The photos above are the Skimmerhorns to the east of Creston.
Leach Lake Loop
So again we parked at the summit creek pull out and headed out across the bailey bridge and then along the road to the right. Were the road crosses the slough your turn left and then carry on till you reach the first dike. Well, you could make a day of it and do the real Leach Lake Loop but. Fun walking out over the dike with water on both sides of you. What a great place. Bit of a struggle with the waist high grass on the west side but a little work and you can bull your way through. Wet in the spring, bugs in the summer so the fall or winter is when you want to get out there.
20th Ave. N.
So this is the ramp my buddy Blaine built up on the south side of Goat Mountain 20 years ago. They used to launch their hang gliders from here. Soar for a bit and eventually land at the rec centre off to the right. What a great view of the valley looking south into the States. Well, and it's all accessible from right in town off of 20th Ave. N.. Park on the street and start walking. 40 minutes or so and your here at the launch site and another 15 or 20 and you arrive at Foster road. That and there really is just a maze of trails to give a guy variety if you keep coming back.
Lady Slipper Trail
" four season's travel with warm, cold, sun, wind, rain and snow." That's from one of Ed's article's in the local paper. So true it is. When you first start up Goat Mnt. your cooking but as you near the top layers are going back on. This photo is from along the west side of the trail looking north. Duck Lake is in the foreground with Kootenay Lake in the distance. (Is that an isthmus between the two bodies of water? What ever the correct term it's not as narrow as it appears in this picture.) A fun hike with loads of flowers, the Calypso orchid being the most memorable for me.
Williams Creek Falls
This is looking back at Leach Lake from the little ridge you follow north to the falls. From Summit Creek out across the bailey bridge and then left through the trees and on through the waist high grass to the base of this little bluff. A great view all the way along to the falls. The trail is becoming more vague each year. I mean it is flagged but. Hadn't been out here all summer so fun to be back to this special place.
Fern Forest Trail
This is the boardwalk out over the swamp. It's kind of fun. Tons of skunk cabbage in the spring. Tons of bugs in the middle of the summer I suspect. Have simply avoided it at that time of year to be honest. So we came at this from the summit creek parking lot and up the hill under the bridge vs. the balancing rock trail. Just a fun change is all. Interesting either way. This is the trail we med Ed on one spring. Half way up with a chain saw and hadn't even broke a sweat yet. Clearing the trail as he went. This valley has a just a ton of people like that. Really something.
A bit of a drive north from Creston but what a lovely hike in the heat of the summer. Your in the shade of the big canopies following the creek. Nice and cool. Well, and within minutes the road noise is behind you. Nice gentle climb that makes a guy work a bit. We only went a few kilometers but I think you could carry on 14 km. to Baker Lake.
Dodge Creek FSR
On the flats we turned off Reclamation Rd. onto Granary Rd. and drove up past the houses to what must have been an old forest service road. What a great little walk. Lovely canopy of trees, a little rise as you head south, a hand full of natural springs and this. Not a bad size print what? We never did see who it belonged to and just as well. The road comes out at the Dodge Creek FSR. Doubling back made for a easy little walk and a fun morning.
July 6th 2014
Don't all real summer adventures begin with a trek out across a train bridge. The creosote just wafts up from the ties in the heat, the swallows are all around you, the rivers rippin by underneath. Katherine just waltzed out across like nothing but I had to sing a little song to get some rhythm and keep my nerve up. The movement underneath was just a bit to disconcerting. A fun hike and a cool dip in the lake before returning back to the real world on the other side of the trestle.
Well, we call it the pipeline walk. Am sure there's a more proper name. This is were we'd first seen a family of Pileated Woodpeckers before we'd even moved to Creston. We're still spotting them out here off and on. I think they're like the northern equivalent to the Parrot. Man they can chew through a lot of wood in short order. This guy let me get really close and even then he'd just move a little off. Fun to see.
Mount Thompson Rim Walk
Creston valley sits at 597 m with Mnt. Thompson at 1,964 m. That's 1,367 m , almost 4,500 feet difference. You climb that over just 10 km of old forestry/logging road. It's like going from summer to spring in just half and hour. Late June and still a good jag of snow up there. That and loads of glacier lillies. Well, a few black flies if you can believe it. Katherine usually makes it to the oblisc south of the tower. A little slower going this time so just my stopping spot at the last rise before heading down and up to the ?. We call it the green oblisc. A transmission tower of some sort. Good fun walk.
I think we save this for really wet days when we want a road under us in order to stay kind of dry. Reason being it is in all honesty just a little lame as your on the road in amongst the trees most of the time. Even so, you do get a couple of good views. Leach Lake to the east and then this view up the valley of the Kootenay river and West fork. Still an o.k. walk as the climb makes a guy work just a little. Fun to save it for those wet days. Oh, you'll want to go online for permission to walk on the Dark Woods property. www.natureconservancy.ca
Early May. The breeze is just a little cool but the sun is warm. Beautiful walk out to Kootenay Landing. Osprey, Kingfisher, Great Blue Heron, Red-Winged Blackbirds, Yellow-Headed Blackbirds, and of course the usual assortment of ducks and geese. Oh, and a Western Painted Turtle sunning himself on the rail bed. That nuts going to be someones lunch before long. Most always a little something different every time we head out. We've had otters follow us along the walk diving in and out of the driftwood. Always a fun walk.
Airport Equestrian Trails
Blaine and The Mountain Dog both live out at the airport so we'll sometimes scoot out there and walk the horse trails. You can circle the runway outside of the deer fence and to the west of the airstrip there are a number of different trails up along the ridge. Cleco drags her butt on the first part of the walk and then about half way through she'll get her wiggle waggle on and get with it. She is a bit of a couch potato but at a good sport to get out with us and we enjoy her company.
The Lister forest is a little south and east of Creston proper. Right up against the Skimmerhorn mountains. You are right there at the base of these big rocks. We think of it as our community watershed? Years back it was selectively logged. Just an excellent job as the access roads are small and there just so many trees left. It's still a diverse forest. This is sustainable logging and great for walking in. Unlike the clear cuts that are a giant mess and replanted in a mono culture. What a joke. Why can't we be doing this everywhere in the province?
These are just a few of the many people out enjoying the lake these last few days of December. Zero Celsius late in the morning but still a foot of ice to keep everyone safe. Some families just out skating or fishing and some doing both. Well, Ma and Pa fishing and the kids skating.
The Leach Lake Savannah?
Our own little private savannah. If I were to spot a giraffe or an elephant in the distance I wouldn't be the least bit shocked. That's how it feels early on a Sunday morning on the way out to Williams Falls. Park at the Summit Creek pull out, across the bailey bridge, left through the trees and on till midnight. What a treat to have the whole place to ourselves.
Great Horned Owl
The few times we've spotted owls it was as they were flying away from us. I think we must have wakened this guy up from a snooze and he was just to tired to bolt. That's the other thing, they blend in so well. Just luck that we saw this one in the trees right in front of us. In any case we were able to get a good look at him and a few pictures. A memorable walk in early November out at the wild life centre.
Trans Canada Trail
Starting at Summit Creek you walk through the old campground and then under the bridge. We'd gone up from there on the Fern Forest Trail to the swamp and the Balancing Rock but never stayed down to followed the creek. Not bad. Summit Creek was loud enough you barely hear the traffic. Just a ton of mushrooms the tail end of September. We only made it to the first forestry road but a fun little trek.
We usually hoof it up here in July or August. Up to the Summit, south to the edge of Stag Leap Provincial Park, then west. A fun walk and a great way to escape the summer heat. We didn't get up till early September this year. What is a 3-and-a-bit hour hike turned into a 5-hour hike. Huckleberries. The whole way up. Step to the edge of the trail and there they were. A well walked trail and we were still able to enjoy them. What a year.
South end of Duck Lake
This must have been near the end of August. If we're a little busy we'll just scoot up here for a short walk. Out across the dike at the south end of Duck Lake. Always coots and ducks in the water. Sometimes you'll get lucky and there are pelicans in the marsh to the south. Well, and you'll always see a few blue heroins. That and the osprey that has the nest at the pump house just before you set out across the dike. Just a fun short walk.
Mount Thompson Pack Trail
So this view is from the east side of the valley looking back kind of south and west. The trail starts at the 2 km mark and follows the creek up. No road noise, a good canopy of trees, nice and cool. I think it pops out onto the road at the 7 km mark? Just a really nice summer walk that's only a few km. from town. The only tedious part is the walk down on the road going back. Why not take the trail back down? I don't know. You gotta mix it up a bit.
Just a real easy hike up to the Balancing Rock above the road in West Creston. This a view looking back over the flats of the marsh to the north of the highway. Right in the centre you can just see the observation tower that the Rotary club put up a few years back. Katherine hauled me up the top before it got to hot. Earlier in the year before the mosquitoes are out it's fun to carry on to the boardwalk over the swamp and on up to the falls.
Some real aggressive kayaking here. Not. But hey, we have a good time. It's just fun to be out on the water. It smells so different. There's always turtles, a few Blue Herons, Kingbirds. It's just a nice quite little spot out in West Creston south of the Creston Valley Wildlife Management Area. Check out their site as they have loads going on in the summer. https://www.crestonwildlife.ca/habitat/description
You always learn something new going on a canoe tour with the crew from there.
You always learn something new going on a canoe tour with the crew from there.
About a kilometer from where we live are the Barkman's U-Pick Strawberries. 3409 highway 3 Erickson. Good timing for us as we were there Monday a.m. Overcast and cool. Perfect picking weather. Katherine cracked the whip and we pulled off 75 lbs between 8 and 10:30. Managed to get them all cleaned and frozen without losing a one. The rain hit the next evening and I gotta say whatever was near ripe is compost now. Farming. What a tough way to make a living. The sun will be back out and there'll be more berries to pick so call ahead. 250-402-6442.
Wildlife Management Area
We spotted this guy in the main marsh just north of the interpretive centre. They are elusive. Actually most everything out there is more than just a little tricky to get a good look at. It really does help going with someone who knows what they're doing. The day before this Katherine heard a mouse and then spotted it and the reason for all the noise. A garter snake had rapped itself around the little guy. It was all you could do to see the two of them in the grass. I'd say the mouse was suffocated but it looked to me that it was going to take all day for the snake to swallow him.
First Harvest of the Year
This is hardly trampin' about as it's our neighbor's two doors up from the shop. He lets me pillage their two rhubarb plants. Don't ask me to explain it but I am totally enamored by this vegetable. The first thing to come on in the spring and it just rips. Today when we can go to the store and buy avocados year-round this poor plant is forgotten. 60 years ago. The first fresh produce out of the ground. May 14th and I'm taking this off as a second cutting. I mean look at this. I suppose I'm mad for it as it's become a bit of an underdog and I just want everyone to rediscover it.
Who'll Start Me Out at Five Dollars
Were else can you have more fun with your friends than at an auction? I mean really. Check out someone else's garage full of junk, grab a bidding number, buy a couple of hot dogs, visit with people you haven't seen for at least a week, and then drag home something shiny that you don't need. Joe Snopek puts one on in the Creston Valley usually once a month. I always tell myself I'm going to see if there are any books and sometimes I do actually come home with a box or two. A fun morning on a quiet day.
The Salmo/Creston summit.
This is a view looking west. We left Creston at about 600m, drove up the summit to a little under 1800m. Then hiked up to the first little communications hut on the north side. Great view. A great way to get some sun when the clouds have closed you in down in the valley.
Ten minutes west of town.
This is a view from the Wildlife Area looking northwest. To us it's the Elk Island walk. Just a kilometer or two south of the main interpretive centre. This is such a brilliant spot. A 7,000 hectare wetland not ten minutes from Creston. I'll have more photos of it throughout the year.
North end of Duck Lake
Oh, it's so hard to take a decent scenic photograph that captures how you felt. This is a lovely, quiet walk on the dike up at the north end of Duck Lake. It's not even mid-February and it feels like spring. The channel is open, the lake is starting to open up, the swans are back. Just brilliant.
Portland by Rail
Too easy. A one hour drive south to Sandpiont ID for Amtrak's #27, The Empire Builder. Depart at midnight and arrive Portland the next morning at 10. Well, it didn't hurt that we arrived on a sunny spring day. Stowed our bags and headed strait for Sushi Land on 10th Ave. and Davis. A fun time enjoying Portland's beer, sushi and, of course, Powell's.
Pilot Bay Provincial Park
This is a view of the most brilliant little campsite that sits out on the tip of Sawmill Point. Walk in or water access only. Not that far to the campsite really. We carried on to Boomers Landing. That's where I stopped for a snooze in the sun while Katherine kept going an hour further to the Teepee Camp. Almost all southern exposure. Mid-March and not a hint of snow. Bit of a drive up the lake from Creston but no road noise and pretty tame terrain, so a good fun walk.