revelstoke, b.c. – the ups and downs

spent a wonderful three days with my son, Blair, camping at martha creek campground on lake revelstoke.  really nice campground, quiet setting, a chilly ice green lake, and close to town.

the highlights for both of us was a fast ride down the side of a mountain at revelstoke mountain resort on “the pipe coaster” a small sled on a tube of steel and a joystick!  later we visited to the “giant cedars” forest boardwalk in mt. revelstoke national park before heading back to camp.  the next day we headed back to the park to climb the summit trail to miller lake, 5.5 km in each direction. it took us 2 hours up and down with a few rests along the way.  my dog, max led the way and was a real trooper until the final kilometre down, when he ran out of steam (he’s has pretty short legs 🙂   you can see some photos here.

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le jardin en juin

it’s been a while since my last post…

over the past two years i’ve been working on a new “step” garden down the north side of the drive, it’s not completed, but it has been planted and needs only the caps along the stone wall to finish it.

as you’ll see i was liberal with the poppy seeds that pop up all over my garden, front and back. i’ve spread the poppy and other seeds along forest edge adjacent to our property as well as any plants that need thinning out. june, and maybe july are the best month for colour here in Hope, i’m still trying to find late summer bloomers but not sure which will be best for our changing clime.

a few photos from the front and back flower gardens: https://flic.kr/s/aHskX2QSuH

mountain highway

the second leg of our journey took us from kaslo to golden, jasper and grande prairie.  our usual habit is to travel up highway 1, the transcanada and head north just before lake louise via the banff-jasper parkway.  it is usually a winter trip and often we feel we have the parkway to ourselves as it ices over in many areas which, no doubt, discourages many drivers. this year however we were travelling in the fall, for the first time, and are glad for it as the leaves are turning to their autumn colours and we often followed a ribbon of gold as we zipped along the road.

this is our 20th or is it 30th trip up the parkway and we never tire of its wonders. here are some random shots taken through the sunroof of the car or side window.

a bit of trivia:

the two segments of our holiday: “kootenay bound” and “mountain highway” totalled 3,300 kilometres and include some of the highest passes in canada:

Mountain Passes    
Bow pass
Sunwapta pass
Kicking Horse pass
Roger’s Pass
Allison Pass
Sunday Summitt
Blueberry-Paulson Summit
Anarchist Summit
Nancy Greene Summit
Surrey Lake Summit
Coquihalla Pass
2.088m
2.035m
1.643m
1327m
1342m
1282m
1535m
1236m
1575m
1444m
1244m
Banff-Jasper Parkway
Banff-Jasper Parkway
Yoho National Park
Glacier National Park
Manning Provincial Park
East of Manning Provincial Park
Christina Lake to Castlegar
East of Osoyoos
Christina Lake to Rossland
North of Merritt
Highway 5, 60 km from Hope

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”

seeing red! …roasted tomato sauce

the beginning of fall and the last of the tomatoes (about 10 kg) from my garden are ready for sauce. this is the second batch we’ve processed in the last couple of weeks, much to my surprise as i only grew 10 plants this year (we bought another 24 kg for canning).

my friend sheila, another avid gardener on vancouver island, shared her sauce recipe with me 2 years back and it’s definitely a keeper in our house!

with small embellishments here is sheila’s recipe for perfect tomato sauce.

“I have used this recipe for years and it never fails. I usually make it in the
summer as we have a vegetable garden and always end up with too many
tomatoes, I then make in batches, for the freezer. I use a lot of garlic in this
recipe but that’s because we love it and the garlic sweetens in the roasting
process. I have strained the sauce at times to remove the seeds. Though most
people don’t mind tomato seeds.

ingredients:

  • 2 lbs large tomatoes (i do a large tray on the bbq, about 4 lbs or 2 kg*)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian herb seasoning (i use a tablespoon full*)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil (1 for the tray and one to drizzle over the tomatoes*)

putting it together:
Preheat the oven/grill to 400°f. 205°c.
Slice tomatoes in half, set aside. (i give them a squeeze to get out some seeds and juice*)
Pour the olive oil onto a large baking sheet and spread it around the sheet.
Sprinkle evenly the garlic, herbs, sugar, salt and pepper over the oil.
Place the tomatoes cut side down onto the baking sheet (optional: add sliced peppers on top and drizzle with olive oil)  shake the italian herb mixture over the lot*)
Roast for about 30-40 minutes, or until the skins start to lift from the tomatoes. (i roast mine for about an hour until they are just getting dark caramelising on top*)
Allow to cool.
Remove the skins and put the sauce into a large bowl and break up the flesh with a fork. (…we invested in an italian tomato mill to process the mixture, it removes the skin and seeds quickly*)

Reheat sauce if using immediately.

sheila’s comments:
I’ve been making this sauce and freezing it sucessfully for several years. (we bag ours in ziploc bags for freezing*) I press it in a mill to remove the seeds and skins once it has cooled. I have discovered that salt takes away the bitterness. I know some suggest sugar but salt works too.

“It’s good if you roast a tray of sweet peppers with a tray of tomatoes and combine them. Roasting reduces the water content so you get a more intense tomato taste.
No stirring. I use parchment paper on the baking sheets.”

* ◊ my variations

home-grownseasoninggoodatxmas onthegrillitaliantomatomill reward

camping: kentucky-alleyne provincial park

a couple of days doing nothing…perfect! my old school friend, ron, joined me for a few days of campfire smoke, free range cooking and marshmallows. we had intended to camp in manning park but a fire ban for the region came into effect one day before departure, so with a little research i found that the kamloop’s fire district was still allowing campfires (it’s not camping without a campfire).

over the years i had noticed the kentucky-alleyne park but had never ventured in, which was too bad as it turned out to be a beautiful spot. located on high semi-arid hills about 40 kilometres east from merritt and 60 kilometres north of princeton, it is situated amongst 3 smallish lakes, with old pine forest and prairie grasses.  the lakes are known for excellent fishing, however our neighbour and his small daughter had no luck while we were there.

we did a bit of exploring down the kettle valley to princeton and back via the old coalmont kettle valley route through coalmont, tulameen and otter lake.  on the way we spotted a road?  pointing towards brookmere, a small village 10 km off the coquihalla highway at the coldstream exit and only 30 kilometres  to the coalmont road, 20 of which are rough gravel (must have a 4 wheel drive vehicle) which connects to aspen grove and another 20 km to kentucky-alleyne park.  we took this on the way home and though much shorter, it is a slow drive!  the road should only be used if you have a a 4×4 and nerves of steel as the single track has some severe switchbacks, deep potholes and drops off into a deep canyon at many points.  meeting another vehicle can mean backing up until you find a wide spot.  once on the paved section you are in the small village with quaint houses, relics of the old kettle valley railway and majestic scenery.

we had a good time!

sunup3 sunup2 sunup sunset humph

the perfect campsite
the perfect campsite

dessert crackle beetlekill alleyne lake afternoon

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.