Out for a walk beside the Ottawa River in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada!
Where are Kevin and Ruth now? Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Where are Kevin and Ruth going next? Heading to Nova Scotia around August 1st.

Monday, August 20, 2018

A nice day around Prince George, British Columbia

We had a really nice day yesterday. Uncle Dave and Aunt Melissa planned a three hour hike for us all, and we were going to do it in the morning, but as 10 o'clock rolled around we decided to go out for lunch first and then do the hike afterwards.

They took us out to the Northern Lights Estate Winery. We didn't go for the wine... but we had a really good meal!

Yes, the forest fire smoke was still hanging around...

Northern Lights Estate Winery.

The view from our table.

Forgot to get a photo of the meal. But Ruth and I shared a salad and a plate of the Farmer's Brunch Bowl... a mixture of pan fried potatoes, chorizo sausage, and bacon, covered with a scrambled egg and hollandaise sauce mixture... really delicious. Ruth says she's going to make it again for us! Thanks for taking us out Dave and Melissa!

Next up was an interesting park in Prince George called Cottonwood Island Nature Park. There's a local artist who has done small intricate wood carvings in the thick bark of the huge cottonwood trees.

Look about two feet above Ruth's head.

Look closer.

Indian face carved in the bark.

Some of them date back to 2005, and some of them are as recent as 2017. The artist's name is Elmer Gunderson. You can read about him here...

Aunt Melissa looking at the dragon.

The bark of the Cottonwood tree is amazing.



Indian face.

Interesting stuff, and it's fun wandering the trails to find all of the carvings. We think there are somewhere around 25 in total throughout the forest on the island.

Then, it was off to get some exercise. There's a big maze of trails in the forest near the University, so that's where we headed...

Their friend Debbie joined us, and off we went.

A replica pit house. A typical dwelling once used by indigenous people in British Columbia.

Despite the dry spell, the forest is still green and lush.

Ash from the forest fires covers the leaves.

Oddly enough, the forest fire smoke seemed much less when you're actually in the forest. Maybe the vegetation gives off enough oxygen that it clears it out? We don't know, but we did 9.7 kms (6.0 miles) and didn't have any problem with the smoke affecting our lungs.

Ruth made a shepherd's pie for us all for dinner, and then we played cards in the evening.

We're heading out today though... still have 780 kms (484 miles) to drive by this coming Friday! We're going to take the route through Jasper and Banff. Hopefully the summer tourist crowds won't affect our travels too much! 

Great deal on a driveway alarm kit...

And in Canada...


  1. The drive from Jasper to Banff is breathtaking!!

    1. We have both done this route before, the last time was in 2006 but we have never done the drive in the motorhome. It is very beautiful along this route! We are looking forward to doing drive again but this time we will be doing in it the opposite direction which will be nice because then you get to see it at a totally different perspective. We are crossing our fingers that the smoke won't be bad in that area.

  2. The carvings are amazing! I believe the lush rainforest might have an impact on the smoke, here a forecast clear sunny appears light brown sky with a vibrant orange sun trying its best. This might be a record year for fires, we'll see...

    1. Yes, the carvings were fantastic and had such detail.

      We were saying the same thing about the vegetation helping to clear the smoke and carbon dioxide from the air, we are sure that it definitely has some impact on it.

  3. Looking forward to your photos along the Icefield Parkway. It has been a long time since I did that drive.

    1. It has been 12 years since we were last on it ourselves. We are probably looking forward to it as much as you! :-)

      We will have to cross our fingers that the smoke doesn't ruin the scenery for us.

  4. Amazing carvings, many places would have a fit about damaging the tree. Beautiful.

    1. They were amazing works of art. The city is actually paying him to do these carvings so he has their blessing. The bark on the black cottonwood trees is very thick and can even be broken off the tree without it having any effect on the health of the tree at all. The artist is very careful to make sure the carvings don't go any deeper than that initial bit of thick bark, therefore protecting the health and growth of the tree.

  5. Love the carvings in the forest. I always thought Aspen tree knots looked like someone staring at me...always a little nerving. Once while hiking alone, I heard branches breaking but I couldn't see through the woods it was so thick. My first thought was bear, moose, elk or some large animal. The noise kept pace with me but I never saw what it was...I'd ring my homemade rattler that grandma taught me how to make and I carried a long hiking pole to make me look bigger. I made it through the forest back to my car with no mishap. BTW the smoke was even in Albuquerque, NM up to Santa Fe, NM over the weekend while I was there. I coughed and hard to breath. Luckily I was only there a couple of days. So sad to see fires...hard for animals and people living in the area.

    1. The carvings were amazing to see. Very well done.

      Yes, it is a real shame about all these fires. Hopefully they will see some rain soon and enough that will aid with putting them out.

  6. We picked up a map for the then dozen carvings in Cottonwood Forest at the Train Museum / Info booth next door. Nice to see the collection is growing, the ducks are new (to me) and look amazing.
    We hope to do the Jasper Banff route next year.

    1. Nice to see that you got to view them as well. I think we probably would have missed them if it hadn't been for Kevin's aunt and uncle taking us to see the carvings and I bet a lot of other people miss out on this too. Yes, the collection is continuing to grow.

      I hope we can show you what you will be in for on the drive. I just wish that we had more time to explore this whole area as we head down but unfortunately we don't. :-(

  7. Replies
    1. We haven't even got to Lake Louise yet! ;-)

      We are hoping to stop by there but it will depend on the smoke, our time and how busy it might be there because it may be so busy that we can't find somewhere to park. The main concern will be the smoke, if it is too smoky there is no point in going as we wouldn't see any of the beautiful scenery.

  8. What a gorgeous forest to hike in. Jealous! And I love those carved heads in the trees. Lovely work. Glad the nasty forest fires aren't keeping you from having a good time on your trip.

    1. It was fun to walk around and find the carvings. We could have spent more time there but we had a bigger hike planned so we didn't want to diddle-dally around there for too long.

      No, the fires aren't stopping us from having a good time but the smoke is certainly stopping us from seeing all the lovely scenery around here.

  9. Wow great forest and wonderful carvings on the tree trunks. Drive safe.

    1. Yes, it was really pretty walking along in that little forest and the carvings were beautiful.


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