Canmore to Kamloops, Canada October 13 (Day 42)

We had a big day ahead, a 500-kilometer drive from Canmore to Kamloops. How could we not get up early with a sunrise like this?

The view from the door of our lodge...

The view from the door of our lodge in Canmore.

We drove through the Rockies with roads cut through the mountains…

Up, over, around, and through

Up, over, around, or through

and into the mountains.

This is an avalanche roof.

This is an avalanche roof, likely to protect cars from pebbles and rocks, but probably not boulders or clumsy mountain goats.

It was overcast for our drive through the western Rockies so our scenery was shrouded in clouds.

Were literally driving through the clouds.

We were literally driving through the clouds.

We had another wildlife sighting. Near Sicamous at least 30 cars lined up along the major highway and people were spread along the roadside gazing down for a length of more than 50 meters (do the math). So it wasn’t just one animal, maybe a whole herd of moose?

As soon as we opened the car door, the smell gave it away. Unless moose smell like dead fish, it wasn’t moose. It’s spawning season for sockeye salmon. These hardy swimmers apparently have come from the Pacific, 480 kilometers away, to spawn…and then die. Every fourth year (2014 is one), the number of spawners is especially huge, as many as 3.6 million coming to these inland rivers.

Swim hundreds of miles, lay or fertilize an egg, and die. What some parents will do for their kids!

Swim hundreds of miles, lay or fertilize an egg, and die. What some parents will do for their kids! Think about that next time you eat salmon.

That night was a stopover in Kamloops, roughly halfway between Banff and Vancouver.

10 Things You May Not Have Known about Kamloops

1 That it exists. Maybe we’re just ugly Americans. Kamloops, in British Columbia, is a city of 100,000 that is known across Canada, but we had never heard of it. Sorry. We didn’t even know it by its Secwepemc (Shuswap) name, Tk’emlúps, which means “where the rivers meet.”

One of the Thompson Rivers. This area flooded in 1999.

One of the Thompson Rivers. This area flooded in 2012.

2 We’ve found the strangest fruit here. Anyone know what it is?

Is this something I could use for jam?

Is this something I could use for jam?

3 Kamloops was established by US interests. John Jacob Astor (whose grandson sank with the Titanic) was a fur magnate here and set up Fort Astoria. After the War of 1812, he ceded his interests to the British. Later the 49th parallel was decided as the US/Canada boundary and the future Kamloops fell to the north. So it’s farewell from US, bienvenue to Canada.

4 The actual city of Kamloops was formed at the confluence of the North and South Thompson Rivers by “Overlanders” who had left Winnipeg (near Detroit) in the spring of 1862 and arrived here in October 1863. The very next day, Catherine (wife of Augustus) Schubert gave birth to their fourth child. I bet her trip across country was a bit more difficult than ours. The last bit was on rough-hewn log rafts on the North Thompson River.

Childbirth a bit more natural than I'd want.

She deserves a break.

5 Kamloops is Canada’s Tournament Capital! It has facilities for everything from aquatics to gymnastics to baseball to motocross. Hockey fans can watch as the world’s best US ladies compete here on November 4 to 8 in the Four Nations Cup: Canada, US, Sweden, and Finland.

Another friendly Canadian city!

Another friendly Canadian city!

6 It’s warm here, at least compared to the Rockies. In mid-October roses are abloom in the beautiful park along the Thompson River. Morning temperature of 50 degrees (F).

Really, really lovely park!

Really, really lovely park!

7 Thompson Rivers University is growing by leaps and bounds. It’s popular with international students and has majors from arts and science to engineering.

8 Kamloops is fairly dry, with sagebrush on the hillsides. We even saw a tumbleweed blowing through town. Just outside the city are irrigated farmlands.


Sagebrush in the foreground. In the background maybe alfalfa? And then the Thompson River.

9 The spectacular Tobiano public golf course overlooks Kamloops Lake. Everyone is welcome! (It’s Canada!) Such a temptation…

Tobiano public course

Tobiano public course next to lake and mountains.

10 Kamloops is known as BC’s Friendliest City. Can’t argue with that! Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

The strange fruit is not so strange after all. It’s a chestnut wearing its winter jacket. Now it looks a little more like the chestnuts roasting over Sterno in New York City in winter.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. No Jack Frost here, very pleasant.

Wish we had more time to explore the city, but we have to move on to Vancouver before the Cascade Mountain pass closes and we have to hunker down for the winter.

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