Life in the Kootenays is regulated by the ferry schedule. Last week, driving over the Monashee pass, we had 15 extra minutes. So we decided to stop at Lost Lake, which is located some 1200 m above sea level. Great was our surprise when we spotted four trumpeter swans that apparently made a short stop-over at this tiny mountain lake on their journey south to their winter quarters. They seem to be papa and mama swan with the two youngsters they had raised in the Yukon during the summer months. We had never seen these graceful birds in the wild.
In the previous post, I reported that on October 15, my wife and I went swimming in the nearby Whatshan Lake. In the meantime, we finally had some much-needed rain but the temperatures for this time of the year are still way above normal. My followers in their comments asked me when we would get our first frost. This question brought back some fond memories of my annual pilgrimage to the mountains. In the 1980s, I never climbed up to the 8200 ft McBride mountain alone. At least one of our five sons accompanied me. Our hike would take place near the end of August. Often the meadows of the lower valley were covered by a white blanket of frost. Fast forward to the presence. Heart Creek, our main source of water, almost ran dry this year. Our garden is still producing red beets and cherry tomatoes. Only yesterday I picked a basket full of these delicious fruits from the vine. This is just another piece of evidence of climate change. Quite frankly, as pleasant as an extended warm spell may be, it makes me quite a bit worried.
Our son Tony and I are on the plateau of McBride. (1986) The ridge behind us leads to the higher Mt. Hilda
My wife planted the tomatoes in the soil under the gravel. They enjoyed the extra heat from the rocks.
Gisela’s grandparents always received us warmly when Gudrun and I came for a visit, and they treated us with delicious homemade refreshments. They took a genuine interest in our lives and liked to tell us stories of their exciting past, Unlike Gisela, Gudrun was very outgoing and radiated warmth. She always had a sweet smile on her round face. Blond, blue-eyed and well-developed, she liked to take life easy and have fun. While I still wore hand-me-down clothes from my second cousins, Gudrun had the most beautiful skirts, blouses and dresses, which her mom sewed for her. Like Gisela’s mom, her mother was a war widow and a seamstress. She also had a tailoring business at her home. Gudrun’s grandma lived with them. But her grandfather was dead. Gudrun’s Oma did the household chores while her mom sewed on a big long table in the corner of the spacious kitchen close to the window. Gudrun’s well-dressed mom looked glamorous with her fashionably styled blonde hair, heavy makeup and bright red, enormously long fingernails. They were curved like claws. I secretly wondered how she could handle delicate materials with them. She would take frequent smoke breaks showing off her long fingers by gracefully holding the cigarette. She half closed her eyes leisurely and slowly exhaled the smoke through her rounded red lips. Smoking looked so pleasurable and alluring to us girls. Periodically. a male friend of the family who was a truck driver for a brewery would visit Gudrun’s mom. At those times, much laughter and joking occurred, and thick clouds of smoke were coming from the sewing corner, distracting us from studying for school. I think her mom’s friend was a father substitute for Gudrun. Gudrun had a record player, a luxury our family could not yet afford. She owned records of the top hits, most of them gifts from her mother’s friend. We would listen with excitement to the catching songs and rhythms of Little Richard, Elvis Presley. Connie Francis and Brenda Lee. We would even dance around as soon as Gudrun’s mom and Oma ran errands. When our top idol Elvis sang, “Love me Tender,” we were mesmerized and started dreaming of first love.
Biene Hiking with her Father Walter Panknin
With this final post of chapter 6, Biene concludes her contribution to the Walter Panknin story. I will carry on with this family history in Chapter 7.