PictureEagle Drying his wings which can span up to 8 feet.
Eaglefest 2015

What is Eaglefest?

Each November, bald eagles migrate to the protected Chehalis river flats, and gather to feast on salmon. The Harrison and Chehalis rivers, connect to the very productive Fraser River.

 All seven species of salmon spawn in the Harrison and Chehalis river. Salmon die after spawning and this is a feeding bonanza for eagles. Eagles migrate all the way from Alaska, because the salmon that they would feed on in Alaska become frozen into the ice and are not accessible.

 The numbers of eagles vary from year to year, but up to 10,000 eagles have been counted in high years.

This has become a very popular event in the last few years. Numerous speakers including David Hancock, an eagle biologist that has studied eagles for over 30 years are onsite to deliver lectures. 

The natives whose territory includes the Chehalis river flats have events, carving and various handicrafts.  Conservation and rescue organizations have birds onsite, that have sustained injuries and cannot be returned to the wild.

This gathering of eagles  has become world famous for photographers, as an opportunity to get some great photos of eagles.

For more information on the event and the report on eagle numbers see this link https://www.facebook.com/fvbef/?fref=ts

For a great writeup in the local paper check this link. http://www.missioncityrecord.com/community/352250121.html?mobile=true#.VlAYjVRxXck.facebook

Our photogalleries following include photos taken in 2015 that are available for purchase - hover over photos for titles. CLICK HERE for purchase information.

Kamloops - Just after Sunrise

On the road to explore new places or old places in more detail.( Travel Deeper

We have visited Kamloops numerous times , it is a  2.5 hour trip  from our home in Chilliwack. We can take a drive have lunch and be back home in the same day providing it is not winter. There are a couple of routes to drive,  In summer we drive Highway 5 ( famous as the Highway to Hell in the discovery TV Series), in winter this road gets a lot of snow and thus the name.

Check this link http://www.discovery.ca/Shows/Highway-Thru-Hell

 We decided to spend a couple of days and visit some places we had never taken  time for. 
 I  like deals, and Tourism Kamloops, has a promotion of a $50.00 prepaid visa if you book a one night stay in one of their listed hotels. So why not take advantage, and spend a couple of nights.

We often stay at Best Western, as we get reward points,but if you book through a third party,  like the Tourism Kamloops offer you can’t also collect points. We use Trip Advisor to look at hotel reviews and this link is for the Best Western in Kamloops.
PictureBest Western Composite photo - double exposure.

The Best  Western is Located over looking the city of Kamloops  and has some nice view rooms if you ask when making reservations.

BC Wild life park

We went  to the wildlife park on arrival in Kamloops,  to look at the collection of local animals. The park is staffed by Volunteers, for more information about the park, and what they do use this link. http://www.bcwildlife.org/default.htm

The Bears were first on our list and we caught the Grizzley marking his territory on a tree, rubbing his back up as high as he could reach on the tree, to show his size. I guess he was worried, about other bears breaking in and challenging him. The Food must be good!

The Lynx was hunting pieces of meat hidden around his enclosure. He  quickly  hunted them all down, and then went back to make sure he hadn’t missed any morsels.
The cougar was on patrol and looking like he was checking for his daily feeding to show up.
The coyotes were on alert and always looking at interesting things outside their enclosure , maybe they had a meal coming soon too.

The birds of prey include, eagles, hawks, and a curious raven. The Raven was interested in the Camera, looking right into the lens and managed to get a grip on the end. Ravens are very smart and I bet he could have that camera in pieces if he had a chance.

We enjoyed a couple of hours walking the nicely laid out grounds, and snapping photos of the bears, cougars, and birds of prey. It was  not a great day, with rain and a cold breeze blowing so we didn’t spend a lot of time. Make a note come on a summer day and enjoy the weather.
We checked in at the hotel and picked up our Prepaid Visa from Tourisim Kamloops. Next was a food, I am a big fan of food.  We found an Indian place,  Goldie,s Flavors of India , that had a good review, and it was just a block down the street

A couple of drinks before dinner was now allowed, and a stroll down to the restaruant - no rain and starting to clear for tomorrows adventures. Goldie's Flavors of India has tasty food, hot enought, but not too hot ( order mild), and the restaurant has a great view of Kamloops.

Adams River
Famous for the sockeye salmon run, the Adams River is about an hour North on Highway 97 near the town of Chase. The turnoff on the highway is well marked, just as you reach the end of Shuswap lake. The Sockeye spawn in the river, and the fry feed and grow in Shuswap lake before making the 450 mile swim to the ocean.

The Sockeye numbers in high return years are over a million fish.The high return years are every 4 years, with the next one in 2018. This year was a low return year which is about 100,000 fish. The fish brave the hazards of the 450 mile swim up the Fraser to the Adams, the river of their birth. 
 A few mature red sockeye were visible in the clear water, mixed in with Chinook and Pink salmon. This year the return was late, due to  warmer water, and lower levels, because of lack of rain.  The Adams is perfect for spawning salmon, with clear water and nice gravel beds.

The yellow and orange leaves of the trees,on the river banks, and the clear green river, became the focus of our photos.

After a few hours enjoying the peace and quiet along the river trails we returned to Kamloops. Shopping was on my wife’s agenda. I enjoyed the time at Blenz coffee, catching  up, on social media and phone calls.

Then we were off to the Best Western for our own happy hour, and to see where we going for dinner.  We decided on one of our favorites, Swiss Chalet for their great rotisserie chicken. Just plain good food at a reasonable price. Using our Tourism Kamloops prepaid visa supporting local business owners.

The next day we were back on the road. We decided on a whim to stop for lunch at the Quilchena hotel  which was one of our most interesting stops. This hotel was built in 1908  as a stop for the stagecoach.  It has real history, a saloon with bullet holes in the walls, and great decor of the era. You can feel the history oozing out of the walls.The food was great, and the beer cold. This place is a do not miss if you find yourself on highway 5a. ( turnoff at Merritt)
Check the facebook link for news on Quilchena https://www.facebook.com/QuilchenaHotelandResort?fref=ts

Then we found out they were doing a Buffet for thanksgiving with a whole barbequed pig, turkey, and everything that goes with it for an incredible price.  How tempting but Chilliwack was calling so down the road we went, from sunshine into a massive rain and wind storm.

Welcome home!
The Cascades Range is ahead.

The first view of a Volcanic Peak - WOW!

Heading for Sisters Oregon

Our Oregon road trip continues with more photos, and new places to explore. We  leave, the coast behind, and take, highway 20, climbing the Cascades mountain range. The drive over the Cascades takes you from sea level, and the rainy western slopes, to the high desert, on the eastern side of the Cascades.. The eastern Cascades is in the rain shadow of the mountains and gets an average of 12 inches of rain per year. The Cascades range is  part of the ring of fire, a Volcanic string of peaks that run from northern British Columbia to Northern California.  The last major eruption was Mt St Helens in Washington State in 1980. The geology of this area is dominated by dormant volcanoes, old lava flows, and cinder cones.

There have been a number of large wildfires in the Cascades and the foot hills and the evidence of old fires was evident on our drive. Is this part of what Global warming brings and our future, or just part of the normal fire cycle?. This was a 90,000 acre fire.

Our first stop was Sisters, at a Best Western Motel. The motel was a rustic llog accented structure, on a large property, surrounded with pine trees. There was large ground squirel population,and small llama herd. which made for some entertainment.  Sisters name derives from the three prominent Cascade Peaks that grace the city skyline.

The city location in the foothills of the Cascades was ideal for logging, and Sisters started out as a logging town and had six lumber mills by 1946. The last mill closed in 1963, and tourism has replaced the lumber industry. The great weather, location,and endless opportunities for hiking, fishing, and mountain biking make it a popular destination. The town has a popualtion of just over 2000. The  galleries, shops, craft breweries,and restauants are a big attraction along with the small town, laid back lifestyle. We will be back again to explore more, but after a relaxing night, we were off to Bend Oregon.

Pictures of the Best Western in Sisters. 
Bend Oregon - High Desert.

The last time I was in Bend was 20 years ago. We were looking for logging equipment at a logging equipment show. How times change, the Logging business seems like the remote past. We have been out of the Logging business for 20 years and now Bend is mainly a tourism destination.

Bend is a high desert town with a population of about 80,000 and offers a blend of outdoor activities, award winning restruants, and craft breweries. At an elevation of 3600 ft Bend has cool nights, and 300 warm sunny days per year.The average yearly rainfall is about 12”, so about 1” per month. The daily tempetures in summer are up to the 80’s and  the nights ar in the 60’s. The weather is perfect for outdoor activities , including Mountain biking, hiking, canoeing, and paddleboarding. The Deschutes river wanders throught the centre of town,and the paved walkway and parks along the river make for a beautiful afternoon or an evening walk.

Pictures of the Deschutes river walk and Sunset on the River. 
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Bend has been dubbed beer town USA and after all those outdoor activities there is nothing better to quench your thirst than a cold beer. If you pick up your beer passport and collect ten stamps the visitors bureau has a free prize for you. You can take beer tours by bus or take the beer cycle tour.

Before leaving Bend, we visited Pilot Butte, which is a volcanic cinder cone located right in the centre of town.The view was great, but I don’t know how I would feel about living that close to where an eruption had taken place.  

The pictures below are from Pilot Butte Looking over the city of Bend. The ridges in the distance are Newberry Volcano.
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This was the preview of our next stop at Newberry Volcanic monument, which rises gradually to 4000 feet south of Bend. The Newberry Volcano appears from Bend as a broad ridge on the horizon. Extending approximately 75 miles north to south and 27 miles east to west, the shield-shaped volcano and its extensive  lava flows cover almost 1,200 square miles, an area about the size of the State of Rhode Island. This is the largest volcano of the Cascades volcanic chain. This giant volcano is unlike a typical Cascade Range cone-shaped volcano (called a “stratocone”), such as South Sister to the west of Bend or Mount Rainier in Washington. Instead, Newberry is a “composite volcano” formed by diverse styles of eruption and has as many as 400 volcanic vents scattered across its slopes. The last eruption was 1300 years ago.It is dorment, but will erupt for sure, sometime in the future. The Volcano is continuously monitored because of the proximity to population centres. We spent the afternoon at Newberry and drove up to Lava Butte Cinder cone for a view over the impressive Lava flows, which seen to go on for ever.

The Lava Butte Cinder Cone at Newberry and the Lava flows and more cinder cones in the distance.
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Our short time in the Bend area left many unexplored attractions, but we had to head back home to Chilliwack, and can’t wait to visit Bend again, and explore more of Oregon’s high desert.
PictureAgate beach sunset- Yaquina Head in the distance.
Newport Beach Oregon - Part of the Highway 101 Road Trip.
  • We were on a road trip down coastal highway 101 stopping at some historic coastal port cities on our way  to Bend Oregon.  We spent one night at the Best Western at Agate beach, just north of Newport,  Oregon. It's an older Best Western, but is clean and the view from the room of the ocean and beach, was perfect and we were rewarded with a beautiful pastel sunset.

Newport  is located on Yaquina Bay which has been a safe port of call for sailing vessels since 1856. Newport was  incorporated in 1866, but did not have road access until 1927. 
It became a popular tourist destination in the late 1800's well before there was road access.

These links have more history and historical photos

PictureYaquina Bay Bridge
The Yaquina Bay bridge was completed in 1936 as part of the 1930’s spending by President Roosvelt. 

The government spending on infrastructure helped to get the country back to work in the midst of the great depression.

 The bridge was the last link to complete highway 101.

PictureYaquina Head Lighthouse
The Yaquina bay lighthouse was built in 1871 on the Northwest side of the bay, but only operated until 1873 when it was replaced by the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.

 The Yaquina Head lighthouse  is just north of Agate Beach and is the perfect spot to get a scenic view of the coast north and south of Newport.

View South from Yaquina Head to Newport Beach area
Bay St located on Yaquina Bay in Newport is part of the old historic port and was the only area we explored in Newport.  An old district of warehouses, painted murals,, galleries and restaurants on the harbour.Our one night stopover did not allow us time to explore all the interesting attractions in Newport.

 We were looking  for someplace to eat  and seen that there was a Thai restaurant,  M & P Authentic Thai Cuisine on Bay St. 
It was in an old building and didn’t look much from the outside, but they prepared very tasty Thai food with the just the right amount of spice.

After our excellent diner we went for a walk along the harbour board walk and watched some sea lions cruising out the harbour, no doubt looking for dinner.

We will return and spend a couple of days exploring more in Newport on the next trip down Highway 101.
Bay St Murals
Bay St - Historic Area Funky old buildings, galleries, and restaurants
Downtown Leavenworth street view
Getting to Bavaria without the airfare.

If you live on the west coast in Canada, or the United States you can be in the best little
Bavarian village, in a couple of hours, with ­no airfare and a scenic road trip over the Cascades. 

We have made the road trip to Leavenworth, Washington several times , but had not been for a couple of years, so we stopped on our way home to Vancouver from Oregon.
We were on our way home to Vancouver from an Oregon trip and stopped to see what was new since our last visit a couple of years ago.
You may have heard of Leavenworth,Washington, but have never visited, go, this is a must see
destination. Leavenworth was a logging town, located in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains
that remade itself into a Bavarian village. The loss of the railway and the drop in logging activity
spurred the town to convert over to an alpine theme in the 1960’s and the village took on a new
This village is more Bavarian, than Bavaria in a good way.

You might ask,how many things can there be to do in a village of 2400 residents. This can be a  quick stop for a couple of hours, or a couple of days stay to experience the beauty of Leavenworth
 I guarantee you will be back for more once you find out about this gem.

There are numerous accomodation choices from world class hotels to quaint Bed and
Breakfasts. There are campsites, and an Rv Resort right on the beautiful Icicle river. 
Make sure you book ahead, because Leavenworth is very popular.

For food and drink, two days will give you the opportunity to sample many of the local
establishments. Craft breweries and winery tours are a fun way to spend the afternoon before
you check out local traditional bavarian bakeries and restaurants. Once you get a taste for the
variety of food, you will be back for more.

The town is alive with festivals and recreational opportunities,12 months of the year.
 Don’t miss Oktoberfest for the entertainment and beer, and Christmas to pick up some unique gifts and see the town decorated in all its glory.

Make sure you bring a camera, this is a great destination to take some winning photos.

Take in a day of cross country or downhill skiing in winter. Hiking, mountain biking, and river
rafting are great activities for summer and fall. The fall foliage in the mixed deciduous and evergreen forest is worth the trip for the beauty of the leaves alone.

The taste of Bavaria without the expense, schedule a road trip, and enjoy all that Leavenworth has to offer.

link for Leavenworth information  http://www.leavenworth.org/
PictureSunrise across the prairies.
We visited our daughter and her husband in Alberta recently on their farm.

Farm life is different than city life, different priorities,  and more work than city life. We live in the city and our daughter and husband have a small five acre parcel in Alberta. It’s  a hobby farm, but the amount of work involved is surprising. Just like a regular home with property and more animals, which means more work. That being said it is a great lifestyle.

PictureKnox - 260 pounds of male English Mastiff. - A gentle giant!
They have  a kennel for boarding dogs and also raise English Mastiffs which they show and sell, which could be a full time job.  They have also acquired some goats, llamas, and chickens. Goats and Llamas produce more goats and llamas and this can get out of hand. Then you realize, why they were free.


The Llamas
  • Hover over photos for captions or click for larger sizes.

They sell raw food for dogs and Jennifer my daughter, took a nutrition course for dogs, and found time to write a book, "The Inner Carnivore", on feeding dogs raw.  An excellent book if you have an interest the link is below.


Besides the farm they both have full time jobs, so when they sleep I am not sure.

They live close to Camrose just southeast of Edmonton and one thing is that it is really flat, they have a few humps, but we miss the mountains when we are there. You can see the weather coming a long ways away and they do have some great sunrises and sunsets.

Everyplace has good and bad.
Fred the cat on Mouse patrol
The farm life can be laid back when all the work is done and the lifestyle seems pretty nice.

 We enjoyed our time, but it was over and we returned our rental Rv,( our home away from home) back to Canadream in Calgary and headed back to city life.
PicturePark Sign with layout of the park.
Dinosaur provincial park was declared a world heritage site by the united nations recognizing the diverse fossil record found here. More species of dinosaurs  have been discovered than any other location of the same size.  Fossils of more than 500 species of plants and animals and over 40 kinds of dinosaurs have been excavated.

The rock layers tell the story of what this area looked like 75 million years ago: a wide coastal plain with a moist climate influenced by the nearby Bearpaw sea. The wetlands, meadows, and forests offered an environment suitable for an amazing diversity of life.

The Badlands have attracted dinosaur hunters since the 1890’s and today the excavations continue, to try and better understand the connections between the past and our present

PictureView of the badlands from the park entrance.
Native Americans have frequented the badlands in the past as evidenced by a stone circle at the park entrance which was used to anchor the edges of bison hide tipi’s. There is a lack of firewood and water at this  site so their stay would have been short. Why they may have traveled here nobody knows, it could have been a stop in a yearly migration following bison herds. Maybe they also appreciated the view over the landscape as we do today.


  • We get to travel in style today in our Rental RV from Canadream in Calgary, Alberta. Just imagine what it was like for the travels who came this way by foot or horse.

The Campsite at Dinosaur at Sunrise.
Sunrise over the Badlands
The Little Sandy River - runs through the badlands and the campsite.
  • Hover over the photos below for more information.
Look closely at this image and you will see lots of small bright dots in the air. It was not rain or snow or bad photography, it was thousands of mosquitoes who were getting a last good meal before winter. Take bug repellant if you going in the fall. We hit a bad year and they were viscious.

Don't let that stop you from checking out this great destination it is well worth the trip and also make a stop at The Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller.



RV Rental:

PictureHeather - riding the chair
Kamloops and Sun Peaks

We just returned from an overnight trip to Kamloops and Sun Peaks resort on Tod mountain.  Kamloops is about a three hour drive from our home in Chilliwack including time for a stop halfway in Merritt for a snack.
There are plenty of activities and several routes to access  various resorts , and lakes on this trip. This could be a two day trip or a week  spending time at a number of resorts for fishing, trail riding, camping, and boating.

For historical information on Kamloops check out this link

Our goal was for a couple of days away and to check out the hiking that is accessible from the Chair lift at Sun Peaks. We checked in at a Best Western plus in Kamloops and then drove the hour out to Sun Peaks. There are plenty of hotels and lodges at the Sun Peaks village, a very popular winter ski area.
We wanted to get our third night stay at Best Western use up a $25 reward card we received, and earn a free night on their summer rewards program. Yeah, now we have a free night for the next adventure.

PictureMid Mountain station at 6000 ft elevation.
Sun Peaks turned out to be a fun spot, and like a lot of ski resorts they now operate all year, with mountain biking, golf, and water-sports, like canoeing and stand up paddle boarding. For all the details check this link.


There are a number of hikes of various distances from 1.3 km and longer,trails are in alpine meadows, and seemed fairly easy.  We are not in great shape, but slow and steady, wins the race.

Trail view
Click on the gallery pictures below for the captions
As you can see from our gallery photos there are interesting animals, wildflowers and gentle
 trails.The views are inspiring, and sitting looking  into the distance can be an afternoon activity.

 Bring sunblock and bug repellent, we saw a few mosquitoes, but they weren't a real problem. Make sure you have adequate water to sustain your hiking activity. 

The best part is once you buy your lift ticket you can ride up and down as many times as you want, so head back to the village for a beer if you really get a thirst up and ride back to the top and enjoy the view some more. This is my kind of hiking.

A great time was had and we will be back again!
Ecola State Park view - Haystack Rock in front of the Hallmark Resort in the distance.

We love Cannon Beach especially in the spring, May in particular, the weather has warmed up, and there are some great deals on hotels. The wind can still have a chill, but dress for it, and the beach walks are invigorating. The summer fog banks have not formed and the air is clear, perfect for some get sunset photos.

Cannon beach has dozens of interesting art stores, and great seafood restaurants . The beach is always there, and watching the waves roll in, and contemplating life can take up a lot of time! 
Beach combing on the incoming tide will often turn up some interesting finds.

Ecola State Park has interesting hikes, bike rides, and surfing at Indian Beach if you want a little more excitement. Check out the tide pools at the foot of Haystack rock to see what interesting critters you can see.

Check out the hotel web sites for great deals. We just spent two days for the price of one at the Hallmark Resort at mid week for about $200 total, a great value for an exceptional resort that was just been completely renovated. There are no bad rooms every room has a view either of Haystack rock located right in front of the resort or the view to the north over the city, and Ecola State Park.



PictureCrown Point - The view looking east down the Columbia Gorge.
We are driving east on highway 14 from Vancouver Washington through the Columbia Gorge. This is a stunning drive, the Colmbia River, blue in the gorge and the snow covered volcanic peaks of Mt Rainer in Washington, and Mt Hood in Oregon dominate the landscape.  The Columbia Gorge is the border between Washington and Oregon cutting a gash through the cascades up to 4000 ft in depth. The gorge was cut out of the basalt and lava flows by erosion of the river over the last 17 million years. Floods from ice dams that broke during the last ice age roared over Washington and Oregon. flowing at over 130 km per hour transforming the landscape.  
 See this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Missoula_Floods

 Stevenson Washington is about 40 km from Vancouver Washington and the gorge narrows, and is spanned by the Bridge of the Gods toll bridge($ 2.00) to cross to Cascade Locks, Oregon.
We had  a room reserved  at the Cascade locks Best Western which is right on the river. Make sure to request a riverside room for the best view. Next door  there is a burger place with a riverside patio, a great place to savour a drink and burger and watch the river traffic.

The next day we headed back along Scenic Byway historic highway 30 to Portland. We made the trip early in the day and were shooting  photos of the many waterfalls directly into the sun. Make a note, do this drive later in the day, to get the best shots of all the falls. There are lots of hikes so this 30 miles of highway could be an all day trip if you want to do some hiking.

The Bonneville dam and fish hatchery were the next stop, we only had time to check out the fish hatchery, but there is a tour of the dam that would be on our list to take in next time we visit this area. The fish hatchery raises up to 11 million rainbow trout. There is a display pond with rainbow  trout up to 20 pounds and millions of immature trout, being raised in the rearing ponds. Then there is the Sturgeon habitat,with Herman, over 10 feet long and seventy years old. This might be the only way to see a large sturgeon swimming, close up, through the underwater viewing windows.

The view at Crown Point Vista is impressive and the steady wind down gorge makes this area a popular wind surfers destination. We could see some of the colorful sails on the river below. I was feeling a little vertigo taking pictures over the sheer drop of the gorge below. It was time to move on so we could get out to the Oregon coast for our next hotel stop.
Check out this drive, a not to be missed experience, and check out our next post on the Oregon coast.