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.

Advertisements

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

kettle valley/trans canada trail

took a easy  hike along the old kettle valley rail bed trail to othello tunnels and beyond.   the trail is an extension of the trans canada trail and runs through hope following the old kettle valley rail line.  it”s an easy stroll with a wide path and less than  4% grade.  the majority of the time  you’re in shade, sheltered from the sun with overhanging branches and the odd fallen tree.  below you can hear the thrashing of the coquihalla river as it  pushes  its way through the narrow gorge of the canyon.  you get several good glimpses before reaching the tunnels,  vivid white and green tumbling over the sharp rocks below.

max kept me at a good pace taking only 45 minutes to cover the 5 km to the tunnels.  we rested for lunch by the river before continuing on to the road and back into hope.

you can start in town, or as i did,  drive to the trail head saving about 3 km of hiking.   great place to take visitors or just get out into the fresh air.

coq lush map overhead

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

a golden slipper

not that long of a walk, only 3.5 km but long enough on a drizzly day. yesterday on the same walk i was miffed with myself for not taking along a camera. the mist on the river was magic. as we walked i ran across several salmon skeletons from last fall’s spawn showing through the silt like ancient fossils. today however i discovered a golden slipper, derelict on the bank, its last dance.

max and me walked to the confluence of the fraser and coquihalla rivers then along a forest trail to the golf course entrance and home. we were the only walkers out this morning, too bad, it was serenely quiet.