To a Trail in the sky
The below is a post I wrote whilst on a one and a quarter hour plane journey from Vancouver Airport’s South Terminal to Trail, British Columbia. It is my first attempt at descriptive travel writing. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did writing it.
I love the point of take off. That moment when you hear and feel the engines kick before you’re jerked back into your seat. The moment when you feel separated from the earth below, when you feel suddenly ever so slightly lighter. The click of the wheels locking into the planes belly below confirming you are on your way on your next adventure.
I give Vancouver’s man made skyline a mental goodbye wave as my plane rises through and above the clouds. Sitting in the back of the ‘bus’, like the cool kid I am, my outwardly view is briefly whitened out. I redirect my eyes internally, fixing my cameras sights down the centre of the planes aisle – me at one end and the pilots endless view at the other – snap. I take note of the flight’s passengers, obviously locals with their heads buried deep in the morning’s news, as I rush my camera back into its bag so I can bury my head in my window… the morning’s views. To my left and behind a little are white mountain peaks sitting high above the cloud cover which surrounds them. For a moment my eyes draw level with their tops of tops as our plane rises higher. In that moment, as I share their view, I am instantly envious. A perspective of the world that passes me too quickly is a permanency for them.
I stop typing, contemplating my next sentence, before I look out the window for inspiration realising it tearily awaits my every possible direction. Directly below are more peaks pointing upwards towards me, with their tops brown with soil – the snow melted by the summer suns direct access as they are left standing naked, due to the clouds inability to compete with their majestic height. As I follow their sharp ridges downwards the brown fades into white as their surface cools again and disappears into the thick white blankets below.
Clouds above and clouds below. I am surrounded by white, with blue added to the distant horizon. To my right over my back pack, which is placed on two vacant seats beside me, and out the other window are more peaks. They resemble ice bergs – with the majority of their mass hidden – but rather than white poking through blue, here there is brown through white. With their common colour the white snow and white clouds visually blend, seeming to become one. As we fly farther east the temperature drops and I consider scrummaging through my back pack for my beanie, and maybe even my duck down jacket. But, before I can make a decision my attention is already else where.
Below, the clouds have cleared unveiling a forest of bottle green – the mountain ridges highlighted by roads or walking trails and the valleys by rivers. Rivers which only make me think of one thing… kayaking. I remember being in year 11 and sitting with Benny Adamson on my bed watching white water kayaking videos – played on VCR tapes back then. I cannot recall their titles, but I do recall their location… Canada! We sat for hours in envy hoping we would one day venture here and be brave enough to paddle their waves before finding shelter in their eddies. With that thought drifting off to one side I look out my window at our planes navy blue wing and I silently question the person who said “blue and green should never be seen”, because this view beside me… below me and behind me is a sight to behold! A sight to be envied by all, even if ‘contaminated’ by the arms of this mighty freeing machine.
As I sit here and rub my hands together for some warmth, thinking to myself: its really not that cold Brett, I ponder if I will ever get tired of this; of jet setting; of seeing the trucks below shrink to toy size. If driving across Australia was ‘rubber tramping’ and hiking is ‘leather tramping’ then what is this? Whatever it is it is TRAMPING. I am seeing my past’s future thoughts and hopes before me. I am living the life I so desperately want to live professionally. Sitting here writing brings a tear to both eyes. Writing so as to recall; to remember; to tell a story makes me think back to a recent poem I wrote which opened with ‘I want to be a travel writer‘ and I think to myself……… I AM! I think to myself: payment is not always given in dollar bills! The overwhelming feeling of being out there, out here, out somewhere else and being able to stop, write, ponder and appreciate every step over again is payment enough.
As the seat belt sign dings and lights up I watch the planes flaps drop, slowing our approach into Trail. Trail: a place which contains two of my closest friends, Ben and Candice Sawyer. I picture Ben and his son Banjo waiting for me inside the terminal’s walls as I venture out the window again. Now having a zoomed in view as the plane descends, I begin to see Trail and the surrounding areas in greater detail. My attention is of course drawn to green and brown baseball diamonds below and the mountains which now stand tall above me in the distance. I ready myself for landing by placing my camera back in its bag once again after it wandered out a few times during the one and a quarter hour flight from Vancouver.
Bang! It’s the sound which signals an arrival… the landing at yet another new destination, my third in only two days – Los Angeles, Vancouver and now Trail, British Columbia. As the brakes bring us to a slowed crawl I watch the shadow, produced by the wings battle with the sun, rise and fall with the varying heights of lush green grasses which frame the blackened tarmac – the shadows temporary stage from this momentary and moving perspective. I look up in search of the airports terminal when I see my fellow passenger’s loved ones, friends, family or colleagues waiting anxiously for them below the open sky. I think what a perfect way to greet in a place such as this – outdoors. I look for Ben and Banjo, knowing Candice is working for the morning, but they seem to have not arrived just yet.
I look down the aisle once again in time to see one of our pilots jump to his feet. He kindly asks my fellow passengers and me… way down the back, to remain seated as he secures the plane, before he opens the front hatch and disappears outwards. I use this time to throw my belongings back into my back pack. Belongings which found themselves flung from their place when I was hurried by the need to access my camera… my ‘moment bottler’. By the time I am packed the pilot once again appears informing us we can now depart. I hop up with my back pack in hand ducking, due to the planes compact size, as I walk along the short narrow aisle towards my entrance – my last threshold to Trail.
I carefully climb down the plane’s stairs, who’s treads and risers don’t match my mind’s or muscle’s accustomed dimensions. Touch down! I hit the tarmac and begin my proud stomp towards the terminal. “Yeasty!” Ben yells from over my right shoulder – a nick name derived from another friends son many years ago who thought my name was “Bread”. I turn and see my bearded friend, part of the inspiration for this journey, with his son Banjo smiling from high upon his Dad’s shoulders, walking towards me from afar. I break the ‘sheeps path’ made by the passengers before me to walk to Ben at both a quickened and excited pace before I reach over a short chain wire fence to hug them both.
I am here. After 4 plane rides I am at my journeys first base camp.
Get your heads out of the news. Out of the magazines. Don’t wonder! Don’t wish or even imagine… get ‘here’ instead! Your dreams shouldn’t be framed by paper edges or your computer’s screen, rather a windows frame, your peripheral’s, or better yet your camera’s view finder!
“You will see things and meet people and there is much to learn from them. Don’t hesitate or allow yourself to make excuses. Just get out and do it. You will be very glad that you did”. – Christopher McCandless.