Monday, August 1, 2016

Kamloops and Beyond: quadding, boating, hunting, fishing, ball chasing

July long weekend and I had a hankering for camping. I had the new Honda 500 side by side Pioneer ATV from Honda Centre and the AB Profile hard bottomed inflatable with the Honda 30 hp Outboard.  Tom was keen to experience the new side by side "hunting mobile".  While I’d loved the Yamaha 450 quad when we got the two of us on and had to get off quickly to shoot game it was a regular Monty Python crazy dismounts with guns that didn’t work so well.  All round this new Pioneer side by side was the ticket.
After working till Friday afternoon I met up with Tom who’d come into Vancouver.  Thursday night I’d driven by the storage locker to gather guns, fishing rods, and camping gear.  The last time I’d camped other than on motorcycle had been before I bought my RV. It was hit or miss finding stuff packing it in the little Miata with Gilbert excited the whole while.
I’d earlier in the week looked for Provincial Campgrounds on line but found the ones I considered already booked.  People can book on line a year in advance. I wanted to be right on the water so a motel was out. I’d consider a lodge another time but this time the plan was to tent.  Suffering is good for the soul!
We had the Honda 500 Pioneer on the back of my skookum Ford F350 Harley Davidson 4x4 diesel Truck, with the back seat full of gear. (Tom says my F350 should be described as ‘packing a 6.0 Litre power stroke, turbo charged, at 20 psi boost, turns out 325 horse power and hauls ass.)
At Tom’s we added the boat and trailer after Tom and I got the turning lights working.  I cleaned connections while Tom replaced a bulb.  Then we were off.  It was already night when we pulled into the Superstore to get supplies.
“You must have gone without food sometime in your life,” Tom said after we’ loaded on a weeks supply of food for the weekend, just in case.
“I have,” I said.  When Tom and I sailed back from Hawaii we had at least a week or two canned goods left.  I always figure, we can use the left overs when we come back but there’s no shopping malls in the middle of the ocean or in the backwoods wilderness.  $50 worth of steak was typical male fare but we also had to have the specialty coffee to go with the Stainless Steel French press. Then there was cream and honey and watermelons and zucchini and jams and peanut butter, yoghurts, deli light rye and the other items one absolutely needs for truly roughing it in the backwoods.  When I’m motorcycle camping I haven’t room but this truck camping gives one a lot of space.
"We didn’t have a lantern so I said , "I could get a new generator.  One never has enough power. "
I’d  sold Tom my Honda 3000 watt when I bought the Energy RV with its built in Cummins 4000.
“What happened to the Honda 1000 watt we had sailing back from Hawaii?” Tom asked.
"The little Honda lives  on the sailboat.”
Maple ridge Motorsports, advertising Honda Power tools,  just jumped out at us then as we were tooling up the #7. Amazing store. Great staff. Sure enough they had a sale on Honda generators.  The new EU 2000i was even quieter than my 1000 and only $200 more than the new 1000, a little bulkier but about the same weight.  We now had a generator I could charge my computer and iPhone with as well as use to power Tom’s  work light as a lantern. It was all we could do though to get out without buying a KTM enduro. They had a street legal 500 enduro on sale that was to die for. We were lucky we had no room for it.
We then stopped at the incredible new Cabelas in Abbotsford because I no longer had a two burner stove.  Naturally we needed to get a new higher quality stainless steel "Leatherman Charge", a camping chair with attached table.  Tom got his fishing license, and I got a new telescoping rod with skookum case.  I’d just broken another rod so was adamant about a carrying case.
Gilbert was happy when we stopped at a Macdonald’s.   He gets his little prime burger paddy while Tom and I had quarter pounder combos.  After that Gilbert and I dozed as Tom drove us up the Coquahalla to Merritt.
All the motels in Merrit were full so we drove onto Kamloops.  We didn’t actually have a destination. Just an idea of a lake and there were a whole lot of lakes around Kamloops.  At 3 am we booked into a motel on the #1 east side leaving Kamloops.  We had to haul the food and guns and valuables into the motel. I locked down everything I could as well then slept  till Gilbert woke us around 8 am.  Normally he’d wake us at 7 but he seemed to know we needed our sleep.
Great A&W egger and sausage breakfast. I filled up the thermos with coffee.  Tom filled the truck with fuel but we both forgot to fill the gas jerry cans.  Lucky enough I had a full can  in the boat locker.  I had thought to bring my BC Back Roads Map Book for the Thompson Nicola so while Tom drove I  was checking out lakes heading towards fabulous Shuswap. Laura and I had been up that way for the First Sturges North Motorcycle Ralley and loved it. The Anglican Church has its Retreat Centre at Sorrento.
At Chase we pulled off and checked out the Little Shuswap.  It’s a lovely tourist lake which I described to Tom as not quite what we were looking for but a great place to ‘water ski’.  Nearby  Adams Lake was just too big, a sailboaters windy dream lake. Pretty though with lots of lovely campgrounds.
We drove on to the provincial park at Niskonlith Lake.  The road in is over First Nations Land, with unfriendly signs, "no stopping vehicle without permission’.  Very private.  Niskonlith Lake and the Provincial Park were lovely.  Great campsites on the lake, nice size of lake, wilderness, all round, perfect. Except they had rules ‘all provincial camps, dogs must be on leash at all times.”  Gilbert didn’t like that.
McGillivray Lake looked more appealing on the map, if only because I know a legendary Druid, Canadian folksinger poet of that name and was reading a history of Scotland at the time.  We didn’t make it to McGilvrary which we learned from a couple of good guys we talked to from Chase was full.  We did find a little lake and bit of back woods grass in the environs though which Gilbert thought was perfect.  Considering we’d brought guns to target practice this way out of the way not on a map place we had to 4x4 into was just perfect.
So that’s where we’ve been these last two days.
That first day was hot, the sun shining with blue sky all round. First task was to set up tents.  I had the MSR 2 man tent I’d bought at MEC. I’d  packed the Eagle’s Camp gazebo instead of my other old 5 man tent.  Tom decided he’d use the gazebo, preferring space to comfort.  The gazebo reduced the mosquitos but didn’t keep  later rain out.  He was thankful for a ground tarp I found stashed under the seat in the truck.   Gilbert and I were snug in the little orange MEC mountaineering tent.  In the middle of the night I felt his little body pressed up against mine, shivering with his summer hair cut. I’d forgotten his sweaters so just wrapped him in the extra mommy sleeping bag I had.  The shivering stopped and we both went back to sleep.
That first morning Tom was up and had the coffee ready.  I liked that.  Nothing like the smell of brewing coffee to get a aching body out of a tent.  Gilbert figures Tom is his personal yellow tennis squeaky ball thrower as Tom good naturedly threw the ball countless times for the excited little dancing dog to fetch.  Bacon sandwiches followed. Nothing like bacon sandwiches and fresh coffee to make one feel sorry for oneself.
We used the Pioneer 500 to haul the boat down to the little lake.  Tom tried fishing. While he was doing that I was exploring all over the country side, loving my Pioneer.  Gilbert wasn’t supposed to sit on the seat beside me. The plan was that he’d stay on the floor but sometime  that day he was in his normal spot on the seat beside me.  He intently watches as we drive along and sometimes sees game before me. He alerted Tom and I to a rabbit when we were sitting in the truck in the camp waiting out the rain.  He began grunting and pointing his nose till we saw the invader.  it escaped before either of us could shoot it.  Gilbert took off full bore after it and made sure it didn’t come back this way.
At the camp we had targets out and sited in my stainless steel Ruger semi auto 22.  Nice feeling, getting that perfect pattern around the bullseye.  I’d sited in the Ruger mini 14 223 the week before so I just shot up cans for a bit with that. Tom had his SKS and was enjoying target shooting as well.   Tom and I took the Pioneer 500 out for a ride around the logging roads really enjoying it’s performance, 5 gear performance.  We checked out getting in and out of it, each with his own rifle, and sure enough it was better than a truck.  Gilbert loves when he’s part of a pack.  We just drove around exploring and adventuring.
Rabbits were everywhere.  We checked the hunting regs and sure enough these european cottontail were legal.  Little bunnies. I missed a couple, going only for a head shot, worried, what the 223 would do.  They are really fast and when I missed them Gilbert was ecstatic chasing them like a little locomotive. He actually brought one around so it passed back by me surprising me so I didn’t get a shot but figured my smart little dog had just herded game home.  Shinto, my other hunting dog, had figured out working as a pair like that. Now here was Gilbert doing the same.  The intelligence of dogs just amazes me. Unfortunately some people don’t measure up.
I eventually hit one. Back at the camp I skinned it and rinsed it by the lake. Tom brazed it then made  a new creation, “lapin superduty stew”.  While it simmered, we had to sit in the truck  and  let the thunderstorms roll through.   The first was  particularly as it dumped a shitload of hail.  The others were just  quick rainstorms that passed over.
That rabbit stew was something I’d been thinking off for some time. It’s been years since I shot a rabbit and had rabbit stew. This was just perfect.  Delicious. The meat flaking off the bone.
“A pressure cooker would be better for tenderizing,’ Tom said.
“This is just perfect!” I answered, savouring every bite of meat. The stew itself was onions, potatoes, tomato and ginger beer.. I shared a taste of meat with Gilbert who then looked at Tom with awe.  .
Tom and I shot several more rabbits up the hill behind our camp.  There were fields of daisies.  I  saw several dear driving around and got a picture of a particularly grand doe. . There was bear sign but no bears came round. I’m fastidious about cleaning up the camp and making sure all the food is in the truck before we sleep.  Having Gilbert along also keeps bears away.
The generator worked just as we hoped.  Quiet as can be, charging my iPad I was using for reading Scottish and Irish history while we waited out the rains in the truck.  At night before falling asleep I enjoyed reading too.  Nice that the iPad has its now built in light for kindle reading.
Today I was up first.  I made the coffee, then we had yoghurts.  Tom mixed his with the left over apricots. He’d brought along a jar he’d picked by St. Matthew’s Church then canned.  Another taste treat.  Tom’s gone off now exploring on the Pioneer taking Gilbert. I charged the computer and transferred the photos I’d taken with the iPhone. I had my Nikon camera along but the iPhone was always handier.
Now Tom’s back and I’d best begin cleaning up camp and stowing. A lot of people have been doing the same thing as we are, maybe not the hunting part but everything else. We're all heading  back to the city after too short a time in God’s Country, BC. Can’t wait to return.
Thank you Jesus!
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing your pics and experiences