Friday, 20 September 2019

Provincial Parks, Lakes, and Waterfalls

Provincial Parks, Lakes, and Waterfalls

September 19th, 2019




Today, we decided to explore the other side of the lake and follow the road all the way to its end at Seymour Arm. We weren't too sure what to expect, but the route passed by some provincial parks, so we were sure to get in a couple of hikes. 

Shortly after we had left, we espied a bald eagle high up on a branch of a roadside tree. Eagle Bay Road is aptly named, as they can often be seen along that stretch. 




Bald Eagle preening himself

Passing through the little town of Blind Bay, and just 25 minutes or so into the drive, we reached our first stop - TsĂștswecw Provincial Park (pronounced 'choo-chwek', meaning 'many rivers'). 




There were several short hiking trails, and we chose the one leading to a lookout, where one of the many salmon runs may be seen. In fact, this park is known for being one of the largest sockeye salmon runs in North America. We found out that we were just two weeks shy of the time when they start, but this bodes well for where we are scheduled to be on Vancouver Island at that time.







The massive cottonwood trees are amazing, and provided a preview of the redwoods we're hoping to see on the Island.





It's amazing how tall these Cottonwood trees grow


About 20 minutes later, further along our route, we found the entrance to Shuswap Lake Provincial Park, complete with areas for camping and day use. 




The beach was stony, but picturesque. We took a walk along a trail following the beach, after having our picnic lunch. 




We were able to zoom in across the lake to see the house where we are staying, such is the power of the lens on our new camera, to reach just under 4 km over the bay.




Continuing our journey, the paved road gave way to one that was unmade. What should have taken just over an hour extended to 90 minutes due to the added challenge of frequent potholes and ridges that had to be negotiated.  




On the road, which clung tightly to the lake for much of the journey, we were able to glimpse a couple interesting things. A log float was resting by a dock, probably awaiting pick up from one of the many logging trucks that had passed us along the way. 



The first time I saw these, there were dozens of log floats in the Fraser river as we approached Vancouver on the Rocky Mountain Train (back when it was still part of the national Via Rail). Fascinated by the logging industry, we see lots of logging trails in, and around, Elliot Lake, and huge logging trucks often wind their way through the backroads and onto the highway. However, we don't see log floats very much in Ontario; but here, in B.C., it is still quite commonplace.

Also, there was a small Mississippi-type steamboat anchored near the shore. Not certain if it was a replica, or a working craft, but it was worth the snapshot. 




After what seemed a very long time, we took the turning towards Albas Falls Provincial Park. Although the road left much to be desired, the view that met us when we finally reached the lake took us by surprise, and drew an instantaneous gasp from us both. 




Such splendour in nature never leaves us untouched, and this was no different as lake and sky seemed to kiss, with the mountain backdrop adding to the effect. The photo doesn't do it justice, but you'll get an idea of what saw in this short video clip:


Stunning view which met us when we came to the end of the very narrow dirt track

We stopped for over half an hour to walk along the beach, revering the different aspects of the surrounding scenery. 









Just before we left, a truck and trailer (caravan) arrived and we drew a sigh of relief that we had not met a similar vehicle on our way into the park. The road was very narrow for most of the way, so we were glad that we had had it to ourselves. We remarked upon how lovely it would be to camp in such a remote area.

On the way back to the main dirt road, we stopped by a small footpath leading to another lookout point where the Albas Falls cascade over the jagged rocks. 


Love how the moss covers the ground like a carpet of green



We are always mesmerized by the power of moving water. 

After returning to the main road again, we continued on our way, finally reaching the end of the route at the little settlement of Seymour Arm. 




It has an interesting history, but there was not much there that was of current interest. Apart from a pub, with a deck overlooking the lake, a wharf, and a few cabins, the settlement was very sparse. We both agreed that the view from Albas was far superior. Nevertheless, we were glad that we had made it to the end of the road, if only to satisfy our curiosity. 






On our way back, we enjoyed passing through the several townships that dot the area, as well the vistas of the vast lake alongside which we were traveling. We often find that the views seen on return journeys show different aspects of the same setting - and, on some occasions, those aspects surpass the ones seen on the outward journey.





All in all, it was another good day where we got to experience a little more of the wilderness of British Columbia.







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Wednesday, 18 September 2019

Blind Bay & Salmon Arm, B.C.

Blind Bay & Salmon Arm, B.C.

September 16th - 18th, 2019

It feels great to be settled in one place for a couple of weeks. We've lucked out, once more, by finding a house/pet sit here, in Blind Bay, with a super view overlooking Shuswap Lake. 

The view from our room

We arrived on Sunday evening, and spent time with our host, Sharron, who introduced us to her 6 cats, and their routine. When we were shown our room we were in awe at the view that awaited us. The evening passed as we shot the breeze, and began to appreciate Sharron's sense of humour and her huge heart. 

After Sharron left for her travels the next afternoon, we went into Salmon Arm, about 25 minutes east of Blind Bay, to do some grocery shopping for the week. 

We were grateful for the rainfall that occurred later that day, and also yesterday afternoon, as it gave us the excuse to really veg out and totally relax and enjoy getting to know our new feline friends. In the morning, we explored the lakeside route, past Eagle Bay, and then on to where the road ended, just short of the tip of the peninsula. 


An island in the bay

We also discovered a wonderful local grocery store that will be more convenient for us for the remainder of our stay.

Our local Grocery Store, in Blind Bay - it's actually so much bigger than it looks from the outside

Today, Wednesday, we traveled back to Salmon Arm, a city of about 18,000 people, that has all the amenities and services available for its population, and for the surrounding townships. It is nicely placed on one of the arms of the Shuswap Lake. The city is a haven for tourists in the summer, with many beaches, camping facilities, and house boat rentals. It also boasts of having the longest wooden wharf in North America.

The longest wooden wharf in North America


Houseboats may be rented from the wharf

We had a picnic lunch overlooking the wharf, and then spent a couple of hours on the wharf, itself, watching the different water fowl that frequent the area. The temperature, which had been steady at around a cool 18 degrees, climbed up to 25 today, and the warmth of the sun was a welcome reminder of the 'Indian Summer', which can sometimes surprise us. 

We were thrilled with our new camera, as Mark was able to get some awesome close-ups of herons, an osprey, a small variety of ducks, and a Western grebe. 







This hawk was trying to capture a small duck. It finally gave up as it looked as though it couldn't lift it out of the water. 



The Osprey was enjoying his fishy lunch!




We met and chatted with several people as they shared their sightings of birds in the locality. One couple, who live on Salt Spring Island, just east of Vancouver Island, shared their expertise on capturing and identifying different water fowl. As it happened, they also had someone from Trusted Housesitters looking after their home, dog, and chickens. (Trusted House Sitters is the company through whom we often arrange house/pet sits). They mentioned the possibility of us doing a future sit for them!

Another couple, visiting with their daughter and future son-in-law, lived in Medicine Hat, Alberta, but were thinking of returning to their roots in Manitoulin Island, just a couple of hours from Elliot Lake! We shared stories of our travels and felt we had made new friends. 

Leaving the wharf, we walked back to the car through the park, with it's gazebo and an amazing sand castle sculpture, which had been built by Sandcastles for Hospice, to raise awareness of the local hospice organization. 










Returning to our 'home', it was great to be greeted by our purring pets! Having six cats to look after, there's always one or two to remind us that fussing and petting is part of the agreement! Each one has their own personality. To my surprise, it didn't take long for me to remember their names. Mark, of course, had almost learned their names even before we arrived! 

Fluffy

Ginger

Tom

Velvet

Misty and Smokey


Velvet loves nothing more than sitting on our chests!

Doesn't matter who it is - she just loves all the fussin'!


Finally, we were treated to an amazing sunset over the lake, with a promise of another fine day, tomorrow. 



P.S. For those of you who know me, and my joke about the wide mouth frog, you will understand why I love this clock so much, that Sharron has in her home!







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