Last weekend, we didn't have the kids with us. They were gone for a sleep over at Papa and Grandma's. So my husband and I thought it would be a good weekend to go for a bit of a hike in the neighbourhood.
So on Saturday, We headed down the tracks to go to the avalanche slide at Kitselas Mountain, and see how much snow came down. This winter there has been both natural avalanches and controlled ones.
The slide where we are walking to is on the right hand side of the barn. It doesn't look very big from here, but it is a fair size once you get up to it.
Of course we had to have a look at the river. The ice is so thick this year. The pictures really don't do it justice.
Looking back up the river towards home.
We climb the bank and cross the tracks, then start up the slide, and pause to look up at the rock bluff. Everyone around here calls the rock bluff, The Castle. Sometimes you can see the moon set just over it in the morning.
We continue up the slide. This is pretty much all snow that has come off the mountain. On the steep incline just above us, we could see where the slides had sort of passed over and around a few knobs, and the force of the air must have snapped the trees off.
Looking at some snapped off trees in the snow.
Looking down at the view, you can see Gitaus across the river on the right hand side on the rise. On the left hand side of the slide, there is a partially burried big cotton wood tree. The snow is so deep, and packed! You can also see an Island (river bed is dry this time of year) that has me wondering if it is the island talked about in the history book Men of Medeek, Wars of Medeek. There is a story of a big bad chief who tried to steal two young boys hunting grouse on the island...
Looking up river, we could see Usk in the distance. Surprisingly, we could hear the cable car all the way up there, and we could see the tiny blue dot as it crossed.
Then we cut across the slide. The snow balls would have been the perfect size for a snow ball fight, but we weren't going to hang around. We surveyed more trees down form the force of the avalanche.
We started back down the avalanche.
We cut into the bush on the way back to follow an old road. The avalanche had actually went wider then it had for quite some time, going over the edge of the road, almost reaching one of my favourite trees.
This is a Cultural Marked tree. These trees are protected. They were altered by Natives back before settlers came to the area. This tree is quite big. You can see chop marks on it and where the bark was stripped away. Perhaps to be made into clothing, rope or even roofing material on a house. I would love to know how long ago it was done, and what it was done for...
Along the way we pass a pretty waterfall.
We also pass this sign along the old road.
We pass an old tree with a spring board notch in it, and a tree growing out of it.
We headed on home, very happy with our walk. Next time though, I won't wear so much layers. I was pretty hot by the time we got home. To finish off the day, we ordered Pizza for the first time ever out in Usk, and they actually delivered as long as I met them across the river to pick it up. Of course I was more then glad too! I think it was the best pizza delivery we've ever had, all nice and hot! Usually I make my own pizza, so this was a real treat.
The next day was even nicer. Though it was slightly cooler out, the sun was shining. The snow was still frozen nice and solid, with only a couple of inches of soft on top of it, so it was perfect for walking on.
We decided to take a hike up the hill behind the house through the woods.
We followed the ridge until we came to an abandoned mine shaft. It's not a huge one, and just goes a little bit into the side of the ridge. Story has it that the owner of the mine, lived in the house that is next to us. And one day, he hung himself in the woods near the mine. Kinda gives you a little shiver to think about.
I was thinking perhaps the cave was to big for bears to hibernate in, but I say to my husband anyways, "You go in first and make sure nothing is sleeping in there." He replies that he has no desire to look in the cave, and it was probably empty, so I could do it my self if I wanted to see. So I cautiously look in and listen. No, no breathing...
A little further, and I can see the end. Nope, no bears... or ghosts.
Going to the light at the end of the tunnel!
We climb up the little ridge and cut back through the bush to a road, and then down to the creek. The creek bed was dry, so we followed that until we came to another old road which took us to the swamp. Along the way we seen many tracks, such as wolf, coyote, fox, moose, martin, weasel (even seen weasel tracks dragging something), mouse, rabbit and squirrel. Here you can see wolf tracks going one way, and coyote going the other way.
The road cuts through the middle of the swamp. Pretty alder trees line it.
The swamp was mostly dry with just a stream of water flowing through.
We cut through the swamp on the other side of the road. The snow is so pretty sparkling in the sun. We thought it was funny how they logged the tree's standing in the swamp. It must have been difficult to get them out of there. We also noticed that the beaver had chewed down evergreen trees.
On a stump was a beautiful clump of moss
We cut through the bush some more, and came out on the train tracks near a place called Hegstad. Now, I know I've heard the name somewhere, but can't quite remember where. Maybe a history book? Or perhaps it just the name of the side spur of tracks that used to be there.
Near by, is a little road that cuts down to the bank of the river. I wonder if there was perhaps a ferry there at one time, or the boats stopped there. The river is low this time of year, and so clear you can see the rocks almost all the way across. But it looks so cold.
The view of course is very beautiful.
We hiked back along the tracks, and along the river. You cold see where big tree's were cut down many years ago right along the banks of the river. You would never get away with that these days. There was one cotton wood that was an impressive size. Of course, pictures just don't do it justice. Some guy was standing by it.
We went down to our fishing hole and did a little search for some fishing weights. We were lucky enough to find a few.
Some of the ice chunks were massive.
One of the neatest things was watching the little dipper birds. It would hop down off of the rocks into the water to walk around completely under it. It popped up with this little fish, and proceeded to beat the fish on the rock. We were a little ways up river, so we wouldn't scare it, but we could hear the "Thwack! Thwack! Thwack!" as it slammed the fish. Then it ate it and went off down the river. We went to look at the rock where it was beating the fish, and all that was left was a little fish head and eyes. Pretty neat.
And so ended a perfect day of hiking.