So now that we had put the Coq behind us, the pressure was off and we could use a break from the road. We had been pushing pretty hard, leaving Maine on September 14, and traveling through 4 states and 5 provinces in 15 days. This is what our trip looked like on paper.
The first morning after spending the night at the Wal-Mart in Chilliwack, we set about finding a spot to stay for more than just a night.It turned out to be a bit more difficult than we thought. While the regular RV season may be long over, there is a large amount of Snowbirds who, like ourselves, are trying to linger north of the border to ensure the 180 days allowed in the U.S. miss the coldest days of winter in Canada.
We finally got lucky, snagging the last available spot in a park right in Chilliwack, close to shopping and several provincial parks and sight seeing spots. Full hookups, private lots separated by tall cedar hedges, and even the Wi-Fi isn’t bad most days. We’re booked for at least a month, and if the weather is still mild when November rolls around, we may extend that.
It turns out that the park’s manager is a lady originally from the Bathurst area (about 50 minutes from our hometown). Not sure if that had anything to do with getting the last spot, but I try not to question good fortune. She lets us know regularly if anyone from ‘down home’ is currently staying in the park.
Having a look around
After a couple of days of settling in and just staying put, we spoke to a lovely young lady at the local visitor’s center who suggested several hiking spots, and we started exploring. Our first trip out found us at Bridal Veil Falls, a small provincial park just east of Chilliwack. It has a 30 minute loop trail that’s an easy to moderate climb and a viewing platform at the base of the falls, which are spectacular.
Along the trail there are several streams that have their own tiny waterfalls, and the chance to view wildlife.
Skunked! Well almost…
Wildlife has become somewhat of a running joke between Mike and I. From Maine right across the continent, we have been almost skunked (no pun intended) when it comes to spotting anything larger than a rabbit. All through Ontario, there must have been 200 roadside “moose warning” signs. Not one moose. Not that it was that big of a deal for me. I’ve seen hundreds of swamp donkeys at home, usually when it’s least expected or welcome. We counted 35+ one night coming home from Moncton on the bike, a trip of about 85 miles. But I digress.
Once we got to the prairies proper, I was hoping for elk, which I have never seen in the wild. Nada. A few dozen pronghorn, which was sort of cool, but no more so than spotting the occasional whitetail deer. Half a dozen coyotes, meh. But no elk. (Although I did see a wolf in Saskatchewan. Way too fast to grab a pic, but awesome nonetheless.)
Ok, no elk. But the Rockies were coming up fast. Bighorn sheep, rocky mountain goats. There was a report of a Grizzly on the west side of Calgary just before we left Strathmore.
That would be awesome.
Not a freaking thing.
I spent 2 days with my nose pressed to the glass, staring into fields, woods and ditches until I thought my eyes would pop out of my skull from the strain. By the time we arrived and settled, I had convinced myself that the animals were definitely there. They had just become invisible. That must be it. How else could you explain a road trip of 5834km (3625 mi) and hardly a critter in sight? FML, I’d have a better chance at spotting a Sasquatch.
But enough moaning. Having thoroughly enjoyed Bridal Veil Falls, we next followed the advice of our travel guide at the visitor’s center and made our way out to the Cultus Lake area. Here, she told us to try the Teapot Hill, so named because of the custom of the locals to leave colorful teapots along the trail like easter eggs. Just how it started, no one was sure, but it’s now a ‘thing’ and it sounded like fun. She assured us we’d enjoy it, and added that her grandmother had even hiked it, so it was easy.
Okay. Although I didn’t think to ask at the time, her grandmother was either Sir Edmund Hillary (which I don’t think is possible) or she was at least part mountain goat (only slightly more plausible). An hour and a half straight up the side of a mountain was not my idea of an “easy” hike. I knew I’d slacked off all summer and was much more out of shape than I’d like, but I had no idea it was this bad. More than once we had to stop for a break to catch our breath. I was beginning to wonder if we’d ever reach the top.
But then we started spotting the teapots. Some were very old, others looked brand new. Some had printing on them, names and dates. Some had cups and saucers with them. Most were along the trail or on low-hanging limbs nearby, but others had gotten quite adventurous with their placings, opting for steep inclines off the beaten path or rocky ledges much closer to the edge than I would have risked.
One place where we stopped to take photos (which had quickly become a cover for needing to catch my breath again), we spoke to a couple of local ladies who were on their way up as well. One lady hiked it quite often, but her friend not so much, so they had stopped for a break as well. This made me feel much better, lol. They were very friendly, assuring us it was only another few minutes to the top, but the view would be worth it.
And it was. It absolutely was.
But the only logical conclusion about the travel guide is that her grandmother was a flying monkey.
As a side note, I have since found the wildlife in B.C. Apparently it’s kept at the local Cabela’s in Abbotsford. Dall Sheep, Caribou, Wolves, Big Horn Sheep, even a Grizz or two. There they all were, right in the store, and not one was invisible.
Oh yeah, and in the middle of the store, halfway up a tree, I found this fella.
Told you I had a better chance at spotting him. LOL.
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