As we left Clearwater in mid-September, a murder or two of crows saw us off. (How come that name for a collection of those intelligent black birds anyway?) As the days of our travels to and through the Kootenays continued, more birds saved us from being totally skunked by way of wildlife.
First came an overnight stop in Kelowna where we spent time with my niece’s family, which includes four talented girls who shared stories being written, super sketches, harp playing and chatter. No wildlife needed to enjoy those! Next morning we purposely drove north, thus avoiding the devastation caused by the fires at Rock Creek. Travelling east through the Monashees has usually provided animal sightings, but not this time, although three osprey stood on the edge of their stick nest atop a power pole near Nakusp. Perhaps the parents were saying goodbye before leaving the youngster to find its own way south.
We love returning to Kaslo where we lived for 25 years, and seeing people who are precious to us. Doggies add their enthusiastic greetings, but one was no longer around. Her parents had us voting on a name for the cute, lucky puppy who will soon call their place home. A moment of pure delight was seeing a momma deer and her twin fawns, still sporting spots, grazing near the home where we were staying. Mountains, some sprinkled with snow, encircling that quaintly historic village beside Kootenay Lake, were outlined against a bright blue sky.
Tearing ourselves away from Kaslo always takes some doing, but we were soon in Creston. We were carrying prune plums to share – but our new hostess was counting on loading us up with the very same thing, growing abundantly on the tree in her front yard. We did help her eat a few….
A day later we were off to the East Kootenays, crossing the Moyie River several times before reaching Cranbrook. Its tiny trickle left little room for fish normally have been spawning in it. The Rockies were bare, living up to their craggy name.
Our friends in Jaffrey live in a wooded area, so we did see wandering deer again, not bothered by their dogs. However, they worry about the cougar and bears that also inhabit the area. None appeared on our hike as we reminisced about seeing a moose and her new-born calf on previous visit one spring.
As husband John and I drove north next, towards Golden, we spotted large birds in a grassy field.
“Their necks are too short to be geese,” he said. “Wild turkeys?”
Indeed they were. It got even better when two swans, long necks outstretched, flew over a marsh. Gopher holes were evident elsewhere, and John thought they had hibernated until he heard a squeak, but we saw none. Noisy skeins of Canada geese flew over us from time to time. At our lunch stop, binoculars in hand, I stared at something floating on the gently flowing Columbia River. When it ran aground and stayed there, I realized I was staring at some garbage. (Is there another word for “desperate”?)
One more deer showed up: a young buck sat peacefully tucked in between the buildings that make up the Invermere Pioneer Museum; here John donated some aged paintings of his forefathers, for they had lived in that area. We looked in vain for sheep at Radium.
At least I had a good chuckle reading a sign in a dog park in Sicamous on our last night.
“Attention Dogs!” it read. “Grr, Bark, Woof, Good Dog.”
And we had revelled in Nature’s glorious fall colours – and hugged dozens of very special people….