Monday, June 14, 2010

Spring Trip 2010 - Day 7 & 8 - Mt. Fernie to Alberta

Day 7 - April 28th.....woke up at Duck Lake in Creston, to another rainy day. That massive raft of American Coots were still out there......(by the way, thanks to 'ebird' I have now found out that this is Duck Lake, the big lake shown in yesterday's post is Kootney Lake....the road divides the two)
So took a few more pictures.....

then hit the road, once more pointed east. Shortly after leaving Creston, we were in another time zone, moving forward. Traveled through Yahk, Moyie and onto Cranbrook ~ a town (or is it a city) that is larger every time we visit!

ending up at Fernie Provincial Park. Now was the dilemma ~ it was still fairly early in the day. It was 2 degrees. It was raining. The rain could well turn to snow. Do we stay here or do we push on to Alberta? We elected to stay for the night. Was it the right decision? Well in light of things to come, hard as it is to believe ~ I think it was.

When the rain let up for a bit we went for a can see the snow is pretty much gone except for a few patches in shady areas. Every other time we've been here, there are American Dippers nesting in this spot. No dippers this day....too early I guess.....

this shows another section of the creek.......lots of deer tracks in the sand.

and to show that it really was 'spring' there were masses of Trillium coming up everywhere you looked.

a close up of a very soggy Trillium!
We have a number of 'entertainments' to keep us busy in situations such as day we'll buy a TV but for now we play games, Scrabble, Yahtzee, Cribbage or read or even do some colouring in my collection of coloring books... but on days like this we play Domino's because it takes a long time to complete a as the rain fell, with the occasional 'splat' on the skylight, we entertained ourselves.

Day 8 - April 29th Ernie crawled out of bed at about 6:30 am to take Shantz out ~ something he does every day ~ why I do not know as Shantz isn't all that interested in going out at that time of the morning....however on this morning, when he opened the door it was to find that the reason we had stopped listening to rain over night was because it had changed to SNOW.

If you aren't familiar with this campground, it is up, on the side of a mountain, which means to get back to the main highway, you have to go down quite a steep hill....which is why it was decided that we had all better get up and get out of there before it got any deeper. I think we were dressed and packed up and ready to go in record time!

This is the road as it looked out in front of the campsite and I seem to have missed up loading the one of the hill as we put the truck in 4 low and let it crawl down.

We were relieved to find the highway, when we reached it, to just be wet.... So pulled into the A&W for breakfast and information and were told that as far as they knew there were no problems ahead, it was bare and wet...... Our thinking (not having heard any news or weather for days) was that, OK snow at this time of the year here wouldn't be that unusual, and probably, when we got through the mountains we'd be fine ~ after all we'd be in a 'rain shadow' wouldn't we?

Well apparently not! We are now in Alberta....stopped at the first view point we found which I think is the town of you can see, the snow is still with us.

another look....

and on to Pincher Creek. NOW the original plan, once we got to Alberta, was to go to Beauvais Lake Provincial Park, BUT that park is 22 km back up in the foothills behind Pincher Creek - NOT an option! It wasn't actually snowing in Pincher Creek but the wind was just screaming and all the road signs were plastered with snow. What to do?
Went to the gas station and filled up and then to a grocery store....and when in doubt - head to a Wal-Mart parking lot....which we did....but it was only noon. Had some lunch and then Ernie decided it looked 'brighter' in the south (both Waterton National Park and Police Outpost Provincial Park were in the 'south' direction), so he thought he'd try it. Well we'd only gone a few kilometers when it was obvious that this was not a good this time we had also heard on the radio that the entire south of the province was in the second day of a 'freak' winter storm - schools were closed, roads were closed and police were asking everyone to stay home if they possibly could, so we turned around and headed back to town. We now had 2 choices...Wal-Mart or a private RV park and fortunately, just on the edge of town was a RV park called Shady Hollow, that was open (no water, but power), situated down in a bit of a hollow, so sheltered from the worst of the wind....and so that is where we stayed...with a forecast that the wind was to die down for a while, but pick up again over night and more snow was in the forecast.

You'll note there is no Bird List....I wonder why? Actually there were quite a few birds in the private campground, including a Barred Owl.

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