Friday, February 24, 2012

Thanksgiving at Tunkwa 2011

In real time I am sitting here watching the snow pile up outside….so seems like the ideal time to go back to last Thanksgiving and post some random pictures we took at Tunkwa. 


I think this pretty much summed up Tunkwa in mid October – this view was out of the back door of the camper…

Frosty Morning

We woke to frost one morning….at least we weren’t  tenting like some people!

The bluff

and I love this picture of the bluff with fall colour….do you think it is time for them to remove the rest of the dead trees and let the live ones take over?….can’t decide…we’re so used to seeing dead trees here!

Fall at Tunkwa

the end of a hot dry summer is evident in this picture…

The Aspen grove

and at the Aspen grove….

Mountain Bluebird

Mountain Bluebirds were still there – they are like us – they arrive about Easter time and leave about Thanksgiving….unlike us they get to stay there the whole time in between!

Yellow-rump Warbler

Yellow-rump Warblers were still there too – they arrive a little later than the bluebirds

snipping snipe

still some shorebirds around ….like this Wilson’s Snipe

Four of them

and these which I’m pretty sure were young Long-billed Dowitcher – they showed up the morning we were leaving…when the weather had turned and it was raining…

Muskrat with lunch

Muskrats are there year round…


and the chipmunks were very busy….got some adorable pictures of the little guys…

Stretching for a seed

stretching to get grass seed heads – see that grass is good for something other than getting stuck between dog’s toes…

saying hi

Love this picture….

Chipmunk kisses

and this one where they seem to be sharing a kiss…


So that will bring our camping year to a close….but not to worry….spring is coming (although you’d never know it today!) and we’ll be back on the road soon!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Back to the Dempster 2011 – the final installment

Today we’ll bring this trip to a close.  We finished it as we end most trips….with a few days to recoup at our favorite spot….Tunkwa Lake Provincial Park…

evening glow

the heat continued…up into the low 30’s during the day, but thankfully cooled off in the evening once the sun had set…  Due partly to the heat and partly to a medical situation that had been escalating throughout this trip didn’t do much but stick pretty close to the campsite….so will just show a few misc. pictures taken during that time….

Hairy Woodpecker

the juniper bushes were a constant beehive of activity….here a Hairy Woodpecker…

Yellow-rump Warbler in Juniper

and here a Yellow-rump Warbler, of which there were lots…also some young White-crowned Sparrows and Lincoln Sparrows.

Ruby-crowned Kinglet

Ruby-crowned Kinglets were about in large numbers as well…

Juvenile Redtail hawk in flight

I thought this might be something rare and exciting, but turns out it was a young Red-tail Hawk…


In the animal department, there were a few Chipmunk around…

Marmot in the tree

this Yellow-bellied Marmot was the only one I saw – unusual to be up in a tree…


a muskrat in the water….

Fall Aster and bug

a few Fall Asters were still in flower, attracting various insects…


saw a few dragonflies…


but mostly we just looked forward to the moon rising and the air cooling off….

Pentex 741

as this trip drew to a conclusion.

We would be back to Tunkwa in a few weeks time to finish off the camping season, as we always do, with Thanksgiving at Tunkwa.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Back to the Dempster 2011 – Part 23

In real time it is an absolutely horrible miserable February day….so probably a good time to post this miserable section of this trip.  If all trips were like this, no one would go on them!  Fortunately most trips are far more pleasant!

Colourful countryside

Left Buckinghorse River and headed towards Fort St. John – the above picture looks more like a painting than a photograph but shows the flatter terrain as you get into this part of the country.  The original plan had been to stay at the Rotary Club RV park in Fort St. John.  This is a nice RV park and we’ve stayed there a couple of times before, but since it was only 11 in the morning when we reached Fort St. John and it was already getting hot…and the city seemed like it had doubled in size since we’d been there 2 years before, we decided to carry on to Dawson Creek and the end of the Alaska Highway. 

A number of years before we had stayed at Swan Lake Provincial Park, east of Dawson Creek, late in September, so decided to head there.  Stopped for some groceries…it was now 28 degrees….and then headed to Swan Lake – only to find the park gates up and a ‘closed for the season’ sign on it!!!  Thoroughly fed up we retraced our steps back towards Dawson Creek and turned south towards Tumbler Ridge, somewhere we had never been before.  We thought there must be somewhere between Dawson Creek and Tumbler Ridge where we could stay….discovered the whole area was bustling with giant wind farms in the early stages of construction.  Found a spot to pull off to give the dogs a break and to feed them since it was now late in the afternoon and hadn’t gotten any cooler.   Large signs promoted a community RV park, so headed there, only to discover it was now a construction camp for the large numbers of workers now drawn there between the wind farm project and the mines, both new ones and re-opening ones…  It is now about 6 o’clock, we are hungry, hot and tired….so now what?  Head towards Chetwynd we guess.  There is a supposed to be a provincial park with a campground about half way between the two towns….just start down the hill out of Tumbler Ridge….

Flatbed Creek - Tumbler Ridge

and oh joy!  There is a Lion’s club campground beside this Flatbed creek!  and it is open!!! in fact it seemed like there were a lot of workers living here too, but there was room and we gratefully pulled in.  This is the river where dinosaur tracks were discovered by a couple of little boys not so long ago that started the whole ‘dinosaur’ craze in this town.

the creek bottom

Ernie took a picture of the ancient river bottom where the tracks were first discovered.  We also discovered that it was a good job we hadn’t continued on to the Gwillim Lake provincial park because apparently the bridge to the park had washed out in the spring floods and hadn’t been rebuilt so the park had been closed the entire season!!!

Bullmoose Marshes

When we left the next morning, after going back into town in hopes of going to the Dinosaur Museum (you guessed it – closed for the season)…we found a spot along the highway we could have spent the night….not actually a campground – this is Bullmoose Marshes – a Ducks unlimited spot…

It being another hot day we continued on the Chetwynd and then turned south…only to find we were now in road construction with lengthy delays….some of the construction caused by the massive washouts the area had experienced in the spring, but others ‘just because’….It was another long, hot, frustrating afternoon when we reached….Tudyah Lake Provincial Park and it was actually open!!!! but not exciting and we had planned on staying at Whisker’s Point Provincial Park only a few more kilometers down the road….so headed there – only to find ‘closed for the season’ – so turned around and headed back to Tudyah…

Tudyah Lake Provincial Park campsite

I think we actually were camped in the day use area but at this point do you think we really cared!!!  We were definitely not the only frustrated traveler there that night!

Evening at Tudyah Lake

It was a nice enough little lake….very calm in the late sunshine…

Next day wouldn’t be much better…now determined to get back ‘south’ we got through Prince George and spent another night a Lac la Hache….it was still very hot…and with still a weeks holiday time left, we had pretty much had it with this trip!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Back to the Dempster 2011 – Part 22

Having a sort of ‘blah’ day today in ‘real time’, so probably a good time to report on a sort of ‘blah’ section of this trip…in fact the rest of the trip with the exception of the last stop will be sort of ‘blah’…

approaching the Peace

We left Summit Lake in the morning, negotiated our way along the highway, through the northern end of the rocky mountains and out the other side…now heading to the Peace River Country….this is the general terrain as we carried on towards Fort Nelson

Vetch and grasses

took some pictures of the late season grass’s and various types of vetch in flower…

Vetches, clovers and grasses

some others here…


there was a lookout point just before the town of Fort Nelson…we pulled in, planning on getting out and stretching our legs…


when we spotted this guy in the same rest area….

Black Bear

needless to mention we didn’t get out of the truck…but we did manage to get some of the best Black Bear pictures I’ve ever got!

yup! it's bear proof!

he checked out the ‘bear proof’ garbage containers – yes they really are ‘bear proof’…

or not

and ambled about….thought about our camper for a minute, but then changed his mind…the truck was idling so we would have changed his mind for him if he hadn’t.

Young Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

continued on to Fort Nelson where there is a dump station at the visitors center.  The center is closed ‘off season’ but the dump station was accessible.  It was hot and I had the windows down and could hear something ‘tapping’….there is only one lone tree in the middle of the parking area by the dump station and this young Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was on that tree – sort of goes to show you just never know when you’ll see something!

Buckinghorse River Provincial Park

Pulled into Bucking horse River Provincial Park campground…..


and decided to spend the night.  This isn’t a very exciting campground but it was open (self serve) and we had the place pretty much to ourselves…

Gray Jay

there were some Gray Jay’s here that were obviously used to people – mind you there is a very large work camp just the other side of the road from the campground so no doubt they really are used to people.

Buckinghorse River

this is the river that gives the place it’s name…

Sopalia Berries

only other thing of interest was this Soopollie bush – absolutely covered in berries.

The next day would be the most frustrating and miserable day of the entire trip….and the next not much better so I’ll probably blend the two….

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Back to the Dempster 2011 – Part 21 b

The campsite

Reached Summit Lake Provincial Park by mid-afternoon and got a nice campsite right on the lake.  This is a lovely little alpine lake…but as it turns out, this would be the last night it would be open.  This is something that makes me furious about B.C. provincial campgrounds….I can understand not having a host at sites in the off season, but must they be gated!!!!  Why not just leave them until nature shuts them down.  People do travel in September, even way up here and need a place to park….and things weren’t to get much better as we headed south!


I was standing on a foot bridge at the outlet of the lake to get this picture.  You can just see the back of our camper and the Alaska highway as it runs along the far shore.  There was a steady stream of RV’s heading east along the road, all the long weekenders heading back home to Fort St. John!

Fall colour along the trail

spent the afternoon wandering along the trail that ran on the far shore of the lake….there were also a network of trails that went up the hill and on to further spots – but wasn’t up to the climb.

Creeping Raspberry and Bear Berry

contented myself with getting other shots…like the above…

Creeping Raspberry berry

and this one showing a Creeping Raspberry ‘raspberry’ – something I’d never seen before!

Wild Strawberry berries

there were also Wild Strawberry ‘strawberries’ something you rarely see as someone has usually eaten them!

Fall Colour

It was just very pretty….

Creeping Raspberries

Here are some even better ‘raspberries’…

another late anemone

a late flowering anemone – I imagine this hillside is pretty spectacular in spring with wildflowers…

Mighty Fisherman

Ernie decided to try his luck at fishing for a bit – didn’t catch anything….

Evening shot from bridge

this was a late evening shot…also from the outlet of the lake..

Lincoln Sparrow

Birds were virtually non-existent…but I did spot this Lincoln’s Sparrow…

Busy Beaver

and there were obviously some rather industrious Beaver in the area.