One fine Day!

10 Oct

Having crossed from the US into Canada we made our way to Osoyoos to stay at NKMip RV Resort next to Lake Osoyoos. The park is gearing up for the winter and the arrival of the snowbirds from the cooler wetter regions. Osoyoos is classed as a desert area and receives very little rain through the course of a year, it does get cold in winter but not as significantly cold as other areas therefore it has become a popular destination.

Next morning we were able to stop into the local insurance office and complete the documents to get our registration decal for another year. We drove out of Osoyoos along the Silkameen River Valley where the harvest of fruit and wine grapes is in full swing. All along the roadside fruit stands were advertising there goods, we pulled in to one and bought tomatoes, plums, potatoes and squash enjoying being able to buy fresh and local.

We climbed high into the mountain passes, the road twisting and rising ever higher, over Sunday pass at 1282 meters and down again into the valley to stay overnight in Manning Provincial Park. This was one of our very first destinations when we originally visited BC now 5 years ago, this is the landscape we fell in love with and we were so pleased to back once more in the mountains, even if it was a bit damp!

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A short walk from the camp site at the Lightening Lake camp ground bought us to the lake itself. The camp ground will close for the winter in a few days time so we shared this vast empty place with a few other hardy campers and the odd water fowl.

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Overnight rain left huge clouds draping the mountains but as we drove along the highway the sun began to break through and a tiny piece of blue sky grew larger above us. We had both forgotten just how huge the mountains are here and how tall the trees are too. Sad however that the pine beetle is destroying vast tracts of the forests. In places young new trees can be seen and the yellow autumn colours of deciduous trees. These have filled in some of the gaps where pines have been cleared.

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The blue sky did not last long however. We crossed the Fraser River and entered the valley where Harrison Mills is situated and our friends Alan and Sue have their home, once again we were in thick grey cloud. If a warm greeting could have dissolved the cloud it certainly would not have lasted long. It was lovely to see our friends again, we were settled into a site behind their home on the Tapadera estate and were soon drinking tea and swapping stories. They took us a tour of the park and a stroll down to the river where we saw a few bald eagles, in a few weeks the area has an Eagle Fest as the bald eagles return to feast on the salmon battling up river to spawn.

On Friday morning we all took a drive to the spawning grounds just a mile or two up the road. An artificial channel has been constructed to help support and increase the salmon population. IMG_0001

The returning salmon are counted, sorted and two females to every male allowed to enter the winding shallow channel. As the channel rises small weirs have to be negotiated by the fish who throw a tremendous amount of energy into getting over the obstacle against the current of water, this mimics the natural features in the rivers and streams. As they progress the females lay eggs in the gravel beds which are fertilised by the males, when their tasks are complete both adults have completed their life cycle and die. The fish who are not passed in to the artificial flow of water are allowed to continue along the creek to natural spawning grounds. The eggs hatch in the spring and the young fish will stay in the local rivers and creaks until it is time for them to make their way to the ocean, eventually returning about 2 years later to complete the cycle.

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The water, as I said is fairly shallow and this guy jumped in the wrong direction, almost onto Roberts feet, thrashed around for a few seconds realising the error of his ways and jumped back into the water!

The conservation efforts put in place over the last few years appear to be taking effect and salmon figures are rising, the day we were at the spawning grounds around1400 fish had been counted in – and this is just the very beginning of the season.

Just a little way down the road we also looked around a hatchery where salmon and trout are grown on for release into the rivers next spring.

All day Friday, Chief Grey Cloud was hanging around the mountains, it was not just dull but damp and cold. Alan assured us they really did live amongst the mountains and Saturday morning the clouds lifted to prove it.

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We drove out to the small town of Agassiz calling on the way at a goat dairy to buy some lovely fresh cheese. The local visitor centre also houses a small museum where we browsed an P1200005assortment of displays from the towns past. After lunch in the local cafe we managed a stroll before heading back to Tapadera.

 

 

 

 

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Sue cooked us a lovely meal on Saturday evening, fresh local salmon – of course!

Overnight the clouds descended once more and rain came with them too. Having said our goodbyes we retraced our drive along the valley picking up highway 3.  This time we stayed overnight at a small Provincial Park, Bromley Rock where we just squeezed in a site overlooking the river.

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We are now back in Osoyoos ready to cross the border once more into Washington State, we hope to head south now before the weather turns any colder bringing the inevitable snow. Our brief visit to BC may have been a little damp but still enjoyable. Great landscape and great company a winning combination.

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One Response to “One fine Day!”

  1. Elizabeth October 11, 2011 at 1:58 am #

    Glad I wasn’t there when the fish jumped at dads feet, you know me, I would have been up one of those mountains, quick as a flash !!!!

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