79th Stampede, Anahim Lake

19 pole bendingThe 79th Anahim Lake Stampede was, as you can see, a mud bath!  The rain we’v had this spring and early summer has been unbelievable.  (This is the pole bending race.)

Although the day started with a few showers, it was fairly dry for the opening ceremony.  (But they did not have to water the arena to keep down the dust as they usually do.)1 start StampedeThe first event was steer wrestling.3 Anahim Lake Stampede steer wrestling bestNext was breakaway calf roping.  A lot of women compete in roping events.4 breakaway calf ropingAt that point it started to rain again.  Umbrellas sprouted up like mushrooms.  (Normally people who have them bring them to shade themselves from the sun.)5 starting to rainWild cow riding was next.  This is an event for kids who are training to be bronc or bull riders some day.  Only or four contestants (entries were down right across the board) – this one was a girl.7 wild cow riding - girlTeam roping is where one man lassoos the head or horns of a steer, and the other snags a hind foot.8 team ropingThis was the only successful team.9 team roping successI was by now wearing two coats (I don’t have any that are completely waterproof) and stuffing my camera – which is not waterproof – under the coats in between shots.  I kept trying to wipe the rain off the lens but still got a few drops.

Other audience members were dealing with the rain in their own way.14 dealing with rain 2

13 dealing with rainThis guy didn’t seem to mind at all.15 dealing with rain 3Some people were already leaving, but most stuck it out long enough to see the wild cow milking.  It was then that the heavens opened and it started to deluge.10 wild cow milkingA bunch of cows and two teams of four were turned into the arena.  These were rodeo cows who were not used to being handled.  It was hard to get close to them.  Here is Henry trying to rope one.  (Henry operated the machine that dug the basement of my house, and has frequently ploughed my road. He is also prominent in the Precipice Cattle Drives.)11 HenryHe missed, and it was the other team who eventually secured a cow and managed to squirt a bit of milk into a bottle.  The milker is Punky Hatch, whose ranch I visited earlier this year during calving season.12 milkingBy the time the barrel racing came along, the arena had a texture of sloppy oatmeal.16 barrel racing mudbath 2

16 Barrel racing mudbath 3By now, these brave contestants were performing to a virtually empty  place.18 stands emptyNext to last was another team roping event.  Don’t ask me why there are two – something to do with rodeo standards.  I go there only to take pictures.  (And see my friends making fools of themselves.)20 team roping again

21 got the horns

22 team roping 3They failed to get the hind hoof.

I was hanging in there because the final event of the day is always the bull riding.  There was only one contestant this year.  He had a pretty wild ride in the chute.23 bull riding  in chutesIt took so long to get him settled, with me keeping the camera primed and under my coats, that the lens was steamed up when I tried to take a photo.24 bull riding 2The rider lasted his 8 seconds, but even when you are successful, there is no easy way to get off.25 bull riding 3“That’s it, folks,” said the announcer.  “See you tomorrow.”  Yeah, right!


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Raining Again.

7 black morningOur summer lasted exactly four days.  Now it is raining again.  The following photos don’t show the extent of the gloom and wetness we’ve had this last couple of weeks, because I generally took pictures only when the sun shone, which is usually early in the morning.1 summer didn't last longSome things in my garden didn’t work – the strawberries made about 6 flowers then gave up.  Fortunately a friend had luscious ones and I was able to buy from him.  The greens are loving the rain, though.gardenChard and Kohl Rabi in the foreground, spinach and lettuce in the back.  The red stuff is mostly a red mustard.  It’s leaves are four times the size they are most years.  The spinach and mustards are all making flower stalks.  The minute it turns hot (if ever) they will bolt.red mustardThere are mushrooms everywhere – unusual in the spring.  Each of these boletis would not fit on a dinner plate.dinner plate mushroomsThe meadow flowers are beginning to look a bit ratty, but now the lance-leaved stonecrops are coming into their own.  They are making a fantastic display this year.5 stonecrop

5a stonecrop 2And the paintbrush patch is at its peak.  (How much prettier they look when there is a little sun to set them off!)6 paintbrushThere is a great crop of soopollallie this year – I commented in an earlier post how many flowers we had.  This is only the second time in ten years I have seen a berry crop like this.  A lot of people don’t like the taste, but I think they are delicious.  Thin skinned and juicy so very squishy to pick, though.soopolalie berriesOne morning we had a spectacular drama.9 red light

10 red light 2At the same time, in the south, was the bottom end of an amazing rainbow. (It is hovering over the north ridge or Perkin’s Peak – see previous post.)11 rainbow 1

12 rainbow 2

13 rainbow 3As the sun climbed higher, it caught the new solar panels on the internet tower.  (No batteries yet, so all that power is going nowhere!)14 internet towerThe display lasted about half an hour.  Then cloud began to swallow the mountains.15 clouding overAnd this was the last I saw of the sun -and the mountains – for a couple more days.16 last of sun.



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Perkins Peak Part One

1 ppI knew that there was a road close to the top of Perkins Peak. It was created for a gold mine now defunct.  (This view seen from my yard.)  I actually tried to find it last year in the middle of June with a bunch of volunteers, but got lost in the clearcuts although it took them only four hours to reach the summit from where I was able to drop them.  I wanted to go now, because at Nuk Tessli, the rock alpines are already at their best at the end of June.  I was curious as to see how the flora up here differed as different base rocks usually mean different flowers.

This year I was armed with written instructions from a friend.  Some of the logging roads were new since she had last been up there so it was a little confusing.  The day was spectacular.  28C was forecast at home but we hoped for cooler temperatures higher up.2 on the waySoon we were encountering all kinds of alpine flowers beside the road.  Silk phacelia is actually quite common around my home in dry spots, but is finished already here. It also grows occasionally at Nuk Tessli.  Here it was abundant.3 roadside flowersAlso beside the road was a little gem, lyall’s lupin, which is no bigger than a clover.4 lyalls lupinI was blown away as to how easy it was to drive up to the alpine – albeit on a a road that was very rough in places. Moreover, up there, were three choices of destination. The mine, Emerald Lake, both of which I will explore at a another time, and the mountain itself. We parked right at the treeline. The road had been so rough and confusing, it seemed bizarre to see this well-made sign.  (Apart from the road, there is no obvious trail, but the walking is easy.)5 signWe followed a creek – and realized we could have driven even higher. (The truck is in the background.)6 chrome creek with truckSoon I was in seventh heaven, for the flowers were exactly what I wanted to see. Moss campion.7 chrom ck moss campionLots of silky phacelia.10 silky phaceliaAnd everywhere a very abundant potentilla species.  The genus is notoriously difficult to sort out; this was probably P. glaucophylla.12 potentilla sp bestThe fell fields were absolute gardens.  Along with the potentillas and moss campion are lots of jacobs ladder (again, long-finished at home.) 9 fell field + PPEven at this altitude it was hot.8 dogs snowbankLauren, my volunteer, liked photographing movies.laurenShe had her hood up because of the bugs.  They weren’t all that bad, but they were certainly a nuisance.  Because I was stopping every few minutes to photograph, I decided it would be more comfortable to wear  my serious bug net.  I had clear glass put in some old frames and stuck a no-see-um net to them.  I wear them over my regular glasses with very little trouble.  This way I can see!28 selfieLyall’s goldenweed does not grow at Nuk Tessli so I have seen it only once before.  10a lyalls goldenweed8-petalled avens are a sure indication of alpine.11 8petalled avensMountain marsh marigolds and mountain meadow buttercups are old friends.15 mt meadow buttercups and mmmMountain sorrel 14 mountain sorrelCut-leafed fleabane18 cutleaf fleabaneAnd the only specimen I found of small-flowered senecio.17 small flowered seneciaoJacobs ladder was all over the place.   It is interesting to see how much more dwarfed in stem and bigger-flowered the same species is at these higher elevations.19 jacobs ladderAnd silky phacelia and the potentilla were everywhere.16 phacelia and potThe truck road ended at a lake. 48 lake A big snow patch would have blocked us this time, but in the future I will attempt to drive to this point. 21 lauren and roadThe zigzag on the shady slope might have been a truck road once, but now is safe only for atvs. Someone had already been up there before us this year.  Lauren and I had lunch, before we seperated again.  The rest of this hike will be detailed in the next post, Perkins Peak part two.


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Perkins Peak Part Two

IMG_1588I decided not to try and climb to the top of Perkins Peak as I had already spent such a long time photographing flowers.  Instead, a walk along the almost horizontal ridge between me and the mountain itself seemed to be the way to go.  The rock and lichen colours were fantastic.23 rock and lichen coloursAmerican pipits and horned larks flitted about and gave little peeping noises as they are wont to do in this environment.22 horned larkThe walking was easy.  The top of the ridge gave me a nice view to the east.  (A willow species along with the potentilla in the foreground.)24 other mts and willowNow I started seeing a delight that I was familiar with from Nuk Tessli.  A cabbage relative: payson’s draba.25 paysons drabaLots more Jacob’s ladder.26 more jacobs ladderAnd a very much dwarfed cut-leaf anemone.27 cutleaf anemone and potThe shining chickweed is a pretty little thing.  So precious amongst the stark rocks.

32 Shining chickweedAt the top of the ridge, Badger was beginning to flag.32 top of ridge and BadgerEvery time I stopped to photograph, he would plop down, and it was getting hard to make him move again.  Harry, however, was bored.31 Harry's seen it allAs said earlier, potentillas are hard to identify, but here are one, possibly two other species.  At least one is probably P. uniflora.34 poss P uniflora

36 p uniflora probThunder had been forecast, so I was keeping a sharp eye on the sky, but this little mini storm came to nothing.  The thundery clouds made for spectacular lighting effects, though.thunder showerRoseroot is common at Nuk Tessli, but quite rare up here so it was a treat to find this splash of colour.35 roseroot and potFrom the western end of the ridge, I had a fine view down to the lake and the Chilcotin beyond.39 lake and clearcutsI had to get down there.  Fortunately, I found a long snow slope that was easy on my knees.  Insects become stranded on the snow and unable to move due to the cold.  This one was as big as a dollar – it is not a mosquito.  I wonder what the purpose is of the two tiny horizontal “horns” are behind its head.40 insect on snowBelow the snowbank I ran into another lovely creek.42 below snow bankSibbaldia procumbens.41 sibbaldiaMoss Campions are like sunsets.  You’ve gotta keep taking pictures!42 mos camionFinally, a great favourite from Nuk Tessli, bog laurel.  The white heather, abundant at Nuk Tessli, is not so common here.43 heather and bog laurel

44 bog laurelAmongst the bog laurel, a few of the peculiar inky gentians were blooming.45 inky gentianMore 8-petalled avens were scattered in drier areas.46 8 petal avenAnd as I approached the lake, the potentilla sp. became even more abundant.47 pot on pond edgeAnd alongside the lake was yet another treat, creeping azalea.50 creeping azaleaWhat an incredibly perfect day.  And to think that this alpine playground is only an hour and a half’s drive from home.  Sure enough, the road means that there will be plenty of other users driving machines, especially at weekends, but I now have a new alpine back yard to call my own.


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After the Solstice

1 so green bestThe weather, after the solstice, is finally mostly sunny.  I still cannot get over how green the Chilcotin is.  The faint hint of brown in the roadside verge is not through drought, as is usual at this time of year, but because the grasses are flowering.  One good thing about the rainy spring is that they and the roadside weeds (almost all introduced species) are thriving.2 roadside weeds

3 grass flowersThe wild roses are at last allowed to flower without getting beaten to death.  Their scent is heavenly.8 wild roseThey make a perfect honeymoon suite.9 honeymoon roseAfter three years my rock garden is finally filling in.4 rock gardenThe prettiest plant right now is the brown-eyed Susan, grown from seed I collected about 5 hours east and south, from a dry grassland area.  It seems to like it here.5 browneyed susanThe yellow flowers below are an introduced weed, but I am so glad to have something covering the dustbowl of my yard (barren despite several plantings) I will let them be for now.  Besides, the bees and butterflies love them.  (Scroll back a few posts to the winter shots.  What a contrast!)6 swallowtailA couple of weeks before the Solstice, I started finishing the yurt interior.  I coated the floor, and put a small patch of tile around the stove. 1 tiling floorI had never tiled before, and learned how to do it, partly from a friend’s advice, and partly from this video.  If you do happen to click on the link, you will notice how CLEAN the guy is.  Even with this small job, I got the stuff EVERYWHERE.  (Good job I put plastic on the floor.)2 pants coveredOn solstice Monday, a volunteer arrived.  With her, we finished the yurt interior.  The old iron beds were scraped and repainted.3 painting bedsAnd fitted out with mattresses…4 Trying the bedAnd it’s now ready for use!5 finish yurt insideAnother thing Lauren helped me with was  putting row-cover tents over the kale.  I grow a lot to dry for winter use, and at all other times they were riddled with caterpillars – makes the job twice as long when I have to inspect every leaf.  (And I’m sure I’ve eaten many caterpillars!)1 kale tentsThe garden looks funky – but the kale looks so happy inside! (Collards in front.)  Unfortunately, Lauren will have left by the time I will dry the first batch.  A tedious job!1 kale insideThe other recent local event of note is the installation of the solar panels and other hardware on our new Internet tower.  It won’t be in use for a good while yet as the booster tower at Tatla needs lengthening, which involves taking what’s there apart and replacing it, and our tower needs heavy batteries, which will need to be helicoptered in.  But the progress is exciting.  (This picture is taken with a very big zoom from my house.)10  internet tower solar panels



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