The text we were eagerly expecting finally came which let us know that our close and long-time friends Melanie and Steve Nixon were within reaching distance of Calgary. A trip that we talked about for a year was finally going to happen. We were thrilled that we could host the western leg of their journey and share in their adventures. For any one that knows Melanie and Steve like we do, it is assured that there are amazing experiences attached to these two.
After a very warm and long overdo greeting we sat on the porch with some drinks, heard the exploits from their journey thus far and hashed out a plan for the next few days in British Columbia. Most likely disturbing our neighbours well into the evening with our laughter, we discussed the similarities of prairie dogs to bowling pins. We even devised an incredibly fluid plan of heading west into BC via Crowsnest Pass and camping somewhere when we found a place!
The truck was loaded with the required camping survival gear and supplies and we were off. During the initial part of the drive through a very active thunderstorm complete with forming funnel cloud, we learned that our guests were on the hunt for as many wildlife sitings as they could rack up.
We assured them that we would, in effect, “pile on the nature” during this trip. We started the pile on with a beautiful brown bear that was “posed” on its hind legs looking out from the crest of a hill as if checking to see when a good time to cross would be. You wouldn’t believe how perfect the lighting was as we drove slowly past it.
We made sure to stop in at Frank Slide as we passed through the area to give Melanie and Steve to see as much of the local sites as we could on the fly. Suitably impressed with the sheer power and unpredictability of nature we continued west and eventually crossed into British Columbia! The sound of Steve’s camera shutter was near continuous as the mountain views surrounded us. Looking for helpful advice on a suitable camping area we stopped in with BC Visitors Centres in Fernie and got a lead on Loon Lake Campground near an “intersection” called Grassmere. We had no trouble finding our turn off the Kootenay Highway and were greeted by a number of deer that were casually moving through the woods along the access road to the camp.
The campground was well laid out and the sites were well appointed with fire pits and picnic tables. Surprisingly there was only one other camper so we had our pick of the lakeside sites and were able to roam freely and collect firewood. There was even enough daylight left that we were able to explore the shoreline of the lake which seemed to be teeming with turtles.
As if to affirm the perfectness of the chosen location, we were treated to a beautiful view of a double rainbow while loons called to one another on the far side of the lake. Not to be outdone by the rainbow, the colours that were cast as the sun set on the other side of the mountains vied for our appreciation.
We won’t mention the hooligans at the other end of the lake who interrupted our sleep for their 40 minutes of frolicking and lack of courtesy which culminated with the first of many fireworks that we were to hear on our journey … but that is another story.