Monday, June 28, 2010

Back in Dogpound

Well this morning our mountain getaway came to an end. We packed up our stuff, put in the slides, hooked up the pickup and headed back over the mountain passes to home. The roads were good but that pass up Sinclair Creek is a steep one so it took us a while to haul ourselves over it. I remember all the cars that overheated on that ascent when we were out there as kids so took my time and kept an eye on the temperature all the way. Once we got over the pass it was smooth going along the Kootenay River flats. We stopped at the Simpson River where there is a monument commemorating George Simpson of the Hudson’s Bay Company travels through the area. I took the shot below looking up the valley of the Simpson River.

Simpson River

One more pass past Storm Mountain and we are all downhill on the way home. It is about a three hour drive from Radium back our place near Cremona. Once we got home we needed to trim up the grass a little before putting the rig in its spot. And that last two miles was really dusty so we will need to do a little washing and shining once we get settled in.

Down the Road from Dogpound


A big week ahead here, Wednesday we pick up our oldest granddaughter, Claire, who is hanging out with us till next Monday, then Thursday we head up to Rocky Mountain House for our youngest granddaughters 1st Birthday celebration, and not to forget the countries 143rd, and then on Friday it is time to load the horses and head for the Buffalo Creek Ranch up near Wainwright for a little gathering celebrating my Uncle Brent's wedding last winter. So until next time those of you who are traveling, travel safe, and those who are not enjoy your days, we will be enjoying ours.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

A little of This and a little of That

Friday we took a run down the valley to Fairmont Hot Springs for lunch. We ate at Dappers Landing and the meal was pretty forgettable, or at least mine was, Brenda had a “Chicken Club” and it was OK. After lunch there we headed down to the Hoodoo’s a little farther down the road just across the Columbia River.


We took a nice little walk along the river below these strange formations and gave Meg a little run away from the campground. She is not used to being tied up all day and having to walk on a leash, but is a quick learner. There were some flowers along the trail here, below a wild rose


and some kind of moth resting on the always plentiful dandelion.


After our short excursion we headed back to the campground for another afternoon of catching up on our reading and napping.

Saturday we headed back down to Invermere to visit the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market. not many farmers in evidence here, but it is early in the season yet so we came away with a quilt and a bag of ripe cherries. Windermere Lake was starting to get busy by the time we left and if the weather stays warm in another week it will be hopping here in the Windermere valley.

a-06 a-08

We did take in the evening show at the campgrounds theatre and it was a portrayal of the development of the Radium Hot Springs here with a lot of crowd participation.

Sunday our last full day in the valley we decided to go the other direction up towards Golden and then off west towards the Bugaboo Mountains. There is a maze of roads and developed trails heading into the hills here and we just followed our noses and came to these waterfalls along the way. The one below alongside the road on Dunbar Creek.


And after a short walk into the forest at the same site we came upon a larger falls.a-02

That is apparently a local favourite for the backdrop in wedding photo’sa-03

After wandering around in the back woods for a while and letting Meg hunt a few ground squirrels


we dropped back into the Columbia Valley and crossed the wetlands that fill that valley from side to side.


This area, Columbia National Wildlife Area, is apparently a pretty significant wetlands that are major stopping over places for birds along the Pacific Flyway and seemed to be teeming with bird and other types of wildlife. We didn’t see a lot of wildlife but it sure is pretty.


Thursday, June 24, 2010


That what we came here for and that is what we are doing, just chillin’, catching up on some book reading and wandering around the place with the dog. For Meg and I that started this morning about 6:00AM and although the sun had not made it over the mountains yet it was already a beautiful morning.

June 24-1

We spent most of the day watching those big clouds roll by although there were a couple of showers that kept the dust down. Radium is on the west side of the Rocky Mountains in an area called the Rocky Mountain Trench that runs from Flathead Lake in Montana nearly to the Yukon border in northern British Columbia. Locally to where we are there is a pretty significant wetlands, the Columbia wetlands, apparently on of the longest wetlands in North America.

June 24-2

Today we took a spin down to the town of Invermere so that Brenda could get a tablecloth for our picnic table and pick up a few groceries at the local Sobey’s store there. On the way back we stopped and took this shot of her and Meg on a bank high above the Columbia River whose headwaters are just south of Radium.


June 24-3

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

On the Road to Radium

Today we shed our shackles and hooked our outfit up to head to Radium Hot Springs for some R&R. Yah, I know, what have we done lately, well a lot of traveling, a lot of visiting and a fair bit of yard and home maintenance on those rare days that we found ourselves at the farm when it was not pouring rain. What we haven’t done is just sit and enjoy the world around us and that is what we are planning on doing for the next 5 or 6 days. We headed west into the Rockies and climbed up to the continental divide where we thought we needed a break to celebrate getting our new tow vehicle up that steep climb, no problem.


Now these Mountain Parks are beautiful but the one thing they are a little short on is parking for todays size of outfits. Back in my childhood years I can remember all these parking lots were more than big enough to hold my Grandpa’s car and 18 foot trailer and even when he upsized to a magnificent 21 feet there still appeared to be acres of room. Now our new tow vehicle makes ours a shade over 60 feet long and that limits the pullouts that are available. The one at the Continental Divide is big enough, just, and so is the one at the Paint Pots but Marble Canyon is a little small, although there is a spot across the road and a little south of the parking lot that looked like it would work. Below is a shot of my grandmother and my 38 year old son in the same campground we are in tonight. Looks as if there is a lot of room here then.




Today is the National Day of Remembrance for Victims of Terrorism here in Canada so our flags are flying at half-mast for that occasion. The one on the left is British Columbia’s and the one on the right is Alberta’s and they are each flying on their own territory.


After our lunch break we headed on to the Redstreak Campground in Kootenay National Park just outside of Radium Hot Springs. They gave us a complicated confirmation number when we made the reservation which I wrote down as I was sure not to remember any of it but as we drove up to the entrance the girls said you must be the Brown’s and we are waiting for you to arrive. Not sure what makes us memorable, the last time we were here was in 2006 and before that I was on vacation with my own kids 20 years ago. Oh well maybe they were just looking for a big rig to fit in a small space. Fooled them, we fit nicely, although there is not a lot of room to spare with the slides out but the campground is not to full so we have no neighbours close to us.


Now back to the book reading and catching up on the blogs I follow.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Creek Place

Sunday Derek, his girls and I went for a ride on his “Creek Place”, another parcel of land a few miles away from the Battle River spot we rode over yesterday on the STARS trailride. We had a little work to do here as he had a cow that needed doctoring and his calves needed their booster vaccinations. This piece of land is sure pretty and not at all like the main ranch down on the river. Castor Creek runs through the middle of it and although it is out on the flat prairie once you drop over the edge of the canyon you are into another world.

 Creek Place

Below is a shot of the James Gang crossing Castor Creek on their place.

Castor Creek

And here is another of them along the trail

James Gang #2

Now after scouring the whole place and crossing back and forth over the creek a few times, looking through some of the treed areas it appears that the lost herd was in a little horseshoe canyon that we had overlooked on our first pass through the country.

Lost Cows  

Here they are heading across the creek and up the hill towards the corrals. We didn’t get them all on the first pass and Shawna, Derek’s wife and Kacee. walked back down and routed the rest out of the thick bush and got them up the hill to join their buddies. Good job girls.

 Trail Drive 

Now their is a familiar cowpoke waving her hands and politely asking the cows to do what they are told, Surprisingly it actually worked. I’ll have to try it next time.


Now there is Derek politely pointing the way for his calves to their vaccinations. Notice the clean white hat it will make another appearance later on.

Get along little dogie


Derek had to work his way through the calves three separate times as each vaccine has to be given separately and with a different method, some just under the skin and others as intra muscular injections.


Now if you are going to go around sticking needles in calves it might be wise to keep your hat on your head as the little critters are vindictive and that ain’t dirty water on that hat now. Brings to mind my grandpa’s old adage “Never hire a man who rolls his own cigarettes or wears a straw hat, he’s either rolling a cigarette or chasing his hat all day.”


After we got done doing the calves we loaded a cow that had to make a trip to the vet in the trailer and my saddle horse, Blue, behind her and headed back for their house for a BBQ steak to remind us all what this business is all about. The steak was great and the company was even better. Thanks for your hospitality Derek and Shawna, and kids, and we will be back to enjoy your beautiful spot, SOON!

Monday morning dawned bright and early and we had to make tracks as we were going to a retirement party for an old friend and colleague in Calgary that evening. We left James’ place about 7:00AM and made the two hundred mile drive home arriving before noon. That gave me time to get the grass under control around the yard before I had to head off into the city.

Today has been spent rigging up my truck to be towed behind the motorhome and then washing it and the rig so that they are all spic and span when we hit the 2 miles of dirt road that it takes us to get to the highway.

We are off, tomorrow morning, to the Redstreak Campground in Kootenay National Park near Radium Hot Springs in BC for a five night stay.

Monday, June 21, 2010


(Shock, Trauma, Air Rescue Society)

Friday we got the lawns cut around the farm and loaded up the bus and the horse trailer and headed for Alliance, Alberta. Boy it felt good to get those big wheels rolling again. Alliance is a couple of hundred miles away from our place here down the road from Dogpound and because of the wet spring we have had here in Alberta it was a pretty nice drive through a very green landscape.

We were off to visit our friends Derek and Shawna James and their kids, Kacee, Jessika (Finegan), and Justin as well as participating in a trail ride for S.T.A.R.S. The STARS outfit provides air rescue in services in Alberta and long term readers will recall our friend Sherry Schmidts incident in a previous blog, so with that in mind we thought this was a cause we would certainly support. Not that we need a lot of encouragement to take our horses for a ride in new country. The ride was along the Battle River Valley SE of Alliance and crossed a number of local ranchers places, thanks to those folks for allowing us the pleasure of crossing through their beautiful places, including the J4 that our friends the James are soon to call home.

Winding through the J4

Here is a shot of the “James Gang”, our host Derek and his two daughters Kacee on the right and Jessika on the left.

The James Gang


John and Brenda Brown   

We certainly had a great day riding this beautiful valley and will be back soon.

We had such a great time on this ride we are thinking that the Rumsey Ag Societies S.T.A.R.S ride on August 8th may be just as much fun and through the beautiful Red Deer River Valley this time. But that is a long way off right now and as many of you know all our plans are cast in jello, so only time will tell for sure.

Head West Young Man!

Good advice but you don’t have to be to young to profit from heeding it. Rod and Deb headed for Alaska on Friday morning and it was a little quiet around here without them so Saturday Brenda and I jumped in the pickup and took a little spin out to the West Coast. First stop was our friend Starla’s Saturday night for a BBQ with her and some of her friends. Dan her fellow did and excellent job of cooking dinner and entertaining all of us.

Sunday we jumped across the border to attend a memorial for my Aunt Elsie who passed away last winter. She had a beautiful cottage overlooking the Bay and wanted her ashes spread there in her favourite spot. All my cousins were in attendance so we had a little visit and then we ran for the border and hopped on a ferry to Vancouver Island. So I am not sure that those hours will be counted against our allotment next winter.

Our final destination that day was the Odo’s place overlooking the Nanamio River.   

 The Odo's Place

This sure is a beautiful spot and a great place to recharge your batteries. I could sit on the deck all day and listen to the water rushing by and the birds chirping. It is a fantastic location and John and Gina have done a fantastic job of fixing up their spot in Paradise. They run a Bed and Breakfast here called the Riverside B&B and if you are looking for a spot to hide out from the rat race they have the keys.

The shot below was taken from the shoreline right in front of their place.

River View

And here is our hostess enjoying the evening sunshine and giving Cleo a little swim and some exercise.

River View

Tuesday we took a trip up to the little town of Coombs on the Island to wander through the market and some of the shops there. Coombs is a kind of neat little town with a collection of interesting shops and a great market. This fellow was hanging around the shop and said in another life he would have been a cowboy. Seriously though the carving is incredible on this and many of the other statues in this shop


Wednesday we again headed off down the road towards home. We caught the 10:30 Ferry to Horseshoe Bay and then made it to Sicamous, Canada’s Houseboat Capital, where we spent the night and then hopped over the Rockies to home. We are only here for the night and tomorrow we head off on another journey.

Friday, June 11, 2010

What a Week!

It has been a great week here in Dogpound, the Kendalls arrived Sunday afternoon and the week has been a whirlwind of activities every since.
The Kendall's are Here
We have been to the mountains where the Red Deer River begins
Yaha Tinda and the Red Deer River
To the prairies where it cuts through the Badlands
Red Deer River at the Bleriot Ferry
We have had a little sunshine, and a lot of rain.
Rain Guage - yep 2 inches!!

Met our targets for wildlife viewing

And we have done what we do best through rain or sunshine and enjoyed some great meals together with good company
Now it is time to bid them Safe Travels and we will see you down the road somewhere soon. And a little going away present from Sweetpea’s kitchen, a Frozen Peanut Butter Pie complete with Moose Droppings for that genuine Canadian effect. And thanks for the butter and those oh so valuable pre-oilspill shrimp from the Gulf of Mexico.
Frozen Peanut Butter Pie
One final shot of the four of us.
Kendall`s and Brown`s
Travel Safe
Now that our friends have left the farm it looks a little empty around here
JB & Sweetpea
So it is off to Vancouver Island tomorrow to visit our friends John and Gina and their beautiful home on the Nanamio River
Nanamio River

Moose Hunting!

After our trip to the Tyrrell Museum on Tuesday we decided that we needed a down day around here. The weather decided that it was going to have a down day also, and it poured DOWN all day.

We got some things caught up around the farm and then decided to head for the Water Valley Saloon for Wing night and some visiting.

In the photo below Deb is explaining to my youngest son Matt her version of the elusive moose. As you can tell from the expression on his face he is not familiar with the species she is talking about.

Deb Kendall doing her Moose imitiation.

The Water Valley Saloon is a local institution in our area and a gathering place for many of the locals. Our history with the establishment goes back to opening night many years ago. Back at the far right corner of the table just across from Rod you can see the reverse G that is part of our families cattle brand “Reverse G over J”. Now we don’t always get this table but we certainly are regulars.

Today we took a spin out to Brenda and I’s favourite spot. There is a waterfall along the Bighorn Creek out at the Yaha Tinda that is a nice little walk and even if it is raining it is pretty protected down in the canyon so we thought rather than waiting and watching the rain fall we would take a drive and then a hike.

Bighorn Creek

The creek is a little high at this time of year what with the spring runoff and the two days of rain we have had. So we actually had to do a little cliff hugging to get past some of the narrow parts, and even in one place move a few rocks so that we could actually navigate the trail in without getting wet feet.

Bighorn Creek Bighorn Creek with the Kendall's 

But the hike was worth it as the water was crashing over the falls and the volumes were much higher than usual. Here is a shot of Deb and Rod at the base of the falls. Just a little bit of trivia, Brenda and I were married at the top of the cliff on the right hand side of the photo below.

 Bighorn Falls

A great trip and great company to share a visit to our favourite spot with. Now back to our real purpose for this drive. We started the week looking for Moose and the week wouldn’t be complete without finding that elusive moose for Deb. Now we finally stumbled on this pair a half mile away from the bar we ate in last night.