Monday, August 27, 2018

BC Highways ~ Merritt ~ Hope Princeton

We are on the road again.  We have several plans ahead of us, the first one beginning with a trip on roads not travelled for years and we’re looking forward to seeing unfamiliar beautiful BC scenery.

Merritt Highway
We begin on a more familiar road between Kamloops and Merritt, less hills to climb than the Coquihalla and great scenery to view.  This takes place the beginning of July, before we were having to deal with any forest fires bringing smoke to the area.

Flooding of Stump Lake
Between the spring runoff of winter snow and the rainy times we’ve had so far, the lake is still very high and actually seeps across the highway nearby, I missed that shot.  Picnic tables at lakeside ahead are well under water but it won’t be long and all will be different.  The water level will recede and it will be as good as ever.

History in a barn
Once we reach Merritt we follow the Coquihalla Connector to 5A South and now we are on those very unfamiliar roads.  If memory can be trusted, we believe it was 1966 we last used this road.  This barn may not even have been built at that time, it was so long ago!! We were driving a truck and not a covered wagon, though.  LOL  I cannot resist taking photos of old barns, buildings and fences.  The scenery is lovely and green at Aspen Grove.

Allison Lake
We pass Allison Lake which sits roadside in the narrow valley.  We are enjoying these sights before we arrive at the remains of a big forest fire here which prevented us from the visit we’d planned for Tulameen last year.  Such a shame to see those sights and all losses and tragedies due to them.

Similiameen River
We’ve spent a few days at Tulameen and are now once again on the road for the next leg of our summer adventure.  We have now passed Princeton, which is a very nice little town, after a brief stop for fuel.  As is typical for summer trips, road construction briefly holds us up but we soon carry on alongside the Simlkameen River.

Similkameen Valley
The valley opens up and we see green hills and blue skies ahead.  The traffic appears fairly light until we meet up with more construction traffic but it’s a nice day for the drive.  This was part of the gold rush era and village of Blackfoot was established nearby for those coming to make lots of money.  It didn’t last long as it was a fairly minor gold rush in 1860.

Manning Provincial Park
The Hope Princeton Highway passes through Manning Park, one of many provincial parks in BC.  It was named in the memory of Ernest Manning, the Chief Forester of BC 1936-1941 when he died in a plane accident.  He was part of the teamwork responsible for establishing several provincial parks in BC.

Rugged mountains
 I found this story too interesting to ignore.  Persistence pays.  Quoted from Wikipedia.

“Six years after being one of the original participants on the Similkameen Rush, "Jackass John" returned from prospecting in Montana and the Kootenays. He mined on the same spot where he had made $40 in two days during the original rush and in fourteen days had taken $900. He enlisted three friends and worked the mine; historian H.H. Bancroft notes that the four partners sluiced $240 in three days.”

The Hope Slide

The Hope Slide on Johnson Ridge of the Cascade Mountains occurred in January 1965 and was the second largest landslide ever recorded in Canada.  Two slight earthquakes registered hours previous to the slide discovery but are not given total credit for the slide.  The slide did push mud and water from Outram Lake, just below it, with such force against the other side of the valley that it registered “seismic signatures interpreted as earthquakes”.  Sadly four lives were lost and only two of those were recovered.

Aside from the history of the Hope Slide that took lives and left a very ugly scar on the mountainside, the Hope Princeton drive is very pretty and the roads were good, too. 

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Tulameen~Coalmont, BC

We had planned on spending a few days in Tulameen last summer but the forest fires were close so we decided we would wait for another year.  This year the plan was made and anyone we spoke to about going had only good words to say about Tulameen.  We were excited to meet up with our friends there and enjoy our stay.

Tulameen River
We passed through some very pretty scenery, still lots of green in the surrounding hills and no fires in the area.  It had been many years since we had travelled on this stretch of highway so all sights were new.  We leave the main road at Princeton and head up to Tulameen.

Tulameen Valley
The drive to Tulameen was pretty, at least from a passengers viewpoint.  We were making our way on some narrow roads high above the Tulameen River but with not a lot of traffic and paved all the way, an easy drive, as long as the driver keeps his eyes on the road! lol 

Coalmont Welcome Signs
Coalmont was the first sign of a settlement and whoever paints their signs has a good sense of humor.  There were a few of them that caught my eye. 

Downtown Coalmont
 I am not sure what this small group is about but the Post Office, moved here from another sight, no longer has the ‘Post’ but is an office.

Historic Coalmont Hotel
The old Coalmont Hotel would have some very interesting stories to tell if she could talk.  Coalmont was established in 1911 at the end of the Granite Creek gold rush and with the mountain of coal bringing many.  The population in Canada at that time was 7 million and 103 of them lived here.  There were still 100 residents in 2011 for their Centennial year when there were now 34 million in Canada.  The little town of Coalmont just wouldn’t die.

The Last Resort
There is a provincial park at Tulameen, very well used but we chose the Last Resort RV Park.  It is small but a nice spot not far from the Otter Lake, basically in the town area and with very hospitable hosts.  We had some chilly windy hours but most of our stay was warm and we had a great time.

Otter Lake
Otter Lake is quite a good size about 6 km long and is lined with many holiday cabins as well as permanent large homes.  The weekend was very busy with power boats and seadoos but for our walk along the shores, it was a calm quiet lake.  The fishing is also good but one must bring their own boats, we found no rentals there.

The Great Trail on the KVR passes by Otter Lake
The old railway bridge at the end of the lake is part of the old Kettle Valley Railway and the Trans Canada Trail used as a bike trail for the adventurous.  The 18 km of the Trans Canada Trail from Princeton to Coalmont is considered by some to be the most spectacular portion of the whole KVR bed, running through the Tulameen River Valley and open year round.

Tulameen Museum
The little school, built about 1920 was moved to this location and restored in 2000.  It is the museum and full of antiques, which we viewed through the dusty windows.  The museum was not open and showed no signs it would be.

Downtown Tulameen

Tulameen, known as Otter Flats during the early days has an interesting history.  The first European to cross the Cascade Mountains was a Hudson’s Bay employee looking for a route to take the horses over so furs could be moved from Fort Kamloops to the coast.  Thanks to the native guides who showed the way, he was able to do that.  Once he got to Otter Lake from Fort Hope, Similkimeen Chief Blackeye told him the easiest way over the mountains and the ‘Blackeye Trail’ became known as the ‘Brigade Trail’ from 1849-1860.  This allowed the fur trading to survive in BC.

Saturday, August 11, 2018

BC Summer Games ~ Vancouver Island, BC

For many of us, summertime means sunshine and travels along with lots of other wonderful things. With the BC Summer Games being held in the Cowichan Valley this year, we had a very special reason to go so decided to take the RV and visit Vancouver Island to watch our grandson compete in field lacrosse at the Summer Games.

Vancouver coastal view
The coastal views are amazing and we had blue sky and sunshine for most of our visit.  There might come a time that I feel I have taken enough photos of any given place this beautiful but I doubt it!  The next one I take could just be a bit better!  Look at all those layers!

BC Ferry 'Coastal Inspiration'
The main means of travel to the Island is by ferry.  Due to taking the RV across on the ferry during the busy summer season, we reserved a spot to avoid making a long wait at the terminal.  This has to be done a few weeks in advance in order to make sure there is room for reservations and it only cost $10 so is well worth it.

Town Crier at Opening Games
Shanel Protap, the sportscaster of BC Global News did a great job of hosting the ceremonies and kept things moving once it began.  Due to the heavy traffic for the area, certain persons were held up which caused a delay for this celebration.  This Town Crier announced the Ceremonies to begin.

The athletes have arrived
The Opening Ceremonies were held at Laketown Ranch at Youbou.  This incredible stage and set up was perfect to host the huge crowd that would be there to welcome the 3000 athletes, coaches and helpers that were here to compete in the BC Summer Games.  The excitement with these young athletes was evident as they all marched onto the grounds in front of the stage.

O Canada
These three ladies sang our national anthem and I do not believe I have ever heard it done as beautifully as this was done.  One sang in English, another in French and one in their native tongue.  It was incredible, I only wish I had been recording them.

Dancing ceremony
Next we saw a welcoming dance done by several dancers of all ages which was a powerful and exciting dance to watch.  The enthusiasm and talent they display makes one want to join in.  I love to see the costumes and especially enjoy the little ones doing their dance.  There were several dance styles done onstage including Highland as well as modern dance done by local dance groups.

Poet Shane Koyczan
Shane Koyczan is a Canadian poet and writer who recited his poem for the televised 2010 Winter Olympics and was amazing.  I was thrilled to see him perform at these BC Summer games, he is such an inspirational poet.  I felt he was definitely targeting those teenagers with words of wisdom but unfortunately, it was quite long and it seems that many of these excited teens on the verge of some very important events were not able to concentrate on what he was telling him.  As excited as I was to hear what he had to say, I, too, lost concentration about half way through.

Olympic swimmer Brent Pratap
The evening was getting long and chilly and many of the spectators had left due to the heavy traffic volume they would have to deal with leaving the Ceremony grounds.  That did not discourage Brent Hayden from telling the crowd about his struggles as a child to even learn to swim let alone expect to win an Olympic medal, but he never gave up and did exactly that.

Bronze Medal winners
After four hot days of practice and games, our grandson and his team won the Bronze Medal for Field Lacrosse.  They worked hard and made us all very proud of their sportsmanship and talents.  Congratulations to the coaches and their team!  Well done!

Visiting Saltspring Island
A short ferry ride over to Saltspring Island from our RV Park for a family dinner at Versuvius before they all headed home was a nice way to wind down our exciting week.  We’d seen all the games our grandson had played in and were ready for a relaxing week to come.  All that excitement wears us grandparents out!

The Cowichan Valley with all their organizers and volunteers did an incredible job of hosting the BC Summer Games!  The only sport we saw was the Field Lacrosse so can only speak for those facilities but the field was beautiful with artificial turf!  They did an amazing job at everything we saw.  Many kudos to them all!

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