Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Kamloops ~ Hoodoos ~ Mountain Bluebird

Hoodoos are the results of over 10,000 years of erosions and offer a very interesting landscape to our Kamloops area. There are several places to visit the hoodoos but on this day we followed Shuswap Road on the north side of the South Thompson River. A nice drive along Shuswap Rd will bring you out to LaFarge Cement that is east of town and you’re able to cross the river at that point, or you can carry on that road to see more.
Hoodoos on Shuswap Road ~ Kamloops, BC
There are several spots that you can pull off the road if you wish to get pictures but nothing that I saw that could offer hiking from this part of the road. Most of this land is private or on Kamloops Indian Band land so do not trespass on these properties but enjoy the view from the roadside.
Mustard weed and sagebrush ~ Kamloops, BC grasslands

Mustard weed is a regional noxious weed that is seen all over this area. A noxious weed is typically non-native which means it also comes without the insect predators and plant pathogens needed to keep it under control. This also creates problems with other local crops that are choked out by this aggressive growing plant. This definitely makes the mustard weed a problem but it does make for pretty color in the fields.

Old cattle fence Near Kamloops Hoodoos

There are signs of days gone by with the fence we saw roadside. These were used to corral the cattle or horses that would then be put into trucks for delivery.

Mountain bluebird ~ British Columbia bird 
A surprise visitor to the old corral was this beautiful mountain bluebird. I have never been a birdwatcher so didn’t know what this one was, and it looked like it could be a budgie bird with those beautiful colors.

Now that I have seen my first mountain bluebird, I have actually seen two more. I believe this to be the male, as once I saw the next pair, one has a lot less color, I would take that one to be the female.  More research tells me that an immature male mountain bluebird will resemble the female in color.

Sagebrush and hoodoos ~ BC Travel

Sagebrush is also a part of the Kamloops region landscape. It is a coarse, hardy silvery-grey shrub or tree that can grow as tall as 3 meters (10’) but is more typically 1-2 meters tall. They’re common in arid sections of the country and have a yellow flower in season.

Hoodoos on Tranquille Rd Kamloops BC
Hoodoos may offer some great hiking but I cannot speak from personal experience. Just west of town out past the airport you will find cars parked on the side of the road on most weekend mornings.

I have heard that this is one place that is a good spot to find the trails to see the majestic hoodoos from up close. We took an evening drive out on Tranquille Rd to see these hoodoos and the only sign of life we saw on this evening were the mosquitoes. If you’re evening hiking, I suggest you take the bug repellant with you.

Hoodoos from Juniper Ridge Near Kamloops BC
Kamloops is surrounded by hoodoos although some of them are not as visible as others are from the roadway. One place to get a great view of the hoodoos is from Juniper Ridge. There are places that are easily accessible to give you a view of the hoodoos of Juniper Ridge as well as across the river on Shuswap Road.

We love Kamloops and this shows another reason why there is no place like home !

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Kamloops ~ Secwepemc Museum & Heritage Park

We love Kamloops ! We have lived here most of our lives and have had the good fortune to also live and travel in other parts of the province of British Columbia, but no matter how beautiful other places may be, there is no place like home.

Kamloops has a rich and colorful history that has made this area what it is today and we are able to read about and see how we have grown and evolved by visiting many locations as well as our museums.

One very interesting museum to visit is the Secwepemc Museum and Heritage Park.  The word Secwepemc means Shuswap and that is most commonly used.  I asked  how to pronounce it a couple of times and was told that if I could speak German, I might be better, but I don't !  They have a throaty sound with the "c" that I cannot use but it sounds a bit like "Sek-wep-emk". 

   TK'emlups marsh in Secwepemc Heritage Park

We recently took family visiting from the U.K. to see the Secwepemc Museum and Heritage Park. It is located in the Chief Louis Centre next to the Powwow Arbor on the Yellowhead Highway.

The museum shows the history and culture of the Shuswap Indians, which consists of 17 remaining tribes including the Kamloops Indian Band. There is a short film to view with pictures and stories of years gone by to stories of today and storytelling by elders who also teach arts and crafts used by their ancestors. The museum holds many artifacts, clothing, pictures. canoes and tools of the early days. It is a wonderful way to learn some of the history of the Secwepemc.

Lean-to at Indian Heritage park, Kamloops,BC
The lean-to is part of the reconstructed summer village in the outdoor cultural display on this 12 acre park. Several structures show their summer village with fish drying racks, fish traps, etc.

Winter underground home in Indian Heritage Park, Kamloops, B.C.
The Native Heritage Park offers a nice walk through the grounds to see the 2000 year old winter village as well as other structures to see how they lived.  There is a Ethnobotonical Garden that was created to show the native plants of the area that were harvested and used for medicinal and food as well as other purposes. There are a total of five garden sites in the Native Heritage Park.

Symbolic fencing at Indian Residential School, Kamloops, B.C.
This is past of the fencing in front of the old Kamloops Indian Residential School (KIRS) that still stands on the grounds but was closed in 1977.  I don't know why the letters are in a different sequence (KISR) and I may never know but there is a reason , I am sure.

Yellow headed blackbird ~ British Columbia Birds
In the park there is also the wonderful TK'emlups Marsh that is home to some beautiful birds and ducks. There is no doubt that there are more living creatures here, too, we just didn’t see them on this visit but we saw several of these beautiful yellow headed birds. I am guessing it is a blackbird but would be interested to hear if it is something different.

 Marmot - BC rodent family
The marmots are setting up homes nearby, and that can become a problem but at this point, they’re making themselves right at home and even pose for the occasional photo !
We were told there was a family of coyotes in the park but they didn’t show themselves during our visit. They were likely sleeping during the heat of the day when we made our visit.

The Secwepemc Cultural Education Society is a non-profit group that strives to maintain their culture, history and language and a visit to the Secwepemc Museum will take you back in time to show some of the history that goes back many years. Check out their web page for prices and times at: http://www.secwepemc.org/museum/hours.

Here is a map to the museum from Riverside Park in downtown Kamloops.
We love Kamloops and this is just one reason why “there is no place like home” !