The weather was not remarkable in any way – not wet, but with little sun and less blue sky. Appointments called us into the city of Kamloops, a familiar highway drive of about an hour and a half. John was at the wheel so I could gawk to my heart’s content.
On a farm in Blackpool, the tractor had “spat out” hay for the cattle since new growth had scarcely begun. This precious food was heaped in a long, curving line. “What’s special about that?” you ask. Well, it must have been warm and comfy, for that’s where the calves, all of similar colouring, were lying. We chuckled to see two or three dozen contented cows-to-be resting on top of that row while equally happy mothers munched away at their bed. The scene was repeated further south. This time the feeding line was shorter even though the size of the herd was comparable, putting multi-coloured calves closer together.
A couple of deer blended in with deciduous tree trunks where they were browsing, slight movement of one drawing my eyes to them. To our surprise, we saw no more despite the many farmers’ fields which became greener as we drove south. In some of them, calves pretended to be real cows as they tugged at the hay being distributed by friendly tractors. I couldn’t help noticing the “joy of being alive” that emanated from these youngsters. “It’s a wonderful thing to be so young and free of the cares of the world,” I mused, thinking of human babies, kittens, puppies and more whose lives are full of caring, warmth, and food.
After that, bird life seemed to take over the scene. The usual ravens and magpies, now joined by crows that had returned from wherever they’d been enjoying a warmer winter, were sprinkled around the sky, the roadside, and everywhere in between. While looking at some geese in one damp field, I spotted two much larger, lighter-coloured, long-legged birds – sand hill cranes. All were nibbling on last year’s leavings and this spring’s new growth. Tiny yellow spring flowers adorn some of the cut-banks right beside the highway south of McLure – so bright, so easy to miss, and there so briefly.
A bald eagle, obviously awaiting an unsuspecting fish, had been sitting atop a tree beside a bend in the river just south of Barriere; closer to Heffley Creek, a large nest made of sticks was easy to see across the river because those “nasty leaves” were not yet hiding it. A trademark white head showing within the jumble told me it was occupied. As we have all seen, birds of every size love to observe the world from power lines, and this trip was no exception. Once again, identification was often beyond me. A hawk, like the first eagle, was watching for movement that would propel those strong wings into immediate action to descend on unsuspecting prey. A kingfisher kindly gave its identity away, with its typical “bad hair day,” as it too watched for a possible feast below.
John might be mumbling and grumbling about thoughtless, foolish drivers on this busy highway, but for me the miles and minutes flew past, along with the now familiar scenes along the way. The critters which also call this area home add so much interest and variety, along with the occasional surprise sightings that turn an “ordinary drive” into something special.