Monday, September 13, 2010

Westsyde ~ McLure Ferry ~ Kamloops, BC

I like to think that we have sunshine in Kamloops most of the time. We are a semi-arid climate so we do get over 2000 hours of sunshine a year. We also get very little rainfall, the yearly average is 174.8mm (6.8 in.). So why is it that we seem to be getting rain when I am out taking pictures of our beautiful part of the world? I wish I had the answer, but all I can say is that this isn’t normal, really !
We planned to spend the day at the North Thompson Fall Fair which is held in Barriere, BC, which is 66 km (39 mi) north of Kamloops and we chose to make a circle tour of the trip there and back.

Westsyde Road scenery
We left Kamloops heading north through Westsyde and followed Westsyde Road for about 40 km. We passed the small communities of Noble Creek and Black Pines following the country road leading us through the Whispering Pines Indian Reserve, which then leads us to the McLure Ferry landing.

The McLure Ferry
The McLure Ferry has been in operation for a very long time and offers the only crossing of the N. Thompson River between Kamloops and Barriere. There is enough room for two vehicles but the crossing only takes a few minutes so the wait will not be very long should there be more than 2 vehicles.  Watch the ferry crossing the river by clicking on this.

McLure Ferry Captain

The McLure ferry is a reaction ferry, a cable ferry that uses the reaction of the current of the river against a fixed tether to propel the vessel across the river. The tether can be seen on the left in the photo.  The ferry doesn’t follow a time schedule but is available on demand for most hours on any day, other than high water and winter season. There are very few cable ferries left but we have one right up the river from Kamloops and it even gives you a free ride !  Check here for more details on the schedule and take the scenic drive to the free ferry.
View of the N. Thompson River on crossing
Once you land on the McLure side of the river, you will drive through a residential neighborhood of country homes and small farms, where we saw some sheep watching the ferry traffic pass by, and then out to the Yellowhead Highway.
The one thing that stands out in my memory about McLure is Mr. Len Sadler-Brown.  He was a tall man with a big mustache and the occasional twinkle in his eye.  Mr. Brown was the very tolerant, although strict school bus driver of many years ago. He lived there and drove the bus from McLure picking all kids up to deliver to school in Kamloops and then brought us back home safely, no matter what the weather was.

N. Thompson River at Heffley Creek, BC
We then followed the Yellowhead Highway south, which follows the North Thompson River on its’ way to meet the South Thompson River in Kamloops, BC. We pass lots of farms and ranches in this fertile area, thanks to the river, where we see horses, sheep, cattle and also vegetable productions.

N. Thompson River, Heffley Creek, BC
We drove through the communities of Vinsulla and Heffley Creek, which is 26 km (17 mi) north of Kamloops. This is where you will find a lot of history with the River playing a large part of early exploration and fur trading, dating back to the early 19th century.
This circle tour would take less than two hours but I think you should allow more time as you will want to stop and enjoy the area.  Our day took us to Barriere where we enjoyed the North Thompson Fall Fair, which I shall tell you about soon.  Even on this rainy afternoon, we know there is just no place like home.