Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Kamloops to Sun Peaks, BC: Old Road, New Name

Kamloops, BC ~ Heffley~Louis Creek Road ~ Whitecroft Village

Many years have passed since my first visit to the valley near the settlement of McGillivray Creek on the road that leads to Tod Mountain.  The ranches scattered throughout the valley were homes to family names that went back many years.  It was fun for a city girl to spend the time at a friends’ ranch and experience the difference, some of which I have never forgotten.

Lush green valley ~ Whitecroft Village, BC

The names have changed and Tod Mountain Rd is now called Heffley-Louis Creek Rd which runs to Whitecroft Village then turns up the valley and takes you all the way to Louis Creek, BC.  At Whitecroft Village, at the crossroads of Heffley-Louis Creek and Upper Louis Creek Rd is where it becomes Sun Peaks Road that will take you right up to Sun Peaks Resort.  Have I confused you yet?  It is the same location on the map, (shown at bottom of page) although the road name may vary and it just doesn’t look the same.  We pass by this way whenever we visit Sun Peaks but we’ve not taken the drive to see the complete Upper Louis Creek Rd so that is definitely on the list ‘to do’ next summer.

Scenic views of the valleyThe Whitecroft Ranch once covered a larger part of this valley but over the years the ranching and farming industry have gone through a lot of changes and there are now several smaller ranches.  Whitecroft Village has since developed in the valley, increasing the opportunity for many to enjoy country living.

Early rising chipmunk
We didn’t see lot of wildlife but the chipmunks were scampering everywhere and looking for the leftovers from the birdfeeders hanging overhead. Some were up early and out there to pose for the camera but quickly left when they realized I had no treats, I am sure they were expecting some rewards.

Sunrising in the valley
The sun was coming up over the hill and slowly brought the day to life.  The steam rose from the lake while the fish silently swam just below the surface and the birds began their songs of the day.  I wandered about seeking every treasure of nature I could find, enjoying every moment on this beautiful morning.

Hill and valley reflections
The early morning was heavy with dew but made for a perfect picture to later revisit that day when we feel the cold of winter and want to remember how beautiful and peaceful that special place was.

Birds line up for buffet dinner
There are several B and B’s in the area due to the close proximity of Sun Peaks and fishing, also guest ranches for trail rides and hiking for other adventures.  This valley leads to many treasures and is a perfect place to spend some time exploring this beautiful area.

Calm waters in the valley
We couldn’t have had a better day to visit with the grass so green and the sky so blue. It was absolutely beautiful and the quiet could be heard for hours. I knew that we’d seen a little piece of paradise and felt so fortunate to be invited to share that with our friends. Who would have believed that fifty years later I would be back in the same valley to be able to enjoy a very different yet another unforgettable experience. How lucky am I ! 

Just sharing another reason why we love Kamloops, there is no place like home.

Follow Hwy 5 from Kamloops, BC north to Heffley Creek and turn east and follow the Heffley-Louis Creek Rd.  Clik on map to move and enlarge to read road names closer to Sun Peaks.

View Larger Map

Friday, December 3, 2010

North Thompson River ~ Kamloops, BC

We love Kamloops and we’re surrounded by the natural beauty of the Thompson Valley.  The North Thompson River is one of the natural beauties of the Kamloops area, but it seems to be the river that gets little attention. There are no public boat launches and the river has not been charted so it doesn’t encourage the summer power boats that crowd the South Thompson River nearby. That means the only boat traffic is the occasional kayak or canoe and that makes a quiet river to enjoy.
North Thompson River, Kamloops, BC
The North Thompson, named by Simon Fraser to honor his explorer friend David Thompson, originates west of Valemount, BC at the base of the Thompson Glacier then continues south and meets up with the Clearwater River, the North Thompson’s biggest tributary, which drains much of Wells Gray Provincial Park.
Reflections in the North Thompson River, Kamloops, BC
On this day I stopped to visit the Little Farmers Petting Zoo in the Westsyde Centennial Park, which I will share with you later, and hoped to see some fall colors along the North Thompson River from this vantage point.  Much had changed in the years since I was last down to the river there and the river was so much prettier than I remembered it to be.

Damaged tree in Westsyde Centennial Park, Kamloops, BC

There are many more trees in that grove than I remember, and they’re so much larger, too.  This tree, sadly a recent victim of this damage, stood alone but I remember a cluster of birch trees where we once had family photos taken nearby that no longer look the same, how things do change.
Looking north on North Thompson River, Kamloops, BC
Spring and summer runoffs from the winter snow bring the river levels much higher than you’ll see in these pictures and have been known to flood on more than one occasion but today I am walking the rocky beaches and enjoying the very still water of the North Thompson River in the Fall season.   It is a calm and quiet river today.

A path to the North Thompson River, Kamloops, BC

There is a walking path that follows along the dike that protects the park and Oak Hills/Oakdale subdivisions, rebuilt after the flood of 1972. If you want to get right down to the river, you will follow the path past the dog park but there are other access paths along the dike, too. Some will take you through a grove of trees that run along the rivers edge.

South view of the North Thompson River, Kamloops, BC
I gained a new appreciation for our beautiful rivers while on our Cross Country trip and that was that we do have some of the most beautiful rivers on this continent! We crossed many rivers during our eight month trip and few came close to comparing to the size and beauty of the rivers we have right outside our own backyard.
This just gives us another reason why we love Kamloops.