Thursday, October 15, 2009

Tunkwa Thanksgiving – Part one

If you have followed this blog for any length of time, you will know that one of our favourite places to go is Tunkwa Lake Provincial park....and that is where we headed this past Thanksgiving long weekend.

Tunkwa is a 3 to 3 1/2 hour drive from our home (although it seems longer when it is dark by 6:30 pm!). That time frame allows for a stop at the MacDonald’s in Hope for a quick supper of a burger and fries, then up the Coquilla Highway to Merritt, and onto the town of Logan Lake.  We pulled into our favourite campsite at 8 pm – the temperature was minus ten (Celsius) under clear skies.

Woke the next morning to a ‘winter wonderland’!

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Fog shrouded the lake, blocking out the view of the surrounding hills and all the trees were covered in a layer of hoar frost.  This is the view from our campsite, looking out over the lake.

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Our frosty campsite (it got to minus 16 overnight!)

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The road out front with the fog gradually dissipating in the morning sunshine.

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Isn’t that just beautiful!  as the sun warmed things up (comparatively!), the frost started to fall off of the trees, so it seemed like it was snowing – from a clear blue sky.

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After breakfast we bundled up and headed out for a walk.  There are now just a few wisps of fog left on the lake.

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Ernie and Shantz on the bluff as we head for our walk.  Shantz, who was born here at Tunkwa and who has been coming here ever since, had to check out every culvert and spot where she knows marmots hang out – problem is – the marmots have all gone to bed for the winter!

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Here I’m standing on that bluff, looking down onto the frozen bay and the spit where we like to camp in the spring when there are lots of waterfowl on the lake.  There was no one camping on the spit, although a unit did come in later in the day and spent the night on the tip of it. 

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another view of the spit, this time from the end.  You can see the bluff we were standing on.  I know that some years Tunkwa Lake hasn’t frozen until December – this seemed really early (October 10th) for the bay to be this iced over.

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We’re starting out across the grasslands now….headed towards that treed hill……

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This is Leighton Lake (situated adjacent to and slightly below, Tunkwa Lake), there is a campsite at the far end of this lake and there must have been at least 30 units camped there.  We understand from the campground host that a lot of them were ‘frozen’ up.  It certainly isn’t normal for it to be this cold this early in the season – a cold front had moved down from the Arctic, which caused these record breaking low temperatures.

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Climbed the hill and looked down onto what is usually a marshy area – and it was dry!!!  This marsh is usually full of water fowl – we’ve never seen it completely dried up before!

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Walked around the far end of the dried up marsh, over to the Aspen grove.  I’ve referred to this grove in earlier reports, as a veritable bird nursery – that, of course – is in the spring!  What also surprised me was the fact that the aspen trees were still, basically ‘green’ – normally they have turned brilliant gold by the end of September – but we had, had unseasonably warm weather – prior to this record breaking cold one, so the colors were just starting to change…..

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and speaking of birds… we were heading back after an hour and half of walking…we spotted this Mountain Bluebird.  This would be the last picture my Digital S.L.R. Camera would take.  Shortly after returning from our Yukon trip, the auto focus stopped working.  Not to worry, I could still use it manually – and that worked for the trip to Vancouver Island that I have yet to post – and until this point of this trip when it suddenly decided it was not going to focus – period!  So now I’ll be shopping for a new camera.  Fortunately my small compact kept working so the rest of this weekend’s posts will be from it.


  1. Great post Kathy,and great pic's AHH! Good old Tunkwa.Looks like you were alone on that side.

  2. Nope - there were probably about 20 rigs on our side, including a couple of tent trailers and even a few tents if you can imagine! there were several big 'family groups'. Thanksgiving at Tunkwa is a tradition for quite a few people, they come equipped with decorations even - corn stalks and pumpkins!