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Winter sunrise, Lake Cowichan, B.C.

Thursday, 28 July 2016

Paska Lake - July 17th to July 28th

Ray and I are finally relaxing and taking it easy at Paska Lake. We have decided to stay here for 2 ½ weeks and then Peter Hope Lake for 3 ½ weeks with a stop at Claybanks RV Park in Merritt before heading back to Vancouver. The only drawback is there is no cell service at Paska so we have to drive 15 minutes away to check for messages. The weather in the Kootenay’s was not great at the end of June/beginning of July and we have had trouble finding forest service sites that would fit us. We did not want to be plugged in the whole time for Freya and of course not have the expense as most spots were $40 plus a night so our decision was made to go where we know that we fit and Ray can fish.

The weather finally turned to be hot and sunny on July 27th. We have had some sun in between but it usually has clouded up by the afternoon each day with some thundershowers. Not Freya’s favorite thing. It has been warm enough for shorts though. I managed to get in my new floaty boat on my birthday, July 26th for half an hour or so before the clouds came back in. Unfortunately, I picked up a leach on the back of my knee on the way back to shore that I did not notice and it managed to suck quite a bit of blood. The next two days the back of my knee was quite sore as there was quite a bit of interstitial fluid. 

Rays’ been able to get out in his pontoon boat most days and is finding it very relaxing and not hurting his back. He is catching quite a few fish and only kept one for breakfast one morning. The fish are so plentiful that one afternoon he decided to fly fish from shore for a couple of casts and caught 2 fish in 5 minutes.

We have some great neighbours, Paul and Giselle with their two grown sons, who include us around their campfires and Paul played the guitar. Paul is in a band and their son Jonathan plays drums. Their sons went out and got us a load of firewood and even split it to make it easier on me. Nice guys. Of course I made them a batch of cookies as a thank you. Freya loves them as everyone takes turns throwing her stick back and forth along the back of our sites. She ends up with a huge back yard.

For my birthday, we drove to Kamloops where I got my hair cut and then Ray and I went to the pool for a hot tub. After a bit of shopping we went to the Beijing Restaurant for lunch, recommended by Paul and Giselle. Yummm. Very good Chinese food with lots of leftovers so I would not have to cook dinner either. When we got back to camp, Paul and Giselle and their two sons had a birthday cake for me. Giselle even hand painted a water colour for  my birthday card. Thanks guys.

So other than driving to Kamloops a couple of times, into Logan Lake for water, garbage and internet, we stay in camp enjoying the outdoors. We have seen eagles, osprey, and loons fishing. There is also an otter who swims by and the sound of lots of cows. Ray had to chase one out of the campsite yesterday!

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Golden and arrival at Paska Lake

We arrived by 2 pm at the Golden Community Campground to find that it was fully booked for the next couple of days. They suggested we try the old KOA, Whispering Spruce Campground, a few minutes away on the other side of the river, so we did. We managed to get a fairly nice spot for 2 days and possibly one more so I could do some laundry and hopefully tour a little in the area. (full hookup with 30 amp power) Unfortunately we did not get a satellite signal so no TV. The bathrooms here are terrible but they have new ownership and are trying to clean things up. The laundry facilities were all upgraded so I guess the bathrooms with be next. The weather when we arrived was quite nice and sunny so once we were all set up we found a pub which serves local craft beer and had lunch/dinner.

Since then, however it has showered with thundershowers quite frequently in the night. Definitely not Freya's favorite thing.

Friday I did laundry and grocery shopping and we stayed pretty close to home with the rain. Homemade lasagna was on the menu with extra to freeze. Ray and I were hoping that we could tour a little bit on Saturday but we woke up to more rain so I think that it will be a bust. Ray did manage to get a few pictures of the Rocking Horse River Pedestrian Bridge near the pub we were at before the weather turned awful. There are walking paths on both sides of the river.

At this time of year people are usually tubing down the river but it has been so wet the river is way too high.

By Friday afternoon with rain pouring and the forecast being for more rain for 2 more days, Ray and I made the decision to go straight through Revelstoke so canceled our reservation as we would not be able to see anything anyways and head for Paska Lake. Saturday morning, we were on the road by 8:15 heading towards Salmon Arm. We made great time and were glad we were travelling on the weekend because there would have been lots of road construction delays. The clouds finally parted once we hit Albert Canyon and we finally saw some snow covered mountains. We overnighted in the Piccadilly Mall and left early Sunday morning for Paska Lake.  Had to wait half an hour for the site we wanted to clear and moved on in … right on the water so easy access for Ray’s pontoon boat. Good thing we arrived on Sunday as on Monday there were at least 5 rigs that pulled in and took all of the other water sites available. 

Paska Lake

Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Larchwood Lake and dinner with a new friend.

Wednesday night we had the site operator over for dinner so he could show me how to make pasta. Paul used to own a business that produced fresh pasta that they shipped from Nelson to Calgary to restaurants. Of course he used to make it in 15 kg batches ... kind of a lot for us! I had the equipment and he had the knowledge so after a before dinner bevy to bolster us up we began. I must say my mix master was awesome again. Paul made beautiful fettuccine and then he made a flavourful curry cream sauce with garlic, chicken and prawns ... YUM! Thanks a million Paul, we enjoyed every bite. I now know the right texture and ingredients.

The chefs
Ray and I had packed up earlier in the day between sprinkles so it was not too bad leaving Thursday morning. It started to pour yesterday afternoon so we were glad everything was tucked away so we did not have to deal with wet items in the morning. Since being on Mountain Time and with the weather so rainy we have been sleeping in to 8 am!!!! Needless to say it was a slow start and we did not get going until 10:30 am. Unfortunately after several attempts at fishing, Ray only had one nibble so hopefully the next opportunity for fishing he has better luck.  Our next destination is Golden.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Kimberley Mine Tour and Cominco Gardens

Saturday and Sunday we spent at camp so Ray was able to use his pontoon boat. It is working superbly for him. He sits back just like he was sitting in his lounger and is finding it very comfortable. Unfortunately the fishing has not been great. I don't think he has the right leech. The one guy that is catching fish sits in the same spot for hours and may get one fish. Not our way of fishing. I will be looking at other possible places for Ray to fish on the next leg of our travels.

Monday we woke to cloudy skies so a perfect day to go into Kimberley for the mine tour. We will need to leave Freya in the car so we were waiting for cool weather. With the generator hours we had to wait until 9 am to charge the batteries from overnight for an hour first and were on our way at 10 am. As the train tour was not until 1 pm (we missed the 11 am tour by 15 minutes) we decided to go see Cominco Gardens first and then have some lunch before our 1 pm tour.

The gardens were quite small but very pretty all maintained by volunteers.

We had lunch at BJ's Creekside Restaurant and Pub, unfortunately the pub side was not open for lunch so no craft beer. Ray had the fish and chips and I their burger with onion rings. Very reasonably priced and very good.

Back to the mine museum and train station. While sitting on the train ready to go I mentioned to one of the volunteers that Freya was in the car with the windows wide open and sun screen in the windshield with water so don't let anyone think that she is in trouble. The lady told me that Freya was allowed on the train so go get her. Freya did not really enjoy the two hour tour but she hung in there. Some of the loud noises in the mine were a bit much. There was a baby on the tour and when the baby would cry Freya would whine too. Oh well, the more we challenge her the better she gets with noises. The tour was very interesting but it was way too much standing for Ray so when we got back home it was into the pain medication and laying in bed for a few hours.

This guy volunteers to entertain the guests every day. 
Freya on the train.
They spent an extra $20,000 on the track upgrade making it bump along to show us how bumpy it used to be for the miners. Freya was not too excited about that though.

Mark Creek, feeds the Marysville Falls further downstream.

The guy demonstrating the mine equipment worked for this mine for 35 plus years. 25 years underground and 12 years above ground. He said he preferred the underground years instead of doing paperwork! Very knowledgeable. Both his father and uncle worked this mine as well.

This was the "Safe Room" where they would lock themselves in if there was a fire or problem in the mine until they could be rescued.
Entrance to the Sullivan Mine

Next stop was the Powerhouse that produced power to make compressed air to run all of the drills and mine equipment.

Old punch clocks

Next it was back to the town station. Ray took some pictures of the other buildings while waiting for us to begin the trip.

Another great day. We could see a huge black thundercloud developing and before we drove out of town the skies opened up. I think the next tour is going to get wet as there is some walking outside! The rain stopped by the time we hit the junction to turn towards Invermere.

When we got back home, about an hour later, it started to rain at the lake as well for the rest of the evening. Ray was in no shape to go fishing anyways.

Lussier Hotsprings and Findlay Falls

Yesterday we decided to check out the Lussier Hotsprings that are about 45 minutes away from where we currently are camped. The springs are located about 17 km up a well-maintained logging road on the way to Whiteswan Lake just south of Canal Flats. I had no idea that the pools were so small and that there were tons of people there by 11:30 in the morning. After seeing the masses we opted not to take a dip. I think we should have been here mid-June before the tourist season really started and get there by 9 am in the morning. As we walked back up the trail there must have been 20 more people going down for a dip. By hearing them speak, mostly Europeans.

View from the road looking down.

Once back on the highway Ray wanted to get a picture of the Hoodoos on Dutch Creek just north of Canal Flats so off we went. Freya got to play in the creek while we waited for Ray to get the "right" picture.

At this point we decided to take the back logging road home to Larchwood Lake as there is paving happening on the way back home and there were 10 minute delays.

View of Canal Flats from the logging road to Findlay Falls.  Columbia River flows to left and Kootenay River to right. 

Start of Columbia Lake and Columbia River
This gave us the opportunity to check out Findlay Falls and Findlay Rec Site. The recreation site was quite small but the first part was ample big enough for us if we should choose to go there. The only thing to do there would be quad riding though.

Findlay Twin Falls

View of the Findlay River from the bridge
View of Findlay Recreation Site
The back way home proved to be somewhat of a goat path for the last 20 km. Oh well it was an adventure!

Back home we were able to sit outside for a couple of hours before the black clouds and wind chased us back inside. Ribs and corn for dinner, slow cooked on the barbecue. Yumm.

Friday, 8 July 2016

Larchwood Lake and Radium Hot Springs Road Tour

This morning, Thursday, Ray finally got to go out on the lake and try out his new pontoon boat. He finds it much easier to operate with the electric motor than propelling himself with his old V-tube. Things were looking up until the wind came up and he did a donut and his fly line became caught in the prop! :( Oh well a lesson learned.  It was just a short trip to get the bugs out anyway.

Sunrise on Larchwood Lake
Yup it is very comfy!  Just like sitting in the recliner and the seat swivels.

Well I better not fish over there!
Ray decided that since he was not on the lake very long and today is the only day that is supposed to have sunshine in a week, we would take a drive up to Radium Hotsprings to check out the Kootenay National Park's Redstreak campground where we might stay if we continue towards Canmore in a week or so. F loop seemed to be the best choice for us. We also stopped at Fairmont Hotsprings. Very popular. The RV sites here were quite good but expensive.

Fairmont Hotsprings

View of the Columbia River at Fairmont Hotsprings.
Next up the highway just before Radium was Dry Gulch Provincial Park but the sites were too small for a rig our size.

Upon reaching Radium Hotsprings, we drove up the highway a little ways to view the springs before driving around Redstreak Campground.

Radium Hot Springs in Kootenay National Park
Here are pictures from the Lookouts just south of Radium heading back towards Invermere.

We had lunch in Invermere at The Station Neighborhood Pub on Windermere Lake, for some of Invermere's craft beer on tap, with a yummy lunch. I noticed they had a craft brewery located in Invermere and the Station Pub served it.

Below the pub was the Kinsmen Park on Windermere Lake

Some expensive houses here.
Driving back to Larchwood Lake the clouds came in and it looked like we might get some rain. Thankfully it held off and we were able to spend a couple of hours outside enjoying the afternoon. At 6:30 the wind came up so we went inside and shortly after we had a rain shower for about 10 minutes and then the skies lightened up. The forecast is for 70% showers for the next couple of days so we shall see if Ray can get out fishing again. The boat does not do very well in the wind.

Friday we woke up to showers as forecasted. Needless to say no one moved too quickly this morning. Even Freya slept in. Ray was pretty sore from our excursion yesterday so was not up for fishing anyway, maybe tonight if he feels better. I think it will be a cookie baking day and maybe some fresh buns as Ray promised cookies to the site operator, for info on site availability, on my behalf. :)