Blue Grouse Mountain

“Which way should we go?” I asked.

“Just give me a sec,” Bear said.

Fine with me.  Putting the Rodeo into park, I got out to stretch my legs. We had started out on the aptly named Aspen Trail, and from there, veered off onto an unnamed road that rose high in the hills above Bear Lake Main.

Now we had reached a Y intersection and I wasn’t sure which way to go.

Surveying the landscape in front of me, the words of Robert Frost came unbidden into my mind.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I–

I took the one less travelled by,

And that has made all the difference.”

Okay, then. Sound advice. 

I peered down the road on the left.  It didn’t look very well-travelled.  I looked down the road to my right. It didn’t look very well-travelled either.  Now what?

I held still, sniffed the air, kicked the dirt a bit, and listened.  The right.  I wanted to take the road on the right. I got back in the car. Bear looked up from his map.

“Right,” he said. “We should go right.”

What can I say?  He has his way of doing things and I have mine.

It was a gorgeous day to be out in the woods, especially these woods, in autumn.  Leaves were turning, the forest floor was brightly coloured, Snowberries and Shaggy Mane mushrooms lined the road.

We came upon an old cabin, its roof crushed by fallen tree limbs. You could tell it had been solidly constructed, and we wondered how long it had stood there.  Bear got out to investigate—he loves a good mystery, and I got out to take pictures. My camera was busy making happy noises when Bear finally returned with more questions than answers.

The road, in the meantime, was looking less and less like a road.  Don’t get me wrong.  I love a sketchy road.  This one had all three R’s—roots, rocks and ruts.  But it also had mud. And road ponds. And fallen tree limbs suspended just high enough for the Rodeo to crawl under.

“Oh my God.  Bear, are you seeing this?” The road ahead sloped downward at a steep angle. There was no answer from Bear.  I looked over to the passenger seat.  There he was, eyes closed, head thrown back, mouth open…and snoring.

“Dude! Seriously? You’re the navigator!”

“Right. Sorry. Holy shit! Where are we?” I rolled my eyes. He quickly referred to his map. 

“Looks like you have to go down it, Mom.  But once we get down, we turn onto Blue Grouse Mountain Road and that will eventually take us back to Bear Lake Main.”

“Here goes nothing,” I muttered.

It sounds worse than it was.  True, I couldn’t take my eyes from the road for even one second.  Silently, I thanked the powers that be for the trust I have in the Rodeo.  I used to have a Jimmy.  I loved that vehicle, but I didn’t trust it not to blow over in a strong wind.  Never took it over 80, even on the highway.

Once we reached the bottom the road began to climb again. I didn’t mind. We were close enough to the other side to see the lake in the valley below.

And I got a healthy dose of autumn.  Enough to remind me how much I love the turning of the seasons. Felt good to be out in fresh mountain air. I should do it again.

Author: Featherstone Creative

Sally Quon is a photographer and writer living in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, where she is blessed to live, love and grow on the traditional and unceded territory of the Syilx people. Her photography has appeared in Canadian Geographic Magazine and in Nature Alberta’s various birding brochures. Sally was recently published in Chicken Soup for the Soul - The Forgiveness Fix and was long listed for the Vallum Chapbook Award. She is an associate member of the League of Canadian Poets. One of her photos was chosen for inclusion in the Photographer’s Forum “Best of 2018” Collection. She has two beautiful, almost grown children and a cat who loves her.

4 thoughts on “Blue Grouse Mountain”

  1. What a beautiful series of photographs…this is my first experience of shaggy mushrooms, so thanks for that. To hear you describe being with your son on these adventures is one of my favourite things about them. Thanks for sharing.


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