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A Canadian escape

I need another one!

It was a long six months of living in the United States, not being allowed to set foot on the Great White North, my Canadian homeland.

Those were the rules, though. As long as I was waiting for my Green Card, I wasn’t allowed to leave the States. If I did, I was considered to be abandoning my petition and the border guards didn’t have to let me back in.

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No trespassing: A followup on the Kelowna hippie commune

I never wonder why I do this.

I’m intrigued by the history of the areas I live in, how people lived in another time, and why they up and leave their homes, abandoning what may have been precious items.

I make up stories in my head, some of them inspired by Criminal Minds episodes, and I don’t share most of them with you. I’d rather you not know just how dark my imagination can be. Ha!

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Two photowalks, one week

November?!?!? November was the last time I wrote about an adventure?

Shame.

What’s worse is how much time I have on my hands these days. In late January, Bella and I packed up a U-Haul and moved to Spokane, Wash., to join Our American in our Happily Ever After.

And I’m not allowed to work.

There must be time for adventure.

There is.

Last week, Bella and I set out for two photowalks.
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Time travelling to junior high

I’d already been yelled at once.

When I heard footsteps behind me, I thought, ‘oh great, here we go again.’

I wasn’t in trouble. The fellow seemed rather pleasant, so I asked, ‘oh dear, am I trespassing?’

Yep, I sure was. I apologized profusely and thought I should leave, but the fellow was in the mood for a chat.

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C2H: Our first hike

“Are you going to start hiking again,” someone asked when she learned of Bella’s addition to the family.

When Shep’s old age started to creep up on us, our hikes in the Rocky Mountains became short strolls in the lowlands. We couldn’t do extended days to the Ink Lakes anymore.

We had to stick to lazy days at Two Jack Lake and Lake Minnewanka, always sticking close to water for quick cooldowns.

Puppies are different.

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The patience to go long

I’ve never had a good tripod.

Our American has one he never uses. So you know what I did. That’s right, I heisted it.

I’ve freehanded waterfalls but never quite got the practice I need to get long exposure right.

Sunset skies always had a bit of shake to them.

With sturdy tripod and remote shutter release in hand, I set out to masterattempt long-exposure photography.

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C2H: The old man climbeth

C2H — Close to Home is my attempt at a new summer series. Thanks to impending (f)unemployment and the price of gas ($1.44 a litre!) in the Okanagan, our adventuring will be a bit limited. Shep and I will try to explore the regional parks around Kelowna and find adventure less than 50 kilometres from home.

It seems like almost too much of a coincidence.

I chose Glen Canyon Park to start our Close to Home summer series, highlighting adventure opportunities in Kelowna and the Okanagan.

At 74 hectares, it’s large enough to split into a few different days, considering Shep is getting on in years and isn’t as nimble as he used to be.

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The best for last: Hedley, B.C.

Sometimes, you don’t find what you’re looking for until you’re near the end of the road.

Shep and I saddled up for an escape on Sunday and busted the open highway, bound for Hedley. I’d heard about the mine on the side of the mountain, about miners falling out of their cabins … to their deaths.

I had to see if for myself.

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It’s adventure season!

It has felt like one long, cold winter.

That’s with apologies to my friends and family on the other side of the Rockies, of course … from Alberta all the way to Atlantic Canada.

Helloooooooooo, Newfoundland! Have you dug out of those snowbanks yet?

In Alberta, I was known to break out the camera for January and February adventures, heading out to ghost towns or on hiking day trips.

Not this year in British Columbia. For some reason, no weekend seemed to be the right time.

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Sneaking around in Cawston, B.C.

It had been too long since we’d gone on an abandoned adventure.

Life has been getting in the way. Shep and I moved twice since August, one to Summerland and two months later into West Kelowna.

And then real drama struck. Shep became very ill and I almost lost my precious boy.

While he was recovering from surgery, I cuddled with him and promised an adventure as soon as we ready.

Hurray! He got his staples out on Friday and we started plotting (read: Googling) areas in our new habitat.

Sunday morning, we set out … bound for Oliver, B.C., to find the historic Haynes ranch and the former townsite of Fairview. And don’t you wish I was about to tell you that story and show you those pictures.

I will. But not today.

Once we got to Kaleden, we hung a right and busted for Keremeos, taking the long way — er, scenic route — to Oliver.

And that scenic route did not disappoint.

fishing dock on lake near Kaleden, British Columbia

Yellow Lake, I was told by a (somewhat inebriated) fellow casting his line into the lake, is a popular spot for flyfishers and ice fishers. It’s stocked with Kokanee salmon and rainbow trout.

Since we aren’t fishers, we used the dock for a photo op.
maremma sheepdog sitting on a fishing dock

Hmmm … it looks like Shep might even be posing. Don’t worry. He returned to his old self later in the day, having no patience, refusing to look at the camera and harumphing off in front of me.

On we went to Keremeos. A little town from the Wild West deserves its own day of adventure, maybe when it’s warmer.

We took the bypass and cruised through the Cawston, a small community south of Keremeos. According to Wikipedia, it’s named for R.L. Cawston, a pioneer rancher and magistrate who settled in the area in the 19th century.

We starting to get hungry. I started to tell Shep about a stop at A&W in Osoyoos when I had to stop.

Not one, but two abandoned, derelict homes … one right after the other. My heart jumped, and I pulled our great Escape off the highway.

Abandoned farmhouse near Cawston, B.C.

I couldn’t get any closer, since it sat behind a locked gate.

I was a bit apprehensive about the other property. I saw a No Trespassing sign but the gate was swung open.

Wide open. Invitingly open.

Like a Welcome sign.

I bit.
Abandoned farmhouse near Cawston, B.C.

A broken window offers a peak into the house. A bedroom, strewn with boxes and refuse.

Bedroom of abandoned farmhouse

Trust me, I wanted to climb through the window and see what else this lonely house held. But my best bud was waiting patiently in the truck.

There was also a bit of fear around someone storming up behind me and yelling “WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE?”

Not in the mood to get arrested, I snapped off a pic of (what I think was) the chicken coop and hauled ass.
chicken coop at abandoned farmhouse

Now at home, I learn the two properties are significant to the history of the area. Michael Kluckner, a Vancouver-based artist and writer, is fascinated by the abandoned and ghostly areas of British Columbia.

He researched the first farmhouse and learned it was the Elton home, built in 1910,

Ralph Elton was born in India where his father was a colonel in the British army, moved to England as a child, and subsequently migrated to southern Alberta where he lived before settling here. Although one can imagine his house as the centre of a large “spread,” Elton in fact owned just eight acres around it, with another eight of pasture in the hills behind. On his little farm he had apple trees, chickens and horses, but his main source of income was work on the roads.

The gate that kept me from getting closer keeps lookie-loos from entering McCurdy ranchland.

According to the Keremeos Museum’s website, Daniel McCurdy moved to B.C. from Ontario in 1884. The next year, he went back to Ontario to bring back his family: wife, Louisa, and children Sarah (7), Sam (5) and Robert (3).

The other house, of course, was the second McCurdy homestead, built in 1895.

I just hope I don’t run into any of the McCurdys on my next trip through that way … cowboy justice doesn’t look kindly on trespassers.