Category Archives: 2020 – At Home

2020 At Home – Part 2

John had been searching all year for somewhere we could retreat during the pandemic and still follow all the health protocols. Nothing was available in the province until late October when he found a week at Panorama Ski Resort in the Kootenays in SE BC. We own a time share unit there that we received from my step-mother many years ago when she no longer planned to use it. Our daughter was recovering from a third surgery on an ankle she broke in Mexico in early February and so was equally as in need of ‘a time away’ as we. We packed up the truck and headed out on Oct. 19.

It was early in the season and the ski lifts were not yet open so there were very few people around the resort. We brought all of the food we needed for the week and cards to play, a puzzle to make, and a few board games for entertainment in the evenings. We planned to find geocaches during the days and had a wonderful week exploring the Invermere/Panorama area.

There is a multi-trail hiking/biking system called Lake Lillian Recreation Area just up the road from the lake. Over the course of a few days we found every geocache hidden in the recreation area. And every one of the hides took us to a place with a wonderful view or a unique geographical feature.

The community of Invermere sits at the base of the Purcell Mountains, a subrange of the Columbia Mountains which are located on the west side of the Canadian Rockies.

We had a view of another hillside of hoodoo cliffs on another hike along the trails.

As we walked the various paths and trails in search of geocaches it was not uncommon to come across one or more deer munching the fall grass.

There are lots of larch trees among the conifers on the hillsides around Panorama and when the sunlight hit just right the contrast in the deep green and bright yellow as stunning.

On another day we walked down the very long, very steep road of an undeveloped subdivision to find a geocache hidden at the canyon viewing platform.

As were were leaving Panorama at the end of the week we really noticed how much ice had built up along the sides and among the rocks of Toby Creek.

We had a wonderful time on our week away at Panorama. It gave us enough of a lift to “stay at home” to the end of the year.

Once we were home again we drove up the one of logging roads in Hunter’s Range every day for several days to check off a missing day on the calendar. There is a challenge to find a cache on every day of the year (not all in the same year) and we had quite a few needed days in October and November. The Hunter’s Range series checked off nine different days in early November.

When you are driving into the hills in the late fall the scenery can change dramatically from one day to the next. We had fog and fall colours and, then, aburptly, winter white.

The community of Enderby is the closest to our home in Salmon Arm. It stretches along the banks of the Shuswap River and one of our days up Hunter’s Range was a beautiful day and the reflections in the river as we crossed the bridge were so pretty I had John pull over on the other side so I could walk back and take some photos.

As I stepped out of the truck in the parking lot I noticed all the leaves of a maple tree had dropped and created a lovely colourful carpet on a fresh snowfall.

Lower elevations and a few days of milder weather and we were free of snow again. We drove around to the North Shore of the main Shuswap Lake and found a couple of geocaches at Magna Bay. Clear blue water and fall colours make for pretty pictures.

There were a series of caches along a road back in the foothills east of Kamloops. We had never been on the Campbell Creek Road before and really enjoyed the drive through the semi-arid ranchland.

The final day of geocache-finding for the year 2020 was a drive in mid-December into the hills west of town to Skimikin Lake. There was a cache hidden on the far side of the lake at the top of hill. We found an unplowed road to walk most the way around the lake and then we branched off on a horse trail before doing a little bushwhacking to get to the site of the cache. Thankfully there was not much snow yet at the spot, because we would not have been able to find the cache if there had been.

We are so very blessed to live in an area of such geographical and botanical diversity. When we add in the changes of seasons we can experience a vast array of colours, textures, and scenes from one day to the next. If one must “stay at home” during a global pandemic this is a pretty good place to do it.

2020 At Home – Part 1

2020 was a very strange year for everyone. The largest adjustment I had to make was staying home. Since we retired in 2007 we have travelled a lot, and I love to travel. We had a road trip planned for the spring to drive to Houston, Texas after the birth of our first grandchild in early March. But then, COVID-19 hit the world with a bang and the borders were closed and travel was restricted and we had to stay home.

This prevented us from not only travelling, but meeting our granddaughter. Thank goodness for today’s technology where we can watch her grow via the internet. Certainly not the same thing by any means, but definitely better than the days of old when it would take weeks if not months for a letter to arrive and photographs were very expensive and limited.

No travelling meant no travel blog either so I decided to do a couple of blogs about the ‘at home’ travels we enjoyed while pursuing our geocache hobby. Caches are hidden everywhere (There are 3 million of them around the world; including several in Antarctica.) and going to find them takes us to little out-of-the way places or to very familiar places.

Geocaching is a hobby perfect for times of social distancing because you can take off for the day and drive some back country roads and not see another person while out enjoying yourself.

We had a long snow-filled winter so our first local trip was in mid-April when we drove to Shuswap Falls. There are actually two water falls, one either side of a small island. There is an old power plant to harness the electricity. I am not sure if it is still operational.

In early May we went over to the small community of Chase and up the hill to the Nisconlith Meadows which are awash with wildflowers every spring.

A week or so later we drove east to Sicamous and walked along the shore of Mara Lake along the old decommissioned railway to find a series of geocaches hidden along the trail.

There is a wonderful nature trail along the foreshore of town and another series of geocaches are hidden along the route. We have been working on finding them off and on for a year or so and found the final one this year.

The Larch Hills are east of town and there are quite a few logging roads interspersed through the forest, many of which have geocaches. The views can be lovely if you get to an open patch.

A few years ago we drove all the way up to Mica Dam above Revelstoke to find the 100+ geocaches hidden along the road. We were unable to find three of them so in June we decided to drive the route again to find them. Can’t leave unfound geocaches. We hate DNFs (Did Not Find).

The north shore of the Shuswap Lake has some lovely waterfalls and beaches. We spent a lovely day in August in the area.

The final first-half of the year day trip was along the far side of Okanagan Lake from Vernon in the Fintry area where we climbed a couple of hundred stairs to find a geocache above the waterfall.

And that was as exciting as over half of 2020 was. I will do another post of pics from our October week at Panorama in the Kootenays in southeastern BC plus the few other day trips to find geocaches that we did before the end of the year.