Posts for September, 2016


Train trestles (Kelowna, BC)

Journal entry for Friday 2nd Sep, 2016 (day 39, miles 4027)

We spent the nights of September 1st and 2nd with some more of Nina's Canadian family in Kelowna. We were more than a bit spoiled by this visit, a house with fabulous views, king sized bed, great food and lots of "catching up". On Friday (2nd) our hosts took us for a tour of the area including a nice long walk along part of the old Kettle Valley Railway. This was originally a spur line from the Trans-Cancada to link towns of the Okanagan Valley into Canadian commerce rather than have then ship goods in and out through the US. The line is now a cycle and walking track, with the highlight being the many wood trestles.

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The last weekend (Sugar Lake, BC)

Journal entry for Saturday 3rd Sep, 2016 (day 40, miles 4120)

After saying our goodbyes this morning we made our way through surprisingly thick traffic into downtown Kelowna to do some shopping and then north towards Vernon before turning onto Highway 6. A little bit past Lumby we turned off the highway and headed towards Sugar Lake Recreation Area wondering whether we would be able to find a camping spot. It was, after all, the labor day weekend in a sense the last weekend of summer.

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More language lessons (Nakusp Hot Springs, BC)

Journal entry for Sunday 4th Sep, 2016 (day 41, miles 4237)

A nice relaxing day wandering along some of the lesser highways of British Columbia. We saw our first bunch of logs in a river/lake getting ready for transportation, caught a ferry and spent some time watching an Osprey (I think thats what it was) fly around its enormous nest waiting for us to depart. Late in the day we arrived at Nakusp Hot Springs. I had been keen to sample the hot water but one look at the crowd put me off, more like a stew than a spa. Having forgone the bath we decided to take a camping site at the place and thereby got another language lesson when the manager asked if we wanted a 'hydro' site we answered NO thinking a hydro site must be one with water. It was only later that we realised in British Columbia 'hydro' is a synonym for electricity as for many years BC Hydro was the only producer and distributor of electricity.

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Another beautiful forest walk (Crawford Bay, BC)

Journal entry for Monday 5th Sep, 2016 (day 42, miles 4330)

We started our day in an energetic and healthy manner taking a long walk (5 miles) along a forest track that once (before 1960) was the only access, by horse back, to the hot springs. As you can see from the photos the walk presented us with a lot of mushroom opportunities. By the time our walk was over the campground was pretty much deserted and throughout the mornings drive we saw lots of RVs and cars carrying camping gear on the road presumably heading home.

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Closed and cold (Palmer Bar Crk, BC)

Journal entry for Tuesday 6th Sep, 2016 (day 43, miles 4447)

Cool and windy today with occasional rain. Already, just a few days after labor day we see campgrounds and other tourist attractions closed for the season. The wind was good for someone however. This afternoon we stopped for a break at a Provincial Park and watched while a group of sail-boarders made the most of the wind.

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Biggest Truck (Kananaskis Trunk Road, BC)

Journal entry for Wednesday 7th Sep, 2016 (day 44, miles 4590)

A few photos this morning of last nights camping spot and the nearby bridge with a small hole in the deck and then back on to Highway 6 toward the resort town of Fernie. Along the way we stopped to look at Th Biggest Truck in the World in the mining town of Sparwood, though from what I can see on google the Belaz 75710 (built in Belarussia) with a payload of 496 tons is a more likely candidate for the title.

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First snows (Willow Rock CG, Alberta)

Journal entry for Thursday 8th Sep, 2016 (day 45, miles 4735)

It rained a bit overnight and was overcast this morning and the road was wet and hence muddy as we continued north of 940. Late morning we connected with Highway 40 (also called the Kananaskis Trail), a spectacular drive surrounded by mountains that eventually connected with Highway 1 just east of the town of Canmore. Highway 40 provided a herd of mountain sheep for our entertainment and the first snow falls of the trip.

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New family members, new camera (Cochrane, Alberta)

Journal entry for Friday 9th Sep, 2016 (day 46, miles 4811)

This morning was bright, clear and cool, and we started the day with a short hike along a trail from the campground. The fall colors are really in evidence now. After our exercise we headed towards Calgary with the goal of shopping for a new camera for Nina before spending the night with Yvonne and Gary, some of Nina' Canadian family.

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Visit with friends (Calgary, Alberta)

Journal entry for Saturday 10th Sep, 2016 (day 47, miles 4841)

Another visit today, this time with Bernie (a friend we met in South America) and his partner Heather at their house in the south of Calgary. We spent a delightful afternoon and evening with B&H, reminiscing with Bernie about our South America experience and getting to know Heather a little better. They were kind enough to take us on a walk of the area around their house including a nice stroll through the Bow River Valley.

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Back to the mountains (Lake Louise, Alberta)

Journal entry for Monday 12th Sep, 2016 (day 49, miles 4982)

Yesterday we drove back up into the mountains and stayed at a campground in Lake Louise, but no photos as the day was a bit of a loss from the weather point of view. But today with better weather, bright sun, we backtracked a bit to visit Banff and generally absorb the spectacle of the mountains. This also gave Nina a chance to experiment with her new camera, and ask a zillion questions -- how do I &

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The Icefields Parkway (Jasper, Alberta)

Journal entry for Tuesday 13th Sep, 2016 (day 50, miles 5131)

Today I am going to mostly let the photos do the talking, they are more eloquent than I can be. As you might guess from those same photos we started the day with a visit to the lake and hotel at Lake Louise and then drove the Icefield Parkway to Jasper. We were blessed with glorious weather, bright sun and not a cloud in the sky. It was an opportunity to try out Nina's new camera that we could not resist.

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Last look (Kinky Lake, Alberta)

Journal entry for Wednesday 14th Sep, 2016 (day 51, miles 5206)

Another glorious day, though with a little cloud. We started the day with a drive on the Malign Lake Road and found a hike that took us to two lakes, Beaver Lake and Summit Lake. Again we used this as an opportunity to experiment with the new camera. This was obviously encouraged by the great light and spectacular scenery. You will note in photo 8 that with the use of the camera's panorama mode Nina was able to make 3 of me.

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To Edmonton (Spruce Grove CG Edmonton, Alberta)

Journal entry for Thursday 15th Sep, 2016 (day 52, miles 5390)

We spent today driving the road to Edmonton. We tried in the town of Hinton to get Nina a "nail job" but all the places we tried either did not do nails anymore or were booked out. Eventually she phoned a place in Edmonton (the value of the internet) for tomorrow.

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Nina gets her nails done (Long Lake Prov. Park, Alberta)

Journal entry for Friday 16th Sep, 2016 (day 53, miles 5498)

By the time the nail job was complete and we had stocked up on groceries it was after lunch. At that point we had not finally decided exactly where we would go but as the afternoon proceeded it became clear we wanted (over the coming couple of days) to go as far north as Fort McMurray.

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Busy highway and oversized loads (Crow Lake Prov. Park, Alberta)

Journal entry for Saturday 17th Sep, 2016 (day 53, miles 5498)

We started today with a nice long walk in the forest (and rain) near the campground and found a good example of a beaver felled tree. Once underway we made our way into the little village of Boyle for a fuel top-up before starting the stretch of road to Fort McMurray. Not far out of Boyle highway 63 turned from a rural road into a new 4 lane freeway/motorway/expressway (whatever you want to call it) clearly built to handle the demands of the energy industry, indeed we passed a number of oversized loads during the curse of the day as well as seeing many heavy transporters returning south. I was a bit captivated by the trailers and their many wheels, at one point we caught a photo of a returning combination with two prime-movers (at pulling and one pushing), 26 axles on the trailer and 8 wheels on each axle.

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Oil sands and wild fire (Engstrom Lake Prov Rec Area, Alberta)

Journal entry for Sunday 18th Sep, 2016 (day 55, miles 5614)

We were a bit surprised to see that there was less traffic this morning as we completed the drive into Fort McMurray. Sunday does seem to make some difference to the pace of activity in this energy boom-town area. The big interests today were oil sands and the wildfire that devastated Fort McMurray earlier in 2016.

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Boreal forest and beaver (Winston Churchill Prov. Park, Alberta)

Journal entry for Monday 19th Sep, 2016 (day 56, miles 5895)

I should have mentioned the boreal forest in a earlier entry a that is what we have been traveling through the last few day. Short skinny black spruce tree, birch and aspen now turning vivid yellow and the occasional stands of larch (tamarack) that look like pine tree that are turning with the fall. Around Fort McMurray the forest was obviously burned from the wildfire earlier in the year but even in these blacked tracks there were patches of yellow and green where some trees survived and in many places under the blacked spruce new grass could be seen.

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Farm land, boom towns, and time for laundry (Meadow Lake Prov Park, Saskatchewan)

Journal entry for Tuesday 20th Sep, 2016 (day 57, miles 6042)

We visited the towns of Lac La Biche and Cold Lake today. A grocery resupply in La Biche and laundry in Cold Lake. They both gave the impression of being little boom towns, a small "older part of town" with lots of new shops and facilities grafted on the side. Lots of new pickup trucks and surprisingly large car dealerships.

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Shopping spree (Unnamed Campground Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan)

Journal entry for Wednesday 21st Sep, 2016 (day 58, miles 6158)

We drove all the way back to Cold Lake this morning to go on a shopping spree for some clothing. Nina needs socks and gloves and I need socks and long johns. These proved amazingly difficult to get as "the winter stuff is not in stock yet".

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Bears 4 + 1 (Lac La Plonge, Saskatchewan)

Journal entry for Thursday 22nd Sep, 2016 (day 59, miles 6309)

We took a few photos of the campground this morning as the light was great and the water on the lake incredibly still. Thereafter a series of minor highways (!!) before joining Hwy 155 north to a place on our map called Beauval. Along 155 we saw a number of bears, one small clearly brown bear scurrying off the road away from the traffic, one black but unfortunately dead on the side of the road and just before Beauval a mother black bear and two cubs. Unfortunately no really good photos.

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Gray sky, gravel road (Gravel Pit Hwy 2, Saskatchewan)

Journal entry for Friday 23rd Sep, 2016 (day 60, miles 6426)

The sky was gray this morning as we set out along Hwy 165 and it was not long before the rain started and proceeded to set in for the day. Thus the day turned into a long drive along a surprisingly good quality gravel road.

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In PA (Prince Albert, Saskatchewan)

Journal entry for Saturday 24th Sep, 2016 (day 61, miles 6541)

It was still raining this morning with a light mist so that driving south towards Prince Albert was like being in a green/grey tunnel.

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Scenic road (Baldy Lake, Saskatchewan)

Journal entry for Sunday 25th Sep, 2016 (day 62, miles 6654)

Today turned out to be sunny, as predicted by the weather app on our phones and making it a good day for us to leave Prince Alert and travel the section of Highway 120 to Candle Lake which was marked as a scenic road on one of our maps. The good light also gave Nina a chance to get a few photos of the PA Exhibition grounds and some of its more notable sights.

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Larch trees and lakes (Hanson Lake, Saskatchewan)

Journal entry for Monday 26th Sep, 2016 (day 63, miles 6799)

We got a bit obsessed today with both Larch trees (also called tamarack) and lakes. Why you might ask. Well the larch trees are abundant along the side of the highway, some green and others various shades of yellow. We spent a good deal of time photographing them in the hope of capturing the color and structure of these beautiful trees. Also later we discovered from google that they are the only deciduous conifer, dropping their needles in the winer after turning yellow. There was also a touch of nostalgia for us in these trees as we drove through many Larch forests in Mongolia in 2013.

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Flin Flon, the shield, graffiti (Iskwasum Lake, Manitoba)

Journal entry for Tuesday 27th Sep, 2016 (day 64, miles 6933)

Today we were traveling over the the precambrian shield or Laurentian shield "a large area of exposed igneous and metamorphic rocks that form the ancient core of the North American continent". We probably transitioned onto this geological feature sometime yesterday but it became more evident today with frequent outcropings of rock visible in the wet lands on the side of the road. The shield is rich in minerals and was the impetus for the founding of the twin towns of Creighton and Flin Flon on the Saskatchewan - Manitoba border. These towns originated in 1914 when Tom Creighton discovered a massive copper/zinc ore body on the site of what would be these two towns. Flin Flon incorporated as a town in 1946 and granted city status in 1970.

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Water falls, graffiti and Thompson (Thompson, Manitoba)

Journal entry for Wednesday 28th Sep, 2016 (day 65, miles 7130)

We were surprised this morning to find two side excursions to water falls (Wekusko Falls, and Pisew Falls), surprised because the land seems so flat that we had trouble imagining that anything could fall. But we should not have been surprised As these falls were not distinguished by the height of the fall but by the volume of water and power of the flow. Pisew Falls in particular was very impressive and unusually even Nina was impressed.

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Thompson museum, then backtrack south (Gravel pit South of Thompson, Manitoba)

Journal entry for Thursday 29th Sep, 2016 (day 66, miles 7212)

We made a short stop at the local museum on our way out of Thompson this morning and by examining some stuffed animals (a bob cat and a Lynx) confirmed that the animal we saw hunting a couple of days ago was certainly a Lynx. From the museum we retraced our steps south to a nice road side work area where we spent the night. We could not resist another visit to Pisew Falls and this time found the suspension bridge built by the Lions Club and gave access to the falls from the other side.

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Vegetarian bacon for dinner (Nth of The Pas, Manitoba)

Journal entry for Friday 30th Sep, 2016 (day 67, miles 7339)

Not much to say about today. Our nice weather has gone so today is raining and misty. We stopped briefly at the town of The Pas for supplies then farther south we found another nice large gravel area just off the road for the night.

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