A Travellerspoint blog

June 28 -- home as of yesterday afternoon

Please note I've added a couple stops on the map to try to give a more accurate look at our route

"Yesterday, no wait, the day before"..... hard to get through many thoughts without the lyrics of an Elvis song flowing through my mind or coming out of my lips, or that of my DH (remember, dear husband). Not surprising really with our immersion in Elvis for the better part of three days. Penticton's 2017 Elvis Festival is a wrap as they say. It was SUPER-- only slight differences in opinion from the judges decisions this year, but more on that later. The first line of this entry refers to the day we left Penticton (Monday, June 26, 2017). We headed south of Penticton after breakfast, drove through OK Falls, Vaseux Lake, Oliver and Osoyoos before connecting with Highway 3 and heading east through Cawston, Keremeos, and Hedley before settling for the evening in Princeton. A few stops along the way and memories flooding the brain as I had camped at Vaseux Lake as a child with my mom and brother. In Keremeos we wanted to check out the oldest running grist mill in western Canada. Or, as my husband says, I took him to the oldest running grist mill that was not currently running. You have to laugh. A nice stop just the same and a school group was there and they were dressed in attire mostly appropriate for the era which was cute. I mentioned this to one of the young girls and she said "Well, we kind of needed to in order to come on this trip." I told her I liked it to which she replied "It's okay except the multiple layers make me very warm." The reason the mill was not running is that they were building a new one again, the third I believe, hoping to have it up and running for this coming weekend.
Vaseux Lake

Vaseux Lake

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Gold mining on the mountain around Hedley

Gold mining on the mountain around Hedley

From Keremeos we carried on to Princeton and settled in at the Municipal Campground along the river. It was a lovely site.
Looking across the river from our campsite... Do you see the bomb weather vane?

Looking across the river from our campsite... Do you see the bomb weather vane?

Yesterday morning we headed east, homeward bound..... brief stops along the way included the Beaver Ponds (no beavers spotted nor recent activity, we even question if there's been a beaver there in recent years) and Hope Slide).
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Now, I will touch base briefly on our time in Penticton. We opted to go into our campground one day early again, hoping to float the channel again and make it all the way to Skaha this time. That didn't happen.... the water level was high and the City was not recommending it .... we obliged. Come Saturday, though, many were taking to the channel, including my brother-in-law who went down it on his paddleboard! A short drive around Penticton showed signs of flood control. It had not been long since they were flooded in some places. Seems the water managed to make its way three blocks from the lakeshore and even when we were there pipes were removing water from areas a block or two back from Lakeshore Blvd. The Elvis Festival was not impacted and went ahead as scheduled. Also, of note, to those of you who might not know, this weekend of the Elvis Festival is usually the weekend of Peach City Beach Cruise and this year there were the maximum number of vehicles registered to attend (750) and what a show that was from the limited viewing we did.

This being our second trip to the Elvis Festival, we opted to pass on a couple of events so as not to be too crazy busy; what follows is what we did partake in this year:

Thursday, June 22nd evening -- pre party at the Mule where Elvis tribute artists (ETAs) perform usually as themselves and not always singing Elvis
Friday, June 23rd mid-day till evening -- opening remarks, introductions and music followed by Round 1 competition of pro and non-pro categories (10 pro competitors and 17 non-pro competitors)
Saturday, June 24th morning till dinner -- Round 2 competition and then Finalists announced
Sunday, June 25th morning till noon -- Gospel Show
Sunday, June 25th 2pm -- Finals -- not surprised by first place pro but surprised one of my pro picks did not get a trophy (trophies are for 1st to 4th position); non-pros was even harder to judge, I thought, and I was surprised by the winners a bit for sure

What you mostly should know about this Festival is that the boys who perform as Elvis tribute artists are AMAZING (and this year even more sexy) and have such a brotherhood, Penticton is a super location for this event, people who attend this Festival are primarily Elvis fans and are such nice people from what we've seen in our limited experience. Check it out sometime. If you are interested in more about the Festival they have a facebook presence and a website as well. I'm sure we will return-- maybe next year, maybe another year. I leave you with only a sampling of the cars and ETAs. I might put album on facebook later.

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Youngest competitor Jaedyn Pilon

Youngest competitor Jaedyn Pilon

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That brings this blog to a close. We were gone almost 5 weeks and travelled about 6,958 kilometres.

"Thank you, thank you very much" [read it Elvis style]

Posted by BevH 17:38 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

June 20/21, 2017

Yesterday we left our campsite shortly after 9:30am. We had decided we would head north on Highway 23 to Mica Creek Dam, some 140 km, bypassing the Revelstoke Dam on the way up. The road was good, the weather was clear and we had time. We had only ever been a few kilometres up this road some 41 years ago when Denis and I crossed Canada the first time in a van late in November when we went to view the dam then pull over on the side of the road to crash for the night. I recall it being mighty cold in more than one of our stops that trip and no heat and such, like we have in Harvey.Mica Dam

Mica Dam

Mica Dam

Mica Dam

Lots of waterfalls on the trip and the creeks/rivers were swollen making beautiful waterfalls. As we neared the Mica Creek Dam we passed a couple young people using rock hammers on some rocks on the side of the highway. This intrigued me just enough, you will see. At the dam we stopped at an overlook as there didn't appear a way to access the dam. It is an earthen dam, quite large, though I believe we've seen larger but can't recall where [Side note after research, answer is WAC Bennett Dam]. A few photos then a chat with a couple on a motorbike who were likewise stopped to take a few photos and rest-- K and K from Arizona (Kyle and Kris) and he had read about the Mica Dam in a motorcycling magazine and added it to this trip. Nice people. I told Denis when we headed down that if those two young people were still there I was going to need to stop and ask what they were up to. They were there and I did. They were great. I got out and said you've piqued my interest, I need to ask what you're doing. He motioned me over for a lesson. Turned out he is studying geology at the U of A and had learned about the metamorphic rocks out here so he and his friend were on a trip for a week, seeking specimens. He showed us some of his findings-- garnets, biotite and kyonite (I think I have the names right) -- and then gave me a sample, pointing out the three minerals within the rock, and we said our goodbyes. So neat. Denis and I so want to learn a whole lot more so we can rockhound better. Once again, the people helped make the day's trip all the more memorable.
Rushing river

Rushing river

Harvey along Highway 23 between Mica Dam and Revelstoke Dam

Harvey along Highway 23 between Mica Dam and Revelstoke Dam

A bit further down the road, a stop for a waterfall, and we met K and K again. Guess we even like similar things. And, I found a piece of mica (least Denis and I both agree it IS mica). Not too surprising as there must've been a reason for the name Mica Creek, right? More waterfalls and a stop for lunch and even a black bear sighting (no pic) before we arrived at Revelstoke Dam shortly before 3pm. Good timing since the Visitor's Centre at the dam closed at 4pm. Just enough time to take the self-guided tour, including elevator up to the viewing platform at the top of the dam. Not just any dam, but one of the largest dams in North America. As we got out of Harvey to go into the Visitor's Centre the thunder rolled and the rain commenced. By the time we finished the tour the rest of the ride south on the 23 was in rain as was our journey westward on Highway 1, until we neared Sicamous.
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Waterfall

Looking down from observation deck on Revelstoke Dam

Looking down from observation deck on Revelstoke Dam

A check of Passport America campgrounds in the area found one around Vernon so we decided to carry on. Such a lovely drive south on 97C, passing the sparkling Mara Lake. Arriving at the campground after 5pm the office was closed and their sign indicated one site with 30 amp and two with 50 amp and no mention of Passport America rate. No matter, the one site with 30 amp was taken anyway. What to do? A shop at Walmart but no overnight stays permitted so we headed south to a provincial park -- Kekuli. A lovely provincial park set on th sloping hillside leading down to Kalamalka Lake. The rows of sites are terraced into the hillside and made private with trees and bushes between. A lovely spot to spend the night-- no power/water hook-ups, but free showers and flush toilets and oh, what a view!!!
Gopher

Gopher

View from Kekuli campsite

View from Kekuli campsite

This morning I headed to the showers and spotted a quail couple-- I love quails. There were also gophers, which I also like (call me crazy). Denis took the nature trail but I chose not to as this is an area of both gopher snakes and rattlesnakes. I didn't wish to meet either, thank you very much. The only downside to this park is we were in the uppermost row of the terraces which meant when we walked to the beach (that didn't exist because of the high water levels) or to the showers the walk back was all uphill. We headed out for Penticton leisurely, dreading the traffic through Kelowna (it didn't disappoint) and arrived here around noon. A day earlier than first planned so we could settle in and relax before the Elvis Festival. We did housework and laundry so we were ready for the festival which starts with a pre-party tomorrow evening and culminates on Sunday. Getting excited now. Then there is also the Peach City Cruise, an annual car show which starts Friday evening. This city is extremely busy when the two are on the same weekend, which I believe is three out of every four years. A walk this afternoon reminded us that Penticton is not completely back to normal after the flooding in the Okanagan. Sandbags still remain along the lakeshore and the canal we floated on last year has a sign indicating the City of Penticton is suggesting there is danger in floating which has the little shop that rented tubes and bus trips not open currently.
Motel sign along Lakeshore Blvd

Motel sign along Lakeshore Blvd

Ducks in water overflow from creek into parking lot on Riverside

Ducks in water overflow from creek into parking lot on Riverside

Flood control

Flood control

Posted by BevH 14:59 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Still roaming -- June 16-19th

So, you may have noticed I've been absent from the blog for a few days. Well, I am back. Tonight we are in Revelstoke with rain easing that started two or three hours ago. I will back up to the 16th soon, but first, while it's fresh, I will start with the story of today, June 19th.

We broke camp early, a little socked in, unlike when we settled in last night at the Monarch Campground in Yoho National Park. It was an amazing site to spend the night, despite being close to the TC Hwy 1.

Harvey, campsite 25, Monarch Campground

Harvey, campsite 25, Monarch Campground

Majestic mountains all around. It is easy to forget how magnificent these Canadian Rockies are as we are usually just passing through. This time with only a June 22nd deadline to make in Penticton we were free to make some stops. First on the agenda, a drive into Takakkaw Falls. A co-worker a number of years ago had mentioned these falls when she learned of my love of waterfalls and we did go on one previous trip but it was a drizzly, grey day so we were looking forward to seeing them once again. We didn't get too far along the 13 km drive when we were confronted with a barricade across the road. Denis somehow thought he had read about some hours indicating open at 8am. We waited, more vehicles came and waited too, maybe because they had read something similar or maybe because they heard from Denis. It was a lovely place to stop -- Meeting of the waters confluent. 8am came and went and then eventually a front-end loader and a Parks Canada truck came through the gated road. It seems there had been an avalanche and the road would not be open for a long time. Our question, why not put up a sign that road is closed at so many kilometres up the road or no access to Takakkaw Falls at this point? Denis decided to put the word out on the barricade. Meeting of the waters

Meeting of the waters

So beautiful

So beautiful

More beauty

More beauty

Denis' sign

Denis' sign

We turned around and stopped at a couple of photo ops and then when we got to the Kicking Horse Campground I got out to see if she was aware of the closure. Of course, it's not scheduled to open until Thursday. Hmm, that didn't seem to be clear to us. Well, it's on the Parks Canada website. I'm not sure I was satisfied with the response but a later look at the brochure on Yoho National Park indicated that Takakkaw Falls campground was not open for the season till June 22-- who would know from that that one could not go view the falls!?! Denis discussed this a bit further in the Visitor Centre at Field and he saw photos of the avalanche that had impacted the road. It happened just two weeks ago and likely the road would not open this Thursday.

Next we made a couple further stops in Yoho National Park -- free this year, remember, get your pass. We drove off Highway 1 into Emerald Lake to see Hamilton Falls. The hike was supposedly .7 km though it seemed a whole lot longer, especially since it was all up hill. We encountered three young people on their way down and I asked if it was worth it. The girl in the group gave us the so-so hand signal and mentioned that it was all uphill. Right she was. Though the view just a little further up the trail (Denis went on, I didn't) was more impressive. Still what I saw was quite pretty and he hike was good for us. Back down, then on the road down we stopped at the Natural Bridge -- WOW!!!! we loved this spot, so beautiful, even Denis took a number of photos. We both felt we had certainly missed some so much never having come in here in the past. WOW!!!Emerald Lake

Emerald Lake

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Below Hamilton Falls

Below Hamilton Falls


Hamilton Falls

Hamilton Falls

Me at the bottom of Hamilton Falls

Me at the bottom of Hamilton Falls


Here are a couple photos from the Natural Bridge:
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We passed through the area where the Highway 1 was covered by a mudslide and closed for a couple days back a couple weeks ago. There was work going on in the area both continuing to clear the debris from the slide and working on the improvement to the highway. It definitely would've been some slide.

Next, we chose to exit at Giant Cedars Boardwalk in Mount Revelstoke National Park. Another great choice, and another WOW!!!! Denis felt he was in Avatar. This walk was amazing, and felt quite spiritual, a place where one should be quiet and just feel the sense of awe all around. There was a sign more than once indicating the age of some of these trees. I will include the photo for you to read.The sign

The sign

Close up of sign

Close up of sign


Giant Cedars Boardwalk

Giant Cedars Boardwalk

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Red Chairs

Red Chairs

Revelstoke next, a bit of shopping for groceries, propane, and a site for the night. We opted on full-service tonight after what they called "primitive camping" last night. The view of last night's campsite more than made up for the lack of amenities.

Now, back to June 16-18th. We left Rocky Mountain House on the morning of the 16th with an aim for south Calgary and good friends. We had a wonderful visit with them for two nights. Thank you, Cathy & Bruce. Great food, laughs, crib games that ended in a draw between the sexes, and seeing some of Calgary we had yet to discover. We visited the Leighton Art Centre (a place similar to Coast Collective in Victoria in some ways but out in farmland in the foothills of the Rockies -- the story of the couple who set it up was most interesting), Okotoks Erratics (a big rock with an interesting legend as to how it came to be -- a big rock is enough to interest me), Fish Creek, and then on Father's Day we followed them out to visit Elbow Falls (so beautiful), drive through Bragg Creek, and on out west to Stoney Nakoda Casino for some gambling and then goodbyes. Such special friends and so nice to be reunited again, as my daughter said, even if only briefly. After our goodbyes they headed east to home and we headed west on the TC Highway 1 with our sights on Field, or thereabouts. We so often forget just how beautiful these Rockies of ours are. We didn't wish to go into Banff or Lake Louise this trip; nor did we stop at the Spiral Tunnels as we have done that stop many times as well. Traffic was heavy until we got past Banff and then the traffic was heavier eastbound. When we neared Field we stopped to check out Monarch campground and were taken by the views all around and stopped for the night -- $17.60 for "primitive camping". The campground filled up , a number of tenters included. By this morning the neighbours on one side of us either got cold or were a little afraid of the prospect of bears. No signs in the area other than the usual Bear aware posters and a small bank of food lockers.
Photos from our visit to Calgary:
Framed friends

Framed friends

Framed at Leighton Art Centre

Framed at Leighton Art Centre

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Posted by BevH 21:31 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

June 14-15: start Blue River end Rocky Mountain House

June 14. slightly later start to the day, raining pretty consistent when we left Blue River but then off and on showers. Decided to put in $40 gas (113.9 cents / litre) in Valemount as Denis was going to fill up in Alberta for the cheap gas. That was the plan anyway... as many of you will have seen his facebook post, things did not go exactly as planned. We were tentatively heading to Hinton, Alberta for the night and visit the Beaver Ponds once again, of course. About 10 km. out of Jasper I look at the Alberta map and I say something about why are we continuing north if our goal is to go south to Calgary? Maybe we should do the Icefields Parkway, north half. A couple years ago we had done from Saskatchewan Crossing down to Banff/Lake Louise. Denis agreed and we turned south on 93 from Highway 16. Not long on the 93 Denis spotted a brown bear (grizzly? he couldn't be sure as he saw it from the back). Further along the Icefields Parkway we saw two more bears, both black, only got photo of the one.

Black bear

Black bear

We also made stops for Sunwapta Falls, Tangle Creek, Bridal Veil Falls, Goats and Glaciers (aptly named for we did see a small herd of Mountain Goats on the side of the road, in the process of losing their winter coats.) and, of course, the centrepiece of the Icefields Parkway, Columbia Icefield and Athabasca Glacier, which have receded a fair amount since I first visited there by my recollection. It was so interesting that the Columbia Icefield was clear, sunny, beautiful and the next valley over it looked like a system coming in (you can see the difference in the photo of Harvey with the two valleys behind). We parked at the Visitor Centre and took some photos but opted not to do any of the tours offered. Big business in there, with tours to the glacier walkway (we had passed it coming down the Parkway but saw no parking so figured it must be on a tour basis), onto the Icefields, and a couple things in Banff, as well. This is really such a beautiful area.... similar to Alaska but maybe more concentrated and maybe a few less glaciers. So very pretty.Mountain goat

Mountain goat

Sunwapta Falls

Sunwapta Falls

So cool these roots, Sunwapta Falls

So cool these roots, Sunwapta Falls

More Sunwapta

More Sunwapta


Tangle Creek

Tangle Creek

Columbia Icefield

Columbia Icefield

Denis and friends

Denis and friends

Harvey and the two valleys

Harvey and the two valleys


At "The crossing" as it's called we stopped for gas -- 154.9/lt. OMG!!! in Alberta no less.... mind, they have a captive audience with the only other gas being some 90 km in any direction, but still. We headed off the Icefields Parkway at this point and onto the David Thompson Highway (Hwy. 11). Down Highway 11 we travelled till just before Nordegg and we camped in a Provincial Recreation Area named Fish Lake. Kind of pricey for only power but we stayed as we had mistakenly read the fee as $32 and it was really $39 but we were both tired and ready to be off the road.

June 15. Up a little later yet again and back onto Highway 11, stopped in Rocky Mountain House for a travel information and a few provisions (gas here 93.9!!!) then opted to tour Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site before securing a campsite for the night. We have stayed in Rocky Mountain House a couple of times and passed through even more but had never visited the historic site. Great year to do it for Canada's 150 -- and, it is free. Interesting site and it was snowing more than once (cottonwood, that is). That makes two national historic sites we had never before visited. Managed to even score some bannock freshly cooked at the Metis display. Got a good walk in and thoroughly enjoyed our visit there. Today's wildlife count: 4 deer and then buffalo herd and gophers at Rocky Mountain House National Historic Site.
Making bannock

Making bannock

Metis camp

Metis camp

Denis in York boat

Denis in York boat

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"Snowing"

"Snowing"

Posted by BevH 07:44 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

June 12 & 13 -- Nimpo Lake, Sheridan Lake and now Blue River


The above map gives you an idea where we are and where we have been, as the crow flies, it would seem.

Yesterday we got up in Nimpo Lake and the little fox came out to pose again... this one a lighter colouring ... so cute. Bella Coola did call to us but in the end that call was drowned out by the idea of 60 km. of gravel on a hill. One way would be more than enough for me but the thought of a return over it some hours later or the next morning definitely drowned out any calling from Bella Coola. Besides, being from Vancouver Island, I am not so sure anything we would see there would be much different from spots on northern Vancouver Island. Decision rendered we did drive a bit further east to Anahim Lake. It ended up being the largest community along the 300+ km. we travelled on Highway 20 from Williams Lake. By the time we arrived back in Williams Lake around noon yesterday we had seen nothing in terms of wildlife except a few chipmunks and the foxes at the resort on Nimpo Lake. Oh, and Denis saw a beaver in the lake in the morning-- but that is it.

one little fox

one little fox


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Inukshuk nr. Kleena Kleen, along Hwy. 20

Inukshuk nr. Kleena Kleen, along Hwy. 20

Lone Butte behind the trees, along Hwy. 24

Lone Butte behind the trees, along Hwy. 24

Settled in at Sheridan Lake Resort

Settled in at Sheridan Lake Resort


From Williams Lake we headed south on the 97 to 93 Mile House where we headed east along Highway 24 "The fishing highway." Another new highway for us. We settled in at Sheridan Lake Resort on, obviously, Sheridan Lake. The fullest campground we have been in, but then it is a fishing one, and these were serious fisherman, let me tell you. Boat fisherman. Denis was out of his league but had a great time chatting with a couple neighbours. Lovely site, though, crystal clear water and peaceful. Peaceful now, we were told, but come summer the watercraft take over and the noise level rises and more. We left there shortly after 8am and continued along Highway 24 to Highway 5 where we turned north. We were caught a bit offguard by the 10 km. hill of 8% to get us down onto Highway 5. Never saw that coming. A brief stop in Clearwater for groceries and we carried on to Blue River where we got off the road around lunchtime. With the promise of good wifi I was sold. We were briefly tempted to stay in Clearwater and visit Wells Gray Park finally but decided that maybe an overnight there without the motorhome might make more sense to drive to see as many falls as we could easily reach. There are some 40 named waterfalls within the park but many are hikes into them.

After skype and lunch we walked across the highway to see Eleanor Lake in Blue River. We recall staying here years ago in a little motel near the lake but could not find such a thing as we walked. There is a massive resort (Mike Wiegele's Helicopter Skiing)across the highway that may well have taken over multiple smaller businesses. Hard to recall exactly. Today the resort has bicyclists who are cycling from Hope to Jasper to raise funds for children with cancer-- 107 km. they cycled today.
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Eleanor Lake, Blue River

Eleanor Lake, Blue River

Harvey settled in Blue River Campground

Harvey settled in Blue River Campground

Posted by BevH 16:26 Comments (0)

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