July

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Christina Lake

Long Weekend

 

 

 

 

 

“Ah, look, there’s a cute dog on that kayak!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“It is good to experience the local culture!”

3 days, 2 nights and a 19 km long lake to explore on the busiest weekend of the year….

 

We started our trek from the southernmost end of Christina Lake and headed up the west side.  The collection of hugely inaccurate maps we have gathered put the first public access beach 6 km ….. as we discover it is more like 9 km.  Beta wasn’t the only one REALLY needing a pit stop by then!  Christina Lake is a busy summer playground for a wide demographic….the west side is mostly (large) cabins with boat (or float plane) access only.  (Will now has a severe case of “cabin envy”.) 

 

We were unable to get any info about regular wind conditions on the lake but after observing that every (cheek-to-jowl) cabin comes with a floating patio covered in lawn furniture and every type of floatie you can imagine – nothing tied down – we came to the conclusion that the few sail-type vessels we saw do not get much use!

 

A fortuitous meeting with a park employee steered us towards a small ledge set-up where we actually got a campsite all to ourselves (with outhouse!!)  We could hear our neighbours’ boom boxes going until late into the night, but we didn’t have to camp with them!

 

The sun pouring into our tent at 6:30am sharp had us on the lake at 9:30 the next morning – a good decision as we crossed over to the other side before the flotilla of speed/ski/wake/fish boats, pontoon party boats, float planes and jet skis were up.  (Have you ever heard the song “Red-neck Yacht Club”?)  Today’s paddle had us in the provincial park – still cabins along the lake but the number and frequency much reduced.  The northern end of the lake has the only pet-friendly day use beach – and a very lovely one.  Shallow, warm, with enough room for everyone to spread out and have their own space.  No weeds!!!!  We taught Beta to “give” her ball while still swimming and then “wait” on her back tippy-toes until the ball was thrown again.  (She slept well that night!!)  Our maps show 3 public camping spots – we found 6 (all packed with tents).  As we round into our campsite at the end of our paddling day, we find a speed boat and pontoon boat pulled up and a 10 person party in progress around our fire pit.  We cheerfully joined the party – a group of friends who gather at the lake every Aug. long weekend from various communities in the area.  Next thing I know, I’m out on the party pontoon boat and then getting a turn on the sea biscuit (I am SO sore today from hanging on for dear life!!!!)    They leave by 6:15pm to get the boat rentals back to the marina on time…..back to peace and quiet!

 

Our last day, we cross the lake again to come down the east (and busiest) side of the lake.  Quite a contrast from looking at ancient petroglyphs on high, remote cliffs to passing 3 huge campsites and 2 busy marinas in just 40 minutes!  The difference between our swim at the north end (pet-friendly & quiet) to our after the paddle swim at the south end (NOT pet-friendly, crowded & noisy – 2 brothers having a fist fight in the water right in front of us resulting in a bloody noise and a grumpy mom out of her sun chair to intervene!) could not have been more in contrast!

 

A real different experience from our usual kayaking – the air and water was so warm that we paddled in our bathing suits and couldn’t wait to swim at every stop.  Minimal bugs – mostly ants that loved my red paddling gear – and few non-human “wildlife” encounters.  I can see that a warm-water kayaking trip will become a standard summer experience after this!

 

Hopefully back on the road by the end of the week…..next post under “August”.

For more pictures click here.

 

 

And we’re off….

 

 

View from tent, looking south.

 

 

Throw the ball, throw the ball…..

Grand Forks

 

 

 

-waiting for a new veggie pump -

We are enjoying a great visit with Uncle Bill, Aunt Sandy and Ann.  The Kettle River is high and fast, but very refreshing for an afternoon tube.  We’ve even taken Beta with us!!!  (She has “lost” 3 balls down the river in 3 days…no more balls for Beta!!!)

 

Uncle Bill took us for a spin on his “cycle 4 fun” bikes.  Will was a complete natural on the recumbent bike and knows what he wants for Christmas!  I took out the Day 6 comfort bike which has a large, comfy seat and back rest and sets you to pedal in a slightly laid-back position.   It was very comfy, indeed!  Both bikes make it very easy to look around and see all the sights around you.  Grand Forks is a great cycling locale; very flat, with several dedicated bike paths as well as the trans-Canada trail.

 

We are enjoying lots of fresh fruit and berries from the local farmers market and Aunt Sandy’s amazing cooking every night.

 

Johnston Creek Provincial Park to Grand Forks

 

 

 

 

 

“Hum, think anyone will figure out this picture was not taken on the island?”

 

We woke to a booming sound in the distance...not industrial noise but our first thunderstorm! 

 

Beta also saw her first chipmunk…was confused when it climbed up the back of the tree and she couldn’t figure out where it went!

 

Pretty drive into Grand Forks; ranch country with 100km/h 2 lane highway (we’re not doing 100km/h) and the rain started at Greenwood.

 

We have the trailer parked at Uncle Bill and Aunt Sandy’s…amazing house!!!  It overlooks the Kettle River, with large windows and many elements of the original farmhouse intact.  Beta immediately ran down to the river…but it is running unusually high and fast for this time of year so NOT good swimming for dogs.

 

Waiting for the rain to let up so that we can take out all the bikes and try them out…Uncle Bill is a rep for a recumbent bike company and has some pretty interesting models in his basement.  Beta is just waiting for us to “accidently” let her out of the mud room so she can eat all the cat food and chase the cats.  J

 

For more pictures click here….

Victoria to Johnston Creek Provincial Park

 

 

 

 

 

“veggie oil and big hills do not mix”

 

 

the fate of the cat…”

Up at 6:30 am to catch the 8:00 ferry.  Ugh! 

Took the #3 Crowsnest Pass out of Hope – which, if I’ve ever travelled it, I certainly don’t remember.  Absolutely beautiful river valleys bordered by steep mountains.  The 7% difference in power between veggie oil and diesel was very evident – ran on diesel most of the day.  We stopped in Manning Park for a leisurely lunch – creeks were running too fast and cold for Beta to get a good swim in but she chased her ball tummy deep to the amusement of all that passed.  (Met “Ginger”, a 1 year old NSDT – parents trying to hide their horror over the thought of their trim puppy growing a blown-out coat of fur like Beta’s!).   Loved the scenery of Princetown, Keremeos and Hedley; rolling hills and the Similkameen river (looked class 3 and quite inviting!) bordering our way.

Learned a valuable lesson about reading the elevations on our map as the 35 km, 1233m climb up Anarchist Mount out of Osoyoos, at the end of a long, hot day was too much for our truck to do all in one go.  Have poured over our maps quite carefully tonight and thankfully NO MORE of those coming up!!

 Into Grand Forks tomorrow to visit with Uncle Bill and Aunt Sandy, spin some oil and do some modifications on the system.

PS: anyone able to take our cat while we’re gone?

Cowichan to Victoria

 

“several late nights in a row and too much sun = energizer bunny has run out of batteries”

 

We started with a visit to the Skutz Falls to try to wear Beta out chasing her ball in the river.  We enjoyed “people watching” as the 20 something crowd was out tubing on the river in full-force. (Who needs Jersey Shores!?!?!)

 

Then, in Victoria, we had a very relaxed visit with Wanda, Darren and, of course, 4-month old Beckham.  My nephew is so adorable – so alert and full of happy noises – he was playing his own version of “peak-a-boo” with his blanket!  Darren cooked a great dinner – then it was back to the RV to get some much needed sleep before the big drive into the Interior.

Ucluelet to Cowichan

 

 

“Thanks for all the text message well wishes”

So, finally, we are on the road!

 We started with a ceremonial dipping of the feet in the Pacific Ocean with Carol, Joe and Sam.  We have filled a jar with Pacific Ocean (half-full, it was low tide!) to take to the Atlantic Ocean.

We spent the night at our friend’s in Cowichan.  Don and Rose own and operate Warm Rapids Inn, a lovely B&B with tent and yurt options.  The last time we were here, they were just constructing the yurt – now it is done and super cool.  The design is very sustainable, with outdoor sink and a shower run off of solar power, traditional half-moon door outhouse and wood heat and cooking.  

In the evening it finally felt like we were on our holiday when we were sitting by a wood fire, with some beverages, music in the background and a “sea” of stars above us. Rose has planted some batches of lavender, which Beta happily stirred up, so the scent was lovely.

A very fortuitous way to start our voyage!

Next stop….Victoria.

 

More Pictures click here!