Friday, August 9, 2013

Goats ~ Weed Control ~ Kamloops, BC

We love Kamloops and these very hot days of summer can often lead to finding something cool to keep ourselves from overheating.  We have beautiful parks and a cool refreshing river to spend time at or go boating but instead we would do some hiking today in Kenna Cartright Park, we’re on a mission. 

The goats have begun their climb up the hill in Kenna Cartright Park
Blue skies over Kenna Cartright Park, Kamloops, BC
Donna and Conrad Lindblom of Grande Praire, AB own Rocky Ridge Vegetation Control.  This weed control is a job actually done by goats with a lot of guidance from Donna and Conrad!  They have been hired by the city to bring 200 goats to eat these noxious weeds as an alternative to using pesticides on the hills of Kenna Cartright Park.  What a great idea!
We're getting closer to the herd of goats
Goats move across the hill
We stopped at their camp and had a visit with Donna but Conrad and the goats were already on their way to their job site and although we could see them, it looked like a long hot hike from where we stood.  Their destination was up and over that hill and I didn’t think that would happen for me so we quickened our step and hit the trails to see them before they disappeared over the hill.
The herd of goats moving across the hillside
Goats eat making the way to their destination
Lucky for us, Donna had called Conrad telling him we were on our way so he slowed the herd down a bit so we’d be able to catch up.  Conrad explained that the goats were eating knapweed and the toadflax which is going to seed by now, but goats digest what they eat so will not distribute the seeds in their droppings, unlike some other animals.  
These goats were only a few feet from the herd
Working the outside of the herd
The goats are quite intent on eating these weeds and waste little time doing that.  They stay together as a herd with very few stragglers, although some might wander a few feet away but not for long.  
Owner sits on his horse and watches the herd
Conrad Lindblom and Maverick watch the herd
Conrad rides a horse for herding the goats; today it is Maverick.  They zigzag their way across the hillside while the goats eat on the move.  We were surprised at how quickly they did move but they were on their way to ‘greener’ pastures to spend their morning.  
Their heads are down and the goats are busy eating
Goats eat their way across the hill
While Conrad took a moment to explain some of their job to us, the goats continued to move until he called out, “get back” and the herd of 200 goats really did all turn around and head back the other way across the hillside.  Once he caught up to them to carry on their way, Conrad says, “come on, let’s go” and that they did.  Well behaved goats! 
These goats are standing up in order to reach the best leaves at the top
They'll reach if they need to
Goats can eat between 4 to 5 lbs of weeds a day and that would be a lot of weeds!  Their small feet cause very little damage to the sensitive grasslands they’re grazing on so this is a win win situation. They can climb, too, so nothing will interfere in getting that tasty morsel on the higher branches.  The kids (baby goats) are with their mothers and are learning what their duty as part of this herd will be.  They’re never too young to learn.
The dogs watch the herd constantly, safeguarding and keeping them together.
Two of the watchful dogs
The Lindbloms also have dogs that work with the goat herd.  They paced around the herd and quietly do their job helping to keep the goats all together.  Their presence keeps the bears away so that protects the goats, as well.  
The Great Pyrenees at work keeping the herd together
The dog patrols the herd
The goats and dogs are not bothered by visitors nor are they concerned with anything other than their own job.  Hikers need not be worried about the dogs or goats while out on their walks.  There is a sign posted at the bottom of the hill asking that hikers keep their dogs on a leash while out on the hills. 
They've reached the crest of the hill and disappear behind the trees
They're on their way 
We stood and watched as they disappeared over the hill onto their next pasture.  Once the goats have had their morning fill, they will return to camp and spend their rest time chewing their cud.  Once they have taken care of that business, they will head back out for more munchies.
Three horses alternate riding with the goat herd.
Babe and Skipper wait their turn
Meanwhile back at camp, Babe and Skipper patiently wait for the herd and crew to return so they can have their turn working their shift later in the day.  

I was eager to see the goats while they were doing their job in Kenna Cartright Park this year and was lucky to have had a brief visit with both Donna and Conrad to learn more. They are on their way to Logan Lake when they leave Kamloops and will be busy working over there for a spell but hopefully we’ll be seeing them again next year with their goats taking care of business in the park. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Pulling Together Canoe Journey ~ Tk'emlups ~ Kamloops, BC

We felt the excitement as we watched the Pulling Together Canoe Journey arrive Friday afternoon, August 3, 2013.  The flotilla of 19 canoes and the many who had worked very hard to make their way here today was definitely something to celebrate as they arrived at their destination in Kamloops, BC.

Several canoes can be seen making their way down the river
Pullling Together flotilla on S. Thompson River
Vision Quest, originated by RCMP Staff Sergeant Ed Hill, was the first journey in 1997 with the intent of forming a good relationship between the First Nations and police forces.  2001 saw the next event which was renamed Pulling Together as it involved several First Nations communities and police forces.  Today the celebration and success continues as the first Pulling Together arrives in Kamloops, BC.
The journey is almost over as the canoes approach Kamloops.
Canoes eagerly pass by
Over the years that the Pulling Together Canoe Journey has been occuring, there have been many different police departments involved from several parts of the province and all pulling together with First Nations communities.  Up to the event this year, these events happened either on the coastal waters or down the Fraser Canyon involving many First Nations from those areas.  2013 is the first one to happen in the Interior and I believe this is a very special occasion and feel fortunate to have seen it.
Waiting the arrival of Chief Gottfriedson of Tk'emlups and others
Welcoming crowd for the canoes and the RCMP boats 
The drummers and a small crowd were waiting for their arrival, which we could see from our vantage point. The police have a power boat to escort the paddlers and offer their help if necessary and made the complete journey with the canoes.  It was good to see that all of the 16 paddlers in each canoe all wore lifejackets.  . 
Several canoes can now be seen as they come around the corner in the river
The canoes are arriving in Kamloops, BC
We’d driven up the South Thompson to get an early look at the flotilla as it came down river and it was great to hear their excitement as they whooped and waved to us standing on the road above.  Their 9 day journey was about to come to an end and they seemed pretty excited to be arriving.   
They ate almost home after days of paddling.
Tk'emlups' canoe leads the way home
The Tk’emlups canoe would go ashore so that Chief Shane Gottfriedson would be able to welcome all the visitors as they each circled past.  Senator Nancy Greene-Raines was also paddling in this same canoe that represents the Tk’emlups First Nations.  
The canoe passes by the Chief with their oars raised
Visitors are welcomed to Tk'emlups
Tk’emlups Chief Shane Gottfriedson stood on the rivers’ edge as all other canoes receive a traditional welcome as they floated by with oars upright.  There were 19 canoes arriving and all would circle in the bay until everyone had been welcomed then they were on their way downriver to Riverside Park for the welcome by the City of Kamloops mayor. 
All canoes will be welcomed before they carry on the journey.
Canoes circle as they wait for all to be welcomed
We were not part of the journey so do not have first hand knowledge of the experience but a chance meeting with Councillor Rod Crowe of Chase, BC did share his experience while waiting for the flotilla to arrive.  Mr. Crowe had spent time paddling in one of the canoes and explained how their day went. 
The canoes are leaving this point for their final lap
They begin the final lap of this Pulling Together Journey
This journey began on Mara Lake and made their way through the Sicamous Narrows to the Shuswap Lakes before getting onto the South Thompson River, visiting several First Nations communities on their way.  They would canoe by day and then be bussed to their camp at night which was relocated to different parks along the route.  Several brief daytime stops were also made including at Chase and on Banana Island.
They make their way to Riverside Park in Kamloops, BC
Several of the participating canoes
There are hundreds of volunteers involved in this whole endeavor.  Many who would look after the camp they set up for the participants as well as preparing food required for all.  There are others who will stay with the canoes to make sure they stay safe overnight while the paddlers get back to camp. A day of celebration was held part way through the journey, a much needed rest, no doubt.  There were sightings of eagles each day of the journey which held special meanings for those involved. 
The final destination of 2013 is just around the corner
The Pulling Together Journey 2013 soon ends
Today marked the arrival to their destination in Kamloops. This Pulling Together event was planned to coincide with the Kamloopa PowWow 2013 weekend.  Chief Shane Gottfriedson invited all paddlers to join the Grand March at the Kamloopa PowWow to welcome all to the celebration of this 34th annual event.

To all those who were involved in the "Pulling Together Canoe Journey", WELL DONE!  I hope we are to see many more of these in years to come and that the welcoming crowd grows bigger to match your enthusiasm.

One more special reason why we call Kamloops home.