Highlights of Summer 2015

Camping at Taite Creek

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Gertrud at the Taite Creek Beach

One week after we had returned from Victoria I pulled our little trailer the 10 km distance to our favorite campground at Taite Creek. Over the years word about this oasis at the Arrow Lake had spread all over the land. Outdoor enthusiasts from BC and even from the neighboring province of Alberta were flocking to this little paradise in the sun.

Gertrud with a Piece of Driftwood
Gertrud with a Piece of Driftwood

Gertrud and I were lucky to have found a vacant site in the middle of the summer. When we started camping, campfire bans were in effect due to the unusually hot and dry weather. What is camping without that romantic ritual of sitting around the campfire in the cool evening air, sipping a glass of wine, and having a good and relaxing time with your neighbors and friends? But Gertrud and I have learned to be content with what we have and not pine for the things we lack. In other words we made do with the given circumstances, enjoyed our daily swims in the refreshing lake, took canoe rides, went on photo excursions, spent some time with our camping friends, and played crib before retiring into our cozy trailer for the night.

Peter Returning from a Canoe Ride
Peter Returning from a Canoe Ride

Every other day quite early in the morning I drove home to look after our yard and garden and to get fresh food supplies for our camping needs. On one of those trips I got very lucky. A buck was standing on the side of the road. I immediately stopped the car hoping to capture his majestic image on my digital camera. Alas, the camera was stored away somewhere in the back of the vehicle. I opened the door very quietly and stepped out on the road. The buck did not move. I walked to the back and opened the tail gate. The buck still did not move. I quickly grabbed my camera and aimed it at the buck, who was still standing at the same spot and then as if he wanted to pose for the picture turned his beautiful antlers in my direction. Then to my utter amazement he allowed me to approach him, while I was taking one picture after another. At 20 m he decided that I was a bit too close for comfort and trotted leisurely off into the forest. This encounter with one of the finest specimens in the animal kingdom made my day and I proudly shared his image on Flickr with the rest of the world.

Buck with Antlers Illuminated by the Morning Sun
Buck with Antlers Illuminated by the Morning Sun

Hiking in the Spring – Part III

A Spring Walk around Fauquier, BC

 In February I tried very hard to show beauty on a foggy and drizzly day. But this time in the middle of a gorgeous spring, I don’t even have to try. Nature has fully sprung into action. With its dandelion-speckled meadows, the fragrance of apple blossoms in the air, birds twittering in the cedar trees,  with its glorious presence Nature is creating a more joyful mood. Today I suggest a more leisurely walk around our beautiful community. If you take the time to stop often to look at the landscape and listen to the birds chant their cheerful songs, you will need about 40 minutes to complete the loop.

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Google Earth Map of Fauquier with the red dot marking the starting and end point of the walk around the loop

01We start our walk at the General Store, where a bed of tulips adds color to the country store.

02Going west on the commercial street, we walk past a colonnade of trees.

03At the motel we turn left and begin a gentle climb.

05The St. John the Baptist Church looks beautiful any time of the year, but especially now in springtime.

06There is hardly a house in Fauquier that does not have trees and shrubs to beautify its yard.

10The trees have grown so tall you cannot see our house on Google Earth any more.

12A neighbor farther up the hill is completed surrounded by shrubs and trees.

13After you have reached this large property on the left at the top of the loop, the road begins to level off.

14Now it is going downhill with a wonderful view of the Arrow Lake down in the valley.

15You walk alongside a murmuring brook, where the first shoots of wild mint are emerging from the water.

17Turning around under a flowering chestnut tree, you look back on the hillside road you’ve just come from.

18Turning into the opposite direction, you see the Fauquier Elementary School, where I have been teaching from 1976 to 2000. It is now closed and houses the Fauquier Communication Centre.

19You now cross Highway 6 and savor the fantastic view of the lake across the Fauquier golf course.

20Taking the pathway parallel to the highway, you complete the loop by going past the club house.

Hiking in the Spring – Part I

Taite Creek Trail

Today I start with a recreational theme on hiking. There are many wonderful hiking trails in and around Fauquier that are waiting to be discovered. Also there is no better time to explore the awakening of spring than by a walk through the woods along the rushing waters of a creek. Even if one was blind and could not see the beauty, the fresh aromatic air swirling about one’s face and the melt waters thundering at a distance would be enough to make you feel in tune with Mother Nature.

View onto the Lake at Taite Creek Campground
View onto the Lake at Taite Creek Campground

This afternoon after a heavy rain during the night the sun was shining brightly. So Biene (Gertrud) and I felt like driving down on Applegrove Road to our favorite spot at Taite Creek. We were lucky. We had the lake, the beach, and the campground all to ourselves. After our customary game of boccia and some home-made cake and coffee, which I brewed on our camp stove, I went for a hike, while Biene enjoyed the peace and quiet in the warm sun to do some knitting.

A Tree half uprooted by a Storm forms a beautiful Arch
A Tree half uprooted by a Storm forms a beautiful Arch

More than ten years ago a sports-minded father created with axe and chainsaw a challenging dirt bike trail for his teenage son. We discovered it by chance and since it had been abandoned by father and son it turned out to be one of our favorite hiking trails.

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Last Look at the Lake before Turning Left

For the first 500 m it runs parallel to the lake until it reaches the mouth of Taite Creek. Then turning left it follows the creek for about one km before it moves away into dense forest. Old overgrown logging roads crisscross the area creating a veritable maze where you could get easily lost. Luckily the boy’s father had carefully marked the path by tying yellow ribbons onto tree branches. Near the end the trail changes direction and crosses an old growth forest area, where in the fall I find some of the choicest mushrooms for our dinner table.

Wild Wilderness at its Best
Wild Wilderness at its Best

Everything except for the trail is wild around here. This is perfect wilderness and nature at its best. One must often climb over a tree trunk that a violent storm had blown over across the path. Canada geese nest near the lake. The air is filled with the high-pitched voices of the osprey. And if you are lucky, you might see the king among the birds of prey, the bald eagle, soaring high above in the sky.

Trees Stretching to the Light
Trees Stretching to the Light

The trail ends at the bridge on Applegrove Road. If you are ambitious and don’t want to return to camp by the same route, you can extend your beautiful walk a little by turning it into a full circle tour. From the bridge you walk a few hundred meters in the direction of Fauquier, until you see the campground access road, which will lead you back where you started. There will be more posts on hiking trails in the near future on this blog.

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West Kootenays in Perfect Harmony with the Seasons

Happy Easter!

On a recent walk around town I talked to a neighbor, who like me is also making his daily round. I mentioned to him that I had observed over the years that nature in our little community was as perfectly as it can get in synchrony with the seasons. As surely as we have snow for Christmas, Mother Nature begins to stir in the West Kootenays on or around the spring equinox.

My neighbor agreed, “We are sitting on the right time line here in God’s country.”

Yes, I know that down at the coast, people enjoy the blooming of snowdrops in early February and golfers in Victoria are playing their favorite game on New Year’s Eve. But I like to experience the quarterly changes that best symbolize our journey through life.

Here are a few photos I have taken only a few days ago showing the beauty of vernal awakening in the budding of trees, bushes and flowers. The promise of new life is also evident in the spiritual renewal we may find in the celebration of Easter every year in spring.

There are more pictures on my Flickr site. To view them just click on the tab with the blue and red dot above the header.

Frohe Ostern! Joyeuses Pâques! Happy Easter!

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