Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Trip - Part Four - Camping at The Creek

From Vernon, we headed southwest on the Connector and Coquihalla highways and zipped on down to Hope, BC, then a short distance back north up the Fraser Canyon to Emory Creek.  There is a cooperative campground there, where for several years I had a lot, which I first used with a little old motorhome I owned and later with a nicer, newer trailer.   There is electricity and (except in winter) water to each lot,  and even flush toilets and showers in central washrooms. But unlike most private  camping or RV parks, trailers are  not right on top of each other and most of the lots are generously sized and quite private with tall trees around them.  Hiking trails, a creek and a river, and a lodge with a small library and other simple amenities complete the facility.  Not exactly roughing it, but not fancy-schmansy either. And an on-site caretaker lives there year round to keep an eye on the place and keep everything running smoothly.
Best of all, my friends Ann and Ken purchased the lot next door, which they retain to this day.

Here's an old photo of the site I once owned (the next few photos were taken around 2006/07):

And the route from my old house to the campground

And a couple of scenes around camp
Ann, Ken and my dog Charley along the banks of the river

Railway trestle over Emory Creek

Shortly after our arrival at our friends' lot, we were surprised to see another vehicle pull in.  Some friends of ours dropped in to say hi.  Coincidentally, they had been the ones who introduced us to Emory Creek many years ago, when they invited Ann and I to a women's camping weekend on a lot then held by another friend of theirs.
It was great to see "Bradner Jean" (to differentiate her from "Crofton Jean") and Andrea, and we all had some good laughs.

Bradner Jean, Andrea, and Ann
(Posted with their permission)

Then we set up my tent and gear on Ann and Ken's lot:

Eddie watches from the safety of a crate
while I get things organized in the tent
From Eddie's perspective, the next couple of days were the highlight of the trip.  He took to camping like a duck to water.  I can't help but wonder if this is something he has done before, because the moment I pitched the tent, he hopped inside and settled down like he'd been living in a tent all his life.

Eddie in his new temporary home -
no stairs, hallways or elevators!

He also loved sitting around the fire,

And watching the squirrels and jays steal peanuts and sunflower seeds.  I wonder how many dog owners out there have a dog who, without any command from me, just does this:

Squirrel?  What squirrel?

Eddie loved, loved, loved camping.  I rarely see him so relaxed. The only thing he didn't like about camping was the deck and trailer on Ann and Ken's lot.  That, he wouldn't go near!

I had planned to have Eddie sleep in the van, thinking the night time noises of the forest would keep him alert and awake all night, but that wasn't the case.  On the first night, my friends went into the trailer, and I decided to sit comfortably in the tent with Eddie and read for a while before putting him to bed.  When the time came to put him in the van, he refused to leave - he was quite comfy where he was thank you very much.  So I pulled his crate out of the van, put it in the tent, and he bedded down for the night.  I never heard a peep from him until we got up the next morning.

Emory Creek has an interesting history. A tent and shack camp was first established in the mid 1800s by miners looking for gold.  While panning was lucrative, no great seams of gold were found for mining and so they moved on.  In 1879, the area was chosen as  the western terminus of the Canadian Pacific Railway, and a booming little town with thirteen streets, a newspaper, shops, saloons, a sawmill and a brewery was established.  The terminus ended up being established a little further north, but traces of the old cement docks are still visible along the nearby Fraser River when the water is low.  By 1885, with completion of the railway, the town was abandoned.  Later it became a private 'resort', with cabins and tent sites for rent, and sometime around the 1970s (I think) became a camping cooperative.

Some of the cabins along the creek are still maintained and used by coop members, and this delapitated one holds some of the caretakers equipment

This next cabin is said to be the 1934 PNE Prize home - the very first "Prize Home" of the Pacific National Exhibition.
1934 PNE Prize Home?
A wee bit smaller than the monstrous prize homes today! 
It was, according to oral history of the oldtimers, built elsewhere and then moved here long before the property became a camping cooperative.  If that information is correct, the original owner/winner of the prize home was Leonard Frewin, " a lowly mechanic who won his true love's hand - and her father's approval" after winning the home.  (Source: The Province) .  

Though the occasional bear or cougar is sighted in the area, none were around while we camped.  The only wildlife we saw was the almost-tame squirrels and Stellar jays who like to pester the campers, and are more entertaining than any television show today (though that's not saying much, given the state of current programming!).

He can have the scotch - I'm havin' the nuts!

Hey dog! Aren't ya gonna chase me?

Oops!  Dropped one!

Oh well, there's lots more!

Hey!  You with the thing in front of your face!
Put that down and find me some more nuts!

Our second night out, it rained steadily for several hours.  Thinking of the logistics of packing up wet camping equipment at 6 AM  on a Sunday morning in order to reach  a planned family event in Surrey by eleven, we decided to decamp a day earlier than planned and spend the night before the event at Ann and Ken's home in Abbotsford.  But that - and the photos of the beautiful lake in the middle of town - shall be the subject of the next  (and probably final) post on our trip.

In other news, Eddie and I have started school - we are doing clicker training with Cowichan Canine Behaviour and Training Ltd., and Eddie is responding beautifully.  I'm sure I will be blogging about that in the upcoming weeks and months.  Thank goodness something is going well, because a gravel yard  truck delivering some materials I needed (for a project  I'm doing around my shed) managed to take out the corner of my eaves yesterday.  As I've said before...there are NO competent businesses in this area,  and I'm now in the middle of  what is heating up to be a huge headache, dealing with ICBC (the provincial vehicle insurance company, for those of you reading from afar), and getting quotes from restoration companies.   

That's all, folks!


georgia little pea said...

Your camp ground looks great and sounds so civilised! Almost like home. I used to love camping in my teens and twenties but have fallen out of love with it. However, if I had a site like that, I would be tempted. Your tent is huge! Not like the little cramped one I got flooded out of on my last Christmas camping trip more than 10 years ago. You don't forget sleeping on a lilo that's floating in a mud puddle and getting a torrent of water running down the tarp into your Christmas pudding vanilla sauce.

I can't believe the squirrel got that close and Eddie didn't try to eat it! It would have been entree for Georgia I think. Not to mention, the nuts and table and everyone in the vicinity would have gone flying. What a good boy. YES! I notice the fitas :) I hope his wishes come true!!! Maybe a world with no steps and elevators?

Charley :) x

Sheryl said...

You have a bed (with legs!!) for camping? I'm super impressed!! How did you get everything in your van?

Jean said...

Both the tent and the bed (one of those BYOB blow-up beds) were ones my sister bought last year, and her partner is not a tenting type of camper so passed them on to me this trip. They fold down very compactly - each about the size of a bedroll - so not problem getting them into the van. Now, Eddie's stuff, the cooler, a couple of large Rubbermaid containers of my sister's photo frames and books, and all the other paraphernalia we either needed for the trip or picked up on the trip - all that stuff DID make for a packed van!

Jean said...

Oh, and GLP, I'm more used to a very small backpacking tent for camping - and yes, I've experienced floating away in it (though not at Christmas, which would be the middle of winter here!).
And I think you might be right about what wishes Eddie made as he helped tie the knots in his fitas!

Anonymous said...

What a beautiful place to camp Jean. I'm so glad Eddie enjoyed it as well. Good for him not chasing the squirrels. Mine I'm afraid would not have been as good.


Anonymous said...

I had a hunch Eddie would be in his element on a camping trip... sleeping in a tent.
He just doesn't pass the condo test.
(neither do I)


georgia little pea said...

I forgot to mention that last picture! Gorgeous!