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The Summer Fun Trip!



Maidenhair Fern Creekside
We had such a good time camping at Manning last year, we decided to do it again this summer!  I was originally hoping to go to the Okanagan, but reservations are really hard, Shuswap was open and I had never been.  Perfect combination!  We left Vancouver Monday morning (Helen worked the weekend) just after 11am and started driving inland.  We stopped at Bridal Veil falls for lunch.

Laurie Guichon Memorial Grasslands Interpretive Site

Two Ponderosa Pines With Picnic Table
Every time I drive though Merritt I take in the grasslands covering the surrounding hills and wonder what is up there.  I did a bit a research and it turns out there are actually quite a few places you can get off the highway and explore the grasslands a little.  On this trip we decided to visit the Laurie Guichon Memorial Grasslands Interpretive Site.  It's a bit tricky to find - you turn off the Coquihalla and start driving toward Kelowna.  There is no sign at the turn off, but shortly after you get off the highway (there is a left turn bay) and onto the gravel road there is a welcoming sign and a map.

Yellow Salsify Field

Red-Naped Sapsucker
What I noticed first getting off the highway was the large Osprey Nest on an artifical platform on top of an old snag next to small lake.  It was a busy nest - three almost full sized juviniles with two parents coming and going with fish.  Helen noticed something a lot more subtle - a sapsucker (think woodpecker) excavating in a nearby tree.  I knew this was going to be a good stop.
Curious Osprey Family

Graceful CinquefoilSpotted Knapweed On Trail
We drove a little further down the road to Marquart Lake.  It's been a cool/wet summer so there was still lots of green left in the grasslands.  I was surprised just how many flowers and insects were around.  I was keen to see the dragonflies and butterflies because the dry interior has different species than the wet west coast.


When I started researching what was actually in the photos I was quite dismayed to find that much of what I saw was actually invasive/introduced species.  Merritt is not a great example of pristine grasslands and nature being what it is, you can't remediate the land to back to an earlier state.

Mormon Fritillary On AlfalfaImmature Cherry-faced MeadowhawkDragonfly On Grass

Cabbage Whites Mating On Seed HeadEuropean SkipperSavannah Sparrow On Fence Rail

Learn to Fish

Fishing Rods Ready To Go
The campground has a lot going for it - large beach access, paved roads between camp sites and a nice staff running the facilities.  Sadly, it didn't have much for amphitheater programs.  The only program was the Tuesday night "Learn to Fish" program put on by the Freshwater Fisheries Society of BC.  The brought a truck full of pre-setup rods and gave a nice presentation about stocking lakes, invasive fish and fish we need to protect (like Sturgeon and Steelhead).  They taught the kids how to cast their rods and then set the crowd on the beach to "go fishing".


Helen And Nara With Fishing Rod
The rods the kids were given had just a bare, barbless hook - no lure of any sort.  The kids basically didn't stand a chance of catching a fish.  It didn't help that they were fishing in the swimming area at the beach which I find it hard to imagine a fish would want to live in.  The kids didn't know any of this and had a great time casting into the lake.  Some kids were standing in the water and of course all kids wanted to copy - ours only got ankle deep.

Fishing In The Swimming AreaClaira With Fishing Rod

Wharf in Salmon Arm

Claira On Peer With Camera
I'm now willing to call myself a "birder" - there is no way I could argue any other way.  When I did the research on where to go, the Wharf in Salmon arm showed up as a good place to Grebe's that I hadn't seen before.  Combined with lunch in town, it made for a nice morning trip.

Nara And Claira On Pier Running


Adult Osprey On SignOsprey Family On Nest
Right off the wharf is a family of Osprey raising three chicks.  The birds all look good and must be pretty naturalized to people.  Boats come and go (there is a fuel station at the docks) and the birds didn't seem bothered.  I setup my camera as a telescope and the kids got to see the eye colours of the big birds.

More subtle was the Western Grebe's.  These birds aren't common in the lower mainland, but they were easy to see from the wharf.  With the boat traffic, the boats weren't close to shore, but their white necks really stand out so you can see them a long way away.



Western Grebe AdultWestern Grebe Adult And Juvenile

Lac Du Bois Grasslands Protected Area

Sagebrush At Lac Du Bois
I really enjoyed the walk around the grasslands in Merritt so I decided to do a little more!  Just North of Kamloops is a the Lac Du Bois Grasslands Protected Area - an area of rolling hills where grass and sagebrush dominate the landscape rather than trees.  I may have gone once as a child (I used to live in Kamloops) but I don't remember the area so today was mostly a scouting trip.


Sagebrush Mariposa Lily
One of my favorite plant books has a "Southern Interior" edition, highlighting the plants found away from the coast.  Grasses dominate the book.  Walking around the grasslands protected area, you see different specialization - valley bottom grasses are different from grasses on slopes which area different again from grasses in shade.
Sea Of Light GrassDeer In The Grasses

Now that I have some idea what is out here, I can plan a better trip in the future.

Margaret Falls

Nara And Claira On BridgeWalking Down Reinecker Gorge
When I was a kids, I went to Sunnybrae Bible camp for a week each summer.  My sister generally went a week earlier or later.  Just down the road is Margaret Falls so I'm sure I visited at least once.  Sadly, I have very little memory of this place.
Family On Bridge


Helen And Kids At Margaret FallsMargaret Falls
The falls are quite dramatic.  There is a cave under the waterfall and we watched a barefoot guy walk in a walk out.  Of course the rock is covered in slimy algae so walking on it is taking your life in your own hands.

Life in Camp

It's amazing to me how durable kids are to swimming in cold water.  Last year we went camping at Manning park and the kids went swimming every day in a lake that is covered in ice every winter.  The Shuswap doesn't freeze over any more (apparently the last time was in the 70's or 80's) but I wouldn't describe the lake as warm.  The kids would swim until their lips went blue, come to shore to warm up in the sun, and go swimming again.

About To Jump In The LakeClaira In The LakeNara Swimming With Beach Ball

Claira Near The ShoreNara Swimming Deep


Kids Wrapped In TowelsNara With Blue LipsClaira With Blue Lips


Merlin
I'm keen to see what kinds of animals can live in a provincial camp site.  There were two deer that wandered around campsite to campsite eating the under story plants.  We saw a few squirrels wander through.  I saw a pileated woodpecker once.  My favorite sighting was a Merlin, high in the tree tops across from our site.  I was out on the road with my camera taking photos when a family with young kids walked by.  The youngest said I had a telescope.  The parents said yup and just kept on walking.



Claira Watching The Campfire
I've said before, I'm not a big fan of campfires.  They are smokey, smelly and have a risk of burns.  My kids love campfires.  On the second night we bought a bag of firewood (about twice the wood you get from from a gas station for the same price) and made a campfire.  We brought a hatchet which allowed us to break the large pieces into pieces a good size for starting a fire.

Family Portrait With The Campfire

Kids Dancing With Glow Sticks
Helen purchased a bunch of glow sticks at the dollar store a few years back.  Sadly, they do have a shelf life and some of them don't make much light at all.  After a few bad sticks, we decided to open all of them and decorate the tent.  The combination of flashlights, glowsticks and campfire smoke was a great combination for the kids.
Bright Flashlights FiresideYellow Wand As ARibbon
 
  Kids With Flashlights In TentNight In The Glow Room

I was hoping to take photos of the stars or even the milky way, but the moon and clouds really didn't help out.  When I woke up early for my Lac Du Bois trip, I was surprised to find that I didn't need a flashlight - the full moon was so bright it was almost like daylight.  The moon rose early in the evening and stayed up all night so there was never a good time to try and photograph stars.

Boat Launch At Moon Rise
 
  Claira Helping To Clean Up
And then it was time to go home!  We took down the tarps, packed up the tent (amazingly, everything fit back in it's bag) and repacked the car.  Our little Subaru was packed tight - the kids couldn't see each other in the back seat and the space beneath their feet was full.  And we were off home!  Lunch at White Spot in Kamloops (first free internet in days!) and after wait through an accident on the Coquihalla, home again.




Deer In The Grasses
Night In The Glow Room
Merlin
Species: Falco columbarius (Merlin)
Boat Launch At Moon Rise
Claira Watching The Campfire
Person: Claira
Osprey Family On Nest
Species: Pandion haliaetus (Osprey)
Altitude: 354m (1161 feet)
Location: Go To...
Sagebrush At Lac Du Bois
Species: Artemisia tridentata (big sagebrush)
Altitude: 572m (1876 feet)
Location: Go To...
Cabbage Whites Mating On Seed Head
Species: Pieris rapae (Cabbage White)
Altitude: 1129m (3704 feet)
Location: Go To...
Maidenhair Fern Creekside
Species: Adiantum pedatum (maidenhair)
Altitude: 133m (436 feet)
Location: Go To...
Walking Down Reinecker Gorge
Altitude: 440m (1443 feet)
Location: Go To...
Adult Osprey On Sign
Species: Pandion haliaetus (Osprey)
Altitude: 360m (1181 feet)
Location: Go To...
Curious Osprey Family
Species: Pandion haliaetus (Osprey)
Altitude: 1100m (3608 feet)
Location: Go To...
Fishing In The Swimming Area
Immature Cherry-faced Meadowhawk
Species: Sympetrum obtrusum (White-faced Meadowhawk)
Altitude: 1129m (3704 feet)
Location: Go To...
Mormon Fritillary On Alfalfa
Species: Speyeria mormonia (Mormon Fritillary)
Altitude: 1132m (3713 feet)
Location: Go To...
Claira With Blue Lips
Person: Claira
Altitude: 371m (1217 feet)
Location: Go To...
Sea Of Light Grass
Species: Hordeum jubatum (foxtail barley)
Altitude: 784m (2572 feet)
Location: Go To...
Graceful Cinquefoil
Species: Potentilla gracilis (graceful cinquefoil)
Altitude: 1133m (3717 feet)
Location: Go To...
Margaret Falls
Altitude: 426m (1397 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: waterfall
Kids With Flashlights In Tent
Bright Flashlights Fireside
Western Grebe Adult And Juvenile
Species: Aechmophorus occidentalis (Western Grebe)
Altitude: 357m (1171 feet)
Location: Go To...
Kids Dancing With Glow Sticks
Family On Bridge
Person: John, Helen, Nara, Claira
Altitude: 417m (1368 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: bridge
Western Grebe Adult
Species: Aechmophorus occidentalis (Western Grebe)
Altitude: 357m (1171 feet)
Location: Go To...
Spotted Knapweed On Trail
Altitude: 1136m (3727 feet)
Location: Go To...
Dragonfly On Grass
Altitude: 1131m (3710 feet)
Location: Go To...
Kids Wrapped In Towels
Person: Nara, Claira
Altitude: 371m (1217 feet)
Location: Go To...
Nara And Claira On Bridge
Person: Nara, Claira
Altitude: 417m (1368 feet)
Location: Go To...
Nara Swimming With Beach Ball
Person: Nara
Altitude: 338m (1108 feet)
Location: Go To...
Two Ponderosa Pines With Picnic Table
Altitude: 1136m (3727 feet)
Location: Go To...
Savannah Sparrow On Fence Rail
Species: Passerculus sandwichensis (Savannah Sparrow)
Altitude: 1130m (3707 feet)
Location: Go To...
Claira On Peer With Camera
Person: Claira
Altitude: 362m (1187 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: photographer, pier
Claira With Fishing Rod
Person: Claira
Helen And Nara With Fishing Rod
Person: Helen, Nara
Claira Near The Shore
Tags: swimming
Fishing Rods Ready To Go
European Skipper
Species: Thymelicus lineola (European Skipper)
Altitude: 1133m (3717 feet)
Location: Go To...
Nara Swimming Deep
Tags: lake, swimming
Claira In The Lake
Person: Claira
Altitude: 339m (1112 feet)
Location: Go To...
Claira Helping To Clean Up
Person: Claira
Altitude: 344m (1128 feet)
Location: Go To...
Red-Naped Sapsucker
Species: Sphyrapicus nuchalis (Red-naped Sapsucker)
Altitude: 1093m (3585 feet)
Location: Go To...
Nara With Blue Lips
Person: Nara
Altitude: 371m (1217 feet)
Location: Go To...
About To Jump In The Lake
Person: Nara, Claira
Altitude: 351m (1151 feet)
Location: Go To...
Helen And Kids At Margaret Falls
Person: Helen, Nara, Claira
Altitude: 431m (1414 feet)
Location: Go To...
Family Portrait With The Campfire
Person: John, Helen, Nara, Claira
Sagebrush Mariposa Lily
Species: Calochortus macrocarpus (sagebrush mariposa lily)
Altitude: 784m (2572 feet)
Location: Go To...
Yellow Wand As ARibbon
Yellow Salsify Field
Species: Tragopogon dubius (yellow salsify)
Altitude: 1137m (3730 feet)
Location: Go To...
Nara And Claira On Pier Running
Person: Nara
Altitude: 360m (1181 feet)
Location: Go To...
Tags: pier, running
Tags: swimming(2), pier(2), waterfall(1), bridge(1), lake(1), photographer(1)
People: Claira(12), Nara(10), Helen(4), John(2)
From: John Harvey Photo > Blogs for 2016 to 2005 > Shuswap Camping
From: John Harvey Photo > John Harvey Photo - Camping > Shuswap Camping

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Last Modified Monday, September 5th, 2016 at 13:01:30 Edit
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