Early morning drive into town, and I saw something new.
A low-lying fog to the east, below the Mt. Spokane summit, swaddling the narrow pines. Only the treetops poked through the fog, creating an illusion of a cloudy sea with mini pines floating on top. Surreal, really.
Every region I travel has unique natural phenomena: the sunsets of New Mexico, snow-capped mountains of Montana, red rock formations of Utah, winding canyons of Idaho, bayous of Alabama. The southwest has dark night skies where the Milky Way seems to pop out of the universe; the Midwest has deep, dark, hardwood forests; the Inland Northwest deep, dark conifer stands; the Pacific coast tall, wave-carved sea cliffs.
When I wander, the diverse wildlife interests me too. I learned recently that several wolf packs roam in the woods north of Spokane. Also nearby: Grizzlies, black bear, moose, and elk. White-tailed deer pepper the landscape nearly everywhere here, like the antelope of Wyoming.
I also observe land formations and watersheds as I wander. Now, I can sense the subtle but persistent downward slope of highland areas and tributaries seeking the easiest route to a river. Thus far, this is most noticeable driving from the west through Billings, MT then south towards Sheridan, WY. The subtle downhill route on I-90 follows the Yellowstone River and crosses the Bighorn River as they search for each other and then merge into the Missouri. When I focus my mind to think “watershed” I can see how it all flows together through the sloping lowlands.
So, besides traveling to get somewhere, I love travel for it’s own sake, especially through our West, which always amazes me. However, it occurs to me I sound like I never keep my eyes on the road. I do look up more than I should, but increasingly, I am learning to pull over when I need to gawk!
Where, when, next? I will be here until AT LEAST Oct 20, and after that, my departure date depends on the weather here in Eastern Washington (e.g. snow). Once the mountain passes get snowy I am stuck up here, unless I drive to California. So, I will be watching the weather carefully and making choices as I go.