I took a quick trip through Alberta this past week when I traveled to Edmonton to trade my aging VW Golf in on a 2008 Jeep Liberty. I much prefer to drive a standard, but they are getting harder and harder to find, which is why the only vehicle I could find that met my needs was in Edmonton. I drove part of the spectacular Icefields Parkway through Banff National Park, stayed at Stony Plain, where I edited a newspaper in the early ’80s, and explored the Badlands between Drumheller and Dinosaur Provincial Park. (Richard McGuire photos)
After my car was towed to the garage for a wait of several weeks to be repaired, I bought an old truck to pull my trailer and continue my journey. The last part of my trip was a visit to Powell River, where my cousin Debbie and her husband Chuck live, and where my aunt Barbara, cousin Mike and his wife Marilyn were visiting from Ontario. It rained every day, but we managed a hike in the forest and an outing to the harbour. (Richard McGuire photos)
I headed down to the Sunshine Coast for a week’s vacation in the middle of July, taking the scenic route down through Lillooet and Pemberton. The trip had a great start and a great ending, but an unfortunate middle when my car and trailer became stuck on an isolated road only suitable for four-wheel drive vehicles. These photos were taken on the first part, before when my friend Myrtle, who lives down there, euphemistically calls “the adventure.” (Richard McGuire photos)
I took a weekend trip in June to the area east of Osoyoos in the Boundary Country and West Kootenay.
This part of British Columbia is very different from the Okanagan. It was opened by mining, with forestry and agriculture following in the wake.
I drove to Texas Creek campground in Gladstone Provincial Park on Christina Lake, a provincial park with more comfortable facilities than I’m used to at the more rustic (and cheaper) B.C. recreation sites. I used it as a base for two nights and travelled around with just my car.
This was partly because I’d had trouble the last time hauling my trailer over the Blueberry-Paulson Summit, Bonanza Pass east of Christina Lake behind my little Golf. It’s a long and sometimes steep ascent reaching 1282 m (4,206 ft.)
Rossland is a ski and outdoor recreation centre, which like other communities in the area, started in a late 19th century gold rush.
Trail still has a very large lead and zinc smelter, but it too was developed as the result of a late 19th century gold rush.
I had considered camping at Champion Lakes Provincial Park north of Trail before I decided to avoid crossing Paulson Summit, but didn’t want to risk arriving late with it being full and not having a reservation. I opted to camp back at Christina Lake, but decided to do a short visit to check out Champion Lakes. It was more crowded than I was used to, but looked like a great family relaxation spot with beaches, wading areas, swimming and water activities like kayaking, stand-up paddle and canoeing on one of the small lakes.
Rossland is the home of 1968 Winter Olympics gold medal skier Nancy Greene and the provincial park just north of there is named after her. I only had time to check it out from the highway, but it’s a small park in a beautiful alpine lake setting.
Finally, on the way home Sunday morning, I stopped over in the old Boundary Country mining “city” of Greenwood – with its old false front buildings, making a pit stop at Midway, mile zero of the Kettle Valley Railway. The KVR, which opened up the region, was built in the early 1910s to maintain Canadian sovereignty as Americans spilled over the border to chase silver.
(Richard McGuire photos)
The Slocan Valley is a gorgeous corner of B.C.’s Kootenays in the shadow of the Valhalla Mountain Range, with lakes and rivers.
I took a camping trip to this area on the last weekend of May and visited its former mining boom towns. Some of these are small communities today like New Denver, Silverton and Slocan. Others, like Sandon and Retallack are — to some extent of completely — ghost towns.
I was fortunate to have great weather. The blossoms and lilacs were blooming and at the time, the rivers and lakes were very high, but I saw no evidence of serious flooding.
(Richard McGuire photos)
Lillooet brands itself with the slogan “guaranteed rugged,” which is appropriate for a small town where the Coast Mountains meet the dry Upper Fraser Valley.
This was my most ambitious trip yet with my new (old) trailer, both for distance — about a five-hour trip from Osoyoos — as well as for some of the steep roads I covered.
I camped two nights at Cinnamon Recreation Site under tall rocky mountains and right beside Cayoosh Creek. It was definitely on the coolish side, and higher up when I explored the area, there was still a lot of snow.
(Richard McGuire photos)
When a gold rush arrived in 1885, Granite City soon followed, becoming a community of more than 2,000 people, 200 buildings and 13 saloons. Thirty years later, it was gone and all that remains today are a few remnants of log cabins and a pioneer cemetery.
The neighbouring community of Coalmont saw more prosperous days as a coal mining town. Today it’s an eccentric community of about 100 people, many more ghosts, a few closed down businesses and lawns covered with rusting old cars and machinery.
I took a camping trip to these communities last weekend, doing some work on my camper’s solar power. (Richard McGuire photos)
I spent a weekend at the end of June hiking in Glacier National Park of Canada and visiting Mount Revelstoke National Park.
The last time I hiked there was in 1975, when I worked that summer hammering in spikes on the Canadian Pacific Railway near Rogers Pass and would hike on weekends. It rains a lot as the tall Columbia and Selkirk mountains catch the Pacific moisture.
My hike to Balu Pass was through prime grizzly territory — anyone who was a Cub will remember Balou was the bear — and I was prepared with bear spray and constantly on the lookout. I never actually saw any bears, though did see a few tracks in the mud on the trail. (Richard McGuire photos)
I spent two weeks from the end of May and into June 2016 on a long drive through northern B.C, the Yukon and into Alaska.
For those who haven’t followed my blog, here’s a sampling of photos from the trip. (© Richard McGuire Photo)
I’ve had to keep this top secret until now, but one of my photos appears on a US Postal Service stamp that was announced in April 2016 and released in June 2016. It’s part of a series of stamps celebrating the centennial of the U.S. National Park Service. My photo features Carlsbad Caverns National Park in New Mexico. The photo was taken on Dec. 23, 2009. The Carlsbad Caverns are a huge network of limestone caves in southeast New Mexico. What impressed me most about them was their immense size.