Monday, May 30, 2005

Premier Lake and Home

Again it was a beautiful day, the coffee was hot, fish were moving up stream and we really didn't want to pack up and leave. Packing up was a breaze, we were able to pack a little bit here and there so it wasn't a big push to get it all together. As we packed a couple kids came over and asked if we could jump their rig. When we were finished packing I gave them a jump and got the engine to turn over and start. They couldn't figure why the battery would be dead, they didn't play their music all that long the night before. Yup, you got it. Oh well they thanked us and we were off.

Bug and Baka at Premier Lake. Posted by Hello

Rainbow in the spawn making a 12" jump. Posted by Hello

Fish ladder at Premier Lake. Posted by Hello

Fish moving up stream. Posted by Hello
We were out of the camp site by 11 AM Canadian time. Our drive home was uneventful and we got everything cleaned and put away by 5 PM.

The Road Above Quartz Lake

My morning consists of waking up, making coffee, reading and then shaving. The perfect start to another day. Our plan for this day was to hike the road that takes you up on the ridge overlooking Quartz lake. We hiked and talked, the ladies in the lead, hoping not to encounter a bear. There was fresh bear scat everywhere, but we didn’t run into any critters as we marched. The overlook was beautiful! When we arrived there was a eagle souring below us riding the updrafts above the lake and up in the clifts. I got a picture of it, but it was not close enough to see any detail. We ate lunch and sat in the shade.

Looking southeast over Quartz Lake. Posted by Hello

Quartz Lake looking northeast. Posted by Hello

Baka’s ears perked up and our attention was drawn to a couple of hikers coming from the south along the ridge. They had a dog and were looking at their GPS unit as they approached. Baka was very good and sat very nicely the entire time the dog and people were there. It turns out that they were looking for a geocache that was planted within 100 feet of where we were. They gave Daren the coordinates (Rocky Bluff, N 49deg 53.328', W 115deg 38.830')and he entered them into his GPS and the hunt was on. It took less then ten minutes for them to zero in on the cache. Once they had circled it a couple times, Linda walked over and pointed to it hidden under a rock. We signed the log and talked about caching. The couple had only found about three other caches, but they were really enjoying the hunt.

Marcy and Linda goofing off. Posted by Hello

An eagle in flight over Quartz Lake. Posted by Hello

About half way through the hunt another couple drove up to the overlook spot. This couple had camped next to us the previous night and Daren had talked to them in camp. We chatted and everyone went their separate ways, but before the couple who drove up left they said that they had seen a cinnamon bear on the road in and that we should keep an eye out as we walk back.

No bears! We saw lots of scat but no bears, I was kinda bummed. We hiked back, Linda talked all the way, so that could have been one reason there were no bears. I think she planned it that way. Oh well what can you say.

We went back to camp and made dinner. Daren and Marcy made tortellini in a red sauce and I made my first beer bread in a dutch oven. I also made fudge cake for desert by stacking two dutch ovens. Everything came out great, I was so excited. We went to bed after sitting by the fire, it was a very fun day.

Three Lakes Hike, Phew!

The trails and Lakes. Posted by Hello
The next day was long hike day. Well at least for me it was a long one. We hiked from camp to Yankee Lake and then to Canuck Lake where we ate lunch. After that we looped around to a lake called Turtle Lake. At Turtle Lake Baka swam and chased sticks for about a half hour. All the lakes had Turtles in them, but Turtle Lake was the smallest with the largest visible population. Along the trail we saw bear scat, but now bears. My knee did ok, but it still gives me problems and I have to be careful.

South end of Yankee Lake. Posted by Hello

A photo moment on Canuck Lake. Posted by Hello

Linda at Turtle Lake. Posted by Hello

Baka in Turtle Lake. Posted by Hello

In camp Linda and I were up for providing dinner. We made Linda’s favorite, mac and cheese in the dutch oven. It came out great if I do say so myself. Our desert was a crumb cake made in a second dutch and it came out just great also. I like cooking that way, but I have discovered that I need to get a food strainer for the camper. I accidently spilled the mac and cheese pot down the drain when I was trying to clean the dutch. It clogged the drain and I had to work on it for about a half hour to get it to function properly. Another lesson learned.

We had another fire and sat round exchanging stories of Mexico and future plans for travels.

Friday, May 27, 2005

The First Day of Hiking

Morning brought a beautiful blue sky and a day made for hiking. First off it was coffee and a little breakfast followed by cleaning up and getting ready to hike. Today’s destination would be Quartz Lake. Located about two miles off the main road this little lake is accessible by hiking or driving. Our hike was quiet and very pleasant. We were the only ones at the lake and we ran into know one the entire day.

Hiking the East side of Quartz Lake. Posted by Hello

Penstemen found along the trail. Posted by Hello

The Bennett's at Quartz Lake. Posted by Hello
Baka swam and the group explored. Lunch time came and we sat at the edge of the blue green water, watching trout swim by and an eagle glide on the mountain breezes. It doesn’t get much better then that.

Back at camp Daren and Marcy prepared a wonderful dinner of Dutch Oven Enchiladas and salad. We ate or fill and sat around the campfire talking. You could not have asked for a better day.

Thursday, May 26, 2005

We're Heading North to Canada

Last year at this time, Linda and I were home drying out our camping gear. We had connected with Daren and Marcy up on the Coeur d’Alene River and were very fortunate to have found the spot we did. The area was packed with campers and the spot we found was rustic at best.

For this years Memorial Day trip I suggested heading up North to Canada in an effort to avoid the masses we faced last year. On Thursday afternoon we set our sights on Premier Lake Park, situated 72 km north of Cranbrook. We had been there many years before and were hoping that Daren and Marcy, who left before us, would get a site at the lake campground. As luck would have it we were successful and spent a wonderful weekend up in the area exploring the lakes, watching the fish, eating great meals and just plain relaxing.

The road to Premier. Posted by Hello
Nestled against the west slopes of the Rocky Mountains, are the emerald green waters of Premier and four smaller lakes, Canuck, Yankee, Cats Eye and Quartz. The area is rich in wildlife. Premier Ridge, west of the lake, is an important wintering range for elk, whitetail and mule deer, and Rocky Mountain bighorn sheep. As we drove up to the area we saw two coyotes dash across the road in front of our truck. I thought the first one was a, fox, but the second one, a big male, proved me wrong. Entering the park we saw several deer and an elk. The elk was a male with small horns covered in velvet.

We arrived a little late. It took longer in Cranbrook that we expected. Linda’s luck was bad at the super store. First she could not buy wine, then when we got in line everything went wrong with the customers in front of her and it seemed like it took hours just to check out. Good thing Marcy and Daren had gone ahead and were setting up camp.

Camping at Premier Lake Campground. Posted by Hello

We had a good campsite next to the small creek that runs into the south end of the lake. It was very interesting to sit and watch the fish. The spawn is in full cycle it was like the great gold rush all weekend. Our weekend was filled with fish jumping over small falls, making nests for mating and just plain amazing us with their ability to get up stream no matter what they ran into. Daren and I would take our chairs down to the stream and sit watching the mayhem. I suggested playing a drinking game. Every time a fish jumped up over this foot high water falls, everyone should take a drink. If they made it up but got washed back down then you should drink twice. My guess was we would be snockered in about an hour. But it would have been fun!

Everyone was real tired so we turned in with out making a fire this first night.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Northwest Hashage V

In the eighth year, there was NWH V and the masses made their pilgrimage from all around the region to a place called Fairmont and the Fairmont Mountain Bungalows. Linda and I packed up the camper and took off about 11:00 AM on Friday the 13th for a leisurely trip up north. Our first stop landed us in Sandpoint where we bought coffee and did a little shopping. We traveled on to Bonners Ferry and bought gas and a few other items prior to crossing the border into Canada. The border crossing was uneventful and our next stop was Cranbrook BC.

In Cranbrook we stopped at the super store and purchased a few items, and then we drove out of town north. The road takes you past Ft. Steel and through Skookemchuck up to the hoodoos of the Fairmont Hot Springs area. We were met by Rainman and he had me camp in the same place I stayed two years ago. I have been to four out of the five NWH's and enjoyed everyone. This maybe the last Hassage they ever have. Rainman has sold the bungalows and is moving to Taiwan.

People started arriving and we sat a talked until the bus arrived. About an hour later the hares were off and everyone took off up to the hot springs on the night hash. Linda and I took this opportunity to catch a few winks, and when everyone returned from the pools we were dead asleep and didn't join the folks around the fire. It turns out not much happened so we didn't miss anything.

Tuesday, May 10, 2005

NIChallenge Overnighter

This weekend I packed up that camper and spent Friday and Saturday setting up and running the NIChallenge Adventure Race. I set up the camper just before the rain and then went to dinner. We had a long day of preparations for the event and by 8:30 PM I was beat. The rest of the group ended up parting and making an evening of it, while I went to bed.

5:30 AM came early and I was able to get my coffee and a muffin before we started the final preparations for the event. It was real fun to be the guys in charge of a race that had 70 participants. Everyone had a great time and the challenge went surprisingly smooth. Our day lasted till about 6:00 PM and once again I was beat. By the time I got home my legs hurt, my knee was swollen and I was famished. But you know, I would do it again tomorrow.

Visit the NIChallenge web at NIChallenge. There are some great shots so click on the picture page link.