August 20, 2003

5:10 pm - On the road and heading east out of Langley - the trip begins.  

First stop was at Bircham & Mary Van Horne's in Chilliwack to drop off some old family photos they had given us to scan along with Edna Van Horne's 1912 trip diary.  Edna and her husband Ralph had crossed Canada in 1912 to go to Hillier and Wellington, Ontario to visit relatives ~ they went by train and horse and buggy.  Today we start our journey by car but in the same direction and with the same anticipation.  

We left Mary and Bircham's at 7:00 pm.  With 3 hours driving we could get to Merritt.  By the time we reached the highway we decide rather than heading east to Merritt, we would go west and spend the first night back in Langley and get a fresh early start in the morning.  


Terry with Bircham & Mary Van Horne

August 21, 2003

Left Langley 9:15 now that we had made our "Hudson Bay Stop."  Explorers and traders leaving a Hudson Bay Fort on an expedition would spend their first night in view of the Fort.  They would make camp, and cook a meal, then settle down for the night and pack up again in the morning.  If anything vital for a long trip was forgotten, they were still close enough to return to the Fort and retrieve the forgotten item(s).  Our "Hudson Bay Stop" went well.  If we have forgotten anything now, we will either do without or purchase it.  

We are truly on our way ~ on our own expedition. 

As the highway dropped down into Princeton, we could see the plume of smoke rising from the Okanogan fires.

In Princeton we stopped and visited with Sue Coyne.  The Esso Station she manages is closing so she is taking her successful Espresso Hut and moving it to the west side of town to the Mohawk Station.

So if you are passing through Princeton, drop in, gas up and have them make you a  fresh cup of coffee ~ a good show in it's making and delivery, good coffee and a good chat about the area.  For non-coffee drinkers, a smoothie goes down well on a warm day.  

Sue Coyne and her Espresso Hut.

Bev in her new office.

Freda drops by for a visit.

East of Princeton we stopped to visit Charlie and Bev.  They now work 320 acres.  They kept their Fraser Valley farm name "Happy Hollows". 

We found them haying.  Bev likes her ATV and we complimented her on her new "office" -- talk about a room with a view!  Bev and Charlie took time from bailing to chat beside the river where they have their summer home set up.

 While there Freda Horton ~ another former Fraser Valley shepherd ~ stopped by with the grandchildren.  The young ones headed to the surprisingly warm river while Freda joined the conversation.  Mostly about sheep raising and promotion of product. 

We are sorry we are going to miss Brian Hopkin's first judging experience when he comes to the Princeton Fair in early September.  Before leaving Freda invited us to visit her and Joe at their place.

Charlie without his classroom.

Grandchildren float down the river.

We popped into Hedley, on the way and drove by the house where grandpa Harold Thorne lived for a while.  Hedley was famous for it's Gold.  Hedley, at the foot of Nickel Plate Mountain was named after Robert R Hedley who grubstaked many of the original prospectors.  But it was Duncan Woods who searched the claim maps and staked the small wedge that had been left unclaimed.  It was on this little wedge that they found the Mother Lode and set up the Mascot Mine.  Production of gold continued in Hedley until September 1955.  In 1987 Mascot Mines began taking gold  again, using modern methods.  It was sold in 1992 becoming the Nickel Plate Mine and reclamation started in 1997. 

After leaving Hedley we saw the beginnings of the smoke haze coming from the Okanogan Valley where the giant Okanogan Mountain fire (between Naramata and Kelowna) had already consumed the entire Okanogan Mountain Provincial Park.On the north side of Keremeos we pulled into Joe and Freda's farm yard.  Joe was up the hill a bit moving water pipe in the alfalfa fields.  When he was done he hopped onto his motorcycle and came down to give us a welcome.  

Half way through a glass of wine and good conversation with a very healthy looking Joe, a friend, neighbour and former college named, Merv, dropped by to pick him up.  "Won't be going tonight," Joe said to Merv.  

"Nonsense," we said, "We'll be on our way and you go ahead with your plans."  From that moment on any thoughts we had as to how the evening would progress - changed. 

Joe was going roping.  They practice team roping - where a horned steer comes out of a chute, two cowboys ride their horses on either side - one ropes the head and the other ropes the hind legs.  From instruction to practice, the atmosphere is laid back and friendly.  We asked if we could come and watch for awhile.  Freda arrived and said they wanted us to come back for dinner after the roping.  "In the meantime," Freda said, "the children and I will dig up potatoes to have with dinner."  Joe saddled up his horse and walked it into Merv's horse trailer. 

They drove down the road a piece with us following before turning into Rod's place which was set up for roping.  We watched  with admiration for the skills they had and the dedication to improve them.

Left: Joe walks his horse to the trailer.  Above: Guy and Merv team rope.

The sun had gone behind the mountain before the ropers finished.  The smoke gave a rather ancient feel to the hills beyond the corral. 
Right: Merv  between ropings explains the sport.  Left:  Joe on his horse at the end of the day.
Upon our return to the Horton's about 9:00pm, a feast awaited ~ bar-b-qued salmon, fresh dug and cooked potatoes, tomatoes from their garden served with fresh basil, cucumbers and beans from the garden and fresh made butter from a farm down the road.  To finish off, Joe poured some Saskatoon berry liqueur.  When Joe went to top up Terry's glass he said "It's ok - we'll make up the guest bed and you can stay the night."  After a short discussion ~ we stayed the night.
August 22, 2003   Terry got up at 7:00 and helped Joe move water pipes.  At one moment Sherrie said "When Terry gets back we will be on our way" and the next moment Sherrie is flipping a whole mess of blueberry pancakes.  Freda had us try them topped with more blueberries, sour cream and maple syrup.  Decadent!

Just as we were finally going to leave this hospitable couple, other visitors from Abbotsford arrived ~ being such a popular couple, we don't know how they find the time to run their 160 acre farm.

Back on the road at 10:45 am.  As we passed a sign for the Canada-US border crossing at Nighthawk, Terry said, "I've always wondered what that crossing looked like.  One day I would like to drive down there and see."  With that we turned the car around, went back to the turnoff and drove the short distance to the border crossing.  Picture tells the rest. 
Next photo opportunity was at Spotted Lake.  
We passed through Osoyoos and marveled at the growth since the last time we visited. 

At the outlook on the east side of the lake, we took another picture -- not showing the clear sunny day it could have been, but the smoke filled valley from the neighbouring huge fires. 
In Greenwood we saw a revitalization of the town.  Buildings from its hay day at the turn of the century, when North America wanted copper to transmit electricity, have been refurbished making the town attractive to tourist.  It was also the film site for the Oscar nominated movie "Snow Falling on Cedars".  A quick stop at the Visitor Information Centre and we were off again, passing through Grand Forks and onto Christina Lake where we had a picnic lunch while being entertained by swimmers and water skiers.  
Still the smoke hangs overhead like the forewarning of a storm.  There is a strong breeze and our concerns turn to those battling fires and those whose homes are in danger and those who have sadly lost their homes to the horrendous flames.

The car's clock showed 4:45 when we crossed the Columbia River at Castlegar and 4:49 when we crossed the Kootenay River ~ just the way the road goes and the rivers flow (Kootenay flows into Columbia).

We started passing dams and power stations.  When hydro-electric power was first delivered from No. 1 Plant to 
Rossland's mines in 1898, the 32 mile transmission lines were the longest on the continent.  Using the 360 foot drop from Kootenay Lake to the Columbia River more dams and generating plants were constructed.  
Pulled into Nelson at 5:30pm and were instantly charmed.  Looking forward to discovering the town tomorrow, we settled into our room.

August 23, 2003

The sky clouded over in the morning bringing a five minute torrent of rain, ten minutes of soft rain and unwanted lightening.  

We later saw a helicopter slinging a full water bag going overhead ~ most likely to douse a spot fire.  

After breakfast in our room, we drove into town and walked most of Baker Street - on both sides.  We bought a little gift for Tavis and Tyler ~ being grandparents means you look at things a little differently.  The 100 plus year old architecture has been refurbished and maintained and downtown Nelson is a visual delight. The population appears to have a large component of alternate life-style types. 
Two restaurants had been highly recommended to us.   One was Leo's for it's Greek Salad.  We lunched at Leo's and indeed their Greek Salad was tops and their portions generous ~ so much so, we were still full by dinner and settled for light cheese, crackers and grapes to finish off the day.
After lunch and more shop browsing, we took a ride on Streetcar 23.  Built in 1906 by the Stephenson Car Company, Streetcar 23 worked for the Forest City Railway in Cleveland Ohio.  Coming to Nelson, one of the shortest and steepest railroads in the British Empire, it was equipped with more powerful motors needed to cope.  Nelson.  Streetcar 23 was a spare ~ a back up for those times when one of the other two cars (21 or 22) were out of service. The line operated with limited funds and dedicated employees until after WWII when the old track and equipment could no longer be maintained and buses took over the route in 1949.  
Streetcar 23, along with the others, was sold for scrap.  23's chassis was used as a change house and later a dog kennel. In 1982 the Nelson & District Chamber of Commerce became interested in what was left.  With the help of Selkirk College and many hours of volunteer labour it was restored to working order.  In 1987 the Nelson Electric Tramway Society who completed the restoration put it into operation again on Nelson's waterfront.  Fares are low and the approximately thirty minute round trip enjoyable.   

We came back to our room to pick up bathing suites and then off we went north on 3A to Ainsworth Hot Springs.  When we arrived there was deck to pool deck people so we left the pool and swimming caves to the hordes and continued north to Kaslo.

There we found a quiet charming town.  The doors were closed at the Visitor Center and S.S. Moyie - the oldest passenger sternwheeler in the world.  She is permanently dry docked in Kaslo Bay (situated so she looks like she's in water) and houses a museum.  (While trying to take pictures Sherrie twisted her right foot and limped through the rest of the town.)  

We walked the streets, admired the architecture and had a cold, hard ice cream.  Before leaving Terry took a picture of the patio door to a small restaurant.  It reminded us of the garden tip passed on by Freda Horton.  She was told that if you blew up a brown paper bag like a balloon and hung it by a string from a tree or eave, you could sit near and not be bothered by wasps as they perceive the bag to be another wasp's nest and surrounding territory.  Freda doesn't know if it really works, nor do we, but this restaurant does.  

August 24, 2003 

Terry did everything this morning ~ made breakfast (we could hear the church bells ringing), packed up and carried everything to the car ~ all to save Sherrie from having to walk on a still tender foot.  We drove down to the ferry terminal and had to wait only a short time before we boarded the Osprey.  It took twenty-five minutes to cross the western arm of Kootenay Lake ~ from Balfour to Crawford Bay.  

Heading south we stopped in for gas at the all purpose "Lakeview" store where they sell gas, groceries, liquor, run a post office, have marine supplies, rent cabins and trailer pads,
Met some bikers at the Glass House (we didn't go in - just took pictures outside) from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia.  They were touring on matching silver 100th anniversary edition Harley Davidsons.  They told us that the stretch of highway between Crawford Bay and Creston was ranked "the best motorcycle highway in Canada".  As we maneuvered the snake like turns and admired the scenery, we could appreciate why it ranked so high.  

Fort Steele was charming and educational.  Took lots of pictures. 

During the 1864 Kootenay gold rush there was a  small settlement called Galbraith's Ferry.  In 1888 the name of the settlement was changed to Fort Steele in honour of Superintendent Samuel Steele of the North West Mounted Police, who peacefully settled disputes between the local indian population and white settlers.  Major mineral discoveries in the East Kootenay brought a boom in 1897 and Fort Steele grew rapidly into the commercial, social and administrative centre of the region ~ and property values soared.  However, in 1898 the BC Southern Railway decided to bypass Fort Steele in favour of Cranbrook and the boom halted and the population followed jobs elsewhere leaving Fort Steele to decline into obscurity.  Today, like Barkerville, Fort Steele has a story to tell to visitors from around the world ~ and the actors who play the long ago townspeople do tell the story well.   We were even a part of an interaction between teacher and class in the one room school ~ great fun.
As we snacked on cheese, crackers and carrots at a picnic table near the car smoke billows blended with the clouds.  We headed north towards Invermere.  We have crossed the Coast Mountains, the Monashee Range, Selkirk Mountains and Purcell Mountains and now the Rockies loom every higher on our right.  Stayed the night in Invermere - Motel 8 - great bed.  Took 190 pictures today.

August 25, 2003   ~   Happy Birthday, Bryan !

We entered the Kootenay National Park at 11:40 through a dramatic rock canyon. 

The park gates, we were told, would close at noon ~ a safety precaution because of the extreme fire hazard.  Once into the park, we thought we could take our time. 

We stopped to view the Redwall Fault.  When great blocks of the earth's crust slipped past one another, solid limestone was ground into jagged fragments called breccia, which in turn have been stained by iron oxide.  After long centuries of freezing and thawing, erosion by scouring streams and rolling rock, these great cliffs remain to trace the Redwall Fault.  

As we stopped to take our first hike at Olive Lake near the south gate of the park a Park Warden came by and said if we were heading north we best be on our way or we would be pushed back to Invermere.  He told us to stay ahead of his truck.   So we left Olive Lake without pictures and experiencing the trails and headed north - keeping ahead of the warden's truck.
We were stopped along with other cars to form a convoy.  The pilot truck (the same warden we first met) guided us through smokey valleys and charred landscapes and places where fires still dotted the hillsides.  We kept reminding ourselves ~ fire is a natural occurrence and is part of the evolution of a healthy forest.  

We were unable to stop at the Continental Divide ~ the dividing line between the Pacific and Atlantic watersheds ~ meaning all the streams and rivers on the west side flow towards the Pacific Ocean and all the streams and rivers on the east side of the Continental Divide flow towards the Atlantic Ocean (or Hudson's Bay).  At the turnoff to this tourist viewpoint the convoy passed a landed helicopter and firefighters. 

 Crossed into Alberta and took a picture of Castle Mountain.

On to Lake Louise where the first glimpse of the lake was postcard perfect.  The pictures I had seen always showed turquoise water - "a little phony" I thought - but there it was before me - turquoise water in a bowl of towering mountains.  Not satisfied with just looking at the lake, we rented a canoe and saw another view of the lake and Chateau ~ which we toured before leaving Lake Louise. 


At Peyto Lake we hiked up the paved trail, accented with educational makers, that was concluded by a view of  another turquoise blue lake shaped somewhat like a dolphin.  


Because of the healing sprain, Sherrie's pace was slow but enabled her to capture some of the alpine flowers on camera.

The peak season for wildflowers doesn't last long in these harsh conditions.  It's a life and death struggle to flower and produce seeds in the short weeks of summer.  Being perennial helps.  Perennials store all they need for new shoots, leaves and flowers in roots, rhizomes and bulbs from the previous year.  This way they're ready to spurt into growth even before the snow melts.  One flower - the western anemone - is seldom seen in bloom.  It gets a head start by producing its bud the summer before.  As soon as the snow starts to melt, out pops the flower then leaves appear.  The shaggy seed-head [see picture above-right] remains all summer until the last seed hair blows away.
Terry took a second, higher trail.  He came back to tell of a sight he had seen.  We went back to the parking lot and drove up to a high position where we were able to witness a Black Grouse being filmed by a serious photographer.  

Driving on the magnificent mountains rose up like majestic cathedrals and mighty coliseums.  So many adjectives so often over-used may be used without hesitation in the Rockies.  

We passed by Saskatchewan Crossing and drove up to the Columbia Ice Fields.  Again, the huge scale of the spectacle overwhelmed any postcard pictures that I had seen.  Returning to Saskatchewan Crossing, we found accommodation more modestly priced than the only accommodation choice at Columbia Ice Fields.

[the threadlike white mark at centre-bottom of the ice field is a road]

August 26, 2003

The beds were comfortable and we had a good night's sleep.  We left the mountains behind and entered the foothills of Alberta.  At Rocky Mountain House (Hwy 93) Terry had a short visit with his cousin Conrad Siewert who is an RCMP officer stationed there. 

After picking up a few groceries at the co-op, we headed north on Hwy 22 then east on Hwy 13, stopping off at Buck Lake for a late picnic.  It was on to Camrose - the birthplace of Sherrie's mom.  We will stay in Camrose for two nights in hopes of finding some genealogy treasures.


August 27, 2003

Not having to pack up and leave by check-out time, we had a leisurely morning in our room .... working on travel notes and genealogy information.  After ten o'clock we made some inquiries over the phone and headed out.  First stop the Camrose grave yard.  Our phone call had confirmed the graveyard and had given the location code for Sherrie's maternal great-grandmother, Emma Foster.  After trying to find it on our own, we went to the graveyard office.  Unfortunately, the lady there told us that the map for that section was not in-office at the moment and asked if we could return later.  

She also gave us an indication where she thought it might be in consideration of the section identification numbers.  Thinking we may have missed it, we went back and again, row by row, looked at all the grave markers in that section .... alas ... without results.  

We drove over to the Camrose Leisure Department where the map may have been left and waited for the office people to return from lunch.  They were able to help by photocopying a small section of the gravesite map and providing us with the date of her death and burial - not yet a part of our records.  We returned to the graveyard and using the map found the site of her grave.  It no longer had a headstone or marker of any kind.   We took pictures.

Next stop was the library.  They helped us pick out books that might be useful and led us to the microfiche machine.  We settled in.  The searches did not provide any direct information about our relatives ... except for some newspaper references to F. S. Morrison being on staff  at the Normal School and others where he played piano for an event.  It did, however, provide us with some understanding of the environment our family may have experienced while living here between 1916-1923.  Tomorrow we will visit the Museum and perhaps glean some information from city hall.
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