Friday, February 26, 2010

Kentucky Allyene PP – February 21, 2010

After traveling through the Kane Valley, turning east on the connector and then south on highway 5A, we continued on, through the little community of Aspen Grove until reaching the turn off to Kentucky Allyene Provincial Park.  You recall I did a posting about this park not too long ago…

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after passing through the area of Aspen trees with their signs reminding everyone that this is Douglas Lake Ranch property and that trespassing is not allowed….the first item of interest was the colours of the various types of willows growing in this boggy area.  The colours were even more spectacular through my tinted sunglasses!  DSLR with suitable filters definitely required!

When we had first started this days trip, highway signs had warned of dense fog on the connector and we had, before we turned off of the Coquilla, noticed that a thick fog bank appeared to hang over the town of Merritt….

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as we proceeded towards the park, hoarfrost on the trees ahead showed that this area must also have been bathed in fog….which by this time, around 1:30 or 2:00 pm, had dissipated…

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but leaving these trees ‘frosted’…..

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of course the sun was in the wrong place….

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trees up on the hillside on the other side of the road were frosted as well…..

and finally the park…

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there is Allyene Lake, if you look really close, there are two dots out there, both ice fishermen, there is even an SUV parked down close to the lake, someone much braver than us as the road looked pretty icy.  It was also cooler here than anywhere we had been although still several degrees above freezing.

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Looking towards Kentucky Lake which would be on the other side of those distance trees.  There had actually been 4 or 5 vehicles parked at the top of the gated road down to Kentucky Lake, from the looks of them, most had carried snowmobiles.

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I’m looking down onto one of the camping areas here, Ernie and Shantz are those little dots in the middle to the left of the picture…

Continuing on now we retraced our route back to Highway 5A, passing Otter Valley Road which is another means of accessing the Voight and Kane Valleys and is a drive we’ll do again some time in the future.  With the day wearing on we stuck to the paved highway…

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Stopping at this rest area about mid-way for a bit of a break….

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there are numerous little lakes along this route and we noticed first that the ice on the lakes was looking ‘rotten’ and then not much further along we found this lake with open water!  Keep in mind that the date is the 21st of February….it isn’t officially spring for another month and in this area ‘spring’ is usually not until at least April…

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but here we were with a thawed lake…

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and already the ducks were back.  This is a pretty poor picture but shows a couple of the male Hooded Merganser that were carrying on.  There were also some Common Goldeneye in this spot as well.

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as we got closer to the town of Princeton, more open water….

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this one with Mallards and some Gadwall (not pictured) on it.

With time moving on we arrived at Princeton and turned west onto the Hope Princeton Highway (Highway #3) heading to Manning Park and eventually, home.

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this picture, shot through the windshield was taken just past ‘East Gate’….sure doesn’t look much like the middle of winter!

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a stop at the lodge to use the facilities…and then we just had to run down to Lightning Lakes day use area to see what it looked like…boy did ‘Tizzy Lizzy’ throw a fit then!!! we thought she was going to explode.

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and there we are….the lake is out there somewhere…there is some snow…but not what we normally see at this time of the year….I’ll have to dig back in my pictures for some comparisons…

carrying on we passed the highest elevation point of Alison Pass where VANOC had been trucking snow to Cypress from….it didn’t look like there was all that much snow here to have spared…

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another windshield shot, taken not all that far past Alison pass and you can see a distinct lack of the white stuff….

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further along yet, but still well before the slide or the community of Sunshine Valley and the snow has virtually disappeared.

A stop in Hope for some supper while listening to the Robins calling…continuing on with one final picture of

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Mt. Cheam with the setting sun shining on it.  Hard to see in this dark shot but all the vegetation along this stretch of the highway right out to Hope had a distinct greenish cast as it is all leafing out.

Kane Valley – February 21, 2010 – Part Two

Picking up where we left off yesterday, we continued on towards the main lake….

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That being Harmon.  This is only a very small arm of it that is visible from the road.  Harmon is the largest and deepest lake in the area and is not only the site of the Forestry campground (on the north shore) but also has a demonstration forest, complete with signage and walking paths on the east side of the lake. 

While Harmon sits on the right side of the road in the direction we were headed, there is a series of shallow lakes and wetlands on the west side of the road….

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on this day activity was spotted on the far side….at first thought to be cross country skiers, as this area is known for it’s cross country ski trails….

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on closer inspection the ‘skiers’ turned out to be coyotes.  There were in fact at least 3 of them but I didn’t manage to get a picture of all 3 together…

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if you look closely at this cropped picture you will see one looking remarkably like Shantz – (actually it is Shantz who tends to do a very good coyote imitation when it comes to hunting and dealing with little critters that might be under the snow!)

The turn off to the camping area at Harmon looked a little dicey so considering we had yet to see another vehicle, we elected to not make the attempt but continued on past Kane Lakes which I somehow managed to miss getting pictures of – at this point we were looking for a spot to pull over and have lunch – and we also finally passed a vehicle coming in the opposite direction.

Our next stop was to be at Upper Second Lake…

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this is the last lake along the road and another fabulous birding spot.  On this day the little side road down to the lake was pretty icy but in July of ‘08 we spent a weekend camped here after loading up the Suzuki with tent, sleeping bags, camping supplies and even one of our inflatable kayaks (I’ll post pictures in another post).  There are a number of areas along the route we have just taken where you simply can pull over and camp if you so desire.  This spot even comes with a pit toilet across the street.

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Here I had made my way along the icy track far enough to take a shot looking back at the road which is running along the right side of the picture.

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While here I’m on the road looking out at the little spit that extends out into the lake.  Depending on water level sometimes you can walk out to that little cluster of trees and other times they are a bit of an island.

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at this spot, close to the road, I had found a family of very young Spotted Sandpipers during that weekend camping trip I mentioned.

Lunch eaten and all newly refreshed, we continued on,

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passing through another ranch, this one with horses out in the field and on past the main site for the cross country ski trails were there were actually 2 cars parked, then on to the junction with the Coquilla Connector…

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here we are just approaching the junction…

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this is looking eastward from the same spot, that is the Coquilla connecter there, heading eastward towards the Okanagan.  We had stopped to re-set ‘Tizzy Lizzy’ before she threw another fit!  We would now turn right onto the connector until we came to the junction with Highway 5A….and I think that can be another posting.

I will say that in the next few days, as time permits, I will go back into my pictures and post some of this area we have just driven through, so you can see what it looks like in spring and summer.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Kane Valley – February 21, 2010

With this being one of the mildest winters on record and with this past Sunday being another sunny, warm  day, we decided to pack a lunch and head out for a drive.  Our destination was to be the Kane Valley.  The Kane Valley, which is one of our favourite haunts, lies between the Coquilla (#5) and Highway 5A which is the old highway from Merritt to Princeton. This area, in spring through fall is a birders paradise and the wildflowers in late May, June to early July are spectacular.

We pulled out of our drive at 8:30 am, the temperature was 0 degrees and the sun was shining.  This time we remembered winter boots, jackets etc. (although there was no need for any of them).  We even took along ‘Tizzy Lizzy’ our Garmin Nuvi GPS, so dubbed because she gets into such a ‘Tizzy’ every time we insist on going on roads she doesn’t think exist.

First stop was for fuel and coffee in Hope, then up the Coquilla where there was no more snow than there had been when we drove this way a month or so ago…in fact, if anything, there was less.

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Here is the parking lot at the rest area just past where the toll booths used to be.  Doesn’t look much like the middle of February does it!

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a number of Gray Jays greeted us…..

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also some Steller’s Jay…..

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and even this Raven.  That would be pretty much it for birds this trip.

There are a number of ways to access the Kane Valley, we would take the most direct from this route, which is to take exit #256 off of the Coquilla, driving to and through Kingvale, turning right onto the Kane Valley Road.  The very first part of the Kane Valley road is actually paved as there are a number of residences

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however it doesn’t take long to get to gravel…this whole area between the Coquilla and Highway 5A is criss crossed with roads, all good, but all gravel, so if you are the sort that doesn’t like to get your tires dirty – this area isn’t for you.  There are ranches scattered through out, so these roads are kept open in winter, but can be muddy in spring and dusty in the summer.

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here we are looking southwards towards the Voight Valley, another area we like to explore.  With the road looking a bit muddy and knowing that it would climb and is shaded so would most likely be icy, we decided to leave that area for another day.

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taken from the same spot, this is looking back in the direction we had just come.

We are now pretty much in Nicola Ranch territory. 

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having now passed the turn off to the Voight Valley, and going over cattle guards that announce a ranch house complex, we are now looking south again.  The bright but low sun made for challenging photography.

Like so much of the interior of our province, this area has also be decimated by the Pine Beetle.  We were a bit appalled to reach an area that on first look appeared to have been completely clear cut, but when we looked closer we could see that all the young trees had been left, so even though it looks awful right now, it will fill in with native grassland and wildflowers.

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A bit further along we stopped at this favourite spot. There is a shallow lake here that is a favourite nesting spot for all sorts of birds including Black Terns, Yellow headed Blackbirds, Killdeer, etc.

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This is a closer look at the stump you can see in the above shot. 

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and there is Ernie back there with his video camera taking pictures of me taking pictures. I should mention that as of this point we hadn’t seen another vehicle since leaving the Coquilla Highway.

Just past this shallow lake there is a junction.  The Kane Valley Road continues on straight ahead, while another road goes off to the right that will take you to Aspen Grove on Highway 5A.  This is a very twisty and in some places, steep road, although there are a number of ranches along it, we thought it best to leave it for another day and continued on in the main direction.

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This whole area is full of little lakes, and before long we had reached another one.  There is actually a spot here where you can camp…it is Nicola Ranch property and there is a sign stating a fee for camping although if anyone ever actually collects it I don’t know. 

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on this day Shantz took advantage of the spot to do a bit of digging in the snow!

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While I attempted to get some interesting shots of the bull rushes that were growing along the edge of the lake.  This area too is very ‘birdy’ in season and is also popular for fishing as are most of the lakes in the area.

A woodpecker could be heard in the distance but not spotted.



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at this point I think I will post this much and continue on tomorrow.  We have the rest of the Kane Valley to visit, Kentucky Allyene Provincial Park to stop in at, then drive down to Princeton and back home via Manning Park….so a long ways still to go!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Some Deer Photos

I’ve been spending a fair bit of time lately making a concerted effort to edit and ‘tag’ as many pictures in my computer as I can.  I worked on ‘Wildflowers’ first and I’m now working on ‘Wildlife’.  Going back and looking through pretty much 7 years of digital photographs brings back a lot of memories, so I thought why not post a few….


The above is a White Tail Deer.  We had been staying at the Kettle River Provincial Park and went for a drive northwards…there were 4 White Tail in a field and a couple of them paused long enough for some photos.

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This Mule Deer doe was at Kentucky Allyene Provincial Park.  We were canoeing at the far end of Allyene Lake and she must have had a fawn in the bush because she actually was coming out in the water at us….kind of scary at the time.


another canoeing trip, this time close to home on the Harrison River….this was one of 3 Mule Deer on the shoreline just by Sandpiper Golf Course.


one of our many trips up to Manning, we found this group on the road leading up to the ski hill…perhaps getting salt?  There is still snow at the side of the road.


This was taken in my brother and sister in laws yard in Okanagan Falls where the deer are a real nuisance if you are trying to have a garden!

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Deer are always seen in Kettle River Provincial Park campground….especially in the spring…

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this one was calmly watching me ….

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another visit and this pair peeked around this tree which was right beside our campsite….deciding if it was safe to walk past – probably checking to make sure our dog was tied up before proceeding…

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another campground you can always count on seeing Deer at is the one at Writing on Stone in Alberta…this doe had 3 youngsters…

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This young buck was in the same place…

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we’re back in the Okanagan now, this was taken Christmas 2008…

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and one last one, this guy was at Elk Island National Park in Alberta.