Giant Cedars Boardwalk

Do you remember a few months ago when I posted this picture?

I just love this picture, I think it would look awesome on a wall!

It was a picture our daughter had sent me of the Giant Cedars Boardwalk near Revelstoke, B.C.  I fell in love with the picture and vowed to stop there the next time we were driving by and last Wednesday was the day.

Unfortunately, the battery in my camera died while we were at our son’s place and for some reason the spare battery and the spare charger I keep in the truck had disappeared.  I wasn’t too worried since I had my phone with me, and our daughter capture her beautiful picture with her cell phone, so surely I could do the same … not!!!  Honestly I don’t think I can blame it on not having my camera, I guess it just wasn’t my day to get an amazing, wall hanging, photo, but we did enjoy the short walk along the boardwalk and I did take many pictures 🙂

The Giant Cedars Boardwalk Trail was a nice spot to take a break and stretch our legs while travelling home from our long weekend in Alberta.  The trail is located along the Trans Canada Highway, 30 km’s east of Revelstoke, B.C.

The entire boardwalk is only a half kilometer walk but it was well worth the stop.  There are stairs and the wood was a little slippery when we were there, but I think it is an easy walk that almost anyone could do.

This was the longest bank of stairs.

We let our National Park pass lapse when COVID stopped any thought of travel, and the Giant Cedars Boardwalk is in Revelstoke National Park, so we would either need to buy an annual pass or pay $20.00 for a day pass.  It turned out it was our lucky day, a pass is only required from mid May to the beginning of October so we were able to do the walk for free.

Only 5% of the earth’s surface is home to temperate rainforests like this one and, while the cedars are not nearly as big as the redwoods we have seen in California, I was in awe of the beauty that was surrounding me.

Here is some interesting information I gleaned from one of the signs near the entrance to the boardwalk …

“As Christopher Columbus was crossing the Atlantic on his first voyage to the New World (1942), many of the cedars and hemlocks were seedlings.”

“By the time Leonardo da Vinci’s last brush stroke of the Mona Lisa had dried (1506), these seedlings had become saplings.”

“As audiences watched the inaugural performance of William Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” (1595), these forest giants had already been alive for more than a century.”

Now four centuries (426 years) later the trees and surrounding forest are very impressive and we both enjoyed our short walk along the boardwalk.

Until next time …

Happy Thanksgiving … Yup I Know I’m Late 🙂

I hope all of our Canadian friends had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  We had a busy six days over the long weekend which is why I am late with my wishes.

Last Thursday we packed up our truck and headed to Airdrie, Alberta to spend Thanksgiving with our youngest son and his family.  It was raining and dark when we pulled out around 6:30 a.m. but the rain stopped shortly after we got on the road and the drive was pleasant for the first three hours … and then we hit Revelstoke, B.C.

We drove through snow, fog, and dark skies for an hour but once we arrived in Golden, B.C. it eased up a bit and the sky began to brighten.

While it was nice that the weather looked to be improving, it wasn’t nice that Highway 1 was closed just past Golden for major construction.  That meant we had to take a detour that added an hour and a half to our drive 😦  On the up side the drive from Radium, B.C. back up to Highway 1 was a new road to us and had some very pretty scenery … along with blue skies.

Almost nine hours later we arrived at our son’s place and spent a great weekend visiting and enjoying snuggles with our grandchildren.

There may have been a few bottles of wine consumed during our visit but this one was fun!  It’s hard to tell from the picture but this wine is sparkling and shimmers in the glass … it looked way better than it tasted but it was good enough for us to finish the bottle 🙂

Yesterday we loaded the truck once again and headed home.  It was a very cold morning and hubby had to scrape the windshield, which is the first time he has had to do that in a lot of years!

Even though it was cold, we had clear blue skies and were treated to pretty snow capped mountain views as we left Alberta and crossed back into B.C.

We left our son’s place early so that we could get through the Kicking Horse Pass on Highway 1 before noon, when once again the highway would close and vehicles would be forced to take the hour and a half detour.

It was nice to have a shorter drive home 😀

It was a great trip home and we enjoyed a break in the drive at the Giant Cedars Boardwalk … but more about that in another blog.

I’m sure the news last night about the US land border opening in early November was a blessing for a lot of snowbirds!  We have a few balls in the air but at this point hope to still have a commercial driver take our truck and Maxx across the border on October 27th and we will fly.

Until next time …

Secrets Revealed

So what’s the secret?

Well it wasn’t really a secret but we didn’t want to put it in the blog until we told our children … WE ARE HEADING SOUTH 😀

Over a month ago hubby looked into shipping our truck and Maxx across the border with a commercial driver and then we would fly across and join them.  I wasn’t overly keen on the idea, I don’t know why I was just nervous I guess, and then a few days ago we got an email from our neighbors in Yuma, who also live quite close to us here, saying they were going to ship their motorhome and car down to the states and fly down. Once I heard that I thought what the heck let’s do it!

It will mean leaving these amazing sunrises but that’s okay, we will be back next year.

And flying down takes care of the problem with mixed vaccines, because if you fly down all you need is a negative COVID test.

Now prior to this hubby was speaking with a company in Abbotsford, British Columbia who said yes they had room but they only needed two weeks notice so we could wait until September 21st and see if the land border opened.

And leaving the pretty trail views.

So September 21 came and once again the US refused to open its land border to Canadians, so he phoned the company back … they acted like they had never talked to him and can’t ship our unit until mid to late November.  So hubby started phoning all the other companies on the coast who offer snowbird service, only to hear one is fully booked, one isn’t really interested in our rig because it’s too long, and another never got back to us.

We weren’t sure what we were going to do for the winter. We had fortunately put our names on a list for an RV park close to our daughter’s place, and we figured we’d probably end up spending the winter there, but really our hope was that eventually the border would open and we could pick a good day, where the weather looked good, and head down south.

Of course, we could still be faced with the problem of having mixed vaccines, a Pfizer and Moderna, but once again we were hoping that if they did open the border to Canadians they would also allow mixed vaccines.

 

But then I got a lead on a place out of Lethbridge, Alberta and after hubby contacted them on Monday we were once again back in the running.  Monday night we completed the mountain of paper work required to do this, which really didn’t take that long because we had already completed all the paper work for the first company that said they could transport us.  We sent it off to the Lethbridge company with the hope that they would still be able to get us across the first week of November.  They let us know Tuesday morning that they had received the paperwork and would confirm our date in 48 hours.  Yes things were looking good!

And then things changed again!  Late Tuesday afternoon hubby received an email from a company in Abbotsford, the one he had left a message for and had never got back to us, apologizing for the long delay and asking if we were still interested.  Hubby emailed right back and said yes, we were, and he got a response right back saying they still had a few dates the last week of October and the first week of November.  Great, now could we get a flight?  So hubby got right on the phone to San Juan Air, the charter company that flies from Abbotsford, British Columbia to Bellingham, Washington … and guess what … they actually had some spaces available and one of those dates was October 27th, which is perfect for us.  He immediately emailed the transport company and they immediately responded saying that time was available.

Of course, the US could finally open their borders to Canadians on October 21st, although we are not holding our breath, but if they do then we could still cancel our flights and the commercial driver and drive down ourselves. We would lose $127.50 of our airfare and the transport deposit of $200.00  but hey that’s OK at least we’re heading south.

So the park closes on October 18, we will hang around here for a few days finishing up last minute things and then on October 21st, if the weather cooperates, we will hitch up Maxx and head to hubby’s sisters place in Abbotsford and visit with his mom and the rest of his family.  We will spend the weekend with our son and daughter-in-law and then on Monday October 27th, if the US keeps its land border closed, we will ship Max across the border, hop on a very small plane, yup that is the scariest part, and fly from Abbotsford, British Columbia to Bellingham, Washington, a twenty-minute flight … taxi down the runway take off, get up in the air, quickly go back down to the runway, and then taxi to the Bellingham terminal, where we will rejoin Maxx and head south for the winter.

Now that the decision is made, I am incredibly relieved and so very excited to be back to the snowbird life we love so much.

Oh and in case you are wondering, shipping the truck, Maxx, flying us across the border, and COVID tests is costing just shy of $2,200 which is less than it would have cost us to stay at an RV park in Kelowna for five months.  Not to mention the extra cost for propane and electricity because we’d have to heat the trailer during the cold winter.

So goodbye beautiful sunrises, we will see you next year.

Until next time …

A New Roommate 🙂

So we have had ducks, deer, quail, and recently a bear move in and hang around our site over the summer and all of them, with the exception of the bear, where welcomed roommates but they have all moved on.  Well we are pretty sure the bear has moved on but that remains to be seen.

Fortunately I didn’t see the bear this morning but I was treated to a pretty sunrise.

A couple of weeks ago we even had a Great Horned Owl hang out around our site.  Of course there is no way to prove it but we are convinced the owl is Furb who was born in the park three years ago 🙂

Furb was a cute baby and liked to hang out beside the tire on our truck.

A few days ago we welcomed a new roommate, a Pileated Woodpecker.

I believe, from my search of Google, that this is a female as the stripe on her face is white, males have a red stripe.

The Pileated Woodpecker is very large, around the size of a crow and is the largest woodpecker in Canada.  I read that it is thought that the Pileated Woodpecker is the inspiration for Woody Woodpecker and I can see the resemblance 🙂  They are forest birds that require large, standing dead trees and downed wood, which makes it interesting that she is hanging around our site as there is none of that around.  They are sparsely populated in Canada and I’m wondering if this one was forced into our area because of the forest fires surrounding us.

Our new roommate has been very polite and hasn’t been making any annoying pecking noises which is nice for us as they are known for their drumming which sounds like construction machinery and can be heard up to a kilometre away.  Pileated Woodpeckers drill distinctive rectangular-shaped holes in rotten wood to get at carpenter ants and other insects, and I’m thinking she hasn’t been making noise because the only trees around here are alive and probably not rich in insects.  I sure hope she is getting enough to eat because I have enjoyed having her around and if she stays much longer we will have to give her a name.

Until next time …

Some Good News, Some Bad News

So let’s get the bad news out of the way, the United States has announced it will continue to keep its land borders closed to Canadian travellers until September 21st … all we can do is hope that they don’t extend the closure once again.

We were fortunate to watch a brood of baby quail grow up around our site earlier this summer.

The good news … and I’m still not sure if it is fully good news … We have heard from a few people that the US has reversed its decision on mixed dose vaccines of Pfizer/Moderna and is now considering people in this situation to be fully vaccinated.  They still don’t consider Astra Zeneca or mixed Astra Zeneca and an MRNA vaccines as a proper vaccination.

Some very scary skies last Sunday which is just an indication of how bad our fire situation was that night, things are looking up now!

Now I say I’m not sure if it is good news because I can’t find anywhere were this is actually written down and I would really like to see it show up on either a Canadian or US government website, that is when I will relax and feel confident that we can enter the US by land.

Taken from our daughter’s deck in North Glenmore.

The mixed dose issue only applies to crossing the border by land since all you need to fly is a negative COVID 19 test, according to what I can see on the government websites.

So folks if you have seen anything in writing or know where to find the most up to date information I would be so happy if you would send me a link to the site, or tell me who to call 🙂

Our grandson found this rock at the campsite, it’s the first time I have seen an actual fossil rock just randomly lying around … they are usually in museums or national parks when I see them.

Until next time …

One More Thing Too Worry About

I know I said I was going to focus on the positives but I did come across all these pictures and thought I needed to tell this story as well … and it is positive because it did end well 🙂

As if it wasn’t enough dealing with forest fires and COVID, a few weeks ago we received an email from our park in Yuma letting us know that a serious storm had gone through and done a lot of damage to the park.  The manager advised that staff would check the outside of peoples site and get in touch with those that had damage by Monday, we didn’t hear anything so we figured we were okay.

 We have a storage shed and our outdoor kitchen on our site and only one tree close by, but we do have park models behind us so there was the danger of flying debris from damaged roofs and decks.

Monday came and we didn’t hear any more but I still wanted to know for sure and then it occurred to me that the park has a Facebook page, so I went onto that and found all of these pictures.

It was very sad seeing all the damage and my heart goes out to those people, most of whom are not even in the park, and many of them are from Canada.

While I didn’t see any pictures of our site, I still really wanted to know for sure that everything was okay so I posted a comment on Facebook (good thing I just deleted my Facebook app and didn’t close down my account!) asking if someone could check on our site.

I did hear back from the resident that posted all these pictures saying she had left the park but hopefully someone else would be able to send a picture.

A week went by and I didn’t hear anything and then the bear scared life out of me and I completely forgot about the storm and our Yuma site.

So I was pleasantly surprised when I got a text message last Tuesday from a neighbour behind us, who I thought was not at the park right now, with a picture of our site and everything is okay 🙂

And an added bonus was seeing that my two bougainvillea have survived for eighteen months with no water.

She did tell me that our shed was narrowly missed by flying debris from the park model beside her.  The roof on that park model’s sundeck blew off and was sent into the golf course in front of the unit.  Another wind gust came a few minutes later, picked up all the debris and flew it backwards over the unit behind us and it all landed just beside our shed.  Phew, that was a close call!

I have no idea how old this Saguaro cactus was but I’m guessing over a hundred years … it’s so sad to see it lose its life to a storm.

Who knows when or if we will be able to go back to Yuma.  We had no choice and ended up with mixed vaccines (Pfizer and Moderna) and since the US Government (and many other countries) do not recognize mixed vaccines as proper vaccines they won’t let us in, even if they do open up the land border 😦  So right now all we can do is wait and hope they change their minds.

Until next time …

Let Me Introduce Piper

Piper is a blonde German Shephard and a much-loved member of our daughters family.

She is two years old and loves to spend her time at the beach diving for rocks.

Our daughter had told us that this was a favourite past time of Pipers but it was hard to appreciate how intense Piper is about it until we spent an afternoon at the beach with her.

She doesn’t mess around, she gets fully under the water and stays down for a long time!

At one point she found a very big rock and had to put in some real effort to get it out of the water and up onto the beach.  On those rocks she would dive a few times, get them closer into shore, and then use her paws to work them up on the beach.

The three boys would sometimes throw the rocks sitting close to the water’s edge back in so that she had something to find, but Piper is smart and would take her biggest rocks way up higher on the beach so that they didn’t throw those ones back in.

By the time we were ready to leave the beach Piper had successfully cleaned the rocks out of a big portion of the lake 🙂

Too bad she isn’t allowed on the beaches in the park as there are some areas that would benefit from having the rocks removed from the water.

I think this was her biggest rock and it went way up high on the beach!

 Until next time …

The Unbelievable Beauty of Nature

I skipped my walk the day after my meeting with the bear, but Sunday I put on my big girl pants, gathered up my courage, waited an extra half hour so that it was lighter, and out I went.  I also took my bear bells and bear spray with me.

Each day I felt a little better about going out and today god rewarded me for my efforts with an absolutely stunning view 🙂

I knew he had something in mind when I first walked out the door …

 At first I thought the fire smoke must have rolled back in but I couldn’t really smell it and I could see blue sky.  I hurried down to the lake and just stood in awe of the beauty of nature!

I really think the bear is gone, there have been no more sightings, but I still think my bear spray and bells will continue to come along with me on my morning walk.

Until next time …

Yesterday Started With Such Promise!

I have lots of pictures that I want to share but most of them seem so trivial to what is going on around us.  We are surrounded with forest fires and our area has become a hotspot for COVID which has meant wearing masks again and going back to some of our old restrictions.  I don’t want to trivialize these very major life events, and I’m not, they are in our life and we are dealing with them every day, but I think for my own sanity I am going to write blogs about some of the lighter aspects of life … but I do have to acknowledge the smoky skies we have been living in.

Unicorn chillin on the lake

My views on my morning walks have been obliterated with smoke.

Yesterday morning the smoke began to lift and I was treated to the most amazing sunrise I have seen in almost a month!

Yup I know it’s not what you were expecting but to me it was absolutely beautiful because there was something other than smoke in the sky.

It always amazes me what people will leave on the beach overnight … way to trusting if you ask me!

I was almost finished my walk when I altered my path slightly and walked through our site, out the back, around a berry bush, and came face to face with the biggest … and yes I mean huge … had to be a least ten feet tall … BEAR!

He, or maybe she, was less than six feet away from me.  Fortunately for me he was as scared of me as I was of him … well I’m pretty sure I was more scared of him … and he took off across the grass.  I was paralyzed with fear but did eventually think to pull out my phone and get a picture.  I had to take a picture because I was pretty sure nobody would believe me, but I was shaking like crazy and still scared that he might turn around and come back at me, so it is not a good picture but here it is …

That big brown spot in the middle is the bear and he is standing with all four legs flat on the ground.

At that point I ran back to Maxx to grab the bear spray and wake hubby up.  We carefully wandered around looking for the bear but never did find him so hopefully he has left the park.  I do have to admit I was to chicken to go out this morning but I’m going to try and put on my big girl pants and go out tomorrow morning … well that’s my plan 🙂

As if that wasn’t enough drama, later that night I had just fallen asleep when I was woken up by sirens and hubby informing me that they had evacuated two more communities north of us.  Twelve fire trucks went by and for the next four hours there was a steady stream of cars heading south out of the evacuated areas.  My prayers are with all of them and the emergency personnel fighting the many fires in our province.  My nephew has been evacuated from his home, which he had just purchased, and his house is now surround by fire.  We are just praying that everything will be okay.

Since I don’t want to end this blog on an unhappy note I am going to share a picture our daughter took at Giant Cedars Boardwalk rest stop near Revelstoke along Highway 1.

I just love this picture, I think it would look awesome on a wall!

Until next time …

Othello Tunnels

Last Monday dawned clear and bright and sadly it was time to say farewell to our son and daughter-in-law and head home.

While it is less than a four hour drive home it ended up taking us about seven hours.  We made a stop at the cemetery to visit hubby’s dad, another stop in Chilliwack to top up with fuel and pick up some sandwiches for lunch, and then a stop at the Othello Tunnels outside of Hope, BC for a long awaited hike through the tunnels.

We have stopped at the tunnels many times over the years with both our children and grandchildren.  It was always a great place to let the kids run off some energy and have lunch.  Some years ago we stopped for a hike and found the tunnels closed and in need of repair so we were happy to hear they had reopened this year.

We ate our lunch beside the river.

The tunnels were constructed in 1914 and were part of a southern railway route constructed by the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR), called the Kettle Valley Railway (KVR). The KVR connected the west coast to the city of Nelson, BC and, if you have been reading my blog for some time, you may remember we have ridden our bikes many times over a section of the KVR in Kelowna.

The KVR line was in service until a major washout occurred in 1959 and it was abandoned in 1961. In 1986 the tunnels became part of Coquihalla Canyon Provincial Park’s trail system.

Walking over the bridges in the Othello Tunnels area, it becomes evident how difficult it must have been to build this railway. There are sheer rock cliffs ending in violently rushing water in a remote area where, over a 100 years ago, it seems impossible to believe they would have the equipment to build a railway.

Workers used a suspension footbridge to traverse the Coquihalla Canyon during construction of the stronger railway bridges.  Bridging the Coquihalla River was no easy task and it had to be crossed twice in a short distance.

 

 

Work was done completely by hand using the suspension footbridge, ladders, and ropes.  Rock drillers hand drilled holes to set explosives to blow up rock.  Drillers had to quickly scramble up ropes to the top of the canyon to get out of the way before the blast.

Since the canyon was inaccessible to machinery, workers had to excavate mostly by pick and shovel.  It is said not a single worker was killed during the construction of the tunnels.

The tunnels are called “The Quintette Tunnels” but there are actually only four tunnels not five.  One of the tunnels was “daylighted” on one side creating a window and the illusion of an extra tunnel.

After walking through tunnel four, the Othello Tunnels route abruptly ends, although the trail keeps going all the way to the town of Hope, B.C. another 8km south.  We decided not to continue on but instead turned around and headed back to the parking lot.

Due to the canyon’s rugged look, many popular films have been filmed in this area.  The most notable was Rambo First Blood where the cliff above Tunnel two was used in the spectacular cliff jump scene. Other movies that filmed scenes around Othello Tunnels include Fire With Fire, The Adventures of Yellow Dog, and Shoot To Kill.

We really enjoyed our time at the tunnels and highly recommend it as a stop if you are on your way to the lower mainland of BC.

Our last stop of the day was at the Penask Summit brake check where many years before our son, daughter-in-law, and grandson put up a bird house, so of course we had to check and see if it was still there … and yes it was 🙂

Until next time …