Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Revelstoke Lake

What a great weekend at the lake!

We found that a lot of the good camp spots were taken, but were lucky to find a lakefront spot that did not have to be shared.CIMG1070

The weather was a bit unsettled for a day or two, but eventually cleared substantially.CIMG1010

All the leaves were out on the trees, and the spring smells were incredible.  Across the lake in the high country, snow still covers everything, and several glaciers can be seen.CIMG1011

There is lots of available driftwood along the shore for campfires, as long as you pick the stuff that is higher up and has had a chance to dry out.  I did not have to use any of the wood I brought from home, and I did not have to put my chainsaw to use – though others in the area did so.CIMG1025


This was to be Hailey’s first real road trip and also her first camping trip, and also the first time in the 5th wheel.  She moved into the camper, and was soon climbing on everything and making herself right at home.CIMG1042

When it was nice outside, I began to feel a bit sorry for her being stuck inside.  So I got Harley’s harness and adjusted it as small as it would go.  That was still too large for her, but I managed to shrink it a bit smaller, using elastic bands to hold everything in place.CIMG1052

Of course she wasn’t too keen on it at first, but as soon as I took her outside, the distractions out in the real world were such that she forgot all about the harness – and even managed not to get tangled up too badly!  Like Harley, I think she soon realized that the appearance of the harness and getting in to it meant that she was to go outside, which she liked of course.


While she runs around indoors like her tail was on fire, she is so overwhelmed by the new smells and diversions outside, that she took things a bit slower.CIMG1005

It was a bit cool sitting around the campfire, so I thought that I would try slipping her into my jacket to keep her warm.  I expected that would last about 3 seconds of squirming kitten, but she relaxed and spent at least half an hour and hardly moved a muscle.    CIMG1065 One day we went for a drive further up to the head of the lake, and Mica dam.  We started with her in her travel crate, but since we were not towing and there was little traffic, I thought it was a good time to see how she would do being loose in the cab.  Not to worry.  She just explored her way around and found a few new places to rest and sleep.  I just made sure she did not get down by my feet, or in front of the windshield.


With that good performance, she got to go free all the way back home on the final day.

From this first taste of travel and camping, I think she will turn into a first rate traveling companion, as was Harley.     CIMG1023

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Hailey’s First Roadtrip!


After a first tough 9 days back at work, I found myself with 5 days off – which just happened to be over the Victoria day long weekend!  In spite of poor weather reports, it did not take much convincing to hook up and hit the road again.  With Hailey completely comfortable with the run of the house, it was time to see how she would do on the road.

We still had the cat carrier that she had arrived in, so she went back in there to make sure she did not make an unexpected exit, or get into the driving areas.  The short-list of destinations included Abraham lake to the north, or Revelstoke lake to the west.  Since we were low on groceries and cat food (!), it was decided that west would provide the needed shopping opportunities, so west we went after packing up after work.  Temperatures were cool and just above the freezing mark, and snow was falling as we headed out.  I saw a plane that had likely had to turn back as it encountered a serious snow squall over the continental divide.CIMG0988


In the Golden canyon, a big rig shows what happens when going too fast on the tight downhill corners.



CIMG0984CIMG0985CIMG0987CIMG0986The usual Bighorn sheep were roadside just outside of town.

There were of course, more snow showers as we climbed over Roger’s pass.CIMG0989

Hailey slept quietly on the road and was not fazed by her first exposure to the fifth wheel that night as we stopped to visit friends in Revelstoke.  She quickly adapted to the new locations of the ever important food dish and litter box.

In the morning we headed north up the lake, past Revelstoke dam,hoping we were ahead of most of the weekenders.CIMG0991  Alas, most of the good sites accessible with a 5th wheel were already taken – some with unattended rigs, and some that looked as they had been set up on a seasonal basis :-(  CIMG0992

I hope this is not a trend that continues, or more regulation will no doubt follow to prevent this abuse.

But finally, on about our fifth choice, we did find a decent lake front spot, all to ourselves.CIMG0995       As hoped, Hailey made herself completely at home, launching attacks on my feet and hands from all the new hiding places she has discovered.  I’m not sure the furniture will survive the sharp claws and teeth, however.  I adjusted one of Harley’s harnesses down as small as it would go, and put it on her.  It was kind of floppy, but she seemed to think it was a game at least, and was not freaked out by it.    CIMG0997 CIMG0998 CIMG1000 CIMG1001 CIMG1002 CIMG1003 CIMG1004 CIMG1005

The weather has been a mixed bag so far, but that was expected, so the solar panel is not getting overused!

It was a challenge finding a spot to put the TV dish because of the tall trees, but I finally found a spot on a steep little hillside where I could see the TV through the window, and my pvc pipe tripod managed to hold it in position.  Maybe photos on the next installment?

Well, back to enjoying the weekend!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Back in the Salt Mines

CIMG0951  (Video below)

Well, it seems like I have been back at work for a while, earning an honest living so to speak.  It has taken a while to get used to having an alarm clock again, especially when a small cat is constantly walking on it and changing all the settings every day!


I’ve been out in the field most of the time at work, and the weather has been generally nice, so it has not been too hard to take.  Spent a couple days doing duck and waterfowl surveys on various ponds and marshes in Yoho National Park. CIMG0954

Most of the areas are isolated and peaceful, though my waterfowl identification needed a bit of a refresher.  These ones were easy – Canada geese, and the only subjects large and close enough for my camera.CIMG0956

This old warden patrol cabin near one of the ponds was built in 1904, and is still standing, thanks to some restoration work in 1961.CIMG0952CIMG0955

The area has been burned over recently by a wildfire, but I was lucky to be able to observe a pair of white-tailed deer searching the area for the first green shoots of the season, and also spotted a couple of mountain goats on a distant slope that day.

One of the survey locations is not so peaceful, being close to the Trans Canada highway and the CPR mainline.  Getting to the location required me to walk across a railroad bridge and down the track a ways.  The day before, I had seen grain scattered on the tracks, CIMG0959

and large bear droppings – full of grain.  CIMG0958

On this particular day, the creator of the bear droppings was standing on the rails daring me to come any further.  Not being in the mood to wrestle a bear on a trestle, I left him in peace, but when I came back later, it was with a shotgun.

He gave me no further problem, and no I didn’t shoot him or even see him again.

Unfortunately, the same day one of my colleagues got called to pick up a bear that had been hit and killed on the highway.  Much to her displeasure, she found it was not quite dead, and had to finish the job.

Later that day we had to find a way to dispose of a dead moose on the far side of the river.  It had to be moved away to avoid potential negative bear/canoe interactions.  Access required us to canoe across the river with all our gear, including shotguns once again.  Seems like it was just a shotgun kind of day.  After much deliberation, and watching over our shoulders for the approach of a large grizzly, or the local pack of wolves, the moose was cut into smaller pieces that could be moved to a safer location.  Just another average day of working in the park.  It must be almost summer!


The railroad graffiti artists are busy, ‘decorating’ rail cars, but usually their work is somewhat limited in scope.  But these two cars were both almost completely painted – with matching designs!


Although the weather has been generally nice, there are always these spring snow flurries to contend with. And it has still been dipping below the freezing mark at night more often than not.

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And higher elevation areas are still entirely snow covered.  CIMG0944

As they say here, “Eight months of winter, and four months of poor skiing!”CIMG0945

Back at home, the newest member of the RV blogger team Hailey has not been in either of the campers yet, but she has showed a lot of interest in the creation of the blog.  Operating a keyboard or pen in her presence is done at your own risk, with severe likelihood of attack.

CIMG0950 Here’s a short video of Hailey doing what she does best!


I should have 5 days off this weekend, and hope to get out camping somewhere, but the weather reports all call for rain and lousy weather, so we’ll leave that decision till later.  But if I do head out, it will be the very first trip for Hailey. I’m sure she will do just fine!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

It's been a slow time at home with not much worth blogging about. I've decided to at least temporarily re-join the working world for a time, while the next trips are planned. I expect to be around here for the summer at least, but with some decent long weekend trips to break up the routine, and keep all travel systems in good shape.
We did chase one small grizzly bear out of town a few days ago, but he was not really close enough for any good photos. Keeping the bears and people from killing each other is basically what my job consists of, so it can be very exciting at times, with long periods of boredom!
He is a little guy that we collared and tagged last year when he was hanging out around the campground with his sibling.
I'm sure we will be seeing lots more of him over the next few months - with the real possibility for some overtime involved!

But there is some big news to announce - with lots of photo potential.
I have just started the long training process for my new travel partner, sidekick, model, co-pilot, companion, and chief mouse catcher.

Meet Hailey!

She was selected after an exhaustive process, where she demonstrated an innate ability to be extremely cute while ripping skin off my hands, running three directions at once, and springing straight into the air at random times, and terrorizing various stuffed toys!

She has very big boots to fill though. Any long-term readers will of course remember Harley, who spent years traveling all over with me, including all over the south-west US, Northwest territories and several trips down Baja. He often posed on signs of the places we visited, and certainly seemed to enjoy life on the road, as evidenced by the photo in the header, and one down the side where he was watching whales in Mexico!Harley has now been keeping cat-heaven mouse-free for about 18 months, so I thought it was time to perhaps find another photogenic partner to pose on all the signs and scenic spots on our travels. If she meets all the probationary requirements, as I'm sure she will, you will no doubt be seeing a lot more of her, and watching as she grows into a full size model.
She passed her first test with flying colours - a short road trip of 2-3 hours with hardly a wimper.

Stay tuned for lots more of Hailey!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

You know how, when you are first waking up, especially if it is dark, you have to figure out where the heck you are? I've been doing that a lot the past few days, or if it's dark; trying to remember which side of the bed to get out of. It happens a lot when on the road, however then you are always in the same bed - just the scenery outside the window changes regularly. You wake up and have to look outside to see if there is an ocean, or desert, a redwood forest, a river, or a Walmart parking lot ;-(
Back at home I have been surprised to drift awake to see tall spruce and pine trees outside, one day bathed in bright sunlight, the next covered in fresh snow! But looking the other way where there is a window in the camper, there is just a closet now.

Even though I outran most of the stormy weather on my way back here, it appears that I have brought the cooler temperatures with me.

I washed the truck, only to find it looking like this the next morning.
The fifth wheel is back in it's 'between trips' parking spot, but the furnace is on low to keep it from freezing up until these unseasonably cool temperatures moderate.
The old hot tub is half full of water, but so far has refused to start up after taking the winter off. It is now about 16 years old, so I guess I should be glad that it has lasted this long, but I just invested several hundred in a new pump and controls recently, so it would be nice to recoup my investment.
The internet dish is shivering in it's new spot in front of the house, but working well.Most of the snow around here has now melted, though there are still patches in the bush, or where it was plowed into piles during the winter.
But not far up the road towards Jasper is Mosquito Creek campground. I went for a drive up there a day or so ago and found that there is still around 2-3 feet on the ground, and lots more where it has been plowed up.

The campground is 'open' all year, and a central area is plowed out on occasion, but don't even think of trying to get around the loop where the campsites are.
It's still pretty much winter up there.