Trekking Tales: Big black dog describes his southerly day trip

Mom had talked about going somewhere special to celebrate Summer Solstice, so, when John and Kay arrived for breakfast, I knew the first day of summer was here too!

Mom had talked about going somewhere special to celebrate Summer Solstice, so, when John and Kay arrived for breakfast, I knew the first day of summer was here too! We even saw some blue sky as we travelled south, but Mom knew I had more important things on my doggie mind. Dad pulled off the highway at Rayleigh and took me up the hillside. While I attended to business, he found prickly pear cactuses in flower. At our next stop, in Savona, they confirmed directions for our route up Deadman Creek and over to North Kamloops. I had a swim near Savona’s tiny park where playground equipment was surrounded by water and the wee tugboat looked ready to float away. I was cool and happy as we turned north onto Deadman Creek Road soon after crossing the Thompson River.

“What a beautiful valley,” my humans kept saying, as they talked about the ranches, neat villages, and spectacular cliffs. Mom spotted some Rocky Mountain sheep on a steep hillside. Those silly creatures didn’t seem to realize they had nothing to eat there. Dad stopped patiently for picture taking, but sometimes he backed up. Then those two geologists in the front used big words I didn’t recognize. Each time, I thought, “Now I’ll be getting out!”  No such luck, even when we saw some inviting-looking lakes.

At a sign saying “Provincial Park”, we all admired light-coloured pinnacles with wonderful shapes. I ran up the steep trail with Dad, right to the top. I hurried back to meet Kay; you should have seen her face when I dashed around the corner towards her on that narrow, sloping trail!

Further along, we pulled into the Forestry Recreation Site beside Deadman Lake. Another swim! A loon floated and dived nearby. The neighbour’s chainsaw was just as noisy as Dad’s but we ignored it. After lunch, I jumped back into my smaller-than-usual space in the car – unwillingly. The folks seemed excited about something ahead. The road became really narrow. After we went up a steep hill, Mom said the Dalai Lama had designated a spot near here as the Centre of the Universe.

The next stop wasn’t much fun for me because I was on my dratted leash; I couldn’t even splash through the inviting puddles as we walked to the edge of a deep canyon. Ah! That’s what was making all the noise: Deadman Creek was dropping through space right beside us. Everyone was being very careful because there is no fence or guardrail. Kay kept hiding behind trees to take her photos. They told me a rainbow was playing near the bottom of the tumbling, splashing waterfall.

After that I dozed a lot (and either John or Dad was snoring). Mom and Kay admired the poplar trees and pretty wildflowers up on this plateau. We went for a long way before going down a bit into more open ranch country. Eventually we stopped beside a fancy new bridge over Criss Creek with lots of cattle nearby. The road was wider after that; we went on and on while they talked about how quickly the view kept changing. Finally we were beside Tranquille Valley, sometimes high above the river, then driving beside it. Eventually we went down and down, back to desert country, more houses, and paved roads.

Beside Rayleigh, everyone took their cameras to record the cactus flowers Dad had seen. This time he also found the skin of a rattlesnake. Kay saw its hole nearby, but surprisingly, she didn’t freak out. When we arrived home, the sun was going down. What a wonderful time we’d had, celebrating this longest day of the year.