Monday, September 30, 2013


Well, we arrived back to home base on a fairly decent day but that didn’t last long.  We’ve had lots of rain and even found a new spot for water to come into the motor home.  Never did figure out just how the water was entering through or around the front air conditioning unit but after trying several things, the leak appears to have stopped. 
Aileen was to the dentist and had a chipped tooth fixed this morning and she did it without any anesthetic.   That wouldn’t be me!!   We did a bunch of errands around town and managed a short visit with Bev who was on her day off.  Her partner has been off sick for several weeks so Bev has been the only groomer at the SPCA and has been very busy.

It has been too wet to even think about geocaching but Jim and I went out for a couple hours this afternoon and Aileen and I have an appointment with our respirologist to discuss our CPAP machines.  Following that the car has a service scheduled over in Vernon, an hour and a quarter away.  At least we aren’t bored sitting around staring at the walls. 
PS.  There was snow on the hills around today.  Hopefully, we'll be gone before it arrives down here.

I was out between rain showers the other day playing with Jacquie's flowers.  The bee and the fly sitting on it were too cold to move.

This is how I shot the picture. Note the water droplet hanging off the bottom.

This is cropped, enlarged and rotated, can you see the picture in the water drop?

How about now?  Lawn swing and corner of the house.

Thursday, September 26, 2013


Ione Falls is at a rest area between Nakusp and Galena Bay.  We made a brief stop there this morning.

After several very rainy days in the West Kootenay, we made it back to the Shuswap after a longer than usual driving day for us.  There was a free ferry ride in the middle and we only had to wait a few minutes before boarding.  We almost didn’t get on as the boat was pretty full but after initially stopping us, they sent us down to board.  We had to go cross ways across the back of the boat to fit on though then they had to inch us ahead so they could close the safety gate. 
I was surprised how busy the Trans Canada Highway was and even though traffic was moving along above the speed limit for the most part, there were still those idiots that had to risk lives passing dangerously.  We’ve been spoiled the past month or so with the quieter roads we have traveled.
We will be busy over the next few days.  Aileen has a tooth repair appointment on Monday, the car and motor home both need oil changes, I have some banking issues to follow up on and the list goes on.  I still have to come up with a starting plan for heading south before we cross the border as early as October 13th.  The motor home needs a good cleaning inside and out while we are parked here too.
I had hoped to get in a couple days of geocaching while in the West Kootenay but the weather wouldn’t co-operate.  We spent the past two nights at Lemon Creek RV Park and Lodge and we were the only RV there.  One cabin was occupied though.  I got out on Tuesday afternoon and found 23 caches.  Wednesday it rained hard all morning and off and on in the afternoon so we took a drive along the Slocan River back roads in the morning and up the highway to Slocan, Silverton and New Denver in the afternoon.  We popped into a few stores and boy, it is a lot more expensive to buy groceries in those towns. 

Monday, September 23, 2013


We're still having lots of rain here along Kootenay Lake.  This afternoon, I took my macro lens out looking for fungi and mushrooms of which there are many.

This bright orange one is quite ugly and breaks up very quickly after bursting out of the ground

Can you tell it was wet?

Some of the smaller ones are very delicate

This one is just starting to push its way out of the ground

This type was fascinating.  It is called a Coral Mushroom by some but is actually a  Clavarioid Fungi.  This one is about 8x10 inches and growing on the end of a downed log.  Update! When I took Aileen to see these Clavarioids the next morning, they were nearly all gone.  I couldn't tell if it was human or animal that took them but the pieces left were still prime so they didn't just disintegrate.

This Clavarioid was growing along the underside of a fallen tree.  They are so dainty.  Click on the image to enlarge it so you can enjoy the beauty.

This campground is overrun with Bittersweet.  This imported vine has purple flowers with yellow streaks and is quite attractive.  The berries apparently can be poisonous.

We are planning to move along tomorrow as we've more or less worn out this wet scenery.  I made it to the hot springs three times but the drive was getting monotonous especially in the dark after enjoying the pools.  The weather doesn't appear to be any better where we are heading but we'll see.  I'm hoping to get closer to some geocaches.  I suspect we won't have any internet now until we get to the Shuswap, probably on Thursday.

Sunday, September 22, 2013


We've run into a few days of mostly rain so it has slowed us down a lot.  We're parked in Kokanee Creek Provincial Park between Balfour and Nelson, BC.  With all the rain and heavy cloud, we've had to run the generator a few hours each day to keep the batteries charged so our CPAP machines keep on working all night for us.  We've had some pretty heavy downpours over the past couple days. Fortunately we are into the half price season for BC seniors so it is only costing $14 per day to stay and there are free hot showers. We've been up to Ainsworth Hot Springs a couple times but Aileen only went in the once.  They are a little too warm for her.  
This morning we took a drive over to Castlegar stopping along the way to visit daughter Bev's friend Mona.  I left Aileen visiting while Mitzy and I went and found three geocaches.  Mitzy rolled in something foul so I had to take her down to the river and give her a partial bath.  Neither of us liked it! Aileen gave her a proper bath when we got home later.
Our current plan is to stay here until Wednesday when the weather is supposed to improve, then we will start heading for Salmon Arm most likely arriving back in the Shuswap on Thursday.  We had planned on more time in the Kootenays but since the weather isn't co-operating, we might as well be back at home base working on the things needing done before we head south.   We could cross the border as early as October 13th.  We don't have a route south selected yet so that needs some thought put into it soon.

The Kokanee, which are a landlocked Sockeye Salmon, are spawning in great numbers in Kokanee Creek.

Unfortunately, the ducks are eating the eggs nearly as fast as the fish are laying them.

Yesterday afternoon we took a walk along the Kaslo River trail which has suffered several washouts in recent flooding.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013


The first nine shots were taken along the highway from the Icefields Center to Rampart Creek

The sloping range is called The Endless Chain

The ice is probably 80-100 feet thick

Looking down on the highway from the viewpoint on the big loop hill

The moon peeking over the mountain

Last light on the peaks

The rest of the photos were taken on our late evening walk up Johnston Canyon off the Bow Valley Parkway.  It is a nice paved path past a series of waterfalls.

The Lower Falls with the path going into the cave

The viewing platform through the cave

And this is the view you get of the Lower Falls

Lots of suspended walkways to give you a great view and perspective

Just below the Upper Falls is this mineral rich bank with several springs popping out sending water rushing to the creek

And finally, the Upper Falls.  The trail continues for several more kilometers but it was basically dark when we got back to the parking lots as it was.

On checking the forecast for Lake Louise yesterday, that S word was appearing as a possibility.  Well, since most of my team doesn't want to drive in snow, we cut our visit to the Rockies short and drove through Kootenay National Park to Radium Hot Springs.  We are camped in Dry Gulch Provincial Park and the fees are now half price for BC seniors.  This was my second time to be able to get the cheap rate.  When the lady was taking my money for two nights I mentioned that it was only costing me $20 as I'd picked up the dollar coin on the road.  She said well now you just have to pick up a $20 bill and it will be free.  Aileen and I went for a walk along the highway after supper and I happened to glance down and there was a $20 bill laying in the ditch!!!
We went to the hot springs last night for an hour and I enjoyed the 102F pool and the 106 hot tub for a short while.  Aileen spent all her time in the 82F lap pool.  We were awoken during the night with rain on the roof and it really rained all morning.  The forecast did say periods of rain so it wasn't a total surprise but not that nice just the same.  Our high was 9.9C which is about 50F.  We could see snow on the mountain across the valley tonight when it finally cleared.  We spent part of the afternoon wandering around Invermere.  We were looking for a waterproof but breathable light jacket for Aileen and finally got one at Mark's.  There were several interesting stores we poked around in.  Its a nice little town.  Tomorrow we'll probably move down the road a little further looking for another provincial park.

Monday, September 16, 2013


One morning we hiked up the Parker Ridge trail.  It isn't too strenuous a hike and affords some fabulous views.  It is located a few kms south of the Athabasca Icefields.  This photo was taken from the parking lot.

Getting some elevation.  You can see the highway down below.

Up on the ridge.

For the best views of the Saskatchewan Glacier, its lake and the start of the river, just keep walking along the level following the path to the southeast.

We were camp at Rampart Creek Campground and two nights in a row I went about 5 or 6 kms north on the highway to a little wildlife viewing area/picnic area and spotted a mountain goat up on the mountain side.  Actually there were two the second night but one was really far up the hill.  I cropped this heavily from a 400mm shot.

Yesterday, we moved camp down to Castle Mtn Campground between Lake Louise and Banff on the Bow Valley Parkway.  Coming past Bow Lake, which is just south of Bow Pass and Peyto Lake, the reflections were marvelous!

Further down the highway, just before Lake Louise, Hector Lake wasn't too bad either.

Hector Lake

I had been having issues with my main camera, a Canon 5D Mark 2 for a couple days and in fact we aborted our hike at Peyto Lake when the camera refused to work.  After cleaning lens and camera contacts, I was able to sometimes jolly the camera into taking a picture.  The shot above is the second last photo it took.  Then it really got into some kind of snit.  Not only is the camera hooped, my main lens, the 24-105, also is refusing to work.  They will have to both be sent to Canon in Toronto to see if they are economically repairable.
After agonizing and researching, we drove into Calgary this morning and visited Robinson's Camera Store.  I came away with a new Canon 6D with a new 24-105 lens.  I'm hoping my old 5D can be repaired so I can use it for wildlife by permanently mounting my 100-400mm lens.  My older Canon Rebel just doesn't cut it for shooting wildlife because so often the light is low and the camera doesn't produce good images at more than 200 ISO.  I hope that's not too technical for everyone.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


Today is our last day in Jasper.  We're going to move down the Icefields Parkway into Banff National Park, most likely to Rampart Creek Campground.  We will probably not have any internet until we get to Lake Louise in a few days.  My laptop is giving me lots of grief.  It seems to have a chronic over heating problem and the computer specialist in Salmon Arm where I took it last spring told me that is the main reason he sees for HP laptops to expire.  I'm thinking I'd better buy another laptop before we head south as I live and breathe this thing.  I was trying to edit photos for today's blog and the computer just shut down in the middle of everything.  I already had it propped up on a book to allow air movement as well as sitting on a hard surface.  I decided to give up on the editing and get my last couple weeks of photo files saved to my external hard drive in case this computer totally crashes.  It was really slow doing the transfer so I have the whole computer raised off the platform using a battery charger as well as the book.  When it cooled off more, the speed picked up.  I suppose I will have to make the switch to Windows 8 and the associated learning curve.  I've been very pleased with Windows 7.

An evening drive south of Jasper

Athabasca Falls, can you see the face in the rocks?

Can you see the face now?

Caribou tracks at Medicine Lake.  No we didn't see any but there were lots of signs telling us to watch out for them.

Maligne Lake

Maligne Lake

On the road back from Maligne toward Medicine Lake

Medicine Lake.  There is  large river running in at the other end but nothing out of this end as Medicine Lake drains out the bottom.  The water re-surfaces miles downstream.

Mt Edith Cavell with Angel Glacier on the right

Cavell Lake

We were pretty surprised to have some horses suddenly appear across the lake while we were enjoying the peace and serenity of not a single human sound.  Upon investigation, we found a corral where five horses were kept for trail rides.