Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Finally leaving

Well, it's a drizzly morning in Corvallis, which must mean it's time to leave. The WRX hasn't sold and the van's legal work is still being processed, but I don't think my being here is going to help further with that stuff. First stop is the Bugaboos, a provincial park in southeastern British Columbia, Canada. It has some famous alpine spires that I'd like to see and maybe get on. Next stop is the Banff / Jasper area of the Canadian Rockies. Ann and I visited the area a couple of years ago and I'd like to explore more of the backcountry. The photos and descriptions I've seen of some of the routes in this area are pretty wild, but it also sounds like there are plenty routes which are within my ability.

My main concern is lack of familiarity with local weather patterns. I'll be packing good bivy gear (bivy sack and winter sleeping bag) and will be carrying extra clothing in case I have to wait out a storm. I'm guessing I could hole up for at least 3 straight days of stormy weather but I should be able to survive more than that. I'll be using a survival system which Jeff and I invented during our Ptarmigan trip. It's called "SLAP" for short. "S" is for "Stop", "LA" is for "Look Around", and "P" is for "Panic". Later on we shortened it to the "P" survival system. With my newly minted wilderness survival knowledge I should be fine.

If winter weather sets in I may bail early and head south. If the weather stays clear I'm planning on spending no more than 4 weeks in Canada before returning to the US. Of course, I may get distracted by something along the way and never even get to Canada.

I'll be driving up through central Oregon, eastern Washington, and the Idaho panhandle before crossing into British Columbia. I'll need to make some stops along the way at DMVs to look for ways to extend my temporary vehicle permit (the current one expires 9/22) and will likely also make some final gear / map / guide book purchases in Spokane. Assuming I don't get distracted too much I should be at a Bugaboo trail head by Sunday.

The house rental is going well as far as I can tell. No major surprises, but Chris has a good story about the dryer which you'll have to ask him about.

Since I stayed in Corvallis a bit longer than I had originally thought, I set up a web site for my sister's bakery business. It's not completely ready but here's the link to it: It was kind of fun to figure out how to put it together. The software they have for building web sites these days is pretty impressive, especially the professional grade stuff. There's still a lot of things that I'd like to be able to do but which I haven't figured how to do. My sister also has to do a few things before publicizing it more widely. My trip's composition should allow me time to work on it. It looks like my trip will have two main components: Stretches of time where I'm wandering around wilderness on foot or bike; Stretches of time when I'm recovering from the former. I figure when I'm recovering I can spend time helping my sister. Hopefully her business will do well.

I know some of you believe that there may also be a few sprinkles of time where I'll be sitting in a jail for not driving a fully legal vehicle. That possibility can't be ruled out. I'll have to hope that modern jails have wireless networks.

Thanks for all the well wishes from everyone. I leave you with this photo of Jeff on the sixth morning of the Ptarmigan trip. It'd been raining or snowing I think for the previous 40 hours or so, and we still had most of a long day and another half day to go. Jeff's starting to look less happy. Little did he know at the time that it would get much worse before getting any better.

Stay happy, wet or dry.

Next post will be when I leave Canada, or when it becomes more obvious to me that I'm not going there.
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