Friday, June 28, 2013

Ord Road ~ Cooney Bay ~ Kamloops, BC

Ord Road travels east-west for 4.8km (3 mi) following alongside the CN railway tracks that passes through Kamloops.  There has been a lot of development happening on Ord Road over the past few years, some commercial and some residential but there are other things happening that may not be as obvious.  Let’s drive Ord Road from where it leaves Westsyde Road at Batchelor Heights and see some sights on our way to Cooney Bay.

The hillside reservoir has a mural painted on the surface
Mural on Brocklehurst Water Reservoir
The mural painted on the Brocklehurst Water Reservoir was done as an Art Smart Program, which was done to cover graffiti.  Ms Nadine Matthews, part of the Mayor’s Task Force was given a grant by the City of Kamloops and she along with four students from the Brocklehurst Secondary School, painted the Rocky Mountaineer Train on the reservoir in 2001.

The train is a common sight as we follow Ord Road
Ord Road follows CN Railway track in Kamloops, BC
Nearby the water reservoir is what is called the Ord Road Gap (not shown here).  This is recently news to me but it appears to be a popular spot to take a bike ride downhill and do some aerial stunts while you’re at it.  It seems to be pretty popular with those who like to have that thrill.  You may even see some of them as they challenge that hillside. 

Chukars are a bird that seems to prefer to walk across the road.
Chukar on Ord Road in Kamloops, BC
Often found anywhere along Ord road you may see some chukars.  They were first introduced to this area in 1950 by the BC Fish & Wildlife with 17 birds.  During the next 5 years, several more were brought in and they successfully reproduced in our dry country.  

These bluffs are home to several creatures
Rattlesnake Bluff on Ord Road in Kamloops, BC
The climate in Kamloops has long been the ideal home for rattlesnakes and the Rattlesnake Bluffs were named for those in residence here.  In 2009, Phil and Arlene Theimer donated this parcel of land to Nature Conservancy of Canada (NCC), which is a national non-profit organization that works to protect Canada’s natural habitat. Several other creatures make these rugged hills and cliffs their home, including birds, bats, marmots and Bighorn sheep. 

The unusual lines are a close-up look at the hillside
Hillside at Cinnamon Ridge, Kamloops, BC
Once you leave the Bluffs, you will cross over the train tracks and join onto Tranquille Road, which you can follow for another 6.6 km (4.1mi). You will bypass the Kamloops Airport, Kamloops Golf Course and several ranches as you follow along Cinnamon Ridge. This interesting rock formation is part of that ridge and can be seen from the road. You will often see cars parked at this point where hikers will be begin their walks on the trails of Cinnamon Ridge.
Two herons are seen landing in the water of the field
Great herons at Tranquille Wildlife Management Area
Springtime brings in some migrating birds to the fields in the Tranquille Wildlife Management Area.  The area will have Kamloops Lake fill in the fields when the Thompson River overflows its banks.  We’ve seen pelicans and herons on different visits and these two herons seemed to be feeling right at home here.
Our viewpoint shows Tranquille Farm Fresh and reflections on the water
Tranquille on the Lake
Just beyond this point, the Red Lake Road will turn off Tranquille Road and you will be approaching Dewdrop Range and Tranquille Canyon, all on part of the 15,000 hectares (37,000 Acres) of the Lac du Bois Grasslands. These along with the Cinnamon Ridge offer some great hiking trails, but be sure to see a map to learn more and stay safe. We stay on Tranquille Rd, be sure to stop by Tranquille Farm Fresh if you’re here on the weekend.
The 'No Trespassing' sign was ignored as hikers crossed the field
No Trespassing on private property
You will follow a dirt road when you pass the Tranquille Farm Fresh grounds and will come onto a parking area at Cooney Bay on Kamloops Lake. We saw some hikers with their dog crossing fields on private property where the signs say ‘No Trespassing’.  Please respect such signs, so that others may still be able to enjoy the other sights at this location.  

The lake is larger in springtime as the water sits over the fields.
Kamloops Lake from Tranquille Farm Fresh
You may see visitors with cameras and tripods in hand going down to the water’s edge to photograph some of the sights here.  This parking area at the end of the road is where kayaks and canoes may be seen loading or unloading from cars.  On our visit, some were getting into the river to enjoy a ride along the shores of Kamloops Lake.

Path is carved through the trees
Path leading to Cooney Bay
Follow the path making the way through a grove of trees that camouflage Cooney Bay from the parking area.  Depending on the time of year of your visit, the water levels vary so that the path may not make the lake accessible, there were indications that high water had been there at some point.
There are several old logs and stumps nearby
 Highwater beach on Kamloops Lake, BC
Here is Kamloops Lake, calm and clear on this gorgeous day. Remnants of stumps and logs are strewn about but that is all part of the lakeside, looking more like driftwood on an oceanfront beach. A couple of young men are going to try their luck at fishing, and I understand there are some pretty big fish in the lake so they should have some stories to share on their return.

Carvings in old stumps and trees on the beach at Cooney Bay
Carvings on the beach
As I got closer to the lake, I walked in front of the stumps that are sitting on the beach and what a surprise. The burnt out stump is not just an old stump. It has become a wonderful carving of an old character face! The nearby piece of wood is a checkerboard with rocks as checkers with smaller stumps to sit upon if you care to play a game. Someone had spent some time at Cooney Bay and created something for everyone to enjoy. I have since learned that a local artist, Brian Ferguson had created this work of art.
The journey of today has covered a total of just over 11 km. (7 miles) yet we have seen so many local treasures that many may not realize are here. There are miles of hiking trails up on the Ridges that would offer views of the great city of Kamloops and also these surrounding green hills, that color which is unusual here for this time of year.

Then there is the stump at the end of the road. You just never know what treasures you may find unless you take time to enjoy it all, wherever you call home.

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