Thursday, August 29, 2019

After our last camping excursion we spent a bit of time at home - a record 13 days in a row.  That's almost two weeks!  
During that time some of the decks got water sealed, and the grass got mowed, and a few other things got taken care of - including rigging up the wiring for the new solar panel.  But it was time to hit the road again.  We had some westerly destinations in mind.
Made it nicely into BC the first day, and decided to find a spot along the Beaverfoot river, along the west boundary of Yoho National Park.  It was a rarely used and lightly traveled area when I worked in the park, so it was a shock to find campers set up in all of my usual selections :-( .  It was cool and raining a bit, so a featureless spot along an unused logging road had to suffice for the night.
Next day we met up with Walter, a retired BC Conservation Officer in Golden for coffee and a chat.   North of Revelstoke, along the lake of the same name, it was nice to find our favourite spot vacant and waiting for us.

We spent a couple of relaxing days there, Hailey out getting re-aquainted with the area and it's wildlife.  Loons serenaded us at night, and a merganzer family patrolled the shore.  Weather was nice and winds were calm, so it was enjoyable paddling about in the kayak and checking out the far shore.
The whole region is an active logging area, but with many cut blocks on the far shore of the lake, they need some access.  At several spots along the long lake they had these ferrys or barges for both logging trucks and the work crews to cross over.

Further south, on the return, Hailey and I stopped for the night - where we had spent her very first camping trip 9 years ago.  That time we were in the 5th wheel, but the access roads are so overgrown now, that it was tough even squeezing the truck camper in.  She was cute then too!

She was so small that the pull of the retractable leash would almost knock her over!

After quite a few nights down on the lakeshore, it was time to go for some 'view' spots, so on the way back towards town, we headed up Sale mtn road.  On the way up we were in the clouds, so couldn't really see much - till we found ourselves at the microwave tower at the summit.  
A bit lower down the mountain was a place where paragliders sometime launch, so we stopped there for the night, and after more rain, it finally cleared up nicely.

Here's a quick video showing my view of the lake.

Hailey enjoyed the view, as well as the hunting!

She has never shown any response to hawks or owls before, but with two hawks circling overhead, she suddenly raced back to the camper to get inside ...  Maybe she saw something else?
Back down in Revelstoke I hung around for a while, visiting friends, some of whom I hadn't seen since we all lived and played slowpitch in Lake Louise together.
After a dump and fill and taking on a few more provisions, we headed for the ferry crossing south of town. Hailey usually hides during the crossings, but she is getting braver and actually emerged mid way through the voyage for some ear scratches and purrs.  A couple of our usual spots on the lakeshore where we usually camp were occupied, including one that was conveniently marked with their departure date on the access trail!  We did have to test out a new spot, which only had a couple of drawbacks; it had some neighbours nearby, and there were virtually no solar opportunities to keep the batteries charged.

It did have a couple of very secluded little hidden beaches though.

There were only a few horse flies around, but those that tried to bite me - soon found themselves floating as fish food!

Hailey kept the dragon flies and butterflies on their toes.

Eventually, we got into our preferred spot, and spent a few days soaking up the sun and scenery.

On the next round of provisions we headed for the nearest town, but got stopped on the highway by an accident scene.  There was a logging truck on fire, and apparently it had been burning for a while, as the local fire department would not send a truck as it was outside their area.  Eventually they did send a truck and got a loader to start unloading the logs roadside, but by that time the mountainside above the road was well ablaze!  We got shuttled further back, but still got to watch a good airshow as the bombers came in with loads of retardant, and a helicopter dropped water from the nearby lake.
 It seems wherever I go, I run into fires or fire towers, or something closely related.

In the meantime, we are still on the road, checking out areas near and far.  Stay tuned.

Friday, August 23, 2019

Found some time, and wi-fi, at the same time!

After a couple days enjoying the waterfall action in Wells Gray Provincial Park in central British Columbia, we moved across the Clearwater river and explored up a logging road on the far side.
It appears to be a popular river for rafting and several different companies were in evidence.

Next on the agenda was a trip through the Bridge Lake area to check up on fellow RV’ers John and Nicole.  John gave me a nice tour around the large lake and it’s many islands, pointing out the history, fishing holes and points of interest.

One ‘point’ of interest was a secluded, little known point of land, with marginal vehicle access and free camping!  It was a tight fit with the camper on, but we made it, and decided to spend a couple days there – keeping an eye on the huge Bald Eagle nest just back of shore.  It was fun watching the young eagles exercise their wings as they must have been just about ready to leave the next.  I watched one fly for a full 10 seconds, hovering just above the nest the whole time – with a nest breeze off the lake.

It turned out to be a fine swimming hole as well.
A serous squall passed through one evening with some heavy rain for a bit.  I found out later that John and Nicole had been hit by several inches of hail in that same storm!
Next day we headed down through Cache Creek, then headed across towards Logan Lake, discovering a huge open-pit copper mine along the way.  I was curious why my map showed no name for a ‘lake’ that was several miles long and fairly wide.  That’s when I read that it was a tailing pond for the mine waste water!


At Logan Lake we took a short detour up to Tunkwa Provincial Park to see if we could track down the elusive ex-RV blogger Wandering Willy!  Turns out we missed him by a week this time, but rumour has it he’ll be back in the fall!

Camped overlooking Merritt one night, we had a major mosquito invasion – indoors, with all the screens in place and door closed.  Finally determined that perhaps the vent flap in the stove vent may not have been closing properly?  Strangely, even a bit of mosquito coil use indoors did not seem to eliminate them.  Perhaps the coils have an expiry date?

A day or two later found us in the border town of Osoyoos, B.C., where I was pleased to discover that my Mobley hot spot was picking up signal from AT&T across the line from the US.  Finally, a chance to use my unlimited wi-fi in the summer!

A few days later we checked out my old haunts around Trail, BC, and another impromtu roadside camp spot, also in range of a strong AT&T signal!

There were some apparent bat houses out in one clearing near my roadside camp.  And nearby there was this strange apparatus mounted on a power pole, possibly aimed at the bat houses.  I'm guessing that it is some sort of ultrasonic or radar bat detector?  Anyone?

After that we continued in a generally eastward direction through Cranbrook into the Fort Steele area where I was to scope out boondocking options for some more friends arriving in a day or two.

 I found one great spot, right on a river bank.  The only drawback was that it was right by a railroad track.  But I hadn't seen a train in hours and was hoping that it was a little used branch line perhaps?
Don & Donna showed up later with their fifth wheel, and we were entertained by numerous trains, fast and slow, all night long!!

So ... we went looking for an alternate spot, and soon found a much better (and quieter) spot around a small lake, not far off the pavement.  We also joined up with Larry, another friend from back in high school and we spent a few days sorting out some of the worlds problems.

During one of my explorations for boondocking spots, I discovered the remains of Fisherville ghost town, not far up the Wildhorse river.  The town had boasted 5000 residents back in the gold rush days of 1865, but like many such towns of the era, it quickly went bust when the miners moved elsewhere.  There is still plentiful evidence of the 'hrydraulic' operations that used high pressure water hoses to erode the river banks looking for gold.  While it was too rough of terrain for my non truck camper friends, I spent one night there overlooking the river before they arrived.

There was an old cemetery nearby, with most of the graves marked as 'unknown', but it did note a police constable who was killed there.

Even with the gold rush long gone, there was still evidence of small scale mining activity, as well as some large, commercial operations.

In other news ...
Solar panels were on sale at the local Canadian Tire stores, so I picked up a new 100W panel for $199. Cdn  Not sure where it will end up, but for now it's traveling with the truck camper and certainly providing more than adequate power for when we're stopped for more than a day or two.  In summer travels, constant driving usually keeps the batteries up, but it is handy when parked for a few days to still have lots of excess power.  I expect it will come some this winter with the 5th wheel to supplement or replace the panel that I already have.  The new one is a smaller capacity, but it is also way lighter and easier to handle than my present panel.  Or perhaps one of them will someday get installed on a roof, procrastination notwithstanding ;-).

Continuing on eastward on Hwy 3, we cruised through the delightful town of Fernie, BC, where they seem to think we would be willing to get hosed for diesel fuel at $1.45/L!  Highway robbery, considering that just down the road and across the Alberta line you can fill up at a much nicer $1.11/L

After a quick overnight in Pincher Creek with friends and former co-workers place we took a 'new to us' route up the Forestry trunk road.  While a bit rough in places, it provided some pretty nice camping options along the way.

I spotted this strange moose when doing some reconnoitring the area.  I was glad I was in the air, and not next to him!  Nice tattoos, by the way!

 Crossing the Highwood River just before reaching pavement again we found this water level monitoring station sponsored by the town of High River many miles downstream.  The river periodically floods with sometimes disastrous effects on the town.

While this may provide an early warning system for future floods, I think it would be just more effective to change the name of the town from High River to Dry River, or Tiny Creek or something?  ;-)

We've been spending a lot of time camping in off-grid areas for extended periods, so the blog is as usual quite out of date.  Since this trip, we've been out again, and you'll hear about it when we find the time, inclination and bandwidth!  Till then, safe travels.