Beautiful British Columbia

A random list of things I have seen (besides Kelowna – which I already told you about) in the last 5 days.

Many, many osprey nests lining the road after the Needles ferry – from Fauquier to Nakusp. Apparently they dig the view of Arrow Lake (which makes total sense, since these huge birds fish) and they build massive nests all over the place on top of the hydro poles.


Joe totally and completely relaxed. I was more or less his opposite since the place we were at in the Slocan Valley had no cell/internet service, which pretty much made me a hysterical maniac who had to take regular deep breaths just to fake calm. I think I would have been more or less okay if it wasn’t for the Sock Summit looming at me.


I swam in Slocan Lake, which I will have you know is incredibly frosty. (This too makes total sense, since the glaciers and snow topped mountains drain straight into it.) Inching my way in threatened to stop my heart and made me do that crazy breathless thing the deeper I got. The water was beautiful and clear though, and even in deep, it was still as though I was swimming in liquid glass. (Except, you know. Freezing.)


I went to the local market in New Denver, which was the biggest town in the area. At 600 citizens, it’s still really tiny, but looms over the town of Silverton (225 people) where we were staying. There was good honey, coffee, baked goods and an abundant supply of handspun, knitted things and weaving.


We went on a hike through the mountains, and came to a place where you cross a river in a little manual, single cable crossing. Very scary, but sort of fun, especially with friends who pull the ropes.


This is the Alamo Siding.


In 1904 there was a mining centre, hydro generator and a population of about 200 here. The Great Depression ruined the fortunes there, and the people moved away and there was nobody to snowshoe in and shovel the snow off the roofs. When the snow accumulated, down the mountain it came.

This is part of that same crazy hike. See the people?


We attended the wedding we went for, wishing well Jeremy and Shannon.


We went up Mount Revelstoke…


We hiked Giant Cedars.


Giant Cedars is full of… well. Giant Cedars, and they’re a sight to behold. A sign there tells you that these trees were seedlings when Columbus sailed, saplings when the paint dried on the Mona Lisa, and were already a century old when people were watching Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet for the first time. They’re really something, and tall.. .tall… tall.

From there we went to see the Last Spike in Craigellachie. The CP railway that spans the country ocean to ocean is a real symbol of unity for Canadians, and an important part of confederation. The rail was built from east to west and west to east, and the last spike was driven where they met in 1885, completing one of the most impressive accomplishments in Canadian history.


Considering it’s tremendous import, I was shocked at how insignificant the marking of the spot is. There’s a small monument, a small sign… (there happened to be a train going by at the time, which I thought particularly poetic. It’s still the best way to move stuff across this huge country.)


…but the actual spike itself is marked with classic Canadian understatement.



Blanket Size Check ’09


That’s Albert and Robina (our hosts and chauffeurs) holding the blanket, which as you can imagine, isn’t much bigger. (I am yet to perfect blanket knitting and hiking.) That’ll all change now though, since we’ve left this little vacation behind us, and are back home (where the laundry is) and back at our humble desks. We loved BC. All of Canada has its beauty and charms, but BC really has a motherload.

Kelowna, Ogopogo, and not the blanket

Early yesterday morning Joe and I left the girls and came far across the country west, to Kelowna. Our friends Albert and Robina live here, in a beautiful house that overlooks the Okanagan lake,


and we’ve had the loveliest time. A very grown-up good time, with cocktails and restaurants and all manner of tidy things. Yesterday we went down to the Canada Day Celebrations in the city and over in nearby Peachland, and Joe and Albert played camera.



(See the different colours of the two hills behind Albert? One is green (trees) and the other side is brown after being cleared of trees by the Okanagan Mountain Park Fire. (2003). You can really see what it’s like in this picture.


Crazy. Albert says this kind of pine needs fire to germinate, and that in that way these natural fires that come up every hundred years or so are a good thing, but it’s still stunning to see.


Legend has it that deep in Lake Okanagan there’s a big sea monster called Ogopogo- just like the Loch Ness Monster.


In fact, one theory holds that the Loch Ness Monster and Ogopogo might be the same beast, travelling back and forth through deep and unknown channels that connect the bodies of water. (Both lakes are super deep.That one seems really unlikely though.) I’ve spent a lot of time looking over the lake since I got here though, and I haven’t seen it. (I’m trying really hard, too.) The closest I’ve come to a deep sea monster is my new sock….


Green and beady, isn’t it? It’s the Beaded Bells kit, and not an Ogopogo kit but it really seems appropriate to me for this place. While I love this kit and think this sock is beyond pretty,


I don’t think that I’m going to work on it too long today. I might have overlooked the complexity of working a beaded knit in restaurants, airplanes, cars and dinner tables, and am leaving a few beads behind everywhere that I go. There’s a few on an Air Canada plane, a few at a Mexican restaurant in Kelowna, a few a the beach…

If you find some, you’ll know I was there.

Happy Canada Day

It has become traditional for me to write a little something about the country that I love so much on it’s birthday each year, and that birthday is today. Sadly (or happily depending on who you are) I’m busy today as Joe and I fly across our great big country, headed for BC, so I’m copping out a little. You can still go back and read previous years,

there’s “Things to do on Canada Day” and “You know you’re a Canadian Knitter when….” then “Stuff you maybe didn’t know about us” (Clearly I didn’t work hard on that title.) Then “Canada A to Z” (and that’s “Zed” not “Zee”) and then last year, it was Random Stuff about Canada. This year, I give you:

Quotes about Canada

The Unanimous Voice of the Continent is “Canada must be ours…”

-John Adams (1776 )

The acquisition of Canada this year, as far as the neighborhood of Quebec, will be a mere matter of marching, and will give us experience for the attack of Halifax the next, and the final expulsion of England from the American continent.

-Thomas Jefferson

Canadians are generally indistinguishable from Americans, and the surest way of telling the two apart is to make the observation to a Canadian.

Richard Staines

I think we are incredibly lucky here. We have this high standard of life, no big security problems, and I like Canadian society. I like this true openness to cultures and religions, which I think is basic to us; you don’t find it in other countries…

Sonja Bata,

The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation.

-Pierre Elliott Trudeau

I don’t even know what street Canada is on.

– Al Capone

We’ll explain the appeal of curling to you if you explain the appeal of the National Rifle Association to us.

– Andy Barrie

A Canadian is someone who knows how to make love in a canoe.

-Pierre Burton

Canada is a country whose main exports are hockey players and cold fronts. Our main imports are baseball players and acid rain.

– Pierre Trudeau

It is wonderful to feel the grandness of Canada in the raw, not because she is Canada but because she’s something sublime that you were born into, some great rugged power that you are a part of.

-Emily Carr

In a world darkened by ethnic conflicts that tear nations apart, Canada stands as a model of how people of different cultures can live and work together in peace, prosperity, and mutual respect.

– Bill Clinton

In only a century and a quarter since Confederation, Canadians have shaped out of the North American wilderness one of the most privileged societies on the face of the earth. Ranking among the seven most prosperous nations in the world, Canada is rich not only in the abundance of our resources and the magnificence of our land, but also in the diversity and the character of our people. We have long been known as one of the most tolerant, progressive, innovative, caring and peaceful societies in existence.

-George Radwanski and Julia Luttrell

Happy Canada Day. It’s a great place to live, and I wouldn’t trade my citizenship for anything.