Friday, July 7 to Wednesday, July 12, 2017 (Tunkwa Provincial Park, Logan Lake, BC)

It sure has been quiet around here since Rob and Conner left yesterday.
Even Tucker seems to missing his morning "play time" with Conner!

With Hugh away from the park for the next few days, Steve took over his job of emptying the garbage bins and cleaning sites. I was on outhouse duty this morning...but before heading out, I managed to get a load of laundry done and hung on the line. Nothing better than bedding drying outside on the line in the fresh air...it was another hot day, so it would be dry in no time!

After outhouse cleaning, I restocked the information kiosk with pamphlets and then made a run over to the day-use area on the other side of the lake to empty the garbage bin and clean the outhouse.

Getting an early start to try to "beat the heat", we were both done by noon. We had lunch, showered and then both spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the trailer with the AC going.

We noticed some big billowy clouds in the distance...is that smoke?
We learned from volunteer Brian that a wildfire was burning outside of Ashcroft, 32 km/20 miles away as the crow flies. This is not good, notice the trees bending in the wind...
Wow...this looks rather ominous!

A smokey sunset...
Saturday morning we woke to thick smoke as the Ashcroft fire had grown to 720 hectares...and soon learned that around 138 more wildfires from mostly lightning strikes had started overnight and were fuelled by strong winds. In a matter of a day, there were almost 200 wildfires burning and threatening many communities in BC.
We had Saturday off so decided to drive to Kamloops for a little shopping. The smoke was very thick all of the way there...
Highway 97C is closed from the intersection of Tunkwa Lake Road to Ashcroft due to the wildfire in Ashcroft...
And Kamloops is also shrouded in thick smoke. The mountain in the distance is barely visible...
The Yellow Headed Blackbirds are very happy with our new purchase today...it makes it much easier for them. They are gluttons though, as they emptied the feeder in half a day!
They were joined by the Redwing Blackbirds...
Sunday was another work "day" for us. Steve was quite disgusted with the mess left in this fire pit! Really no excuse other than just lazy campers...the garbage bins were right across the road...
No smoke today...so nice after yesterday! We even managed to get out for a walk in the afternoon...
Oh, oh...did I say no smoke? Enjoy it while we can...look what's on the horizon!
Monday we were off again...the busy May and June here at Tunkwa has given way to slower days now. Of course, the numerous wildfires burning and a campfire ban doesn't help.
Look at the red sun in the sky this morning...

We basically stayed inside all day...I did some banking and baking, while Steve watched some of his TV shows and then we watched a movie

Steve went out in the morning to take a few pictures. Bench Hill is barely visible...

Hardcore fishers trying to catch smoked trout. LOL:-)

Tuesday was another smokey day. Doug and Sue headed off on their usual weekly trip to Kamloops, leaving us to man the park. I cleaned outhouses, sites and then collected from those who decided to stay another night...most are just paying night by night, keeping an eye on the wildfires. There were a few new campers come in as well.

Tuesday mornings Steve takes over Doug's routine and is out on the road around 6:35 recording the traffic count meters and checking for new overnight campers. Steve took some photos on his rounds.
Leighton Campground...
Leighton North Campground...
Looking from the spit at Tunkwa campground...
Bench Hill at Tunkwa...
Overlooking Leighton Lake from Tunkwa campground...
Steve's duties today was to clean out all fire pits. By the end of his shift he was loosing his voice from breathing in fire pit ash and smokey air...quickly cured after a couple of brews, LOL!

Tunkwa fire weed in bloom...
This morning (Wednesday) we woke to basically clear skies...such a welcome relief! I was up extra early (before 6 am) for some reason...much to Steve's complaining! What are you doing up already! LOL

We had a leisurely start, did our resistance exercises, had breakfast, and then Steve finally got out fishing.
 This guy has one on...
I did a little puttering around and then made some wheat/grain/sugar free bagels...yes, I have decided to embrace the "Wheat Belly" way of eating, eliminating all wheat, grains and sugar from my diet. I joined a Facebook community and embarked the "Ten Day Detox" May 30...and haven't looked back. The group also provides tons of recipes...it's amazing...just takes a little planning. I haven't lost much in the way of weight...but I do feel better and with perseverance, I'm sure it will come.

Around noon, Tucker and I headed out on a walk. We took the path to Leighton Lake...my first time this year. About 45 minutes later we were back...ahh...so nice getting out walking again!  Yes, my foot issues seem to have settled down with new shoes and orthotics!

Steve had radioed me just before I got back...he was heading in after a successful few hours of fishing...well, three fish sounds pretty successful to me! So I hopped in the gator and drove down to the boat launch to pick him and his fishing gear up.

We basically relaxed the rest of the afternoon...sitting outside in the shade...Steve reading while I did a little knitting.

We later learned on the news this evening that the Ashcroft wildfire has grown to 10,600 hectares! The smoke has reached Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and the USA. Here is a screenshot of the wildfire situation in BC right now...

We'd also like to congratulate our son and daughter-in-law, Rob and Angie. They secured funding for a mortgage and have purchased our home on 1.21 acres.
For those of you that know us, when we embarked on our retirement and new lifestyle, we worked out a deal with them where they had ten years to purchase our house. Well, three years before the deadline, the paperwork is now in the process with the possession date in just a couple of weeks. They have assured us that they will not change the locks and that a bedroom will always be available there for us!


Monday, June 30 to Thursday, July 6, 2017 (Tunkwa Provincial Park, Logan Lake, BC)

We were up, packed and ready to head out by 8:00 Friday morning. After big hugs, we said goodbye to Chris and Angela....thanks for your hospitality, we'll be back July 16 (originally July 9, but we had to delay it by a week due to a staff shortage at the park...so our appointment to take the truck back to Berhausen Diesel is now first thing July 17).

Our trip back up to Tunkwa was uneventful...it was a beautiful travel day! It's going to be a busy long July 1st weekend with such great weather.
This is the snow shed at Box Canyon, as we head up the Coquihalla highway...
 Nicola Lake outside of Merritt where we worked at Monck Provincial Park two years ago...
We arrive back at Tunkwa just before noon, unloaded everything from the truck, unpacked and after a quick bite to eat, we relaxed for the rest of the afternoon. I would be doing a round of outhouse cleaning early this evening and Steve would be doing security and selling firewood.

At 6:00, I gathered all of the cleaning stuff and started my rounds at Leighton Campground. About an hour and a half later, I was back with "Bentley" (truck) and Steve headed off. I was in bed "watching" TV (more like dozing) when he came in after his shift. All was quiet out there.

Saturday I would be working a split shift...a couple of hours in the morning cleaning outhouses, and then again later that evening. Steve would be doing security and selling firewood again tonight.

So, I headed out at about 9:00 leaving Steve doing his resistance exercises...something that we have both been neglecting lately due to our work schedule (good excuse, I'd say LOL). I was back at around 11:00 and then we spent the afternoon relaxing in the shade...and waiting for word from our son, Rob...he and Conner are coming up for a visit. SO looking forward to seeing them!

It was around 4:00 when they arrived...they had caught the 9:00 ferry from Vancouver Island this morning but I guess the traffic through the greater Vancouver area was horrific on this long weekend. They also made a couple of stops along the way.

Conner's eyes lit up when he saw the gator...volunteer Hugh took him for a ride. Hugh is probably the hardest working volunteer in the Provincial Park system!

We had a quick dinner of barbecued burgers and then I changed into my uniform and headed off for my shift. When I got back, their tent was up and they were getting settled in.

Steve headed out on his shift while Rob tried putting Conner to bed in the tent. Steve was hoping to take Rob out with him later but Conner had a hard time getting to sleep.

Steve's main focus on his rounds tonight was to ensure there were no fireworks being lit in the park...they are not allowed in  Provincial Parks. Steve had just finished patrolling Leighton and North Leighton campgrounds and was at the far end of Tunkwa campground when he heard a radio call from volunteer Brian at Leighton. Apparently some folks were lighting fireworks off from their boat in the lake. Steve raced back and ended up being the "party pooper" to the crowds gathered along the shorelines at both campgrounds. Steve had to intervene and put a stop to it.

He had just gotten home and was in the middle of getting undressed for bed when we heard fireworks again. He threw his clothes back on and dashed outside...it was folks in the privately run resort down the lake that was having a fireworks display. Nothing we can do about that.

Sunday morning we didn't have to work until mid-morning, so with Rob and Conner up early too, we took a walk down to the dock for a little fishing...


Steve and I both worked short shifts this morning, allowing us to have the afternoon and evening off with Rob and Conner (thanks, Doug and Sue!)

At about 2:00 we all decided to go for a hike up to the bench on the bluff above Tunkwa Lake. It was our first time there this year. Of course, we picked the heat of the afternoon for a hike, but we lathered ourselves with suntan lotion and packed bottles of water and headed off. We are finally experiencing hot summer weather...with temps up into the mid 30's (90's F). By the look of the long term forecast, sunny weather is here to stay for awhile!

Conner and Rob on the foot bridge across the creek above the waterfall to Leighton Lake...
Wow! Look how calm Leighton lake is!
 Swallows are still nesting in the information kiosk near the foot bridge...
We noticed some people jumping off the cliff into Leighton Lake but as soon as Steve got the camera out they were done...
 On the trail...
A bit of a climb here...
We made it! You get a great view of both lakes from up here...
After enjoying the view with a bottle of water (and watching Conner race around the stacked rocks), it was time to head back...

 Back at the creek, we walked down to see the waterfalls from the bottom at Leighton Lake...
Hot, tired and thirsty, we made it back to the compound. Rob has set their tent up in a nice grassy area on the edge of the service area, just outside of the compound...
 Boneless, skinless chicken thighs were on the menu for dinner tonight and Rob offered to prepare them...he mixed a bunch of seasonings together and then tossed in the chicken. I spread them out on a cookie sheet and baked them...they were yummy!

After dinner, we returned outside to sit in the shade and relax. Conner is so very good at entertaining himself...he spent most of his time playing with rocks. Who needs toys when you have rocks to play with! He also has a new best friend...Tucker! Yesterday when he first met Tucker, he was terrified of him and would run in the opposite direction when Tucker came running over. But somewhere along the way today, he and Tucker became best buds!
Monday, Steve and I both worked our shifts while Rob and Conner entertained themselves with some bike riding and fishing. Steve was finished work at 2:00 and after cleaning up, he, Rob and Conner headed out in the boat for some fishing.
Fishing has been very slow...but Grampa caught one and Conner reeled it in!
That evening, I filled a cooler bag with hot dogs and all of the fixings, along with chips and marshmallows and we headed down to the day-use area to have a campfire and roast hot dogs for dinner. It was such a lovely evening!



After a couple of hours, it was time to put the fire out and head back home. Bath time for Conner...our shower stall turned out to be the perfect size for him...
Tuesday, Steve and I worked our normal 4 hours shifts...again leaving Rob and Conner to entertain themselves. They had no problem doing that...bike rides, fishing...and just plain relaxing was the order of the day for them.

Once we were finished work, we showered and joined Rob outside relaxing in the shade. Conner was having some quiet time in the air conditioned trailer watching cartoons and eventually falling asleep in Grampa's chair. Rob had to "carefully" wake him for his dinner...and after a slow start, he was full of energy playing outside with Tucker. Rob, Conner and I then took Tucker for a walk around the campground (I wish I had gotten the picture Rob took as we walked along...Conner holding the end of Tucker's leash while I "helped" by holding it part-way down). After we got back, next thing I know, they are heading out for a bike ride...Rob needed to wear Conner out so he'd get to sleep tonight after his long afternoon snooze!

Wednesday was a big day for Conner. We both had the day off, so I packed a lunch for Steve, Rob and Conner and they headed off for a quad ride. Conner was SO excited! I must admit, though, that I was half expecting them back quickly because I wasn't sure how Conner would be.

Rob and Conner crossing the creek from Leighton Lake..

 They went up to the top of Mount Savona that overlooks the town of Savona on Kamloops Lake...
And then down to the community of Savona...
And then to the little cemetery that Bel and Ron took us to last year on a ride...
 The Mika family plot. The oldest plaque was 1986...
Time for lunch in the shade...
I was sitting outside in the shade when they returned...it was about 1:00. Well, I quickly learned that they were back just to re-fuel the quads and  were heading to Greenstone Mountain! Conner was having a blast and wanted to continue riding.
The flowers were incredible...

Their destination on top of Greenstone Mountain...
They made it!

Leighton and Tunkwa lakes in the distance. Lots of haze from the various forest fires...
 
 Rest stop at the hunting camp...
Conner wondering if he can jump across the washout...
Or into it...
 Almost home...
They arrived home at about 4:30...what a day of riding! 128 kms/80 miles and over 7 hours! We see an ATV in Conner's future. What a trooper at 4 years of age!

After getting cleaned up, they joined me outside in the shade and we enjoyed some cocktails before dinner. After dinner, we returned to the shade outside and Conner played with Tucker.

Thursday morning, Conner was to decide whether to stay for one more day or head home today. He said he would make his decision after he finished his hot chocolate...he would have hot chocolate while the rest of us had our coffee in the morning sunshine. When he had finished, he said..."Gramma, I'm sorry but I've decided we should go home today". Although we would have loved for them to stay one more day, we understood...I think he is missing his mom and little brother.

So Steve and I headed off to work at 8:30...but before leaving, we stopped at the tent to say goodbye. They were starting to pack up...and were gone when I returned to the compound just before 10:30. We had such a great visit with them...and they really enjoyed it as well. So wonderful having them visit! We'll stay in touch as usual, and see you again in September!

I ended up only working a couple of hours today...but Steve worked his 4, cleaning out and fixing 10 fire pits. After showers, we spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing in the trailer with the AC running. I downloaded pictures over the past week, Steve edited them...and then I got started on this blog.

And that pretty well covers the past week...as usual, they are just flying by!