…and More Lakes

We were on the road last Fur-iday and I completely forgot about the blog until Saturday. Sorry about that. And Saturday was the fullest day on the trip and I was exhausted by the time we got back to camp.

Camp time by the Moyie River at Yahk.

So, where did I leave off? Right. T’s birthday and the anticipated company. Both arrived right on schedule, along with some cool, wet weather. But we RVers are nothing if not adaptable. After Auntie Sus and her friends Mike and Lily arrived from Ymir, the six of us walked to Two Scoop Steve’s for chili and soup rather than ice cream! There was also birthday cake eatin’, guitar pickin’, campground walkin’, story tellin’, and fireside sittin’. Good times along the Moyie River at Yahk Provincial Park (and we did get that ice cream cone when it started to warm up).

Birthday guests hangin’ by the Moyie.

Cranbrook was our next stop, just an overnight in an RV park to give T and Nollind a chance to sanitize the trailer tanks for the season. They took a walk around town without me because they had some shopping to do and I was quite happy to nap in the trailer rather than spend my afternoon tied outside various stores. In the evening we walked around our neighbourhood and came across a somewhat perplexing group of adult playground equipment. T and Nollind gave each machine a try while I watched from the rubber matting.

Adult playground in Cranbrook.

Tuesday morning we were on our way again, northbound on Highway 95A to Kimberley for a lunch stop. The weather was fine for outdoor dining so I scored a great spot on the sidewalk patio of a little Mexican place. I do love dog-friendly patios and think all restaurants should have them. At the Burrito Grill they even brought me my own beverage!

Dos Equis extra extra light.

Our destination for the day was Whiteswan Lake Provincial Park, a park with two lakes and four campgrounds at the end of a gravel road. It was a long, dusty, bumpy way in, but we finally arrived at Alces Lake (Moose Lake) and the first campground only to find it mostly full with just a few undesirable spots open. After 21 kms of white-knuckling the often narrow logging road, I could tell T was ready to get out from behind the wheel, but her desire to find a nice camp spot won out and we were on the road again. Four more bouncy kilometres later, we were at Muskrat Point, another nearly full and disappointing destination. Never one to give up on a dream, T drove on, bound for Inlet Creek.

Whiteswan Lake … so pretty but no good place to camp.

The next four kilometres were really rough but, without anywhere to turn around, we forged on, only to find that Inlet Creek was more parking lot than campground, about half full and right on the dusty logging road.

In addition to the disappointing campgrounds, the rough road had caused the medicine cabinet to bounce open and all of the tooth cleaning equipment had landed in the toilet. It was the final straw. The white flag flew, the towel was thrown in, I was fed my dinner on the side of the road, and we started our trek back to the highway with Nollind at the wheel.

After a short visit to Lussier Hot Springs at km 17 of the Whiteswan Road and a stop at an RV park store for a couple of toothbrushes, we were bound for Premier Lake. It was a complete unknown but looked good online and was close. The road in was not great but, compared to Whiteswan, a complete walk in the park, we found a nice spot in the loop nearest the lake, and we were settled and down at the beach just in time for sunset. The day had been salvaged.

Aaahhhh…first evening at Premier Lake.

Premier Lake was named for the premier of BC at the time it was established but the other meaning of the word— top-ranking, second to none and outstanding—definitely fits. What a place! Nothing but the sound of loons calling across the lake every morning, day hikes to nearby blue-green mountain lakes, wild turtles, a creek running right through the campground, and so many swimming opportunities. I could have stayed longer than the three days and can’t wait to go back.

Premier Lake near the campground.
One of the inhabitants of Turtle Lake.

The final stop on our 12-day tour was a cabin near Invermere that belongs to a friend of Nollind’s. We parked Simon in a lovely shaded spot and I was finally able to be off leash. Thanks, Al!

Invermere was the busiest (and most death defying) of our stops, with a trip to town for burgers and a walk around town on day one and a visit to the farmers market and a dog park on day two. Invermere was also the warmest of our stops with near 30C (86F) temperatures both days. By the time we’d wandered the market on Saturday morning I was so ready for a swim that I was in the water first chance I got at Ray Brydon Park. Trouble was, the water I chose, Toby Creek, was running high and fast with spring run-off and I was swept away before T and Nollind realized what was happening.

Breakfast at the Invermere Farmer’s Market.

I managed to swim to an island, scramble on shore, and there they were, my peeps, looking back at me from the other side with worried expressions. T called me to the upstream end of the island so I’d have more time to get across before I met the full, river-sized channel downstream. I wasn’t so sure I wanted to get back in there but I trust my people and there was T, looking enthusiastic and calling me to join her on the other side. I went back in the water and was immediately caught up in the current. T disappeared from view and I was swept past the spot where Nollind was waiting in an opening in the underbrush a little farther downstream. Oh boy, I was in trouble. I spotted another opening in the shrubs that lined the creek and paddled as hard as I could. I was so happy when I felt solid ground under my feet. I was thoroughly soaked and a little shaken but the welcome I got on shore was almost worth the scare. Almost.

Wiped out after my big day.

On the way home, we made one last stop near Banff for one more lake, one more swim, and one more nap. This trip brought my 2019 lake tally to nineteen—Sylvan, Sturgeon, Williston, Charlie, Little, Saskatoon, Crimson, Twin, Chinook, Alces, Whiteswan, Premier, Cat’s Eye, Turtle, Canuck, Yankee, Columbia, Windermere, and Two-Jack—and it’s only just the first day of summer!

Where to next?
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Flashback Fur-iday – RV Time

One of the things I didn’t mention in my Cypress Hills blog post was how it felt to be RV camping without Logan for the first time. It was the first time for me and for T & Nollind. Logan joined the family in 2005 and Larry, the first RV, didn’t arrive on the scene until 2011, the same year I was adopted. So trailer time has always been a four-of-us activity.

This magnet lives on the front of the oven in Sid.

So, how did it feel? Well, like something was missing. Sure, it meant I could have the couch all to myself but I didn’t really want it. I like my “Dixie” bed (it was a gift from an old friend) and the couch just felt lonely, and cold. And I had to manage campground surveillance without my fearless leader!

Keeping an eye on things.

… trailers and motor homes mean vehicles driving by, people walking and, worst of all, other dogs! Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve never met a dog I didn’t like (well, until yesterday, which I’ll tell you about in a minute), but when they’re walking anywhere in the vicinity of my trailer, my people, or my campsite, I can get a little growly. I’m just reminding them to respect the boundaries I’ve set.

January 2017 – Head of Security

Logan’s surveillance photo of above-mentioned dog.

Logan was kind of a home-body, a topic for a future post, so he wasn’t entirely clear on the concept of driving an hour or two from home to camp.

It seems an odd thing humans do. They leave behind a perfectly good house with food and beds and a fully functioning bathroom to go and stay in a much smaller, less comfortable accommodation with more limited amenities. They call it camping.

June 2017 – Camping with Humans

What’s with this camping stuff?

But he did have a way of making the best of any situation, and discovering the joys in each place or activity.

Here I discovered the marvels of a pine forest and the enormous dog bed it creates. The prairie grass is nice but doesn’t have the pillow-top mattress feel of a forest floor with its many layers of detritus. Heaven. I used my man-made bed under the trailer at first but, once I discovered the giant mountain-made dog bed all around me, there was no going back. If only I could have brought some of it home to line my nests.

June 2017 – Camping with Humans

Discovering the joys…

We’d only stayed in Larry the RV for a few nights at T’s annual horse sale gig before we set out on our first big winter adventure. Living in a 25-foot trailer was an adjustment for all of us but Logan adapted quite quickly.

Below is where I live now and the yard changes every few days. It’s a nice little place, where the rules seem much more lax on where I can sleep, so I move between the couch and the bed when I’m home.

November 2011 – Hi, My Name is Logan

Learning to love RV travel.

RV living and being on the road have their challenges, and Logan was always quick to point them out.

Coming from a farm on the big flat of Alberta, it’s tough to be sandwiched into an RV park and restricted to peeing on one small patch of earth designated for that purpose. The plethora of canine odour that rises out of the sand is pretty enticing, at first, but even I have to admit the place rather stinks. That was life in Las Vegas.

February 2014 – Into the Desert

What we called the “pee park” wasn’t great but the dog park just down the road was a real hit with Logan.

But he also appreciated the good stuff and regularly commented on it.

We did 12 days in the desert near Quartzsite and then Bouse, boondocking, as they call it down here. It’s basically camping outside of an RV park or campground for no charge. Chico and I love boondocking — not enough water for baths, a lot more off-leash time, no being cabled to the RV whenever we’re outside, and lots of walking. You’d think it would be lonely but we actually seem to meet more people and dogs out in the desert than we do in the parks!

February 2012 – How do Dogs Live Down Here?

Our first experience of boondocking near Quartzsite, Arizona.

Camping and RVing will never be quite the same without Logan, but I like to think that his spirit is there with us on the road, whether we’re camping a few hours or a few days from home. He wasn’t a great traveller, which I may write about another First Fur-iday, but he was a happy camper.

On the couch in Sid, one of his favourite spots.

Comfort and Joy

I don’t know if it’s because I’m the only dog to carry the weight of dog duties and activities over the Christmas season, or if it’s my age, but boy oh boy, am I tired. Trips to Strathmore, city excursions, visiting with family, presents to open, dishes to clean, and the list goes on. Being home for the holidays is a lot different than our quiet desert Christmases.

A couple of my Christmas biscuits from friends.

On the plus side, I was included in almost every activity this past week, which isn’t always the case. Some places just aren’t dog-friendly. I get it. Well … sort of.

Luckily for me, her Christmas mug tells the truth!

The week started off with a family visit at Nollind’s dad’s house and, even though he lives on the fifth floor of a downtown condo complex, I was invited, and pretty stoked about it. I had to stay behind when they went across the street to a restaurant for dinner but (insert happy dance) my cousin H didn’t like the meatballs that came on her pasta and was happy to feed them to me when she returned. I showed my gratitude by taking them from her as gently as I could manage. My meatball appetizer was followed by a beef chew that was part of my Christmas gift. Spoiled? Nah, just well treated.

I even got my own monogrammed gift bag from Nollind’s mom!

Two days later we were back in Calgary for some shopping and other errands. I did have to spend some truck time, but there was a late-morning walk in the community of Banff Trail, I got to try sushi for the first time, and we wrapped up the day with a sunset walk in Sandy Beach Park with Cousin H and Uncle C. (I know they’re not really my relations but I figure that, since I was adopted by T and Nollind, their family has become my family.)

Sandy Beach off-leash park.

Christmas Day we were on the road again, this time just to the mailbox to pick up Christmas cards (thanks everyone!) and to Strathmore for a walk around Kinsmen Park. The streets were mostly quiet and empty but the park was a popular spot for dog walking so I had a chance to make a few new friends.

Christmas Day selfie.

Yesterday was the busiest day yet when my cousins H and A came to spend the day with us here on the farm. Was I that energetic when I was a pup? Probably. It seems like a long time ago. There was horse visiting and feeding, cat cuddling, Kubota riding, campfire cooking, and that was just until lunch! Which was awesome by the way … lunch. Kids love to feed dogs and they also have a tendency to drop bits of food. The kitchen floor was like a buffet!

Winter fun and games.

After lunch was some craziness with a big saucer behind the Yamaha Wolverine (aka Fang) that I didn’t partake in. Some things are best left to the bipeds. As the sun started to fall toward the horizon, it was time to head indoors again where there was cheesy pasta and cuddles and more biscuits. It was a good day.

Cuddle time.

I’m tired today, went back to bed right after breakfast. Tomorrow Ria’s coming to visit, bringing her dog parents G and S. I’ve got six years on Ria and I hear she had a restful Christmas so I’d better get plenty of sleep until then!

Couch time.

Storm’ll be taking the reins of the blog next week, something about a big equine birthday celebration?