Where Are The Bears

From Kelowna we headed south on Highway 3B towards Rock Creek and Kettle Valley. The whole area is overshadowed by fir tree forested mountains. Occasional rivers and creeks are seen flowing mellifluously over gravel beds and rocks worn smooth by the flow.

I had decided to stop by one of these rivers, between Carmi and Rhone, to take some photos of Bridget and the scenery, when I spotted a helicopter carrying a very large box object under it. The chopper was skilfully manoeuvred between the hundreds of fir trees so that the box could be emptied by ground crew and then it departed the way it had come. The pilot could not have had more than a few feet in which to manoeuvre its rotors and it was fascinating to watch.

We spent the night at Nelson, a town on the banks of Lake Kootenay, British Colombia. Just like Kelowna the night before, Nelson is a tourist trap.

The following morning we headed north to the town of Proctor where we caught the longest free ferry in the world across Lake Kootenay. Then we joined Highway 3A north to Creston. This town has been in the news recently due to the purported behaviour of some polygamous sects. Outwardly it is just like many small towns in this part of British Colombia, a community with friendly, helpful people in a pretty location, and I am sure that most of them are just that. The scenery in this area is wonderful and there are a lot of Bavarian immigrant families here.

Whilst driving at around 65 mph just north of Creston, the River Moyie flowing on our right; I spotted something in the river. At first I thought it was a bear, so I braked hard, turned 180º round and returned to the spot where I first saw the creature. I jumped out of the car, crossed the road and also a railway line. I followed the bank along until I spotted the animal again and it turned out to be a moose. It had only one antler and was apparently cooling off in the river. I took several photos before starting back to Bridget. Then I noticed a heron stalking some sort of delicacy down the river so I managed to snap some extra footage.

That night we would stay in Kimberly and I had decided not to drive the following day but to go walking around some of the forest trails before continuing to Calgary.

What a good decision it turned out to be. I spent 6 hours walking around the Kimberley Nature Park hoping to see bear, deer and perhaps a cougar. Instead of bear I found mosquitoes that attacked me unrelentingly for much of the day. I was trained in unarmed combat so when I caught two aggressively gnawing at my leg I despatched them both with a chop to the back of the neck. Don’t tell me the day of the Great White Hunter is over.

My legs will no doubt ache tomorrow as it’s the first reasonable exercise for some time but it was worth it. I didn’t see another soul the whole time I was out there and it was so peaceful. Next time I must remember to give myself a swift squirt with the Bushmen’s!

A little reluctantly we left Kimberley where I would have liked to have done some more walking, but I have promised to be in Calgary by tonight.

The first part of the drive was pleasant with pretty scenery, bright sunshine and Bridget running smoothly. We stopped at Colombia Lake just past Canal Flats and a huge timber mill. The view over the lake is beautiful and the colour of the water a perfect Royal Blue.

At the town of Radium Hot Springs we turned right picking up Highway 93 and entering the Kootenay National Park. I was back to one of my two favourite areas of nature, serious Mountain Country. The scenery is magnificent, with towering craggy mountains partly covered in pines and firs, raging rivers, trickling streams and some with snow still on the peaks.

On one stretch of road there was a sign “Wolf on road, DO NOT STOP”. A little further on I spotted a deer and so had to stop. I couldn’t miss the opportunity of snapping a deer even if there was a wolf about, but I saw no sign of it.

On the other side of the Kootenay National Park is Banff and another park with more majestic mountains. It really is a fantastic part of the world.

The drive to Calgary should have only taken 4/5 hours. With all the stops I wanted to make it took me just over 6 hours. That was the third major mountain range of the trip and I really will have to revisit them all again and spend far more time walking.

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