Monday, August 21, 2023

More Lake Camping in British Columbia, and Otters!

 Getting a little behind on the blog these days - just too much camping and having fun, I guess!

Since the last post, there's been at least two trips to BC, and a few more tours around in Alberta. On the first trip, Trout Lake, south of Revelstoke BC was on the agenda for the first time this year.  Water levels in the lake are too high early in the season, which greatly limits where you can camp, keeping you back in the bush.  Plus, with all the snow and glacial run-off, it is too cold early in the season for enjoyable swimming.  Later on, there are far more beaches exposed, and the water becomes quite pleasant.

The route there takes you over Rogers Pass, within Revelstoke-Glacier National Park, and the numerous snow sheds to protect traffic from the worst of the avalanche hazard in winter.

South of Revelstoke, you have to take the ferry across the north end of Arrow Lake.

There aren't many available camp spots on Trout Lake, but most of them are too rough for any larger rigs, and it was nice to find my favourite spot vacant!  The water level was down 5-6' from it's maximum, so there was lots of exposed beach, and the water was relatively warm.


 I went out one night, and took some more photos in moonlight only, handheld, with the iPhone 14.

I noticed a few trails leading into the bush from the water's edge, so placed a strategic camera out one night!  Check out the video!


A large Merganzer family was heading out for some evening fishing!

I spotted a BC Wildfire crew setting up a pump further down the lake.  Later on, a helicopter showed up and made several trips hauling full bags of water from the lake up to a fire a few miles down the lake, as well as a sling load of gear.

A day or two later, as temperatures rose, large columns of smoke began billowing up from across the lake.

Starlink was a bit challenged to get online in this location because of the tall trees along the shore, but I was still able to get online regularly.   The long weekend was rapidly approaching, and I wanted to get back up to Revelstoke lake again to hide out for the weekend.  Back across the ferry and through Revelstoke, and then north up the lake.  There are a lot of great camp spots along the 140km long lake, with some Rec site$, but many free boondocking spots as well.  All of my favourite spots near the south end were occupied, so we ended up heading north, almost to the end of the lake - which is actually a reservoir along the Columbia River.  Other than the long drive, the spot was not that much of a hardship!

I have camped here before a few times, but it was the first time this summer.

It's a tough shift - but somebody has to do it, and it might as well be me!  Excellent for solar and Starlink loves it here.  A couple vehicles drove through, but other than that, I didn't see or talk to anyone for the entire long weekend.  Doesn't get much better than that!  Bald Eagles, Osprey, Belted Kingfisher, Common Loons, and Merganzers were frequent visitors.
And, it's a freshly paved, lightly traveled highway, to within a couple hundred yards of the spot.  Starlink on the roof of the camper.

But, it did get better :-)  I saw a few ripples on the water one day, and assumed it was some loons or merganzers swimming by.  Then, I thought perhaps it was another beaver?  But, then I realized that it was a small family of River Otters.  I tried to get some video of them, but all you can see is a couple of heads barely above the water. But that would soon change.  I realized soon that the mother otter had just caught a fish, and given it to her kits.  Much to my surprise, they swam right towards me on shore so they could enjoy their meal.  They were no more than 10 feet away, in the grass.  I waded into the water, and spent at least a 1/2 hour watching them with the feast.  At first they were a little wary, but soon seemed to accept my presence, and just about ignored me.  Below is the best video I've done in a long time.  It's 19 minutes long, but I think you'll enjoy it all!  

Enjoy it full screen, with sound turned up!


Friday, July 14, 2023

Saskatchewan - Alberta - back to B.C.

Found a few photos on the cutting room floor after the last blog post.
On the way back from Prince Albert National Park in Saskatchewan, there was time to check out a historical railroad trestle near Wainright, Alberta.  I had seen the signs on the highway on previous trips, but didn't have the time to stop.  This time I did.

This time, I stopped, enjoyed the views over the Battle River, and read the plaques about the Fabyan trestle that was completed by the Grand Trunk Pacific Railroad in December, 1908.  As I admired the construction from well over a hundred years ago, thinking it was just a historic trestle, much to my surprise, a mile and a half long train proceeded to cross over it!  Apparently, a new concrete deck, and ballast was added in 1981, but otherwise there have been few changes!  The Grand Trunk Pacific Railway declared bankruptcy in 1919, and the line was taken over by the CNR (Canadian National Railway), and the line became the company's mainline across the country.
Check out my aerial video of the trestle below - go full screen!

And, some more photos found on the cutting room floor!

I did an aerial survey of a local dam, reservoir and power station.  There was a group of White Pelicans resting on the end of a long narrow island in the river.


 Not wanting to disturb them by getting any closer, I simply used the amazing zoom features on my UAV to get the much closer looking image, and video - from this very same spot!

 And a video of them ...

Paid a visit home on the way from my Sask camping spots to my BC camping area, and spent a total of 3 nights at home, giving me time to mow the grass, fill the bird feeders, and take care of a couple of loose ends.

 Haven't seen any Hummingbirds at home for a year or so, but there are plenty at the lake to provide entertainment.

There is a lot of driftwood along the shore of Revelstoke Lake.

I'm always amazed to see small plants and even trees trying to take root and grow in the nooks and crannies of some of the big old driftwood logs. 

Scenic aerial video at Revelstoke Lake, B.C. (full screen recommended)
(too bad - I had to reduce the resolution on this video to 480 from 1080 so it would not exceed the size limit)

Took some more night time photos with my iPhone 14 handheld.  These were taken at 01:24AM, and were about 3 second exposures.

My camper just visible 1/2 way up the shore ...
The End  ;-)