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.

Advertisements

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”

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)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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.

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

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

a day away

 

fraser thompson loop. we took a day off from the garden to have a picnic at marble canyon (pavilion lakes). the weather was perfect and the land still green and alive with roadside flowers. in a few weeks the same drive will be bristling with dry grasses, tinder trees and the sweet smell of sage. the fraser was in full flood, scouring the sides of the canyon with determination.

the section of hwy 99 between lytton and lillooet was a joy to drive, winding through small ranches and hugging, in spots, the very edge of the canyon. we stopped in lillooet for a stroll over the river on the old bridge and a nature break for max. the native fisheries have not started so we had the spot to ourselves and a lone osprey. the drying racks for salmon were the only evidence of the coming harvest.

off to pavilion. a quick half hour drive and we settled in on the edge of the small lake at marble canyon provincial park. the lakes here are particularly colourful, vivid blues and greens nestled against the mountain side. we had the shore to ourselves and a choices of picnic tables…rick’s packed lunch was delicious, sandwiches on homemade bread, home-grown lettuce….and of course peanut butter cookies made the day before.

max is becoming a water dog, he seems to get braver with each outing, getting into deeper water where he has to swim.

homeward bound via cache creek south to lillooet with a brief diversion for a new bandana at the cowboy store (great hats and prices) just south of spencer’s bridge. stopping as we went to check campsites for outings later in the summer. the thompson was high, hiding the jagged rocks that make it froth and churn for the raft riders who flock to the area during the summer.

we should have allowed time for a stop in yale to sample the strawberry tea held there annually, it sure seemed popular…oh well, next year!

home in time for the tony awards. perfect day!

obhistory