Wednesday, July 11, 2007

island time

Today's soundtrack:
Fireflies by Faith Hill
Live Like You Were Dying by Tim McGraw

Today was the Great Northern Trek of 2007 as Mom and I drove up island to pick Dad up at Coal Harbour. More importantly, however, it was a chance for me to see a part of the world that I'd not revisited since we moved away on my 7th birthday. I didn't recognise a fair bit of the journey, even this view from a rest stop at Eve River that Mom insists we usually stopped at (as it had one of the best kept portapotties north of Campbell River), but there was a very familiar dip in the road just past the Telegraph Cove turnoff (the Cove itself has been ruined and should be avoided at all costs), followed by a blue bridge over the Nimpkish River. Now that I remembered! Just about jumped out of my seat with joy when I realised that this is the very river I've had nightmares about crossing.

Once we got into Port McNeill, though, I could still find my way around. This is our house, which still looks fantastic after 20 or so years. Because there's been a lot of development in town, the alder trees that were across the street have all been taken down and the lots built on. That being said, the town is still very much a town and the Cicely, Alaska feeling you get while driving around is still there.

But this is the painful part. Because the land has been cleared and built, the alder trees we used to look out on have been replaced with an absolutely amazing view. View part one:

And view part two:

Yes, those are the Coast Mountains across the Strait that you're seeing in the distance. The islands inbetween are part of the Broughton Archipelago. Now, this was on a sunny day. Picture it with fog, or rain, or just plain overcast, and that's how Port McNeill looks the majority of the time. Foghorn in the distance. Sigh. I'm actually quite nostalgic for the foghorn, sideways rain, and the thriving metropolis of 2,623.

Seeing the North Island again, it's become painfully clear that Nanaimo is becoming more pretentious and Mainlandesque, and that the real idea of "Island time" and "Island living" starts when you pass Campbell River. It is absolute wilderness up there and once you pass Sayward (with the motorcycle on the guywire between the trees), it feels even more like the end of the earth. Yet for all the isolation, there is nothing scary or alarming about it. In fact, as soon as we passed Sayward, Mom got a big smile on her face and said that she always felt that once she got to this point on the trip, she was almost home. Of course, it's another 2 hours to Port McNeill, but maybe that's just Island time.

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