August 30

August 30

Back Where It All Began

After a 6 hour uneventful drive, we arrived at the Eagle Valley Campground just outside Maple Creek Saskatchewan, where my teaching career began 40 years ago almost to the day. We plan on going into town tomorrow on a nostalgia run, and will post some pictures then.

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Eagle Valley Campground

August 29

August 29

I Can’t Bear Your Harping, Louise

We drove Lucy to the Village, where we parked her for the day and took a shuttle van up to Lake Louise, as the parking both there and at Moraine Lake is a crapshoot at best. We spent some time walking around the lake and through the Chateau Lake Louise. We have been here before, but it never ceases to amaze us just what a Canadian jewel this is:

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Lake Louise – the Victoria Glacier has shrunk 30% since the las time we were here

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Chateau Lake Louise

There was a harpist playing in the lobby of the Chateau Lake Louise:

With discount tickets in hand, we  took a shuttle across the  valley to the Gondola, where we had a great buffet lunch, then took the chairlift to the top. Spectacular view:

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Overlooking the Bow Valley, with Lake Louise centred between this lovely couple

Unfortunately, the hiking trails were closed due to a high level of Grizzly Bear activity. We, of course, did not spot one, so this is the closest we could come:

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BFF (Bear Friends Forever)

We spent some time in the Interpretive Centre, and watched a very interesting Parks Canada short film about how they are trying to balance the needs of the indigenous animals with the growth in tourism and development in the area. We took the lift back down to the main lodge and killed some time with a Kokanee (what else?) while we waited for the shuttle back down to the Village. Fifteen minutes after returning to the campsite, the skies darkened, the thunder rolled and the lightning flashed. It spit rain for 5 minutes, then moved on. How disappointing; we were expecting a much better show.

After a light supper, we went to the Interpretive show at the amphitheatre, which was really well-done and informative, dealing with the two bear species, Grizzly and Black, that live in the Park. One of the highlights was a series of shots taken by movement-sensor cameras stationed in and on the overpasses and  underpasses that have been constructed to facilitate passage for wildlife to cross the busy highways, and which have helped reduce roadkill by about 80%. A couple of the more spectacular shots captured two large grizzlies fighting on an overpass, and a wolf emerging from an underpass with half of an elk’s leg in its jaws.

All in all, a very full but fun day. We returned to the campsite just as the thunder and lightning show returned and the rain began to fall. Off to Maple Creek tomorrow. The weather there is forecast to be sunny and hot for at least the three days we plan to spend there.

August 28

August 28

Life Is For The Birds; A Fish Called Wanda

We left Kelowna under threatening skies at about 8:30 this morning, headed for Lake Louise. Due to road construction and rockslides, combined with the change to Mountain Time and a pit stop in Revelstoke, we arrived about an hour later than we had anticipated. It is a beautiful drive nonetheless:

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Rogers Pass

We are sharing a campsite with a large rig, which we had not expected, but drinks and a bowl full of trail mix made things bearable. We had not sat down for 30 seconds before the Whiskeyjacks appeared en masse.

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Then it was on to the motherlode:

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We went to the nightly presentation at the amphitheatre, where a fish called Wanda educated us about the need to re-design culverts to enable fish migration:

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Wanda and her animal friends

After the presentation, we went to the Village for a few grocery items and ice cream cones, then returned to the campsite as darkness fell. Weather permitting, we plan to take a shuttle up to Lake Louise tomorrow.

August 27

An Exhausting Round of Activities

We spent a couple of hours this morning visiting with a couple we met yesterday, who are in their mid-70’s and spent 15 years travelling much like we are doing, but who have now become permanent residents of the resort here. He was a realtor in Courtenay; small world. We had a bite of breakfast, then went down to feed the turtles and carp; who knew you could feed wild turtles by hand?

Think he's done this before?

Think he’s done this before?

After the feeding frenzy, we passed a pleasant couple of hours reading in a swing chair overlooking the lake. We then made our way to the Rec Centre, where we connected with Matt and Nichol via Facetime, then lazed away the rest of the afternoon in the adult conversation pool:

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Happy Bear!

Tough day. Tomorrow we are heading for the Lake Louise Campground in Banff National Park, about a 6-hour drive, including the change to Mountain Time. We are there for two nights, so will probably not be able to update until I have WiFi access when we reach Maple Creek on Friday.

August 26

Tickleberry, Squeeze Me, Make Me Wine

It rained during the night and did not look very promising this morning, but we had made plans to drive to Penticton to visit with Anne, Nichol’s mother. She took us on a tour, beginning with Tickleberry’s, justly famous for its ice-cream: not only the flavour, but the outrageous size of its portions (a child size is big enough to feed an average adult, and if you order the biggest 4-scooper, they take your picture and put it on their wall.) Our pictures are not on the wall. The rest of the place is an eclectic mix of merchandise (a stuffed toy here, a Buddha there).

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Tickleberry’s

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No words needed

After stuffing ourselves stupid, we proceeded to visit two local wineries. The first, called See Ya Later, was so named because the original owner married a lady from Ottawa and dragged her west to live his dream. She was somewhat less than enthusiastic. One morning, he awoke to find a note which said “Gone back to Ottawa; see ya later”. It is quite the setting; 100 acres of vines high above the valley:

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Overlooking part of the winery and Skaha Lake.

We participated enthusiastically in wine-tasting and left with a few bottles (we’re going to try to save them for Ontario). Then on to the “Blasted Church” winery, where the same process repeated itself. (You can Google the story behind this one.) We took time for some wine and appies overlooking the vineyard; exceplaisant! After returning to Anne’s we left for home as the rain and lightning set in, arriving back around 5:30.

August 25

Turtle and Carp and Quail, Oh My!

After arriving at the Holiday Park Resort around 5:00 and getting set up, we went walkabout to check out this very large and diversified operation (RV sites, rental condos, modular homes) situated on Duck Lake (lovely to look at, but swimming is not advised.) There is quite a selection of local wildlife, including turtles, carp and wandering herds of quail. Quite a potential dinner selection, but we settled for salad instead.

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“We’ll have the Blue-Plate Special please.”

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“We ARE the Blue-Plate Special.”

August 24

Canadian (blueberry) Pickers and Helicopter Parenting

Yesterday Celie got her hair cut and is quite enamored of the result:

Who are you, and what have you done with Celie?

Who are you, and what have you done with Celie?

We followed this with a visit to Ikea. Enough said. Marshall, meanwhile, continues to grow like a weed and gets handsomer every day:

I Am Marshall

I Am Marshall

We spent a pleasant few hours today at Krause’s Farm picking blueberries, watching Holly and Celie experience helicopter flight for the first time (which received rave reviews) and chowing down on Corn Pizza (tastes better than you might imagine).

The family that picks together...

The family that picks together…

We leave tomorrow for Kelowna, hopefully about a 4-hour trip.