In the wilderness

Trip Start Sep 10, 2009
1
10
17
Trip End Oct 22, 2009


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Where I stayed
Copper Island Inn

Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Tuesday, September 29, 2009

On Tuesday morning we set off for the Rockies at 8.15am.  This was a long day, 600km.  There were a couple of additions to the group and it turned out to be a couple I met on the Moose leg from Tofino to Victoria, Crispin and Trish, Aussies from WA.  This was a nice surprise as I liked them when I met them on Vancouver Island and they are about my age.  Jim and Eileen, the Irish couple in their 60s are still with us so I don't feel like the grandma on the bus.  Really, the kids have turned out to be very nice and a lot of fun, if a bit noisy sometimes.

The first stop yesterday was Bridal Veil Falls, which involved a fairly short but quite steep walk; got the heart pumping and the blood flowing.  These falls are beautiful and the walk up to them was magnificent as well, more towering pine trees and moss and lichen so thick that on some trees it covered the tree from top to bottom.

Next we stopped in Hope, a little town with two claims to fame - most of the first Rambo movie was filmed here and it is the chainsaw carving capital of the world.  There are statues all over town carved completely with a chainsaw.  The details on them was unbelievable.  I couldn't take pictures of all of them but I took a few just to show how clever they were.  It was raining when we left Vancouver but had stopped by this time so we bought lunch in Hope and went to Kawkawa Lake to eat.

After lunch we turned off the Trans Canada Highway onto the Coquihalla Highway which is a very dangerous stretch of road in winter.  It's closed 5-6 times per month due to avalanches and all the way along you can see the scars on the mountains left by big avalanches.

We drove through several small towns during the afternoon.  The most memorable was Merritt which is officially classified as desert because of the very low annual rainfall.  It looked desolate and dry but it was odd seeing a desert town in the midst of all the green mountains and with rivers and lakes such a short distance away.  Merritt hosts one of the biggest country and western music festivals in the world and during the four day weekend of the festival, this town of 10,000 people hosts 150,000.

About 4pm we arrived at the Copper Island Inn on Shuswap Lake.  Shuswap Lake is huge with a 1,000km of shoreline.  Crispin, Trish and I went for a walk before dinner along the lake shore and were lucky enough to spot a Pileated Woodpecker which according to my bird book is rare to uncommon.  He was certainly making plenty of noise banging on a tree.  He was a beautiful bird, much bigger than I expected with a gorgeous bright red crest on his head.  David, if you decide there is a connection between you and the woodpecker Sandi will begin to seriously doubt your sanity.

We all had dinner together and then the kids partied on until pretty late but I was downstairs so they didn't disturb me.  I was up at 6.15 to watch the sunrise over the lake.  Unfortunately, it was too cloudy to see the sunrise but the lake was beautiful in the early morning light, so quiet and peaceful and not another soul about.  When I got back to the Inn, Crispin, Trish, Jim and Eileen were all up having breakfast but none of the kids had surfaced.  One of them, Chris (also an Aussie) was passed out on the couch in the Common Room.  We did check to make sure he was still breathing.  There were some very sore heads this morning, lots of moaning and groaning as people got on the bus.

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