Kamloops - a place with happy memories

Trip Start Apr 09, 2009
Trip End Aug 30, 2009

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Sunday, June 7, 2009

Kamloops-yes I am here and its a great place.  I received such a warm welcome and that evening the rest of the family in Kamloops arrived for supper, a truly memorable occasion.

Kamloops is known as B.C.'s Friendliest City (according to its tourist info) and has over 85,000 residents including many smaller rural communities in the surrounding area. As Canada's Tournament Capital, the city draws thousands of spectators and sporting participants each year to enjoy the world class sports facilities.  Golf, Fishing, Mountain biking etc etc.

Cousin Judy took me down the Nicola Valley the following day and am I being boring (??) again by saying just beautiful scenery.  Different from NZ but just as stunning and this area is so open.  Rolling green hills alongside the valley, a great many little and larger lakes.  

Imagine a magical place where the sun shines on most days of the year on grasslands, rolling hills, historic ranches and shimmering lakes. Such a place exists in the southern interior of BC, where the sun heaps over 2,000 hours of annual sunshine upon Merritt and the Nicola Valley.  The name Nicola was given to the famous chieftain Hwistesmetxquen by the early fur traders
for the obvious reason that they couldn't pronounce his Native name. When they tried it phonetically, it sounded vaguely like Nicholas or Nicola, and their mispronunciation has remained.   The range of wildlife and vegetation in the valley varies dramatically with terrain
and elevation, and the entire Nicola Valley is filled with amazing natural attractions.

The Nicola Valley is served by the Coquihalla Highway (Highway 5) that travels from Hope
north to Kamloops via Merritt.   Highway 5 follows the Coquihalla River to Merritt and is particularly scenic in the early fall, when rolling fields and forest foliage take on a golden glow. Moose, mule deer, bears, and grouse are the main wildlife species here, while small
numbers of elk and mountain goats find refuge in the south.Judy and I decided to stop for tea at the Quilchena Hotel which has just  celebrated its 00th birthday.  Judy also brought Penny and her friend Debbie here in 1993 when they were doing their world trip so it I was almost treading in my daughter's footsteps!

Quilchena Hotel is really fascinating, very elegant and almost old fashioned.  Its quite remote and captures the ambience of southwestern British Columbia's cattle country. A stop at the old hotel provides visitors with a whiff of life as it once was in the Nicola Valley. It attracts a motley assortment, from moneyed urbanites to cattle barons according to its advertising blurb.  We enjoyed our tea and Pavlova!!

On for a few more kilometres where there is lots to see.  We returned the same way and it was nice to see everything from the other aspect. 

Next morning Geoff dropped me at the Mall to do a little shopping, the first time I had experienced shopping since arriving in Canada which I enjoyed, couldn't buy much though I will be overweight!  (My baggage not me!!)

That afternoon Cousin Sue's husband Randy drove Judy and I up to Sun Peak, which is a ski resort about 40 minutes away up in the mountains
  • Centrally located in southern British Columbia, only a 45 minute drive from Kamloops.
  • Closest
    interior resort by road from Vancouver, BC (4.25 hours) and Seattle, WA
    (5.5 hours), thanks to the Coquihalla Highway, connecting Hope to
A lovely drive up there in Rand's smooth quiet new car and we arrived in what is like a different world.  A bit like Switzerland but not the same, just peaceful and most amazing houses.  I would like to see it covered in snow too!   In summer it has fifteen hiking trails and thirty-nine mountain bike rides so is very popular and I think during vacation time the chair lifts run so its easier to access the top of the mountain, up via chair lifts then walk.  It wasn't running when we were there which ws a shame as I would have like to got to the top!!  During winter it is a very popular resort with many varied types of ski runs.

A pleasant break from travelling next day as I spent the morning with Katie and we went for a long walk along the Thompson River at Kamloops-gorgeous weather too. Chip their border collie enjoyed the walk as well.  Lunchtime Katie dropped me with  Cousin Sue, and after a relaxing lunch in the garden, we spent a lazy afternoon catching up on family news and I enjoyed a long swim in their pool.  Bliss.

A last family dinner outside on the patio was a fitting ending to my stay in Kamloops, and before the sun disappeared completely Katie and I took Chip for a walk up into the hills, it was really interesting with a few scattered farms and smallholdings with superb houses, we watched the sun go down to end my visit to Kamloops.

Time to move on once again and this time to Calgary via a Greyhound bus ride through the Rockies.  A nine hour but really superb trip through great mountain scenery....... more soon ..

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