A quick trip through Alberta

Near Drumheller, there are rock formations known as hoodoos. Harder stone, often with iron, forms a cap that sits on top of a column of eroding sandstone. At this hoodoo area, a stairway and platforms have been built to provide tourists with a close-up view. (Richard McGuire photo)

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)

The Columbia River becomes Upper Arrow Lake to the south of Revelstoke, B.C. Along with Lower Arrow Lake, the lake levels were raised by a dam to the south near Castlegar. The morning light made it look beautiful. (Richard McGuire photo)

One of the most beautiful road trips in the world is the Icefields Parkway, which stretches from near Lake Louise in Banff National Park up to Jasper. This shot was taken near Hector Lake close to the south end. (Richard McGuire photo)

Bow Peak rises dramatically to the west of the Icefields Parkway to the west of the Mosquito Creek campground. (Richard McGuire photo)

Bow Peak rises dramatically to the west of the Icefields Parkway to the west of the Mosquito Creek campground. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Crowfoot Glacier near Bow Lake along the Icefields Parkway looks like a chilly place on a cold early October day. As the glacier has retreated over the years, it has lost the lower toe and now looks less like a crow’s foot. (Richard McGuire photo)

Bow Lake, next to the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park, is the closest lake to the headwaters of the Bow River. It’s lined with steep mountain cliff faces. (Richard McGuire photo)

Bow Lake, next to the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park, is the closest lake to the headwaters of the Bow River. It’s lined with steep mountain cliff faces. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Saskatchewan River Crossing is where the David Thompson Highway leaves the Icefields Parkway to head east from Banff National Park. The aspens were a brilliant yellow. (Richard McGuire photo)

Abraham Lake is an artificial lake next to the David Thompson Highway heading out of the Rocky Mountains. It is kept full by the Bighorn Dam on the North Saskatchewan River. That storm in the background brought snow flurries. (Richard McGuire photo)

This old abandoned house south of Stony Plain, Alberta, leaves a memory of an earlier era. The area is still farmed, but the houses today are much larger. (Richard McGuire photo)

This rural road south of Stony Plain travels through typical Parkland County landscapes — low, rolling hills, trees and fields, and lots of small lakes. It’s very different from the open prairie. (Richard McGuire photo)

I was the editor of the Stony Plain Reporter in the early 1980s. The building is still there, but it’s now a Community Futures office. A mural on the wall, one in a series of historical murals decorating downtown Stony Plain, shows an early printing press in the days of the Stony Plain Advertiser. (Richard McGuire photo)

When I worked at the Stony Plain Reporter in the early 1980s, we often went for lunch at Bing’s in the Stony Plain Hotel. Both are still there, though much of Stony Plain has completely changed and grown since I lived there. (Richard McGuire photo)

The 1910 Oppertshauser House was faced with demolition in 1984 at a location a few blocks away. Stony Plain had some soon-expiring provincial grant money that could help to save it, but the County of Parkland opted to let its grant money expire rather than put it towards saving the house. “What that house needs is a gallon of coal oil and a match,” said one redneck county councillor. I spoke to the council of Edmonton Beach and they agreed to provide their grant money, thus saving the house. In 1987, it was subsequently moved to a new location next to the Multicultural Centre, the brick former schoolhouse on the left. (Richard McGuire photo)

Heading south from Camrose, there was more and more snow in the fields after a storm that hit the previous night. (Richard McGuire photo)

There’s a gentle roll to the prairies east of Trochu, as the Red Deer River has eroded a valley. That valley widens and evolves into badlands as you travel southeast. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Orkney Viewpoint northwest of Drumheller provides a view of the badlands and the Red Deer River. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Orkney Viewpoint northwest of Drumheller provides a view of the badlands. The prairies suddenly drop off as they hit the Red Deer River Valley. (Richard McGuire photo)

When I bought this used Jeep Liberty in Edmonton two days earlier, they spent a long time detailing it an making it look clean and immaculate. It only took a short bit of driving on a few Alberta backroads and the car was covered with mud. (Richard McGuire photo)

Near Drumheller, there are rock formations known as hoodoos. Harder stone, often with iron, forms a cap that sits on top of a column of eroding sandstone. At this hoodoo area, a stairway and platforms have been built to provide tourists with a close-up view. (Richard McGuire photo)

Near Drumheller, there are rock formations known as hoodoos. Harder stone, often with iron, forms a cap that sits on top of a column of eroding sandstone. At this hoodoo area, a stairway and platforms have been built to provide tourists with a close-up view. (Richard McGuire photo)

Near Drumheller, there are rock formations known as hoodoos. Harder stone, often with iron, forms a cap that sits on top of a column of eroding sandstone. At this hoodoo area, a stairway and platforms have been built to provide tourists with a close-up view. (Richard McGuire photo)

The snowy badlands are reflected in the still waters of the Red Deer River southeast of Drumheller. (Richard McGuire photo)

The remnant of an old grain elevator still stands at Dorothy, Alberta. The small community is a semi-ghost town, which is still inhabited, but has many old derelict buildings recalling its history. (Richard McGuire photo)

When I drove through Southern Alberta the day after an early-October snowstorm, there were still many vehicles in the ditch. Conditions were horrendous during this storm, even for those with vehicles built to handle the rough conditions. When I came along the next afternoon, most of the roads had been cleared except for the odd patch, but many vehicles had not yet been rescued. (Richard McGuire photo)

Dinosaur Provincial Park to the north of Brooks, Alberta, is a great location to see the badlands and walk among the hoodoos. I took a short hike along one of the trails in the early morning, before anyone else arrived. It was peacefully quiet, with only a few deer stirring, and the light was beautiful. Many dinosaur bones have been found at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Richard McGuire photo)

Dinosaur Provincial Park to the north of Brooks, Alberta, is a great location to see the badlands and walk among the hoodoos. I took a short hike along one of the trails in the early morning, before anyone else arrived. It was peacefully quiet, with only a few deer stirring, and the light was beautiful. Many dinosaur bones have been found at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Richard McGuire photo)

Dinosaur Provincial Park to the north of Brooks, Alberta, is a great location to see the badlands and walk among the hoodoos. I took a short hike along one of the trails in the early morning, before anyone else arrived. It was peacefully quiet, with only a few deer stirring, and the light was beautiful. Many dinosaur bones have been found at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Richard McGuire photo)

Dinosaur Provincial Park to the north of Brooks, Alberta, is a great location to see the badlands and walk among the hoodoos. I took a short hike along one of the trails in the early morning, before anyone else arrived. It was peacefully quiet, with only a few deer stirring, and the light was beautiful. Many dinosaur bones have been found at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Richard McGuire photo)

Dinosaur Provincial Park to the north of Brooks, Alberta, is a great location to see the badlands and walk among the hoodoos. I took a short hike along one of the trails in the early morning, before anyone else arrived. It was peacefully quiet, with only a few deer stirring, and the light was beautiful. Many dinosaur bones have been found at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Richard McGuire photo)

Dinosaur Provincial Park to the north of Brooks, Alberta, is a great location to see the badlands and walk among the hoodoos. I took a short hike along one of the trails in the early morning, before anyone else arrived. It was peacefully quiet, with only a few deer stirring, and the light was beautiful. Many dinosaur bones have been found at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Richard McGuire photo)

Dinosaur Provincial Park to the north of Brooks, Alberta, is a great location to see the badlands and walk among the hoodoos. I took a short hike along one of the trails in the early morning, before anyone else arrived. It was peacefully quiet, with only a few deer stirring, and the light was beautiful. Many dinosaur bones have been found at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Richard McGuire photo)

Dinosaur Provincial Park to the north of Brooks, Alberta, is a great location to see the badlands and walk among the hoodoos. I took a short hike along one of the trails in the early morning, before anyone else arrived. It was peacefully quiet, with only a few deer stirring, and the light was beautiful. Many dinosaur bones have been found at this UNESCO World Heritage Site. (Richard McGuire photo)

The prairies, near Enchant, Alberta, to the north of Lethbridge are wide open and present a minimalist landscape. The expansive views of the sky form part of the landscape. (Richard McGuire photo)

Sunshine Coast trip Part 2

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)

Moss covers tree branches in the forest along the Blackwater Creek Trail near Powell River, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

After “the adventure” when my car became incapacitated, I had to purchase an old used truck to tow my trailer. It’s shown here on the ferry from Earl’s Cove to Saltery Bay on the way to Powell River, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

They call it the “Sunshine Coast,” but it rained all three days that I was in Powell River, starting with the ferry trip to Saltery Bay. The rain was needed due to try conditions, but it didn’t reach into the B.C. Interior. (Richard McGuire photo)

They call it the “Sunshine Coast,” but it rained all three days that I was in Powell River, starting with the ferry trip to Saltery Bay. The rain was needed due to try conditions, but it didn’t reach into the B.C. Interior. (Richard McGuire photo)

A couple watches the rain behind the ferry from Earl’s Cove to Saltery Bay on the “Sunshine” Coast. (Richard McGuire Photo)

There were many fishing and pleasure boats moored at the Powell River harbour. The clouds parted and the sun broke through for a short while. (Richard McGuire photo)

There were many fishing and pleasure boats moored at the Powell River harbour. The clouds parted and the sun broke through for a short while. (Richard McGuire photo)

There were many fishing and pleasure boats moored at the Powell River harbour. The clouds parted and the sun broke through for a short while. (Richard McGuire photo)

There were many fishing and pleasure boats moored at the Powell River harbour. The clouds parted and the sun broke through for a short while. (Richard McGuire photo)

There were many fishing and pleasure boats moored at the Powell River harbour. The clouds parted and the sun broke through for a short while. (Richard McGuire photo)

These black oystercatchers were hanging out on the shoreline at Powell River, looking for seafood. They’re equally fond of digging for clams, apparently. (Richard McGuire photo)

These black oystercatchers were hanging out on the shoreline at Powell River, looking for seafood. They’re equally fond of digging for clams, apparently. (Richard McGuire photo)

I took a hike along the Blackwater Creek Trail near Powell River with my cousins Debbie and Mike Morley and their spouses Chuck Gray and Marilyn Morley. Debbie and Chuck live in Powell River and Mike and Marilyn were visiting from Alliston, Ontario. (Richard McGuire photo)

In the rain-soaked forests on the Sunshine Coast, thick moss grows all over the trees. This photo was taken on a hike along the Blackwater Creek Trail near Powell River. (Richard McGuire photo)

This pretty little waterwall, Kelly Falls, was spotted along the Blackwater Creek Trail near Powell River, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

Rain falls down into a clearing containing a stream bed on the Blackwater Creek Trail near Powell River, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

A waterfall tumbles down a rock wall on the Blackwater Creek Trail near Powell River, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

In the rain-soaked forests on the Sunshine Coast, thick moss grows all over the trees. This photo was taken on a hike along the Blackwater Creek Trail near Powell River. (Richard McGuire photo)

Clouds hang low in the mountains seen from the ferry ride back from Saltery Bay to Earl’s Cove on the Sunshine Coast. (Richard McGuire photo)

After my car had an unfortunate incident, I had to pull my Triple E trailer behind an old truck I bought. Behind is an Escape trailer, made in Chilliwack, B.C. as a more recent incarnation in the evolution of fibreglass eggshell trailers, of which my Triple E was an earlier example. (Richard McGuire photo)

Journey to the Sunshine Coast via Lillooet and Pemberton

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)

A heron patiently fishes along the shoreline at Roberts Creek, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

The blue waters of Seton Lake contrast with the dry rock and sagebrush near Lillooet, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

A vehicle slows down as a deer strolls across the roadway near Lillooet, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

Old logs and driftwood have accumulated at the outlet of Duffey Lake between Pemberton and Lillooet, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

It was mid-July, but there was still lots of snow in the high mountains of the Coast Range near Pemberton, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

This creature hitched a ride on my vehicle mirror and mirror extension somewhere near Pemberton, B.C. Can any entomologist identify it? (Richard McGuire photo)

The farm fields and hay bales in Pemberton Meadows, northwest of Pemberton, B.C, were unusual in an area dominated by rugged mountain and forest landscapes. (Richard McGuire photo)

The late afternoon sunlight glistens off Duffey Lake on the drive back from Pemberton towards Lillooet, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

I camped at the same spot below the rugged mountains west of Lillooet where I had camped in April. This was the spectacular view above me when I stepped out of bed in the morning. (Richard McGuire photo)

I camped at the same spot below the rugged mountains west of Lillooet where I had camped in April. This was the spectacular view above me when I stepped out of bed in the morning. (Richard McGuire photo)

These rounded rocks have felt the actions of many waves over the years. They were strewn across the beach at Roberts Creek, B.C. on the Sunshine Coast. (Richard McGuire photo)

A wave washes ashore on barnacle-covered rocks at Roberts Creek, B.C. The Sunshine Coast is somewhat sheltered from the big Pacific Ocean waves because Vancouver Island sits between it and the open ocean. (Richard McGuire photo)

These children bob around in the waves off Roberts Creek on B.C.’s Sunshine Coast. The beach is covered with rounded rocks worn down by the water and behind are dried logs that have washed ashore long ago. (Richard McGuire photo)

All that remains of old piers at Roberts Creek, B.C. are a few rotten pilings sticking out of the ground. (Richard McGuire photo)

This seaweed washed ashore at Roberts Creek, B.C., reminded me of a spinach salad from back in the day when I ate the green vegetable in the hopes of developing muscles like Popeye. It didn’t work. (Richard McGuire photo)

All that remains of old piers at Roberts Creek, B.C. are a few rotten pilings sticking out of the ground. (Richard McGuire photo)

A heron patiently fishes along the shoreline at Roberts Creek, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

Fishermen and other boaters carry on their business in the beautiful harbour at Gibsons, B.C. The community is best known as the backdrop for the 1970s-80s TV series, The Beachcombers. (Richard McGuire photo)

Fishermen and other boaters carry on their business in the beautiful harbour at Gibsons, B.C. The community is best known as the backdrop for the 1970s-80s TV series, The Beachcombers. (Richard McGuire photo)

I camped the night at Roberts Creek Provincial Park surrounded by giant cedar trees. This was the morning before what my friend Myrtle euphemistically calls “the adventure” when my car and trailer both got stuck on a road really only suitable for four wheel drive vehicles. (Richard McGuire photo)

June weekend trip to Boundary Country and West Kootenay

Rossland, BC has some old buildings with false fronts and fancy balconies. (Richard McGuire photo)

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)

Children walk past a horse sculpture called Rusty, by Cedar Mueller on the main street of Rossland, BC. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Old Fire Hall and St. Andrew’s United Church in Rossland, BC. Both recall an earlier period dating back to the turn of the last century, when Rossland was a mining community. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Crown Point Hotel in Trail, BC was built in 1929, replacing an older hotel. It is designated as a heritage site by the Trail Historical Society. You can still get rooms there and my bet is more than a few miners have had too much to drink within those walls. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Teck zinc and lead operations dominate the skyline of Trail, BC like a castle over a medieval city. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Trail Teck operations viewed through the Victoria Street Bridge have an early 20th century industrial feel. (Richard McGuire photo)

People relax and play on the beach at Champion Lakes Provincial Park near Trail, BC, while others canoe, kayak and standup paddle on the lake. (Richard McGuire photo)

Nancy Green Provincial Park north of Rossland, BC is named after the ski champion to won gold at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France. Her family moved to Rossland when she was three and there are many mountains in the area to challenge the best of skiers. (Richard McGuire photo)

I camped at Texas Point campground in Gladstone Provincial Park on Christina Lake. In the evening, I hiked down to the water where I spotted this boat below the cliffs. (Richard McGuire photo)

Greenwood is an interesting old mining town — make that “city” — from the late 19th century. This saloon at the Windsor Hotel with its false front is quite distinctive. Dating back to 1899, this is said to be one of the longest operating pubs in B.C. Unfortunately, it’s been closed this year following controversy involving the owners. It appeared in the 1999 movie Snow Falling on Cedars. Some of the buildings on this street were used to intern Japanese Canadians during World War II. (Richard McGuire photo)

The post office and former customs house in Greenwood, B.C. is an interesting building with a brick clock tower. Greenwood became a city in 1897 and it hasn’t lost that designation, even though its population is only around 800. It claims to be Canada’s smallest city. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Barrett House in Greenwood, BC was built around 1897 and has housed some of the “city’s” politicians over the years. With a large verandah, corner turret and gingerbread trim, it is a one-of-a-kind building. (Richard McGuire photo)

At the right is Greenwood’s community centre and library, as my car and trailer are parked on the main street below. The historic copper mining “city” has a number of interesting old buildings. (Richard McGuire photo)

Midway, BC was Mile 0 of the Kettle Valley Railway, which operated in the first half of the 20th century and connected to Vancouver through Hope. Today much of the old railway bed is a hike and bike trail and the old train station is at the Kettle Valley Museum. During the mining boom at the end of the 19th century, Midway reached 6,000 people, but today it’s a village of around 650. (Richard McGuire photo)

Trip to the Slocan Valley

New Denver sits on the eastern shore of Slocan Lake, looking out at the mountains of the Valhalla Range. (Richard McGuire photo)

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)

I camped next to Wilson Creek in Rosebery Provincial Park. The water was raging with high spring runoff. (Richard McGuire photo)

New Denver has many lovely old downtown buildings with false front architecture. The lilacs were also in full bloom, along with other blossoms, when I visited at the end of May. (Richard McGuire photo)

New Denver has many lovely old downtown buildings with false front architecture. The lilacs were also in full bloom, along with other blossoms, when I visited at the end of May. (Richard McGuire photo)

This former Bank of Montreal building in downtown New Denver is now the home of the Silvery Slocan Museum and tourist information office. New Denver, like other towns in the area, was developed at the end of the 19th century when silver mines in the area prospered. It originally was called El Dorado, but it was then named after Denver, Colorado amid hopes it would surpass its U.S. counterpart. That never happened, and the population today is only around 500. During World War II, about 1,500 Japanese-Canadians were interned in New Denver. (Richard McGuire photo)

You can learn a lot about a small town by looking at its notice boards. (Richard McGuire photo)

I went into New Denver early Saturday morning and the sun was shining, the temperature was just right and the blossoms were blooming. I could have been convinced to stay there. (Richard McGuire photo)

Silverton, just south of New Denver, is another town of the Slocan built around silver. This is the municipal hall and in the background is a former school, now a gallery and museum, with interesting mining machinery on the lawn outside. (Richard McGuire photo)

Outside the former school in Silverton, now a museum and gallery, there’s an interesting collection of machinery from the town’s mining heyday. (Richard McGuire photo)

Silverton is located on the banks of Slocan Lake. You can camp right on the water and look across at the Valhalla Range, or take a boat out on the lake and go fishing. (Richard McGuire photo)

This store on Highway 6 in Silverton appeared to be closed down. The building had a lot of character. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Valhalla Range rises up to the west of Slocan Lake. Much of it is in Valhalla Provincial Park. (Richard McGuire photo)

With snow from the mountains of the Valhalla Range rapidly melting, forest streams like Mulvey Creek were swollen with rushing water. Sun beams find their way down through the water spray between tall trees into this rocky canyon covered in moss. (Richard McGuire photo)

The sun beams down between tall trees in a small valley next to Mulvey Creek west of the Slocan River. (Richard McGuire photo)

South of the village of Slocan, the valley becomes less rugged and it opens up into farmland. The Slocan River was very high with all the snowmelt. (Richard McGuire photo)

A snowy peak in the Valhalla Range rises above the Slocan Valley. (Richard McGuire photo)

Across the Slocan River from Winlaw is the small, but pretty, Winlaw Regional & Nature Park. The sun beat down on the trees, which reflected in the river that I walked down to along a boardwalk for a picnic. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Prospectors Pick is a shop in the former city hall in Sandon, once a thriving mining city at the end of the 19th century. The store sells books, souvenirs, antiques, gifts and refreshments as well as dispensing helpful advice and information to visitors. (Richard McGuire photo)

This is the old Sandon City Hall that was built in 1900. That year a fire burned down much of the booming mining city, that was mostly made from wood. Sandon’s population reached a peak of around 5,000 before the fire and it had more than 40 brothels to serve the largely male miner population. After the fire, it never recovered its former glory, but it continued well into the 20th century. (Richard McGuire photo)

These old Vancouver trolleys have found a resting place in the semi-ghost town of Sandon in the mountains above the Slocan Valley. I rode in trolleys like this in Vancouver in the 1970s when they were operated by BC Hydro. These ones had BC Transit insignia on them, so I’m guessing they were used at least into the 1980s, when BC Transit was formed. (Richard McGuire photo)

Many old trolleys have been taken to Sandon where they are awaiting restoration. This one was used in Vancouver and I remember riding in many of this type when I lived there in the 1970s. (Richard McGuire photo)

An old steam locomotive sits on a small track in Sandon, a former mining city that was served by two railways at its heyday at the end of the 19th century. (Richard McGuire photo)

An old cash register and manual typewriter are among the historic objects that can be seen at the Prospector’s Pick in Sandon. There’s also a museum up the street showing the history of this old mining city that is now a semi-ghost town. (Richard McGuire photo)

One of the few brick buildings of Sandon (right) is now the museum. In the city’s heyday, Carpenter Creek, in the foreground below the frame, was covered over by a main street. A few buildings from this former mining boomtown of 5,000 are still scattered around the valley. (Richard McGuire photo)

A few buildings from the former mining town of Retallack still stand next to Highway 31A in the pass between New Denver and Kaslo. The town was known as Whitewater in its heyday at the turn of the last century, but it was destroyed by a wildfire. It later was named Retallack and mining continued to 1967. These buildings date from around the mid-20th century. (Richard McGuire photo)

I saw this moose feeding on vegetation in a pond next to the highway at a bit of a distance. By the time I’d stopped my vehicle and put on my longest lens, it had warily wandered out of the pond and into the grass behind it. (Richard McGuire photo)

Lillooet: Guaranteed Rugged

Lillooet promotes itself with the slogan “guaranteed rugged.” In an area of rugged and rocky mountains, it’s an appropriate title. (Richard McGuire photo)

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)

With the help of a long lens, I was able to explore the snowfields of the higher mountain elevations near Lillooet, without making a dangerous climb through avalanche country. (Richard McGuire photo)

A pair of mule deer take a pause from munching grass to curiously eye a photographer watching them with a long lens. (Richard McGuire photo)

Highway 99 climbs steeply after leaving Lillooet and soon there were snow-covered peaks all around. The Friday evening that I drove through, it was still very blue and clear. (Richard McGuire photo)

I camped two nights at Cinnamon Recreation Site on the banks of Cayoosh Creek. Tall, rugged mountains towered above. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Cayoosh Creek flows next to Highway 99 between Duffey Lake down towards Lillooet. (Richard McGuire photo)

There was still lots of snow on the ground at higher elevations as I approached Duffey Lake to the southwest of Lillooet, B.C. Duffey Lake itself was frozen, but this part of the Cayoosh Creek was open water. (Richard McGuire photo)

It was a cloudy day and the clouds hung around the snow-covered peaks near the Cayoosh Pass. (Richard McGuire photo)

I took a very short hike through a forest in Joffe Lake Provincial Park to the Lower Joffre Lake. The snow was still very deep and the trail was quite icy. It wasn’t too cold out — I was comfortable in a windbreaker. (Richard McGuire photo)

Cross-country skiers cross Lower Joffre Lake at Joffre Lakes Provincial Park. There were patches of open water and the ice was unstable near the edge of the like, but evidently it was fine to cross. I didn’t venture out onto it myself. (Richard McGuire photo)

The trees were thick with moss in Joffre Lake Provincial Park. (Richard McGuire photo)

A large rockslide has spilled down from the mountain next to Highway 99 heading back towards Lillooet. In areas like this there are signs warning not to stop, just in case something comes down the mountain. I was just before the no stopping zone when I shot this photo with a long lens. (Richard McGuire photo)

The B.C. Recreation Sites provide basic inexpensive camping. You get a picnic table, camping space, fire ring and there’s a pit toilet nearby. The fee is $12 a night, though it’s free and open in the off season. I was there at the end of April, which was the first weekend when they charged the fee. (Richard McGuire photo)

Tall mountains towered above my campsite at Cinnamon Rec Site southwest of Lillooet. The Sunday morning was more clear again after a cloudy Saturday. (Richard McGuire photo)

Clouds cling to snowy mountains near Lillooet, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

Clouds cling to snowy mountains near Lillooet, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

The blue waters of Seton Lake are held back by a BC Hydro dam just outside Lillooet, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

A steep, rocky cliff rises above the highway at Marble Canyon Provincial Park between Lillooet and Cache Creek, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

A steep, rocky cliff rises above the highway at Marble Canyon Provincial Park between Lillooet and Cache Creek, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

A steep, rocky cliff rises above the highway at Marble Canyon Provincial Park between Lillooet and Cache Creek, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

Burned trees mark the remnants of a past wildfire on a rocky slope at Marble Canyon Provincial Park between Lillooet and Cache Creek. (Richard McGuire photo)

Dramatic clouds create a mysterious landscape over a large tailings pond at the Highland Valley Mine near Logan Lake, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

 

 

 

Journey to Granite City and Coalmont, B.C.

The Coalmont Hotel was built in 1912 and it appears to have a lot of history. It’s closed now, but it’s website says this is only temporary. Judging by photos, its classic interior is something to see. (Richard McGuire photo)

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)

The Tulameen River flowed past my doorstep as I camped at Granite Creek Recreation Site just outside Coalmont, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

I’ve mounted a flexible solar panel on my camper roof, but I have another portable one that I can place in a sunny area to charge up my batteries in the morning. (Richard McGuire photo)

When a gold rush came in 1885, Granite City became a boom town near Princeton, B.C. It had a population of more than 2,000 people and 200 buildings, including 13 saloons. By 1915, the town was gone and today all that remains are a few log structures and ghosts with stories to tell. (Richard McGuire photo)

A group of visitors explores one of the remnants of a log cabin in the once thriving gold rush community of Granite City, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

I suspect this old log cabin in Granite City, a ghost town from the gold rush era, is no longer up to code. I’m sure a Realtor would praise its open concept, central air conditioning and views in all directions. (Richard McGuire photo)

The cemetery in Granite Creek as many graves of people lost to history. The heritage cemetery in a peaceful forest has some more recent graves too, from the early 21st century. (Richard McGuire photo)

Moss grows on a wooden fence around a grave at the Granite Creek cemetery. The cemetery is by the site of the gold rush boom town of Granite City, just outside Coalmont, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

An old log cabin barely stands in Granite City, a ghost town built during a gold rush that started in 1885. (Richard McGuire photo)

Many of the businesses in Coalmont, B.C. are now closed, but this bait worms business still appears to be operating. (Richard McGuire photo)

In Coalmont, B.C. they don’t tend to go in for manicured lawns. Rather the lawns are a place to store interesting old collectable auto and trailer pieces. (Richard McGuire photo)

My very first car was a Volkswagen Super Beetle, and I still have a love for these iconic cars, like this one seen on a lawn in Coalmont, B.C. I’m not sure what the helicopter was doing though. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Coalmont Meat Market is one of the long closed businesses with an exterior frozen in time. (Richard McGuire photo)

The entrance to the Coalmont Hotel has probably seen some interesting people come and go over its more than 100-year-old history. (Richard McGuire photo)

This business in Coalmont, B.C. is another that has seen better days. The area first drew gold miners, but as Coalmont’s name suggests, it was coal that launched this community’s development. Today it still has about 100 people, so it can’t properly be called a ghost town, but I’m sure there are ghosts if you look for them. (Richard McGuire photo)

Three signs greet visitors as they enter Coalmont, B.C. You probably have to be a bit eccentric to live here. (Richard McGuire photo)

I’m not sure if the Coalmont General Store is still in business, but it looked like a sealed up time capsule when I came by. (Richard McGuire photo)

More trailers and auto parts and what could be old mining equipment decorate a lawn in Coalmont, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

Judging by the strategically placed shovel, the Coalmont Worm Emporium is still in business. I didn’t go in, because I didn’t need any worms and there was a guard dog on duty. (Richard McGuire photo)

A fisherman casts his line into the Similkameen River at Bromley Rock Provincial Park. (Richard McGuire photo)

A rocky outcrop extending into the Similkameen River dominates the landscape at Bromley Rock Provincial Park. (Richard McGuire photo)

Trip to Mount Revelstoke and Glacier (Canada) national parks

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)

Bright red Indian paintbrush grows in meadows part way up the mountain in Mount Revelstoke National Park. The yellow, I believe, is mountain arnica. (Richard McGuire photo)

Bright red Indian paintbrush grows in meadows part way up the mountain in Mount Revelstoke National Park. The yellow, I believe, is mountain arnica. (Richard McGuire photo)

The hike to Balu Pass starts off from the Rogers Pass visitor centre and ascends through rain forest with tall trees and hanging moss. (Richard McGuire photo)

Leaving the forest on the hike to Balu Pass, you emerge in meadows with views of the mountains on both sides — when the clouds don’t obscure them. (Richard McGuire photo)

The vegetation in the mountain landscape changes with elevation and direction. Deciduous bushes grow lower down, but change to conifers or barren, snowy rock as you get higher. (Richard McGuire photo)

A grizzly bear has left a paw print in the mud on the trail to Balu Pass in Glacier National Park of Canada. The human footprint heel in the upper right gives an idea of scale. (Richard McGuire photo)

The mountain landscape on the side of Cheops Mountain towers over the Connaught Creek valley. It’s stunningly beautiful, but in the harsh weather, it wasn’t very inviting. (Richard McGuire photo)

The mountain landscape on the side of Cheops Mountain towers over the Connaught Creek valley. It’s stunningly beautiful, but in the harsh weather, it wasn’t very inviting. (Richard McGuire photo)

The mountain landscape on the side of Cheops Mountain towers over the Connaught Creek valley. It’s stunningly beautiful, but in the harsh weather, it wasn’t very inviting. (Richard McGuire photo)

Alpine flowers grow next to the trail on the hike to Balu Pass in Glacier National Park of Canada. (Richard McGuire photo)

The trail to Balu Pass switches back several times as it gains elevation through meadows. The elevation here is about 1,610 metres or 5,282 feet. (Richard McGuire photo)

The morning light reflects in the water of Upper Arrow Lake south of Revelstoke, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

Eagle Peak and Uto Peak tower above the Illecillewaet Valley in Glacier National Park of Canada. (Richard McGuire photo)

Snowy mountains tower above the Illecillewaet Valley in Glacier National Park of Canada. (Richard McGuire photo)

Mount Sir Donald towers above the Illecillewaet Valley in Glacier National Park of Canada. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Illecillewaet River tumbles down over rocks from the Illecillewaet Glacier in Glacier National Park of Canada. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Meeting of the Waters as the Illecillewaet (left) and Asulkan rivers join in Glacier National Park of Canada. (Richard McGuire photo)

Northern B.C., Yukon and Alaska

The ‘Ksan Historical Village at Hazelton, B.C. was built in the 1970s to replicate a traditional Gitxsan village with longhouses, totem poles and cultural artifacts from this rich indigenous culture. (Richard McGuire photo)

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)

Cow Bay in Prince Rupert, B.C. used to be a somewhat ramshackle fishing port. Now it’s a harbour for boat tours and private recreational boats as well as more upscale bars, coffee shops and boutiques. (Richard McGuire photo)

Commercial fishing boats are moored at Rushbrook Harbour in Prince Rupert, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

Clouds hang over the mountains that line the inlet approaching Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary. There’s a reason they call this the Great Bear Rain Forest. (Richard McGuire photo)

A female grizzly bear stands up while eating sedge grass at Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary. (Richard McGuire photo)

Harbour seals chill out on a rocky island as they take a break from fishing in the Pacific Ocean near Khutzeymateen Grizzly Bear Sanctuary. (Richard McGuire photo)

A bald eagle swoops down for pieces of meat thrown from a tour boat near Prince Rupert, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

A bald eagle swoops down for pieces of meat thrown from a tour boat near Prince Rupert, B.C. (Richard McGuire photo)

They are artistic masterpieces and they inspired the painter Emily Carr, but the cluster of totem poles at Gitranyow are found in front of a humble gas bar in a not very prosperous First Nations community. They have stood for more than a century in some cases. (Richard McGuire photo)

Once a busy mining community, the quiet town of Stewart. B.C. sits in a spectacular location at the base of the mountains. Many of its old wooden buildings have a unique charm. (Richard McGuire photo)

A fishing boat makes its way out from Stewart harbour into the Portland Canal, an arm of the Pacific Ocean. (Richard McGuire photo)O

A black bear strolls next to the roadway between Stewart, B.C. and Hyder, Alaska. (Richard McGuire photo)

When you cross the international border from B.C. into Hyder, Alaska, there is no U.S. customs station. (Richard McGuire photo)

Anyone thinking of crossing the border for cheap U.S. gas in Hyder, Alaska will probably be disappointed. (Richard McGuire photo)

The tradition in Hyder is to “get Hyderized” by gulping back a shot of 190 proof grain alcohol. For that you receive a card attesting to your accomplishment. I gave this tradition a pass, in part because I was driving. (Richard McGuire photo)

Leaving Hyder, Alaska to go north, you pass by this wetland. (Richard McGuire photo)

Salmon Glacier snakes down a valley in B.C. just north of Hyder, Alaska. You drive up to about 1,000 metres in elevation, and there was still a considerable amount of snow at the roadside, although it was quickly melting. (Richard McGuire photo)

Salmon Glacier snakes down a valley in B.C. just north of Hyder, Alaska. You drive up to about 1,000 metres in elevation, and there was still a considerable amount of snow at the roadside, although it was quickly melting. (Richard McGuire photo)

Salmon Glacier snakes down a valley in B.C. just north of Hyder, Alaska. You drive up to about 1,000 metres in elevation, and there was still a considerable amount of snow at the roadside, although it was quickly melting. (Richard McGuire photo)

When I got back to Stewart, B.C. after a visit to Hyder, Alaska, the sun emerged, but it continued to pour rain. A rainbow was visible over Stewart off and on for over an hour. (Richard McGuire photo)

These purple lupins were growing in many places along the Cassiar Highway. (Richard McGuire photo)

A forest fire a number of years ago left spindles of dead trees over a large area, seem behind this peaceful lake off the Cassiar Highway. (Richard McGuire photo)

On the Alaska Highway the road stretches though miles of wilderness with snow covered mountains all around. (Richard McGuire photo)

The drive from Carcross, Yukon to Skagway, Alaska is only a little over an hour (minus numerous photo stops), but it’s one of the most beautiful drives in the world. It gets chilly as you climb through White Pass. (Richard McGuire photo)

The drive from Carcross, Yukon to Skagway, Alaska is only a little over an hour (minus numerous photo stops), but it’s one of the most beautiful drives in the world. It gets chilly as you climb through White Pass. (Richard McGuire photo)

It’s definitely a tourist town as the northern port for ships travelling the Inside Passage, but Skagway, Alaska has a unique charm with many older wooden buildings surviving from the Klondike era. (Richard McGuire photo)

One of the nice things for photographers in June in the Yukon is the long golden hours. I took this photo south of Carcross at 10 p.m. It wasn’t dark until after midnight. (Richard McGuire photo)

It was a rainy day when I drove to Haines Junction. That evening I went for a drive up to Destruction Bay on Kluane Lake, skirting Kluane National Park. The sun gradually emerged from the clouds, creating some dramatic weather. (Richard McGuire photo)

It was a rainy day when I drove to Haines Junction. That evening I went for a drive up to Destruction Bay on Kluane Lake, skirting Kluane National Park. The sun gradually emerged from the clouds, creating some dramatic weather. (Richard McGuire photo)

It was a rainy day when I drove to Haines Junction. That evening I went for a drive up to Destruction Bay on Kluane Lake, skirting Kluane National Park. The sun gradually emerged from the clouds, creating some dramatic weather. (Richard McGuire photo)

It was a rainy day when I drove to Haines Junction. That evening I went for a drive up to Destruction Bay on Kluane Lake, skirting Kluane National Park. The sun gradually emerged from the clouds, creating some dramatic weather. (Richard McGuire photo)

Quill Creek, south of Haines Junction. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Haines Highway south of Haines Junction passes by many beautiful lakes and mountains. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Haines Highway south of Haines Junction passes by many beautiful lakes and mountains. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Haines Highway south of Haines Junction passes by many beautiful lakes and mountains. (Richard McGuire photo)

Driving south on the Haines Highway from Haines Junction, the route passes into B.C. and skirts Tatshenshini Alsek Park. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Sign Post Forest at Watson Lake, Yukon has more than 100,000 place signs, distance signs, license plates and other signage left on posts by visitors from all over the world. It was started in 1942 by a homesick GI from Danville, IL, indicating 2,835 miles to his home town. Over the years it has grown so it it now is virtually a forest of signs. (Richard McGuire photo)

I spotted this black bear eating vegetation on the opposite side of the Alaska Highway from me. It saw me, but kept on eating as I watched with a long lens. This was taken in northern B.C. just south of the Yukon border near the Liard River. (Richard McGuire photo)

Muncho Lake Provincial Park in northern B.C. along the Alaska Highway offers some spectacular scenery as the highway passes through the Northern Rocky Mountains. (Richard McGuire photo)

Muncho Lake Provincial Park in northern B.C. along the Alaska Highway offers some spectacular scenery as the highway passes through the Northern Rocky Mountains. (Richard McGuire photo)

I tented at Mucho Lake Provincial Park on the Alaska Highway in the Northern Rocky Mountains, and I got up at 4 a.m. to catch the early light over Muncho Lake. (Richard McGuire photo)

I tented at Mucho Lake Provincial Park on the Alaska Highway in the Northern Rocky Mountains, and I got up at 4 a.m. to catch the early light over Muncho Lake. (Richard McGuire photo)

This female moose was grazing next to the Alaska Highway in Muncho Lake Provincial Park in northern B.C. This was taken near the Toad River. (Richard McGuire photo)

Porcupines aren’t the fastest of creatures, but they use their quills rather than speed as defence against predators. I was able to take a few shots of this one by the Alaska Highway before it waddled off into the bush. (Richard McGuire photo)

This is the official cairn for the start of the Alaska Highway, or Mile 0, in Dawson Creek, B.C. The more photographed marker is a couple blocks away. (Richard McGuire photo)

 

My photo on a stamp – Carlsbad Caverns National Park photo appears on USPS stamp

The Carlsbad Caverns are a huge network of limestone caves in southeast New Mexico. What impressed me most about them was their immense size. This photo was used by the U.S. Postal Service on a stamp in a series commemorating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016. © 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.

This photo I took at Carlsbad Caverns National Park was used on a U.S. postage stamp in a series commemorating the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service in 2016. The photo was taken on Dec. 23, 2009. (Richard McGuire Photo)