people it seemed.
Stopping at the Ancient Rainforest Trail to hike on wooden walkways through an ancient forest located in one of the upper Fraser River Valley’s few remaining antique stands of western red cedar is just jaw dropping. These stands include cedar trees that are 800 – 2,000 years old in an area farther from the ocean than any other temperate rainforest in the world, it feels like being on the west coast, such as Vancouver Island. Huge cedars, all kinds of moss, skunk cabbage, wild flowers, and vibrant green ferns flood your senses. Interpretive signs along the trail explain the forests history, wild life, as well as the plant life.
Along the longer trail you can pass a beautiful 30m (98ft) waterfall named Tree Beard Falls, clusters of colossal cedars known as the Sacred Circle, a cedar called Tree Beard that towers mightily with a display of unusual arms, and then to an especially large based cedar that makes up for it’s lack of height in it’s girth. This last is named Big Tree, being 16 feet (5 m) in diameter it is the largest cedar in the Ancient Forest as it stands in silent vigil beside a fallen comrade.
These resilient inspiring ancient cedars are beautiful in their old age, although broken and falling apart in places, they continue to reproduce and contribute to the ecosystem.
It was the weekend and campgrounds were full in the area. Finally finding a place in the group camping area of Mount Robson Lodge. This open area was in a meadow with picnic tables spread around. It was a little far away from the facilities but very quiet even with all the neighbors around.
So I have made additional walks around my area exploring more of the sites in Lacamas Park, Burnt Bridge Creek Trail, Columbia River Renaissance Trail and the Discovery Historic Loop which passes through Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Officers Row and Downtown Vancouver. I am so enjoying my new life finding many new places to explore. My next adventure is a 2 day trip along the Barlow Trail with some new friends. Stay tuned for the post with photos, videos and information about this historic trail.
It has been an empty house for 2 years since I lost my best friend, my love. It is hard to perform even the simplest tasks such as getting the mail, cleaning, picking up the phone, or just being happy. I keep the house dark and rattle around through ti’s rooms. Being all that’s left of 2 that lived as one has been difficult, I hardly care about anything anymore. Her spirit has been with me since that night, I feel her everyday although I am now just an empty shell of a man.
One night as I sat in the Living Room I see a shadow down the hall and go to investigate. Finding nothing, I feel a presence, the air gets cold and the hairs on the back of my neck are electrified. Walking past this spot the feeling dissipates but does not go away. I find nothing in any of the rooms I explore.
Going into the last room, our Bedroom, I feel the sensation once again. What is this, it is stronger this time, more intense. I say her name and it gets colder and the hairs on my neck are at attention. I say, “I love you, and always will”. The feeling slowly goes fully away.
Later in the year I feel lethargic, tired, achy, I eat to satisfy the requirement for nourishment but do not enjoy the taste anymore. Even the simplest tasks are getting more difficult.
One evening going to bed early I find sleep difficult, my body aches more this night. I finally fall asleep very late and find I have fallen into a very deep sleep with vivid dreams.
Finally waking I find myself standing in a forest with tall trees and a beautiful path leading away in front of me. I feel refreshed, energized, and younger than I have felt in years. Looking at my arms they look like a much younger version I remember from long ago.
Following the path in front of me for what feels like a very long time I notice I am not tired or hungry. Finally coming to a steam crossing the path I sit down on the near bank listening to the trickling water trying to understand what is happening and where I am going.
Soon walking toward me on the opposite bank along the path a younger healthier version of my love is approaching. Nothing is said as she crosses the stream, she bends over, resting her hands on my knees, giving me gentle kiss. This has been a strange dream, I smell the forest, feel the path under my feet, feel her hands on my knees, feel her hair in my hands and her soft lips on mine.
Reaching for my hands she stands motioning me to rise to my feet. I stand and she lets go with one hand and we start across the small stream. I follow and when we reach the other side, her first words are spoken since the meeting, “I am so glad you are here”.
We walk along the path side by side. Not much is said except for small talk just as we have always had.
On we walk with the forest starting to thin and finally around a bend we come to a meadow. In the meadow below is a lovely small village with thatched cottages and homes built into the hillsides.
We walk through the village with its stores open, their wares displayed proudly on tables along the path, cafes with outside seating under small trees. Everyone smiles and says hello as we pass.
On the other side of the town we come to a small cottage and pass through its gate to the front door. She opens the door and walks in still holding my hand. As I cross the threshold she says, “Welcome home”.
My eyes adjust to the change of light and the rooms I am able to see feel familiar but new to me. She slowly closes the door behind us and I am frightened. Will this end this dream for me to awake in that lonely house or become the beginning of a new reality?
First let me say, I am not a writer of books or stories. I enjoy writing of my travels and telling a little of the history of the places I visit.
I enjoyed the short story written by a blogging friend, Samantha James, on a photo I sent her a few weeks ago. On my trip to the Pacific Northwest in April I passed this abandoned motor lodge just off the road in the National Forests of Northern California and Southern Oregon. I thought of her when I saw it and was going to send her the photo to write another story as a challenge. I went to sent it and lo and behold there was no cell service, so getting back in my car I continued north along the highway through the forest. It was a lovely day but a prescribed burn by the Forest Service a few miles up the road put a heavy haze across the landscape.
My mind started thinking of what a nice place that motor lodge would have been back in the day and I started to flow with thoughts. This story came to me and I wrote it down that evening when I reached my destination in Vancouver, WA.
Inspired by Samantha’s story of Mackleberry Bridge. I hope you enjoy this.
It had been a long days drive through the mostly quiet, narrow winding roads in the forest with numerous dirt roads and paths leading off to unknown locations.
Sam and Joann were getting tired and decided to stop at the first motel that looked inviting. They soon happened upon a quaint motor lodge just off the roadway.
The neon sign read “Deer Mt. Lodge” and “Vacancy” in beautiful brightly colored neon. There was only one other vehicle in the nice paved parking lot. The freshly painted and well cared for landscaping that said welcome for the evening to them.
Pulling into the parking lot they got out of the car and stretched their tired muscles. Going into the small office there was an older gentleman reading a book. As soon as they entered he put down the book and warmly welcomed them like family. Sam and Joann asked several questions of the room and decided this was the place to spend the night. The man handed them a key to room #5.
Pulling their car in front of the room they quickly emptied just what they needed for the night and opened the door to a cute, immaculate room. Smaller than a newer motel room it was still quaint and very retro.
Being very tired they quickly got ready for bed and fell fast asleep on the comfy mattress.
Sam was jolted awake in the middle of the night by a dream, NO A NIGHTMARE. There was a man standing over him with a long butchers knife raised high and plunging it towards his chest. Waking, breathing very hard he lurched upright in bed and quickly looked over to see Joann peacefully sleeping next to him. Slowly he regained his composure but had a restless nights sleep until morning.
Waking he asked his wife how she had slept and Joann said very fitfully with numerous dreams throughout the night. She turned to look at Sam although he did not see the young face of his wife but a much older Joann looking back at him. He said to himself that it must have been the restless sleep they both had and got out of bed to start the morning routine to get ready for the final long leg of their journey home.
Gathering all their belongings they walked toward the door although Joann froze in front of the door. Sam reached around her to open the door to a bright sunshine day awaiting then outside. Stepping though the door was like entering a portal through time. They passed from the brightly lit room into a dark cloudy day with heavy rain and lights flashing from half a dozen police cars.
Upon exiting the room they noticed the parking lot was now broken asphalt and mostly dirt, the landscaping was more weeds than plants and the outside of the lodge was in major need of repair with peeling paint. Walking toward their car that was being raised up by a tow truck, they looked at one another puzzled and noticed 4 men carrying 2 body-sized bags from the door they just exited.
Stopping next to 2 of the officers they were going to ask what has happened and heard this conversation…..
“It’s a shame what has happened to this place since the owner died.” remarked the lieutenant.
The second police officer stated, “ Yes, with the owner dying in his office desk reading a book.”
“What in the world made this couple want to stay the night in a run down place such as this?” asked the lieutenant.
“I don’t know” answered the second, “ but isn’t this the fourth homicide here this year?”
“Yes that sounds about right and strangely they have all been in Room #5.” the lieutenant remarked.
A friend wrote a story to a photo I took on one of my trips to the California Redwoods a few years ago. Hope you enjoy it.
I have had an amazing idea while reading a lovely story earlier and it inspired me to do what the author did. They took a photo and wrote a short story based off of it. I love that idea so decided to give it a try. I hope you enjoy the results!
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2016 was just a total joke of a year and I was glad it was over, 2017 has been much better and full of adventures.
January started off recuperating from an sudden illness that happened in mid-December and during this time I started planning a trip up to Vancouver, WA the end of February to visit family and purchase my new adventure vehicle, a 2017 Subaru Outback.