Forty-two degrees when I get up and the sun has just risen, casting sunlight through the trees in long skinny patches.
Today, after breakfast, we head to the Galena Trailhead near the path from Rosebery to Slocan Lake. The Galena Trail is the old N & S Railway bed, so it is a mostly level and easy hike. A portion of this trail heads east and then south along Slocan Lake to New Denver, and that is where we will walk today.
After parking at the trailhead parking space, we get our cameras and hiking sticks, and are soon ready to go. We first traverse a cedar forest, rather dark and spooky. As we emerge from the cedar forest, we cross Wilson Creek on an old railroad bridge near its confluence with Slocan Lake. When the view opens up, we can see the lake and what appears to be the remains of a once commercial pier.
Slocan Lake and the railroad were instrumental in the moving of silver, lead, and zinc ore from the mines to freight steamers in the 1890’s. Past the pier, the trail bends to the south and is a straight shot along the lake most of the way to New Denver. A great variety of trees on either side create a canopy over the trail.
Looking west, the lake can be seen in glimpses through the dense trees, while the other side of the trail slopes steeply upward toward the highway, also obscured by trees, where we can hear occasional traffic. Another mile and we find a pathway down to the rocky gravelly beach.
We sit on a sun-bleached log to share a trail bar and admire the view of the lake with the mountains of Valhalla Provincial Park across from us.
It is so pleasant here, we are reluctant to head back, but other activities beckon.
Along the way we stop to watch and try to take photos of a woodpecker that is busily throbbing away on a log not far off the trail. Amazing how fast a woodpecker’s head can move. On we go, stopping occasionally for a few more photos. I am especially enjoying the first colors of autumn.
When we are in the midst of the dark cedar forest, a sound and movement catches my attention. Clifford has already seen the bear cubs, but does not said anything until one of them takes off in the direction we are headed. My inclination is to head straight the other direction to the lake shore, walk along the beach, and take the much more traveled pathway from the lake up to the Galena Trailhead. However, Clifford keeps us steady on the trail and the young bear ahead of us soon gallops back to his sibling deep in the woods.
We are soon at the trail head and I am glad that we don’t have to walk all the way back to camp from here, as I am tired out from this easy two-and-a-half mile hike. It is a concern to me that my endurance has declined so much this past year. Back at camp I take a shower, clean out the coolers, then enjoy a cup of coffee as I write in my journal, moving my chair from one patch of sun to the next as each disappears into tree shadows. Before the last sun-patch goes away, I get out the flute and play for a bit. A campfire extends my time outside and I peel potatoes for dinner by firelight, not wanting to waste any of the heat being generated.
We enjoy mashed potatoes, the last of the broccoli, and kipper snacks (we are getting low on food) for dinner as we listen to old-time pop music on the Canadian radio. What a great day!
Thursday September 11: Chilly this morning, 34 degrees, but a gorgeous blue sky. I will need to buy more wood soon, but luckily, the neighbors left some, so I have a great campfire – warmed by the flames on one side and warmed by the sunshine on the other. Read a bit more of the “Course” – the text on fear being a lack of love. I would say my fear of grizzly bears has little to do with whether or not I love them. Take that guy in Alaska – or was in Canada – who loved the grizzlies right up to the moment they ate him. Hmmm….. Perhaps a glossary would be helpful, as my understanding of some words is obviously not the same as the writer of this grand document.
Since we are headed to New Denver again today, I need to wash my hair and decide to do so right by the campfire, as it is too chilly away from it. Clean hair deserves a clean body, so heat more water and have a quick shower (outdoors behind shower curtains). Clean head to toe and off we go to New Denver.
The internet at the sandwich shop gives us a chance to get caught up on business while we enjoy our Rueben sandwiches.
We decide to find a different falls that we see marked on the map: Kane Creek Falls. Kane Creek is not far from New Denver on Highway 31A. The turnoff is not well-marked, but we find it, only to discover after a mile in that it has become an ATV-only road and we will not be driving in to see Kane Creek Falls.
Back at camp we manage to scrounge more wood from vacant campsites for a campfire. Later, when the forest service guy comes around with fresh tubs of wood, I buy one so I will have enough to last until we leave.
Friday September 12: A chilly morning with an overcast sky and a warm bed causes us to sleep in. But it doesn’t really matter, because we don’t have to go anywhere and do anything on any schedule. I start with the campfire and my hot cup of tea. I reread the “Course” on fear trying to get a better understanding of it, but it is still not resonating with me. Play the flute an hour – if I keep it up, I should start sounding pretty good for a beginner. Hike up Wilson Creek a ways, but the trail gets quite rugged and I don’t have my hiking sticks, so head back. After my experience trying to hike to Wilson Falls, I am being a bit more cautious about pushing myself, especially when I am off by myself. I can get more of the photos I am looking for closer to camp, anyway. Autumn colors are starting to show themselves, even in the cedars right around our campsite.
Clifford continues his projects, which on this trip involve his ham radio set-up, as well as studying genetics in connection with his research for CI.
As the afternoon chill comes around, I head inside to tackle some paperwork that I brought with me. After dinner and cleanup, I read a really good article in the Outdoor Photographer magazine on focus. I am always happy to learn something new to improve my skills. Before I know it, the yawns overtake me and I head to bed, while Clifford stays up to continue working on his projects. Another great day in British Columbia!
First stop on Highway 6 north is Summit Lake Provincial Park located along the shore of a lovely mountain lake. It is very pretty there, especially those sites that are right on the water’s edge. Maybe this would be a possibility for us next summer. But for right now, we are happy to stay at Rosebery.
Our next stop is a forest service camp a ways off the highway: Box Lake aptly named, as one does feel a bit boxed in there. The road is narrow, the camp is dark, the sites are not very level, and the lake is small. Good for fisherfolk, but not so good for Pony campers like us.
On to Nakusp, which is located along Upper Arrow Lake. It is one of the larger towns in this part of British Columbia, not so much catering to tourists as New Denver, but serving the larger population of the area. We get ice and groceries at a good-size market there.
A lovely Japanese garden runs along the length of the lakeside portion of Nakusp, a testimony to the Japanese people who lived in this region since the early 1900’s, but who were treated poorly during the Second World War. We spend some time there walking through the gardens and along the shore.
On the way back to Rosebery, we decide to take a little detour and head up the forest road on the other side of Wilson Creek to see if we can find Wilson Falls. Arriving at the trail head, we take hiking sticks and light rain gear, as it looks like rain could move in before we return.
The beginning of the trail is level through a lovely dense deciduous forest. Piece of cake. But then, the landscape changes and we begin a steep upward ascent over roots and rocks on the trail through a spruce forest. Not nearly so pretty and much more of a hike.
I am finding myself getting quite winded. Not a good sign, but then downhill and I catch my breath and heart-rate is back to normal until the next steep upward climb. I have been an active hiker most of my life, and especially in my 60’s, but again I am winded and my heart-rate is elevated. The wind comes up and my hair is blowing in my face, as I had not planned to hike today and had not tied it up or back. This is not good. So, even though we can hear the falls and catch glimpses of it through the dense trees, we decide not to take the next downhill section of trail. It only means that much more uphill on the way back. If I could have taken my time, I think I would have been okay, but we are pushing a bit because of the time of day and the gathering clouds. This trail will not be a good one to be on if it gets wet and slippery. I hate to miss seeing and taking photos of the falls, but wisdom prevails and we head back with Clifford carrying my small backpack and one of my cameras. I have to stop often to rest until we reach level ground again. I am very grateful to reach the car in the now steady rain. I don’t feel so great as we drive back to Rosebery, but as the evening carries on, I begin to recover from our adventure and build a campfire to extend my outdoor time for today.
We end the day with a good dinner as we listen to the Canadian radio station which is airing a program about the Beatles. In spite of falling short of Wilson Falls, it has been a good and interesting day here in British Columbia.
Camping at Cabin City – June 29 – July 2, 2014
Clifford left on Friday to set up camp at Cabin City, luckily getting the spot we had had before that we liked, even though there were a lot of other campers here. He came ahead of me as he wanted to set up and participate in the ham radio field day on Saturday. He had a good time in spite of the rain and learned a lot about field day. There may be some interesting correlations with the chemtrail spraying and the ham radio signal quality and strength which would also apply to such things are HAARP frequencies, electromagnetic communications and weather control.
Since I’m still working at the store (Rocky Mountain Organics in Wallace, Idaho) I was not able to join him until Sunday evening. When I arrived, he had just gotten a campfire going – very nice, as the evenings do cool off and it had been rainy here much of the time since he arrived. Just as we got ready to have dinner, it started to rain again, but luckily it was short-lived and we were able to revive the campfire and enjoy heading out again. As the sun reached low to the horizon, the color through the overcast moisture-laden air created an unusual but lovely ambient color.
Monday was a gorgeous day… a wonderful sky with no chemtrails to mar the deep blue. An afternoon hike cross-country from our camp was sweet with the many blooming wild flowers: trillium, daisies, thistle, bluebells, buttercups, honeysuckle and others that I don’t their names.
Clifford even picked a little bouquet of daisies for me which brightened our picnic table for the duration of our stay.
In the evening I played my cello outside, to the delight of the neighboring campers whose little daughter was learning to play the cello. As the sun went down, cool air moved in and another campfire warmed our evening.
Tuesday proved to be another gorgeous day.
We drove up the road and parked at the trailhead along Rock Creek, which might be more aptly called Brush Creek. Even though our entire hike was along the creek, we seldom saw it due to the dense brush. As we hiked, we saw signs of wildlife: elk and deer tracks in the muddy spots on the trail and recent bear scat and many overturned rocks, a bear diligently foraging for ants. I sang a little bear song and when the thimbleberry became especially dense, Clifford got out his harmonica and played a few tunes. I have never seen so much thimbleberry; it was thick and tall, frequently as tall as me, obscurring the trail. Hard hiking for me, but at least the trail was relatively level.
I especially enjoyed the many wildflowers. In addition to the variety seen yesterday, there was also brilliant red Indian paint brush, honey suckle, delphinium just beginning to bloom, and many others.
Once we were satisfactorily hot and sweaty from hiking, we found a shady spot under a big old douglas fir where we found seat-size needle-covered rocks and a respite from the brush and thimbleberry. We enjoyed a little snack of an apple and a tortilla while we rested in the shade. The mountains behind us and across the creek from us are steep and often rock-faced. Clifford talked about some of the experiences of surveyors in these type of conditions, both his experiences as a surveyor and the experiences of others, especially in the 1800’s when the idea from the “powers-that-be” in the east ordered the surveying of the west in preparation for the settling of the land, having no idea that some of this land could not be settled. Some very hardy brave souls had taken on the task of surveying and one has to wonder how many of them were injured or died in the process.
Ice and food is running a bit low, as we had not originally planned to stay until Wednesday, but we come up with a good meal none-the-less and enjoy the evening by the campfire.
Wednesday morning – I make a little campfire, not so much because it is chilly out, but because I enjoy the comfy ambiance of it while I drink a cup of tea and write in my journal. Today we will have to pack up and head home to obligations, but we are grateful for the time we have spent here being in the outdoors and for the time to read, write, think, study, and meditate. And take photos, of course!
With a four-day weekend ahead of us, I get up early enough to have a quiet cup of tea before I start packing for our Pony (pop-up tent trailer) trip to Villanueva State Park, about an hour’s drive to the east of us. Looks like the snow that was forecast has gone somewhere else for the weekend, leaving us with just a chilly breeze, but hey, it is mid-February, and we are going camping.
I have most everything ready by the time Clifford gets up and then it is just a matter of breakfast, dishes, and the other last-minute things before we head out. We make a little detour to the Eldorado market for bread, wine, cheese, and a hot roasted chicken for lunch. After a easy trip down the freeway to Ribera, we follow a state highway that winds its way through the countryside and through several little villages, all of which appear to be suffering from lack of resources. About 12 miles in, we arrive at the Villanueva State Park, a well-kept campground along the Pecos River with trees all around and mesas flanking both sides of the river valley.
We find a nice site where we can park in the sun, sit in the shade, and see the Pecos River from our front door. We get set up and enjoy our now not-so-hot chicken.
This weekend we get to try out our little solar panel for the first time. We are hoping to keep laptops charged and have lights to read and write by in the evenings.
We have hot tea, admire the view, especially the mesa, golden in the light of the setting sun.
In the evening I write in my journal and Clifford studies. After darkness covers the campground, we have dinner and soon it is time to head to bed.
Saturday morning I wake with the light and get out of our warm bed, surprised at how chilly it is. Taking a look at the min/max thermometer, I see that it is 16 degrees outside and 24 degrees inside. Brrrr…… I turn on both burners of the stove and dress warmly before heading down to the outhouse. Once back at the Pony, I debate with myself about having a campfire; I mean, 16 degrees is a bit chilly, but I want to be outside. I make a hot cup of tea and decide ‘yes’ to the campfire. I have been carrying a bag of little twigs and several pieces of firewood in the back of my car all winter just waiting for a chance to have a campfire while on an outing. Soon the campfire warms the air.
The breeze is variable, which means the smoke blows my direction no matter where I sit or stand, making it hard to get set up to write in my journal. I put journal writing aside and just watch the dancing flames, moving from one spot to another, adding a little more wood to the fire now and then, enjoying its warmth and the hot tea.
Once the sunshine reaches us, things change quickly. By the time breakfast is ready, it is warm enough that we sit outside to eat. The sky is a beautiful blue and we are ever so grateful to be here with the river, the mesas, the trees, the breeze, and the blue sky.
We have a plan to get some footage of the Pecos River for the next video we are making to feature Ang’s (my daughter) writing on You Tube. Her short story is entitled “Old River Woman” which is about the Sun River in Montana. I have photos of the Sun River, but since we are not in Montana, video of the Pecos River, which is smaller but with similarities to the Sun River, can provide the visual as well as the sounds of a flowing river. I have the idea that I can wade a ways into the river so as to appear to be the Old River Woman as she is walking out into the river. Well, the Pecos River flows right out of the Sangre de Christo Mountains where there is snow, and remember, it is mid-February even down here in the valley. I wade out several times, only shin-deep, into the painfully cold water. But the vision I have of how this will look is not the way that Clifford videos it. In the end, it is a little adventure, but not a successful video shoot of the Old River Woman.
Getting back to the Pony, dry warm socks are very welcome. After lunch, I spend the rest of the afternoon editing “Opened Gates,” the third book of the second trilogy of the Novels of Shannon, written by Ang. This is a music theory weekend for Clifford; the chemistry and biology books and even the art supplies stayed home.
The evening passes quickly and soon we head to bed.
Sunday: I get up about the same time as yesterday and it is not nearly so cold this morning, but windy. I decide to have a campfire, anyway, and as I sit and stand and walk around to avoid the ever-changing direction of the smoke, taking numerous photos of the flames, the thought occurs to me that taking photos of a campfire is a life lesson. Although I choose the paper and wood, apply the match, and push the button on the camera, I cannot control the movement of the flames and there is an infinite variety to how the photo will turn out. Even when the fire is providing ample opportunities for an interesting photo, if I am not focused correctly, the results will not be great. That is not to say that one must hang onto a certain focus – not at all; change focus, change vantage points, change field of view, experiment, but do it with a mindfulness that brings out the best in any given situation. And be willing to sit back and enjoy the campfire, knowing that flames are constantly in flux and so is life.
Today, even though it is warmer, we eat breakfast inside because of the breeze. I do some editing of Opened Gates before we go for a hike. Today we hike up to the overlook on the mesa to the east.
One interesting spot along the trail is the stone enclosure for the sheep or goats of the people who lived here in times past.
Instead of hiking the loop, the trail along the top of the mesa overlooking the river and campground below, which we have done several times, we go exploring the opposite direction, following a wide path that may have been a road at one time.
Juniper, yucca, and dull reddish rocks dominate the landscape. When we return to the shelter, we have cheese and crackers for a snack before heading back down the trail.
Since I stop to take photos so often, Clifford gets ahead and then waits for me.
After lunch, I continue editing while Clifford keeps on with music theory. Before we know it, the daylight fades, dinner is done, and we head to our comfy bed for a good sleep.
Come Monday morning, our time is more limited, so I forego the campfire. I make tea and write in my journal at the table until Clifford gets up. After breakfast we work on our projects, editing and music theory, for a bit and then head out for another hike. This time we are hiking up the El Cerro Trail, which takes us to the top of the mesa to the west.
This is the first time we’ve been on this trail. Quite a different view and a really cool rocky outcropping where we hang out for awhile. Clifford plays his harmonica while I take photos, loving the beautiful blue skies this morning.
Back at camp, we have lunch and all too soon it is time to pack up and head home.
We are grateful for the chance to get away from the routine, grateful for the great weather, grateful to renew and refresh ourselves by spending time outdoors. Before we arrive home, we are already contemplating where we will go on our next Pony outing.