Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Spur of the moment drive continued…

The town of Merritt is located in a large valley and is the hub where a number of major highways meet and is also,therefore, right in the center of a number of our favourite places to visit.  The Coquilla highway (highway 5) enters the town from the south, and continues right through, exiting to the north as it heads for Kamloops – we can get to Tunkwa that way.  Highway 97 C, also known as the Coquilla Connector, heads off to the east to the Okanagan, we can access the Kane Valley and also Kentucky Allyene Provincial Park that way.  Highway 5A is known as the ‘old highway’ to Kamloops….and today we would head out that way for a short distance….

January Drive 012

Merritt is cattle country….here we’re looking off towards the east…

January Drive 013

I zoomed in on this pair of Bald Eagles perched in one of the trees….you can see how sparse the snow is, although this isn’t that unusual for this area.

January Drive 014

Our destination today was this rest area on Nicola Lake.  This is a huge lake, what is showing is only the most western portion, and the head of the Nicola River.  We were actually surprised, given the mild winter, to see that the lake, at least this part of it, was completely frozen over….

January Drive 018

this view is looking off towards the north east and shows more of the lake, also that elusive blue sky that we never did actually get to!

January Drive 025

You can’t get much more ‘Canadian’ than this…..

January Drive 029

thanks to a very friendly little boy….we learned that this was ‘Aunty’ out there ice fishing and they had caught 3 fish so far…..the temperature was sitting at 0 degrees…

January Drive 027

2 more brothers were out there, with hockey sticks and chunks of ice for pucks….

January Drive 028

Here are Ernie and Shantz coming along the shoreline after admiring the fish.  Ernie tried to go out on the ice, but he said it was just too slippery for his runners – remember our winter boots hadn’t made the trip!

January Drive 031

Heading back now, towards Merritt where lunch awaited….you can see this is bunch grass and sage bush country….there were actually about a dozen Trumpeter Swans at the far end of the lake where there was some open water…but too far off for a decent picture…

January Drive 038

but just to prove that this is indeed cattle country, we stopped to take this picture, looking back the way we had just come.

The quickest route to return home would be to retrace our route and go back via the Coquilla, but that wouldn’t be us, so after lunch we headed out the road that follows the Nicola River, from Merritt to Spence's Bridge on the Thompson River…..

January Drive 040

our destination would be through those mountains.  At this portion of the route, while we were still fairly high up, you can see there is a fair amount of ice along the Nicola River, although virtually nothing in the way of snow….

January Drive 041

this route is through very arid country, in a couple of months the hillsides will be covered in flowering Balsam Root….this trip we had to settle for sage brush..

January Drive 045

the ice along the river is disappearing as we drop in elevation…

January Drive 052

and when we stopped at one of the informal camping spots along the route, there was virtually none…

January Drive 053

and if you need proof that this is normally a very hot dry location…

January Drive 056

this picture of one of the many Prickly Pear Cactus growing amongst the sage should do it.  Notice though the fresh shoots of grass….that shouldn’t be happening until about March….

January Drive 057

we’ll take this one last shot of this area….the day is moving on and the light is failing but we aren’t far from the town of Spences Bridge…

January Drive 059

In fact, here we are.  That is the Thompson River there, with no ice, no snow, in sight….

January Drive 058

we looked back up in the direction of Cache Creek and you can see for yourself….no snow…

January Drive 061

Just before the road we were on joined highway 1 we stopped to take this shot…there is a waterfall off in the distance…

January Drive 063

and this one….by now it is really way too dark for pictures so packed the camera away as we pulled onto Highway 1, heading towards the Fraser Canyon and eventually, home.

No comments:

Post a Comment