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kootenay bound

our annual trip north began with a drive along highway 3, the crowsnest which i consider the best (read most scenic and pleasant) drive to the interior of b.c. our destination the “kootenays” my old stomping ground and where many friends still live amongst the mountains and lakes.  we dawdled along, taking pictures of old building, mountains, rivers and the ever changing foliage as autumn descends.  being familiar with the route we did not stay long in any one spot but we did take some extra time to explore greenwood, a relic of days gone by and apparently still thriving and a stop for a picnic in grand forks.

we stayed with a friend in trail, an old mining town know for teck cominco, the worlds largest non-ferrous smelter, still going strong and dominating the town as it sits on a high plateau above the columbia river.  our friend recently moved back to trail after living for many years in vancouver.  she gave us a guided tour of the town, through the old italian neighbourhoods clinging to the cliff sides and along the river to parks and more upscale  developments.  we dined at the long standing  colander restaurant in the downtown core.  it seems to have been there forever, serving copious amounts of pasta, chicken and meatballs….mmmmm.

next day, after a lazy start, we headed off for kaslo.  visiting old haunts where i had lived for several years.  following the west arm of kootenay lake we first visited nelson, b.c. and my old hometown during the 70’s, following the west arm of kootenay lake through to balfour where you can cross the lake on one of the longest free ferry rides in the world.  the last leg took us to kaslo, past ainsworth hotsprings, noted for the very hot caves and majestic view of the lake and the purcell mountains.  following the steep shore of kootenay lake we arrived in kaslo, a jewel on the lake!

i lived and worked in kaslo for a couple of years before moving back to vancouver, it still feels like home and friends there make it tempting to return for the remainder of my retirement years.  with a population of about a thousand souls it has a friendly atmosphere and no shortage of charm.  one of our friends is half owner of the treehouse restaurant and, in my opinion, the best place to eat in town. visiting another friend we had three encounters with bears within an hour, two, we suspect were the same bear!  the first was enormous and fortunately unaware of our proximity, the second however was too close for me and had it not been for max “the bear dog” we would not have been as ready to bolt into the house as it sauntered by.  a walk through the side streets brought us the next bear!  enough! we headed back to our hotel and a relaxing drink of wine.

kaslo is full of history and has been well preserved by the residents and business community alike.  for more info, visit their website.

here is an assortment of images taken on the way to kaslo, bc.

Continue reading “kootenay bound”

friends on board

a few days on a boat with old friends.

one of my friends has a large grand banks motor boat and asks us to join him from time to time.   we spent three days cruising among the gulf islands after sailing across the straight from coal harbour in downtown vancouver.

here are a few shots of our days on the sea from the hundred and thirty that i took.

chazous!   …près de montaigut-le-blanc

the photos, in no particular order. (holding mouse over the slide will display title)

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on the edge

a very careful but brisk walk along the frozen edge of the mighty fraser. temperature -4C with a wind chill to -15C.

ice
ice crusting along the edge

today, january 3, 2016 the fraser river is nearing it lowest level, however, come spring and summer it will rise dramatically by about 8 metres,  as measured at the water avenue bridge. the fraser, usually a muddy brown, adopts a more pleasant bluish hue in the winter as the sediment disperses.  here in hope, it varies in width by several hundred metres as the seasons change.

warning buoy placed 50 metres from shore
warning buoy placed 50 metres from shore
drying rack for salmon
drying rack for salmon

near this buoy is a boat launch frequently busy with sturgeon fishers out to catch a monster. the Stó:lō people fish the river for salmon and can occasionally be seen drying them on racks across the river. 

sandbar and max
sandbar and max
frozen love?
frozen love?

max and me were about 300 metres from shore, clambering over boulders when we stumbled on this odd display, which i’ve taken the liberty of titling “frozen love” because deep down i’m pretty corny. how or why they got here will remain an unknown story.

rivers
meeting of the fraser and coquihalla rivers

our destination was the confluence of the fraser and coquihalla rivers, where, for a few short months, they blend unknowingly with each other.

fraser river bridge – hope, b.c.

The attached photo of the “water avenue bridge” was taken january 1, 2016, looking north. The fraser river is at its lowest during the winter months, a steep path on the south entry of the bridge gives access to the river’s edge.

water avenue bridge
water avenue bridge – crosses the fraser river as the trans canada highway entering the fraser canyon.

Source: wikipedia
The Water Avenue Bridge is a highway bridge that carries the Trans Canada Highway across the Fraser river. It was built around 1916 to carry the Kettle Valley Railroad out of The town of Hope to the CPR mainline on the north side of the river.[1] It is a two level bridge with the highway bridge on top. The railway, which was long ago removed, ran on the lower level. If you pull off the highway on the north side, eastbound on the highway, and explore under the bridge, this can be clearly seen. The rail bed can be followed a short way west until you come to private property. Little if anything remains to show that trains ran south and east of the bridge into town.

a very big circle tour….

a very fast trip to northern alberta to see family. along the way i took too few photos and missed far too many to make a better photo essay. we drove north through the yellowhead highway 5 from hope to jasper, this is quite scenic and one of the few times we’ve driven it in summer, following the north thompson river until we head east and the beginning of the mighty fraser at valemount. the segment through jasper national park is too familiar too us and we slowed only to grab a couple of shots of elk and mountain sheep…and a raven. the mountains were spectacular and the weather was with us all the way.

our first stop was a charming setup on the banks of the Athabasca river. we had a “rustic” cabin on a high ridge with a clear view of the river and the sound of rushing water. rustic…no running water, outhouse and all the senses of nature, including a rumbling thunder storm (poor max).

a three hour drive up highway 40 and we’re in grande prairie and wide open spaces, big skies, lush fields and oil wells. as you’ll see, I have a thing for the prairies…they are awesomely beautiful and ever-changing. the sky is spectacular and the colours of the fields and trees are a painters dream.

heading south we followed the banff/jasper parkway, a spectacular valley of mountains and glaciers, the blue grey rivers fed by the glaciers and the turquois lakes, inviting but oh, so cold. we were fortunate to see a mother bear and cubs and some very large big horn sheep who appeared right beside the car while we were waiting for traffic.

highway 1 to the beautiful town of revelstoke. revelstoke is located at the headwaters of the arrow lakes surrounded by high mountains and the mighty columbia river. the town itself is a picture postcard with tin roofs for the high snow fall, well cared for yards and home which are most Victorian in style and date back to early 1900’s. the downtown section is truly a postcard setting, revitalized and perfect for visitors. an architectural highlight was the old courthouse located on the south edge of the town. a great place to visit.

ever southward. we caught the early morning ferry south of revelstoke, then a leasurly drive to kaslo, b.c. via nakusp and new denver, both quaint and charming lakeside towns with a strong connection to mining and b.c. history.

kaslo, my old home town (for a while) a perfect village of about 1,000 souls nestled on the shore of kootenay lake. the old building have mostly been restored and the homes are a fantasy for lovers of early architecture. the town hall is the oldest of it kind on the b.c. mainland. too many restaurants (the tree house is my fave), a beautiful golf course and hours of exploration if you have the time.

home via highway 3. all mountains and climate changes along the way. here are a few, or too many photos from the trip…in no particular order.

almostwet

autre

athabaska

athabasca

baby1

bowlakebowwow

bored

bowlk

canola

clouds

contrast

drivearound

elk

harvest

happiness

food

jasper

kaslo

kasloch

mama

mtlake

mtrobsign

mtsheep

nocorner

oil2

petitcabin

oursummercottage

oldentrancebb

prairie

south

space

storm

wheat

wideopen

this morning in the garden…

we’re ahead of schedule with almost everything. the fennel has overgrown and new seedling are planted, beets and greens ready for canning and soon the tomatoes. this morning we picked 5 kilo of tomatoes and figure we’ll have about 35 or 40 kilo by the time we’re done. I’ve pulled all the second batch of onions and all the garlic for drying, also digging up potatoes as needed. a second crop of green and yellow bush bean went in a few days back as we harvest the bounty of the first crop. peppers, cucumbers and zucchini are overflowing….how to get it all dried, canned or frozen in time! my turnips are ready and a second crop planted as is another crop of beets. remarkable what a handful of seeds will produce.

beans garlic onion pot tom5

rhododendron flats

on a short day trip we had the chance to stop at  rhododendron flats in manning park.  the grove of pacific rhododendron is just off highway 3 (the crowsnest) highway.  there is a small parking lot and toilet along with information signs about the grove.  as they are natural/native only one colour grows, however the beauty of them at different phases of development are as diverse as any garden.  it is a pleasant 15 minutes stroll around a well maintained path amongst the pines and cedars.  the grade is gently but not suitable for wheelchairs or someone with difficulty walking.

m1 r1 r2 r4 r5 r7 rh7 rh8 rh9 rh10 rh11 forest floor

the ubiquitous max
the ubiquitous max

may has busted out all over!

…if you know the song…it should be june 😉

the flower gardens are way ahead of themselves and I fear come august or even july the flowers will be spent.  for now the colours are bright and the buds prolific, alas there is lots of deadheading to do and of course there’s weeding, obnoxious weeds that grow as fast if not faster then flowers.

for both the vegetables and flowers the bees and hummingbirds are have a heyday. the veggies are well established with many already in flower.  were presently eating lettuce, radishes, green onions and herbs. the tomatoes and potatoes are in flower and they should start setting fruit soon.

I took a few shots earlier this this afternoon 29/05/15. I hope you enjoy them.

b4 cpallover dora loaded lovely moreplease pclem pinks pop sweet what whclem wl1 wl2