A Travellerspoint blog


The deer are like mice and more than willing to modify your car

sunny 15 °C
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To drive anywhere in B.C. you must be prepared for snow and ice in the mountain passes.
Over the mountains and down the hills The valleys full of blossoms. The mountains bare or snow covered. Kelowna is a sun drenched valley with a hundred mile lake sparkling in the center. The west side, now West Kelowna, is now its own city, yes another set of politicians. Cousin Doug lives on an extinct, I hope, volcano. His home is perched over the lake and backs onto a large park. What else can you do with an extinct volcano? British Columbia is full of wildlife, some very wild indeed. I heard many stories of pets disappearing. One neighbour had her little dog snatched from her by a coyote. The leash ripped out of her hand and gone. You'd think that the predators would be happy with the numerous deer which seem more than willing to give up their lives. Cousin Doug was giving me the ten dollar tour of his beautiful part of the province. We drove past farms and vineyards, lots of vineyards the warm sun gently baking the neatly trimmed vines. We were driving up the east side of Okanagan lake, moving slowly through an extensive herd of deer. Suddenly, jumping from a twenty foot cliff a doe leaped down directly in front of of the Toyota and BAM. She twisted over the hood, hooves arching past the windshield and tumbled down the steep slope towards the lake. The car acquires a new dent in the hood. It is a sad feeling but we all know that the deer will not go to waste but provide dinner for some scavenger. In Ontario I would have stopped and thrown the prize in the trunk to be later rendered into steaks and chops in return for the dent. But the show must go on. We moved north into more populated farmland. There is a winery in Kelowna where they age their wines inside a very large pyramid. A bottle of white and a bottle of red are soon in my bag. Kelowna can get cold in the winter but not for long, Life follows the seasons and the grape vines grow.

Posted by patgoodeve 09:36 Archived in Canada Tagged animal Comments (0)

White water on the Kootenay

Even the water goes up and down hill. Mostly down, always fast.

all seasons in one day
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"Do you remember what to do if we go for a swim?' my son asks me as I struggle into a dry suit. I remember Laura's words as she lent me her sleeping bag. Schaun had just told her we were putting in at Horseshoe rapids and coming out near White river. "oh", she said. "You must be a very experienced paddler." I thought to my self as I smiled confidently."No".
We packed for every circumstance. A barrel for food, a barrel each for clothes, sleeping bags, a barrel for gear and a fold out chair for dear old dad. There would be no portages. Good I hate humping stuff over blockages. It turns out that there are no blockages because the water just blows any trees and rocks out of the way! The Kootenay blows the little rocks out of the way, any thing bigger than a pick up just rolls around a little. Starting at Head lake the Kootenay tumbles down the Rocky mountains into Montana and Idaho then back to Creston in Canada to join the Columbia. The rock flour gives a Cerulean blue to the crystal water. I'm not a great paddler but my son Schaun is. This was familiar territory for him. For three years Schaun had 'adventure' trained British Military personnel. A 2% loss rate was acceptable. During the infrequent quiet spots Schaun recounted past rescues and pointed out memorials to those that the river had taken. I felt better all the time. I only got to take pictures in these quiet places. Giant towering Hoo Doos. Giant rock cliffs. Small bits of torn up canoes. One reassuring sight was half an aluminium canoe wedged amoungst some scree on shore. "Three doctors form Montana, were in that" when I asked. They all lived. Others were not so lucky there were crosses at both the start and end points of our trip. My friends from Australia say you an always tell a Canadian by the way we are 'geared up'. It's true You can be sweating in the afternoon wake up to snow in the morning and get rained on by lunch. You can also see more spectacular natural beauty, and wild life than any place else. Carry a camera for the Ospreys and Eagles and Deer and Elk and Sheep and bear spray for the Grizzly and Black bears. Be prepared or be another memorial. Our first night we pushed out a family of deer for our campsite. Deer are a major food source here providing food for the wolves. I didn't mention them skulking across the river. The deer also feed bears and mountain lions and people and scavangers as mischance sweeps them into the river. One carcass was lodged seventy meters up on a hoo doo a miss step, a tumble onto the unforgiving clay. Eagles caught the up drafts, punching up past the snow cover peaks like fighter jets, searching for hardworking Ospreys to steal their dinner. My most distinct impression was big everything is huge; the water the cliffs. I've punctured and folded a few canoes in my time back home in Ontario but it's small almost dreary compared to here.
After pulling out of the Kootenay we drove to White Swan hot springs for an uncrowded soak in the sulfur water. We chatted with a couple of locals then splashed in the cold mountain creek, an hours ride and we were back in Kimberly. On a map Kimberly looks like it is two thirds to the middle of nowhere. Really it is in the middle of any adventure you want; rock climbing, canoeing, fishing, skiing, lots of photography. People here carry monster cameras with lenses the size of sewer pipes. Each to his own and there are a lot of choices. Before you think about going on these rivers get some professional advice, gear up and remember all those crosses. P

Posted by patgoodeve 06:07 Archived in Canada Tagged ecotourism Comments (0)

B C Montain Biking

Things can go down hill quickly

semi-overcast 2 °C

My son undid the lock to his rickety back shed. The bottom of the door sanded off another millimeter of wood against the heaved paving stone. Inside are his treasures; A long pointy kayak to compete in, a stubby C-1 (about six feet long) and a couple of mountain bikes. The one that caught my eye was a super duper heavy duty one. I could see that Schaun wanted me to pick the dirty, ratty looking one in the corner. "Where's your lid" I asked. He reluctantly gave me his helmet. Back home I have an almost new Walmart mountain bike and helmet. I knew Schaun's good friend Hasen; a world famous mountain biker had given Schaun one of his old rides. I was going for a ride in the Rockies on a seven thousand dollar bike, well used but it made my ride at home look like a cheap knock off. My son went to work.
Now you have the background. Silly old fart on an expensive bike.
B C s mostly up hill. I huffed and puffed my way past some very beautiful country side.
I came to a ridge with a large road at the bottom bounded by a creek on the far side. Full of confidence I took a short cut down the slope. Alright it was a steep slope fifty sixty degrees but pretty open, mostly. I kick off over the edge. The front wheel drops into the dry grass and weeds. I sit back both feet on the pedals, butt firmly clenching that tiny little seat. Suddenly I'm doing fifty miles a minute. I'm a quarter of the way down when I pull on the rear brake. The rear wheel dutifully locks up and slides gracefully along the dry grass. It begins a drift to the left. I give the front brake a squeeze. The front wheel stops, and slides. I go off a little jump quite unintentionally. By now the suddenly busy road is getting closer. I twist the bike to the side, jam both wheels into some brush and mow it down. I point myself on the other diagonal bounce over some mountain scree. Before I can bail out I hit the gravel road bank. Even with seven thousand dollar shocks my feet compress on the pedals and the bike seat becomes my new internal friend. I bounce and somehow my downward fall is transformed into moving parallel to the road. In spray of gravel I let go of the rear brake. Not only have I lived but it looked good! No sweat I do t all the time. I need to go pee pee. There is a picture of me a couple of minutes later. The sunglasses hide my eyes bugging out. The silly old fart escapes unharmed. Thank you mountain spirits! P

Posted by patgoodeve 13:41 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Playing in the mountains

Unstable ground and other hazards

all seasons in one day 4 °C
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My son and I went outside and played yesterday. Disk Golf. That lowly country cousin to real golf. You know the one with; the balls and holes and pastel outfits. Both are good walks ruined by needing to do something. Throw a heavy frisbee to a tin covered post an impossible distance away. And no dog to fetch. The photos show the beautiful St Marys river and me on a disk retrieval mission. When your disk goes into the rough they mean it. The river is not at it's flood yet, notice those big rocks! I'm told they roll like marbles.
We had a spectator a young brown bear, I think. He was larger than some adult black bears back home. Once noticed by Schaun and I he went back home to mom. Bored I guess with plastic pitching people, aiming disks at tin posts. I'm glad we didn't wake mom up. Her baby was big enough! We're very lucky to have a country where you can live with wild things and realize the world doesn't start and end on some city block. I guess I really am just a country boy. P

Posted by patgoodeve 13:52 Archived in Canada Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Isn't life strange somethimes

Get the sun glasses. I saw myself in a whole new light

snow -2 °C
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As time moves on, I find less new things happening to me. You know; been there, way back when. Done that. Maybe twice. But today. I did something different. I sat in front of a small group of interesting people. I told them about where I had come from. Not just this recent marvelous trip, but back home too. Back in Ontario. Back where there is so much fresh water you can't see land anywhere. You could, I think twist up Vietnam and put the whole country in the Great Lakes.
Back to Kimberly BC. The NEW THING.
It's late morning my running shoes are getting damp from last nights six inch snow fall. I've got my; hat, gloves and coat that I lugged all over South East Asia for just this day. I walk down to Mark Creek and follow it, tumbling down the valley. I stay with the creek on my right and after a half hour walk come to a small continuing ed. school. I'm going to an ESL class. I take of my sunglasses and hat put on a big rocky mountain smile and ask for Annette the teacher. I've agreed to come and talk for an hour; about myself. Not long enough I say!. The group mix was surprising. People from Korea, Tiawan, Burma. These were faces I knew, spent time with, for the last two months. I spoke of how the whole trip started. An opportunity to train in Karate with the best. Then the trip to Vietnam and meeting a people I now respect very much. And of course Kimberly BC to visit my son. I was handing out my sketch book to show the students some of what Ontario looks like when it hit me. I was doing a 'new thing'. I was giving a talk; to some fellow travelers, in a ESL class, in a small mountain town. Never did that before!
Life is so darn interesting sometimes. P

Posted by patgoodeve 12:41 Archived in Canada Tagged educational Comments (0)

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