Trip up the Coquihala Highway
Posted by theworldofbritishcolumbia at 08:30 AM on October 09, 2008 comments (0)
We left from Vancouver at about 8:30 in the morning onto our trip for thanksgiving holiday in October. It was a fair skies but was a little bit chilly as we headed out on our trip. We got through the traffic on Highway 1, and then we made our way up through Hope, and onto the Coquihala Highway.
We continue to go higher and higher and higher. Before we make it to the summit, we decide that we will check to see if the road that bypasses the toll booth was opened now with the fact that the toll booth is gone now, but nope it wasn't open with the fact that it had been deactivated after a certain point, and it would make it unsafe to do any driving at this level. We run into a fair bit of snow on the sides around the Coquihala Summit.
We then go further, and we reach where the toll booth used to be, but yeah thi wa the first time that we were able ot actually go through this area without having to pay our toll amount, because the toll booth was in the process of getting knocked down, so all of the people now were able to get through this area without having to pay anything.
We continue on further past the toll booth area, and we look at this side road that is off of the highway, and we look down this dirt road. We didn't think that we would attempt it as there was a lot of people on ATV's (all terrain vehicles) that were using this route as well as motorcycles, so we thought that we shouldn't test this route. We continue going by the different rest stops and side roads that have the brake away for those trucks who are not able to tackle the steeper hills. The town of Merritt was really pretty from the distance with all of the leaves that were starting to change color.
We make it into Merritt and decide that we are going to gas up the car before we continue on any further as we didn't want to run out of gas. Merritt is known as the "Mountain Music Festival Capital" as it would say in the arch that goes along Voght road. We finish gasing up, and then we continue on, Hwy 5A that goes onto towards Kamloops.
We go along Hwy 5A until we come across the exit for Walloper Lake, and then we take that exit and we go and look at Walloper Lake. There was also a little bit of snow that was melting around this high elevation lake. This small recreational site is a deactivated campsite, meaning that camping is not permitted in this location, but you're able to picnic, and fish. Jim decided that he was going to try fishing for a little while off of the dock at Walloper Lake. We also noticed that there was a turbine a little ways off of the lake that was able to cleanse some of the water that was in the lake.
Also when we were at Walloper Lake, we saw some smaller marine mammals called martens. They are otter like animals, and we saw them bobbing their little heads up and down. At this point we knew that there was not much point in looking any further for the fish, as these animals would always get it, so we knew that there was no point in trying to continue fishing there.
After we left Walloper Lake, we decided to continue on to look for Lac Le Jeune. This is a really small community off of Walloper Lake Highway. We drove up the dirt road that bordered this large lake park. We were unfortunately not able to officially go into this park, as it is open during the summer months, and then open during the winter, for winter sports, so we didn't really get too far into there.
After we finish at Lac Le Jeune, we decided that we would continue our way onto Kamloops where we would be staying over the Thanksgiving weekend. The first view that you get of Kamloops is the view of their pulp mill with the vivid white smoke that comes out of the pile stack.
We get into downtown Kamloops and head to what we think is the Howard Johnson that we would be staying at, but we learn that it is the one that is in downtown. We approach that hotel, and find out that our room will not be ready until about 3 p.m. so we decided that we would tour around Kamloops, and look for some lunch, since we still hadn't had any lunch. We decided to go to Mr. Mikes which is up in the northern shore of Kamloops. This is one of the only restaurants that I can think of, that still has a salad bar. Most companies don't have salad bars anymore.
By this time, when we are finished getting lunch, and we tour around a little bit more, and then we decide that we are going to go back to the hotel, and see if the room was ready now. It was ready now, so we went into the room. We got ourselves settled in, and then we decided that we were going to do some more exploration.
We decided that we were going to head towards Pritchard, which is this little quaint town just outside of Kamloops. We checked out a couple of different fishing spots. The first one was a few miles outside of Kamloops, and Jim had to help me down the hill as it was fairly steep, and then there was quite a drop off near the bottom of the hill, and I had to do it carefully to make sure that I wouldn't fall. What made me come down there, was the fact that Jim said to me that he saw some animal tracks, so I went down. There were these huge paw marks. Near the fast stream, I could see that it was evident that there was a black bear or grizzly bear marks. I showed it to an official at the zoo, and she mentioned that it was definitely a black bear as there are no grizzlies in this area. It was approaching dusk, and said to Jim, "I think that we should get going". I wanted to get going as these tracks are still really fresh, and I knew that with dusk approaching that the bear would be returning, and I didn't want to get in their way.
After this, we continued on going to the next fishing environment. We didn't however go to the bottom this time. We just looked at the area from the top. This too was a very steep hill, and we decided that it was a bit late to go down, so we didn't go down that night
We then head around a series of hills to the Lafarge Bridge and then we go across to the town around Pritchard. This is approximately 15 km outside of Kamloops. On our way back to the hotel we went past the BC Wildlife Park and it was a fairly big park.
We arrive back at the hotel, and we were looking through the phone book to see what we would want to do for dinner. We decided on the Taco Bell/KFC. The food here was average, but it was good.
When we were through with this restaurant we then went around to explore a little bit more of Kamloops, and then we went back to our hotel, and we watched some television and then we didn't want to go to sleep just yet, so we decided that we were going to go to the casino. This was attached to one of the popular downtown hotels in Kamloops.
We then went back to the hotel and then we went to bed.
BC Wildlife Park and Mount Lolo
Posted by theworldofbritishcolumbia at 08:30 AM on October 10, 2008 comments (0)
This was the day that we had a pretty full packed day. We woke up and had breakfast and then we headed out towards the BC Wildlife Park. This is located in Kamloops heading towards the entrance to the highway that leads you to the Wells Gray Park area.
We arrived at the park before the gates were open, so we had to take a few minutes and wait for the gates to open at 930 a.m. We then got our admissions, and then we went out to look at the different exhibits that they have around in their park.
The species that they had in this park were ones that are typical within the different parts of the province. They include grizzly and black bears, wolves, big horn sheep, elk, moose, cougar, squirrel monkies, raccoons, barn owls, screech owls, bald eagles, buffallo, badgers, dalhussien sheep, lynx, bobcat, mule deer, fox, camel, hawks, coyotes. These are most of the different types of animals that were at the park. The only type of wildlife that wasn't at this park that is also part of the bc wildlife includes, but are not limited to: wolverines, seals, river otters, otters, orcas, whales, and more on. They only had the terrestrial animals at this park.
We got to have an encounter with one of the types of animals as well during our visit to this park. We got to examine a gopher snake. This was a rather unique experience. The snake was a little bit shy at first, and then as the people were out there, it became a little bit more comfortable. It was comfortable to the point that it would finally let people start touching it. The covering on the snake was really unique. It wasn't like the boa constrictor that I got to feel when I was younger. It was more of a coarser material.
After we left here, it was about lunch time, so we decided that we would go around and look around for some food before we continued on with what we were going to do. So we went to get some lunch, and then we decided to explore further.
After lunch, we went along a dirt road called Mount Lolo Road. On our way up the hill, we noticed a family of deer that were scampering across the road. When we went past them a bit, the road was starting to deterioriate a bit, but it was a lot better than we thought that the road would be. We eventually got to the top of the mountain. We were met by breathtaking scenery. At over 1,700 ft we were able to see a 360* circle around at all of the different scenery. One angle you noticed Kamloops, and then when you turned in the other direction, there were the Monashee mountains, and then there was Wells Gray Park area towards the other side, and then the other area that we saw, was more towards the Cariboo area. I would suggest anyone to go up there, and get the same breathtaking experience that we got. On our way down the hill, we noticed a little bit of snow that we didn't see as much as when we were coming up the hill. Also, on the way down we noticed some of the whiskey jacks that were flying from tree to tree.
When we were at the bottom of Mount Lolo road, we went on this road that was immediately to the left at the bottom of the hill and we were attempting to get to the back area of Heffley Creek to a lake, around this other back country road. We were met by a big herd of cows half up this road. They were all congregrating on the road, so we had to be patient and wait for them to sort of branch out, and get off the road, so that we were able to get through. We eventually were able to get through, and we continued along this road, and then we noticed that there was car in the mud, which of course, Jim had to check out. He wanted to have a picture near this car, so I took a picture, and then we continued along the road. We then went a little bit further and then we ran into some areas of private property, so we decided that we would turn around. There happened to be a road that you were able to get to Heffley Creek on, but the only thing is that the road was 4x4 material,and we didn't have a vehicle that was suitable for this, so we took a pass on it. We then went back the same way that we came. Then we continued along the road that led us back to the main road.
We decided that we would then go to Paul Lake and check this out as a possible fishing spot. Of course, when we went to this park, all of the facilities were closed down for the season, including water and all of that type of stuff. It was fairly windy that day, so we thought that it wouldn't be a really good fit for that day. So then we got back into the car, and we decided to continue along our way to go somewhere else.
After this we decided that we would go and check out the two fishing spots that we found the night before, but the areas were very windy, so we thought that our luck wouldn't be that swell that night. So we decided that we had enough chances for that day, so we decided that we would head back to the hotel for a little bit of relaxation and watching of tv for a little bit of time.
We then were wanting to head for supper somewhere. We decided that we would try the East Side Marios that was located around Aberdeen Center, and this restaurant we noticed was quite slow for service to begin with. We then got our food, and the pizza was not very warm in the middle, so we decided that we would send the pizza back. They made us a new pizza, and this was better. They handled themselves quite well, but the food that we found was not very standard. I have been to East Side Marios before, and we had a lot better food at the other location that we went too. It could have just been one of their off nights as well.
After this we headed back to the hotel, and we decided that we would take it easy for the rest of the night, as we had a lot planned for the next morning, so we wanted to get some sleep before this.
Posted by theworldofbritishcolumbia at 08:30 AM on October 11, 2008 comments (0)
We woke up bright and early the next morning and we decided that we would have some breakfast at the hotel, and then we went back up to the room for a little bit of time before we started out. We drove to one of the fishing places that we had found a couple days before, and out of the corner of Jim's eyes we were able to see a herd of big horn sheep that were grazing on the grass near a bunch of hills. This was 10:30 in the morning when we saw them at this level, and that was a bit wierd with the fact that you normally don't see any wildlife down at that elevation during this portion of the day.
We stayed at the fishing area for a little while,and then we decided that we would move on. While Jim was fishing in this area, I was able to take a number pictures of mallard ducks that were swimming around the water, and were trying to beat the waves. Since I could see what looked like to be cat prints earlier that day when we were around there, I was looking on Jim to make sure that he was okay.
We were supposed to meet up with a friend, but that didn't materialize, as she had to go somewhere, so we continued on to get some lunch, and then we decided our next course of action.
During the time that we were having lunch we were looking at maps to determine which fishing area we would attempt next. We went by a fishing store before we continued on to different fishing grounds. The guy at this store told Jim that there was this very popular fishing area known as Jacko Lake. We decided that we would head up there to see what there was at this location. We were met by several of other fisherman that were also in the area. Parts of this park reminded me a bit of Manning Park. We had to walk a little ways around as there were a lot of fishermen already on the side that we were originally doing, so we had to go to the other side. We were were hiking on these little tiny foot paths until we got to the fishing area. We stayed here for a little while, and a couple of other men came to join us for a little while, and then they decided that they would look at some other spots, so were again alone.
We then decided that we would try another fishing venue, so we then went back down the road that lead up to Jacko Lake and we were in pursuit for another lake. We went across the road which lead to another couple of lakes, but there were small mammals, that looked like the fishers that we saw at Walloper Lake on our first day, so we noted that there would be probably no way that we would be able to get any fish, so we then decided that we would head back up towards Walloper Lake again. This time there were also another family there fishing as well. The part of the lake that we were trying, there were lots of whiskey jacks in the area, as well as Mallard Ducks that were not very scared of Jim. After we finished here, we went back along the Coquihalla towards Kamloops.
When were were travelling along the Coquihalla we came across a deer that was eating on the side. We decided that we would do a u-turn when it was safe to, and we went back to see if the deer was still there so that we would be able to get a photo of the deer, but the deer was long gone. We get back to Kamloops and then we decide that we are going to have a snack before we go back to the hotel room. We decide upon this place called Donut King. This used to be under the ownership of Tim Hortons. The format of this restaurant was exactly similar to that of Tim Hortons, so that is why we know that there was some connection to Tim Hortons.
We then go back to the hotel for a little bit of relaxation before we start thinking of what we want to do for dinner. We decided on this place called Vittorio's. It is an Italian place. Just a word of caution. This is a restaurant that you will definitely have left overs if you do not have a hearty appetite. After this, we decided that we were going to explore more of Kamloops, so we went around Thompson River University to look around. This is the university that is the place that offers on line education.
Our Way Home
Posted by theworldofbritishcolumbia at 08:30 AM on October 12, 2008 comments (0)
We had our breakfast, and then came back to the hotel room to pack up our stuff, and then we headed out of our room, and then checked out of the hotel room.
We then head towards the general area of the BC Wildlife park area again, but this time we don't stop at the park, but we continue on the road behind this area that goes up this gradual hill. We go to the other side of the hill, becasue we are wanting to check out another place called Monte Creek. This is apparently another good place to do some fishing, but I think that I saw more birds there then I saw fish. Jim got a couple of catches, but nothing too exciting.
We then leave this park, and we head further south. We get to the junction of where the Douglas Road is, and then where it goes into the Thompson Okanagan part. We decide that we are going to go onto the Douglas Lake road. It is better shape then we thought. There are a lot of areas in which we have to be careful with, as most of this road encompassed major bear country, well at the beginning part at least with being in thick brush. The second part of this road was in vast grassland. Big change from the beginning of this road to the end. It ended up being a semi arid climate as we got closer to Nicola/ Merritt area.
We then go to the Nicola area that we went in one of the previous Thanksgiving times, and it was not quite a windy, but Jim had about the same amount of luck, so we decided that we would go to Merritt for lunch. We went to the Home Restaurant that was located at the Motel 8. After lunch, we decided that we would take a look at Merritt. We went down on Vogt Street, and realized that the ABC restaurant and Days Inn that we stayed in was no nothing more than a sign stating where it was. It was destroyed by fire back a couple of years ago, so there is no more than a sign that had ABC restaurant on it.
We then went a little bit further down, and went up a hill around where the Merritt Mountain Festival happens, and found that they are devoting land to this purpose and also for a possible race track that may also go into this area.
After this, we head towards the Coquihalla highway, and we go down this highway. We make a couple of stops on the way down the highway. We stop at the Larson Hill rest area where Jim attempts to do some more fishing. He was fishing, and then he notices this dead animal on the side of the rocks, so I find a stick, and he turns it over and determines that it is a dead wolverine. I saw paw prints down the hill, so it was struggling down this hill, or it was being chased by another animal, and then lost its balance and fell.
We then go further on down the highway, and we notice that there is a this little area that had a little bit of smoke coming up from the trees, probably a controlled burn. We then continue a little bit further. They were still taking down the toll booths at that time, so traffic was still single lane through this area.
A little bit further down they had a sign leading to Falls Lake which is a snowmobile area, we decided that we would take a look to see what it looked like in this area. We were able to go into this tiny little round about at the end, and the road as we were going higher was completely snow covered. We took a picture of this since this was one of the only areas that had snow on it.
This marks the end of our thanksgiving trip.