Head for the hills! And then river… 

It’s been a long rough 18 months for Fiona. She’s always been my daily driver but driving her the 750kms weekly to and from work on an unhappy highway has been wearing her out. If you happened to read my last story, I bought a cute little commuter car and Fiona is now the official adventure jeep. There are a few things that she needs to have done before she’s back to her former glory, but she’s definitely still good to go for now. 
Yesterday my friend Jordy messaged me and asked if I wanted to go offroading…. I said no and that maybe next month some time when the weather is better… I’m kidding!!!  I said most definitely! He had an idea where he wanted to go but no specifics, so I knew just the trail to climb. We headed out of town to a Forest Service Road named Whitebottom. There are a few farms and homes along this road but it’s also been used for logging in the past. Another friend had been up a specific logging road that branches off the Whitebottom road, passing by a glacier that is walking distance from the road and I wanted to get there. The Whitebottom road is a few kilometres out of town and easy to find. I’d been there a couple of years previously, hiking and exploring the forest along a creek and had even been part of the way up the road we were about to explore. 


We easily found the logging road and headed up and not very far along I saw the most amazing view of our local ski/snowboarding hill, Shames Mountain in the distance! Although it’s closed for the summer now, there’s still snow showing off the runs to all who may see it. I was in awe and a bit farther up the mountain, we stopped to flex the jeeps on dirt piles along the side of the road and I got some photos of Fiona with Shames in the background. 

Fiona with Shames Mountain on the left side of the photo

One of the things that I love about the area that I live in is that there are always snow-capped peaks wherever you look and today didn’t disappoint. The higher up the mountain we drove the happier I got. I just love being way up on a mountain! I’m thankful that there are roads that we have access to and my jeeps to climb them! 

Appreciating the view up in the hills

Flexing the jeeps

Shames Mountain

 

When we got to about 475 metres up the mountain, we hit snow. I knew this was a likely event, but wanted to see how far we’d get. We took a few photos of our jeeps in the snow and headed back down to the valley with the intent to try again later in the season. We weren’t disappointed though, this was a warm up to the summer season. 


Jordy mentioned that he had a new camping stove that he wanted to try and suggested going down to the river to cook some dinner. We made a plan for food then he had to run home to pick up his girlfriend Erin who had been taking a course all day and couldn’t join our earlier excursion. I also ran home and once we were organized we met up and headed to a fun trail that would take us to a spot on the river that only 4 wheel drive vehicles and people on foot can access. The sun was still above the mountains, shrouded in some puffy clouds, giving some lovely light rays. Jordy was figuring out his high speed, mini cook stove while Erin studied a bit and I took photos. 

Photo credit to Erin


Once he got the stove going he cooked us some turkey burgers. They weren’t just any turkey burger, it was my job to buy buns and not having any at home I ran to the corner store to grab some and they were out! The only buns available were tiny dinner rolls so I thought to myself… “they’re still buns…” and bought them. So sliders it was! Tiny turkey burgers cooked over a tiny stove! By the time we were done eating, the sun was starting to set behind the mountain on the other side of the river. After a few photos, we went for a rip along the beach before heading back to our homes. 

A short adventure on a beautiful, sunny day.

Until next time, happy trails!

Jen

A pretty way to spend a Saturday evening 

A fun but somewhat bumpy evening backroad drive up to a couple of local camping areas, one is called Redsand Lake, the other is Hart Farm on Neighbouring Kalum Lake. 

Redsand Lake road

Pine Lake, along the way to Redsand Lake.

Checked out a few side roads…

Fiona’s dirty spare tire

Another side road

Heading to Hart Farm camping area

Kitsumkalum Lake, commonly known as Kalum Lake

Kalum Lake, from a camping spot

Kalum Lake

Kalum Lake

Beautiful Redsand Lake

At Redsand camping area

My friend and Fiona at Redsand Lake

Beautiful Fiona at equally beautiful Redsand Lake

A Special Nass Valley Adventure 

 Greetings to all! 

Let me first thank all of YOU, the folks who follow the Green Jeep Adventures! I never thought I’d be interested in writing a blog, but here I am, over 3 years later, still writing, taking photos and sharing adventures, 3 things that I love to do.   

Spring has FINALLY arrived in the northwest of BC and with it, the opportunity for warm adventures! This new year has seen some changes, including Fiona getting a (vehicle) sibling, who may have her own adventure story here and there. I bought a commuter car to get to work, almost 2 hours of driving each workday on a less than perfect semi-remote highway. Poor Fiona has been getting worn out from the incessant bumping and jostling on the highway so I bought a Subaru Impreza. Her official name is Calypso Gypsy but her nickname is Shark Fin. Fiona will take on the role of official adventurer. 

My pretty little Shark Fin


Then, last week I had 3 very special visitors, my eldest daughter and my 2 eldest grandkids, aged 11 and (almost) 13. They haven’t been my way in many years as I usually go to see them on Vancouver Island. 

We had plenty of adventures during the week that they were here but we made a special a trip north to the Nass Valley hot springs and brought a friend of my daughter who she hadn’t seen in many years. It was a great way for them to catch up and a great way for me to make memories with my grandkids.  

We set out early on a Thursday morning in hopes of being alone in the pool, at least for a little while. There are a few scenic stops that I like to visit along the way, but because it’s still spring, everything was different. The lakes weren’t their usual pale aqua glacial colour, the snow pack in the mountains hasn’t melted and the creek that runs in and out of the forest along the highway was empty, including my favourite little waterfall. It was quite the ravine without the swirling turquoise water to hide its rough craggy lava rock. 

My grandkids exploring around the empty pool that’s filled with aqua water in the summer


What hasn’t changed are the beautiful moss covered Nass Valley Memorial Lava beds. We even saw a wolf who stood proudly up on a big lava rock for us to take photos!   Such a treat to see!


Last fall there were some upgrades done to the hotspring and to the trail leading to it. This was my first trip since the changes. Previously, we had to pull ourselves up a short, semi vertical rock face with a rope that was tied to a large tree at the start of the trail, then hike up and down through the forest, traversing over tree roots and gnarly rocks, through muddy holes and swamp. Now, there are crisp new sections of boardwalk that bypass the forest and through the swamp. It’s an easy 7-10 minute walk to the springs! There’s also a shiny new cedar outhouse by the newly expanded parking area. These are welcome improvements but with easy access come more people. It’s great for tourism in the area though and it’s certainly a beautiful drive to get there. 

The start of the crisp new boardwalks to the pool

The original rock with a rope to so folks could pull themselves up to the trail. An awkward endeavour with bags over the shoulder!

 

There’s lots of parking space now!


As we arrived at the pool, I was happy to see that we were alone. Right beside the hot pool there is still an old, covered, doorless shack with benches in it for changing and storing personal items but just up the trail past the pool is a newly built change house with doors. The area is still in development so it will be interesting to see if another new structure will replace the old one as well. We could smell the odour of sulphur as we approached and saw steam rising as we walked along the trail. The pool has a ledge built around part of it and 6×6 timbers surrounding it, increasing the depth by a good foot. Also added in the water along the timbers were a few well placed, large, flat rocks that could be used to step into the pool or sit on, when in the water. The pool itself isn’t very big and would possibly hold a maximum of 10-15 people. The steaming water runs into the pool like a small waterfall from a pipe somewhere up on the mountain behind the pool and a cold water pipe from a small creek that runs past the pool on the opposite side, also tumbling like a tiny waterfall from a pipe.

 

Since I have been to the hot springs a number of times, I knew how hot the water was and couldn’t wait to get in. It is ridiculously hot! So hot that my grandkids couldn’t fully submerge themselves! Even though both kids tried to get in on the cooler side, it was still too hot. My grandson sat with his feet and lower legs dangling as he sat on the boardwalk and my granddaughter eventually sat with the water to her waist, but not for long! After about 5 -10 minutes, she got out.

Good thing our visit was fairly short or the kids may have been bored. They may have actually been bored but they never complained. We had brought food so they snacked on lunch items while us adults lolled in the steamy little piece of heaven on earth. 

After about 45 minutes 3 other folks arrived and we all chatted a while. A young man had brought his visiting parents to the hot spring to show off the beauty of the north and in our conversations, it turns out that we have mutual friends, a common thing in the vast, yet small north coast. My family and I stayed a couple of hours more before packing up to head back to the jeep, as my daughter’s friend had to work that afternoon.

We had just arrived back at the jeep and my granddaughter, who had been a few steps behind us saw a bear in the woods near the trail and quickly ran to us, yelling “There’s a BEAR!” . Sure enough, about 100 feet away, in the still leafless trees was a medium sized black bear eating newly sprouted grass. I set off the jeep alarm a couple of times to warn the folks back in the pool and to possibly scare off the bear, but it just kept eating, completely unconcerned with us. Once we were all packed up, we drove along the highway past the hot pool location to see the bear and again it wasn’t at all interested in us. It looked at us with caution as we stopped briefly to snap a few photos from inside the jeep. At this point I decided that the other people in the pool weren’t in any danger and we turned around to head back home.  It had been a huge bonus to see wildlife! 

 

Although the plans for the week with my family changed from day to day, the visit to the hot spring was “in stone” as my daughter had put it. I’m happy that she and the kids have fun memories to take home as stories for their friends and memories for each of us to carry forever.

Find your adventures!

 Happy trails,

Jen

 

Fiona’s Surgery

This past week I noticed that Fiona’s back brakes were feeling intermittently crunchy and I felt that they needed to be checked as soon as possible. When I would step on the brake pedal, I could occasionally feel a bumpy drag and hear them grinding a bit. Not a good sign. I messaged my mechanic and he said that I could stop by in the morning so he could check the brakes out let me know what state they were at. When I arrived at his shop, he jacked Fiona up a bit took a look, then he took the driver’s seat and we went for a cruise around the neighbourhood to test the brakes and any other possible causes or issues.  After a bit of driving and some swervy turns, we went back to his shop and he looked around with his flashlight.  He found metal shavings on the back brakes and said that they needed to be changed right away, that it wouldn’t be safe for me to drive the 150k to and from work on Monday.   He also noticed that one of the front bearings is wearing and said it was ok for the moment, but should be changed soon. Since he was committed to another project for the day, he pointed me in the direction of his 4wheeling buddy and friend who is a mechanic at our local Canadian Tire store. He also offered to do the brakes on Sunday morning if I couldn’t find a shop to help me out on Saturday.

I love my little town for this kind of help and caring.

Fiona at my mechanic friend’s shop

It was still early in the day so I headed right to Canadian Tire to see if there was time to do Fiona’s brakes right away.  Thankfully, they weren’t completely booked and had time, although possibly in between other appointments. I was so thankful to get in on short notice that it didn’t matter to me how long it would take. The two ladies at the automotive counter took great care of me (one even offered me a job since I love automotive stuff so much!).

While I was waiting for the quote for the brakes, rotors and possibly calipers, my eyes wandered to the wall of tires behind me. I’ve been researching tires for the past couple of months, since Fiona’s current summer tires are getting bald and will need to be replaced soon.  I spied the tires that I’ve been reading up on, the B.F. Goodrich KM2 tires. These are serious mud tires and high in my list of favourites.

A seriously awesome looking tire with great reviews

I asked for a tire quote as well, but have another month to decide. Suggestions and comments from my 4 wheeling readers are gladly accepted!!

But I digress…! Back to the brakes…

Fiona was driven into the bay almost immediately and once she was up on the hoist, I was able to go into the garage to have a look at the issues with the mechanic and his apprentice. I recognized the mechanic from a 4 wheeling trip last spring and I know that he has great skills at building offroad vehicles so I knew Fiona was in good hands. He showed me that one of the rear coil springs would need to be replaced, and the apprentice noted that a lift kit would work too!!  I loved that he suggested a lift, I’ve wanted one since I bought Fiona but I haven’t managed to get to that point yet.  Having to adult gets in the way of fun sometimes!  Hopefully one day though.  But all these injuries to Fiona have  happened because I have to drive 150k, 5 days a week to work. Since a lot of things at work changed over the past few years, I lost my carpool and have had to drive myself on a lousy bumpy highway for over a year and poor Fiona is feeling the pain of it.

That will soon be changing though.

Soon these ugly winter rims will be replaced with summer rims and hopefully, new tires

I was able to look under Fiona with the mechanic. I saw how well the skid plates have protected underneath from damage while 4 wheeling!

Bye for now, Fiona! See you soon!

I figured that I’d have a few hours to wait until Fiona would be ready so I messaged some friends and set off on foot to do some home renovation window shopping before meeting up with them. A couple of hours later, I was a bit surprised to get the phone call that Fiona was ready! The mechanics got the job done faster than I had anticipated, considering they may have had other appointments. One of my friends dropped me back at the store and there was Fiona, looking bright and and ready to roll!

She’ll be going back to see my regular mechanic over the next couple of weeks to have the other issues dealt with but is good to go for now.   In the meantime, I’ll dream about the fun things that I’d like to add to her in the future.

A jeep is never really finished…..

Happy trails, friends!

Jen

Feeling better with fresh brakes.

Never a Dull Moment…!

The weekend was all planned out with busy things in need of doing.  Friday after work was ‘do these’ busy things, Saturday was ‘do those’ busy things, Saturday night was a night out with the girls and Sunday was ‘finish up the rest of the busy things’ to get ready for work on Monday.  I was ready to give ‘er guns… but that’s not what happened.

 What happened was something I’d not really ever planned, nor really ever wanted to do, but when my friends Jord and Erin sent an open invitation to adventure, it was hard to resist.  I was invited to go winter camping!  For some folks, this is a normal thing that they look forward to every year and although I love to camp the rest of the year, I kind of hate the cold, being cold or having anything to do with cold.  (although I do enjoy a cold beer on a hot day).  So for me to accept an invitation to winter camp was quite a feat… but somehow, an easy decision!  I’d been invited camping with these two a number of times last summer and always had other plans already so could never join them, but this time I just said yes…. Most of the busy things could wait so I messaged the girls to count me out for Saturday night and of course they were excited for my adventure. 

The weather has been very unusual this winter, with long spells of extremely cold temperatures and very little snow.  There had been a couple of days of snowfall  that added up to less than a foot of snow, quite unusual compared to the normal on and off snow/rain/slush that would add up to about 3 feet or more!  So when I was preparing to go camping, the ground was relatively snow free, except for leftover frozen patches… but by noon it was snowing!!   I continued to pack up and wondered how the drive up to the campground might be.  The highway is a remote but busy, curvy road going to the Nass Valley communities north of Terrace and can be treacherous in a heavy snowfall.  Today the snow was falling moderately so I didn’t know what to expect.  Once the jeep was all packed up, I was on my way!  Thankfully, the highway was still clear of snow and was just wet.  The drive is a short 15 minute drive from downtown Terrace, much shorter than I had anticipated.

 The campground is situated in Kitsumkalum Provincial Park. It’s an unattended recreational site along the banks of Kitsumkalum lake, locally known as Kalum Lake.  Goat Creek flows through the park, into the lake so some folks call the area Goat Creek campground, and once, a very long time ago,  there was a hotel. Apparently there are remains of the hotel, but that will be another story… there’s a huge rock at the entrance of the campground that has “Ackerman’s Point” painted on it so some folks refer to the area by that name as well!  When I first moved to Terrace a number of years ago, I was mystified  by all these names and could never find this ‘invisible’ campground.  Yet, I had unknowingly driven past it at least a dozen times!  The road leading to the campground is an unassuming, dirt road off the highway and if you aren’t watching for it, you might completely miss it!  I’d only known about Goat Creek campground and Ackerman’s Point, which I thought were two different places, so when  my friends said they were camping at Kitsumkalum Provincial Park, I had to ask where it was!!  Once they said where it was and I mapped it out, I knew exactly where I was going.

 By the time I arrived at the campground, the snow was falling lightly.  I could see Jord’s jeep, another small blue car and a blazing fire and a big tent.  Once I’d parked and said my hellos, I decided to set up my bed inside the jeep so I didn’t have to do it later that night, in the dark.  I was well prepared with my thin summer air mattress and sleeping bag but beefed them up with 5 wool blankets, and a huge down quilt.  I knew it would be cold at night and like I mentioned before, I hate to be cold!

 Our other friend Curt was there visiting for the afternoon so we all joked and laughed around the fire until he had to go.  Then we went for a drive in our jeeps down to the huge expanse of frozen beach.  While we were down there my other friend Danny and his buddy showed up with his jeep and we all bombed around and took a LOT of photos!  

Eventually Dan had to leave as well and the rest of us headed back to the campsite to make some dinner.  I had brought a slab of locally caught salmon with lemon slices and red onions wrapped in foil to cook over the fire.  There was no grating to put the salmon package on so we had to put it directly on coals and I hoped that it wouldn’t overcook or worse, burn.  It took a while to cook and I had to check it a few times but it ended up being perfectly cooked and very delicious. 

By this time the weather had changed and I was prepared to be enveloped in snow all evening. The wind had picked up and was blowing the fire in every direction, despite the wall of logs built to protect it. My feet started to freeze, even though I was wearing wool socks and I prepared for the worst. I looked up to see how thick the clouds were and what did I see but a twinkle! To our amazement, the sky was clearing! The wind was blowing the clouds away and the stars started to pop out like Christmas lights in December! I didn’t know at that moment that Jord had brought his telescope but I sure was excited when he said that he’d brought it!  We waited until it got really dark out to take the telescope down to the beach for some star gazing.  I’ve always been fascinated by space so I was in complete awe.  When we go about our daily lives, we only see the stars that our weak eyes can focus on, but through this telescope I could see distant galaxies!!  It was absolutely spectacular!  We stayed stargazing for quite a while and by the time we packed up the telescope and headed back to the campsite, I was literally star struck!  It was after midnight by the time we were done and soon after we were ready for some sleep.  By this time, the air had chilled considerably so my array of blankets and down quilt were a welcome sight.  I got cozy and was out cold in minutes! (pun intended).

My internal clock woke me at 7:15 the next morning.  This may seem early, but my normal wake time for work is 4:45 so this was a nice sleep in!  But I wasn’t ready to wake up.  And I couldn’t go back to sleep.  Sigh.  Once I eventually sat up though, I noticed the sky becoming pink!  I hopped into my boots and made my way down to the beach to take photos, noticing a red truck parked near the entrance of the park.  I figured that there must be somebody else out with a camera.  I was right, but I didn’t see him while I was out taking my photos.  I walked up and down the beach a while taking photos of the pink light reflecting on the mountains and videos of the ice breaking on the lake and crackling as the waves pushed the chunks to shore.  Such a serene morning!  I was already back at the campsite building the fire when I saw the photographer hop in his truck with his camera and drive off.

 Jord and Erin woke a couple of hours after I did and by then the fire was happily crackling .  This campsite is shady in the morning so the fire was welcome warmth.  We got a plan for breakfast and started to cook.  I had my portable MSR cook stove and accessories so boiled water for tea, then cooked scrambled eggs.  Erin cooked up a  fried rice medley on their Coleman stove and we all shared.   Once breakfast was all done, it was time to pack up to head home (to get some ‘busy things’ done).  The camping policy is always take out what you bring in and take more if it leaves the area in better shape for the next folks.  Once we were ready to go, we drove the jeeps down to the beach for a goodbye rip and to drive out to the highway along a hidden trail that connected to the beach.

 This may seem like a fairly typical camping trip but to me it was made special by being winter and challenging myself to do something that was out of my comfort zone. Would I do it again? You bet I would! And, I finally was able to camp with Jord & Erin and we had a blast!

 Never a dull moment around here!

 Happy trails,

Jen

Making Memories

Shortly before Christmas 2016, I was invited to go for an adventure with my next door neighbours.  They were planning a trip to the local Exstew waterfall on the Exstew River, about 35K from town.  It’s a very popular area in the summer with a nearby campground featuring beautiful beaches along the river with back roads to go exploring on.  The weather had been extremely cold, dipping to -25C at times and now the waterfall would be frozen.  We wanted to see this treasure!

I was going to have my 2 young grandchildren with me for the weekend.  The neighbors have 3 boys and 2 dogs so I thought it would be a great time for the kids.  I went to pick them up from my son’s house on Friday afternoon and decided to bring their dog, Suma, a sweet gentle Husky/Chow cross.  I got everyone packed up and off we went!

The next day we got all geared up for the adventure.  It was a chilly, cloudy day but thankfully wasn’t raining or snowing.  We headed out onto the highway as a caravan of 3 vehicles.  I’ve been to the Exstew area many times before but never in the winter. I’ve done day trips and camped and was looking forward to seeing it all under a blanket of snow.  This stretch of the Exstew river is well known for its bear population.  It’s a protected area and during some spring seasons, the Fish & Wildlife Department close it because there are so many bears fishing along the river that it’s just not safe to be there.  The last time I camped there I saw multiple bears but not near the camping area, only when we were out exploring the back roads (in a truck, thankfully!) But this is winter and the bears are all snoozing away.

We turned off the highway to follow the trail to the parking area.  The drive was a magical fantasy lane, with the snow hanging off the trees in thick pillows and branches bending down and touch our vehicles in some places.

xmas-jeep-x2  x2-snowy-road

Once we parked and everyone was out of the vehicles, the kids & the dogs started to run all over the place, playing in the snow and climbing small boulders.  We had to gather everyone together like mother ducks herding their babies and off we went, up the trail.  The trail to the upper waterfall, (there are two trails to different parts of the falls), is about a 10-15 minute hike.  It’s not flat and wide, it’s narrow, winding, somewhat steep and parts were a bit slippery on this day.  But it’s not a difficult trail. Except for my granddaughter Brooke.  Our group consisted of 5 adults, 5 kids ranging in age from 4 (Brooke), to 12 (the neighbour’s eldest) and 5 dogs.  All the dogs and the 4 eldest kids, ran back and forth, up and down the trail the whole way up, laughing and yelling.  The dogs whipped past us repeatedly, chasing each other and having a great time… which in turn, terrified little Brooke.  The bit of ice on the flat part of the trail terrified Brooke.  The tree roots terrified Brooke.  Her brother River talking about snake caves terrified Brooke.  Basically this whole adventure terrified her!!!  She screamed or cried at every step, imagining mosquitoes and flies, screaming at every small dark cavern under a root thinking that a snake will slither out, crying, “ Gramma! There’s a snake in that cave! I’m scared!” and turning to hug my legs.  And as often as I told her that there are no snakes or mosquitoes or flies in the winter, she was still afraid that there were snakes in every little hole!!  Ultimately it was my own fault, as I had been telling a story of my boys (their uncles) finding a pit of baby garter snakes at the campsite during a camping trip long ago.  River kept pointing out the dark holes that a snake could hide in!  So hiking isn’t Brooke’s thing…  yet…

I was attempting to help her over the roots because she was crying that she couldn’t, but when I’d start to boost her, she’d tell me that she could do it herself!!!  Haha!! There was no winning here!  No winning for me, but in the long run, a big win for Brooke.  We bumbled and tumbled our way up and when we turned that last bumpy curve, there it was…..   the most spectacular waterfall I’ve ever seen, in all its frozen glory!!!!

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The magnificent Exstew Falls

This waterfall is especially beautiful and powerful in the summer, pounding on the rocks as it plummets down the cliff, creating a small pool at the bottom from centuries of erosion.  Droplets of water bounce off everything in its way, creating a mist that washes far and wide.  Anyone within 20 meters will be completely saturated!!!  In summer, it’s truly a natural work of art, but now… in the winter, it was mesmerizing.  So perfectly abstract.  So savagely wild. Sweeping yet contained.  Flowing, yet solid. Fierce like a  wraith, ethereal like a fair lady.  Such a contradiction of textures.

I was taken by its pale turquoise colour, its sweeping icy arms, dripping massive icicles.  There was a small rush of water still alive beneath the meters of ice about half way up, reminding us that it was still a most powerful, living entity, even in its state of stasis.  The huge pile of ice at the foot of the fall would be the mist rising in the summer, but now was captured by the frigid air and morphed into a massive protective ice ghost.

I was in my trance, gazing in awe at the magnificence in front of me, yet there was all sorts of activity around me.  I was snapped out of my momentary daze by little Brooke crying that her fingers were frozen and that she couldn’t get up the hill because she kept slipping on the snow.  I took her mitts and gave her my gloves to wear and stood behind her so she could still climb and not slip.  I suggested that she pretend to be a snow tiger.  That helped her ambition and she smiled and became excited to climb up a bit higher.  For a short while she was happy and smiling and proud of her accomplishments.

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Happy Brooke

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  River, Brooke & me

The other kids and dogs were climbing and sliding up and down the huge hill that is generally inaccessible during the summer.  The ground and rocks all slippery with snow on it, are way more slick with water and moss on them!  Suma was so happy to be out and about with the kids and other dogs.  We were there at least an hour, exploring up and down the creek as best we could, watching the kids and dogs having fun.

Here is a short video clip of the fun & the waterfall on my my YouTube channel: 

When we were ready to head out, we gathered all the kids up and started back down the trail.  I thought that maybe Brooke would be a bit used to it, but nope.  She was NOT happy to be on this horrible, steep, root laden, snake infested trail again!!  I’m pretty sure that going down was more terrifying than climbing up and again she cried or screamed at every turn.  After a few minutes of this, my wonderful neighbor Cyndi, picked Brooke up onto her hip and packed her right to the bottom!  Brooke still screamed, more than cried going down and was happy when we arrived at the bottom.  Let me tell you, after all her commotion, I was happy too!  So when we decided to go to the lower falls, Brooke, one of the older boys & Cyndi’s husband stayed in their warmed up truck.  The rest of us walked to the other trail and headed in.  After traversing this very short, flat trail, but with large tree obstacles, I was glad that Brooke was safely in the truck.

The lower falls has a nice frozen pool and a great view of the upper falls.

view-from-lower-falls

View of the upper falls from the lower falls

We explored and played there for about 30 minutes and headed back to the vehicles.  Once everyone was packed up and ready to go, we drove to the campsite to check out the river and so some snow wheeling.  We drove through the snowy camp roads and parked near the river.  Everything was pristine and white with part of the river flowing out from under icy banks.  Us women and dogs hiked over to the water while the kids stayed with the guys.  My friend Lisa’s boyfriend, Corey reminded River of his Uncle Jorden so that’s what he was called for the rest of the afternoon.  The two of them got along famously and threw snowballs at each other and played.

 

Soon we were ready to head home with visions of our adventurous day and dreaming about camping in the summer.

These are how memories are made.

Happy trails to you all!

Jen

Dream Big!

Happy New Year to all! Welcome to 2017 and a year of fresh adventures!

This month is the 3rd year anniversary of the Green Jeep Adventures!  It’s hard to believe that it’s been three years already, the time has flown by! I’ve posted 32 blogs in that time and have no intention of slowing down. I came up with the concept I believe, on January 11th and started to write. Here’s a link to the story of how it all started for anyone who is curious: http://wp.me/p4ge8y-2

If I look over the stories that I’ve written, I realize that I’ve had WAY more adventures than I’ve written about. Maybe I’ll get around to writing about some of them, but many would be best told in photos, (of which I have plenty!) Often I’m out hiking and the only mention of Fiona would be that she got me to the trailhead! But I guess that’s ok, it is, after all, an adventure blog and hiking IS an adventure!  I do have a fun adventure from just before Christmas to write about, so stay tuned!

So what’s ahead for the Green Jeep Adventures? Well, more adventures!! I’m just in the baby stages of writing about the adventurous life, exploring near and far. so there are plenty ahead. I have a couple of possible road trips planned for this year and plenty of smaller local adventures. I absolutely love where I live.   From my local neighbourhood to the farthest reaches of the country, Canada is my beloved home and I want to share it with as many people as I can. My travels likely won’t extend past British Columbia and possibly Alberta this year, but we’ll see. Nothing is written in stone and a surprise adventure can be spurred at any given moment!

Future adventures include a trip across Canada, a trip through the USA and the biggest dream, spending time in Australia in a green jeep with a rooftop tent. Going to Australia has been on the very top of my list since I was a teen!  While I’m there, I want to also visit Tasmania with its beautiful bountiful seafood and wild windblown hills and New Zealand, whose mountainous landscape is so spectacular that it rivals the Canadian Rocky Mountains!! I have family and friends living in Australia, so will be doing the rounds. Most of the folks I know live in eastern Australia, and I have a friend who lives in the outback of the Pilbara region in Western Australia. There’s so much culture and heritage there and I’m excited at the thought of learning about it. It’s one area that I simply cannot wait to see!

For now I’ll be focusing on local adventures and digging into the heritage of my own communities here in the northwest of British Columbia. There is so much to explore right here in my own back yard!

What adventures are YOU planning this year??  DREAM BIG!

Cheers to you all and thank you for continuing to follow my adventures!

Happy trails!

Jen

Fishing

Fishing the Tseax River in the Nass Valley

Ms. Fixit’s Adventure 

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Fiona is ready for winter

I recently had help putting Fiona’s hard top on (right before the cold snap!) and also put the cargo rack back on. I recently noticed that 2 bolts were missing from the two top front holes and that the rack was shimmying a little bit apart. Now, just driving around town, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but the past week I’ve been on the highway driving a round trip of 150k a day, to & from work and the rack has been shaking it’s way apart. I wouldn’t normally notice this, but there was a strange bumping noise that made me inspect the rack to see if it might be the problem. When I saw that the two pipes were coming apart, my heart jumped into my throat. Visions of my whole cargo rack flying off in sections as I was careening down the highway passed before my eyes! I envisioned pieces smashing into other vehicles on the highway, shattering windows, denting hoods and puncturing tires as pipe chunks flew off the jeep onto and under cars and trucks. “I have to fix this right NOW!” I thought to myself.I searched my jeep for the 2 missing bolts with no luck so decided I’d have to buy new ones.

But it’s Sunday and chances of finding the right bolts today will be a challenge. Fiona & I set out to good old Canadian Tire with hopes of finding something close to what I needed. First I checked the hardware section to no avail. Then I headed to the automotive section and found a few small rotating racks with various small packages of vehicle repair items. It took a while to sort through everything but I finally found some 1/4 inch by 2 inch bolts and packages with washers & nuts to correspond. Armed with parts and hope, Fiona & I headed back home to sort out the cargo rack.

The passenger side of the rack had not started to separate and I was able to put a bolt in it easily. The driver’s side, however, was about a 1/4 inch apart and I couldn’t fit the bolt in. Time to get creative. I remembered that I had a case in the back of the jeep with bungees and 2 straps with come alongs. I pulled out the straps, set them up from the front to the back of the rack and started to tighten it up. Once I got it as tight as possible, I got a piece of wood & a hammer & pounded on the rack with hopes that it would move. It didn’t move all the way back into place but it moved enough that the bolt fit! I just needed to know that the rack would stay together. I slipped the bolt, washer & nut through the pipe and secured it. The bolt was a bit on the thin side & was wiggling around a bit, so I wrapped both sides with electrical tape to hold everything tight.

When I get the proper bolts, washers and nuts, I’ll replace these small Canadian Tire bolts, but they’ll give me peace of mind for now!

Happy adventuring!

Jen

 

Day Trippin’

Where’s your favourite place to day trip? Maybe you have more than one place that you love to visit? Day trips are a great way to have a mini adventure, to put the cares of the previous days or week away for a short mental and physical break from the everyday routine. Well I love day trips and recently I was going to do a solo day trip to a nearby town and decided to ask some friends if they’d like to join. My friends Amanda & Krista said yes and off we went!
My initial reason for wanting to go to this neighbouring town, Prince Rupert, was to go to the local microbrewery, Wheelhouse Brewery to try a glass of specially created raspberry/lemon zest Gillnetter Golden Ale.  It sounded really delicious and as a craft beer lover, I wanted to check it out. I found out that there was only one 40 litre cask that was being opened at 4 pm on a Friday but I couldn’t make it on Friday so I planned to go out on Saturday and hope that there was some left. You never know, right?

We left for Prince Rupert at 10 am. The highway runs along the mighty Skeena River. It winds in and out of the forest and over the many creeks that tumble from the majestic mountains that sweep toward the river valley. Every time I do this drive, I’m reminded how tiny I really am. It is stunningly beautiful with tall waterfalls visible far up in the mountains, water cascading into unreachable ravines. The mountains are massively intimidating and gorgeous and at some points, hang over top of you as you drive! Mere words cannot describe the views.

The Skeena river is wide and choppy and is also tidal. Prince Rupert is right on the ocean and the tides push up into the river and people fishing or camping on sand bars have to properly time when to arrive and leave so that they don’t get caught on the bar, or flooded out (at certain times of year).

The mountains at Polymar Bar

We arrived in Rupert around 11:30 and headed for the quaint area known as Cow Bay. This area has lovely shops and some fine cafés and restaurants and is right along the ocean, overlooking the docks.
My friend Dai owns a sushi restaurant, Fukasaku of Prince Rupert in Cow Bay, so we stopped there to see if there was lunch that day.  On this day there was only dinner so we decided on the nearby Cow Bay Cafe. Although I’ve been to Rupert many times, I’ve not eaten there! I‘d heard of it though, and was eager to try the food. The 3 of us sat at a table near a the full sized glass window overlooking the docks. Many places in the northwest are supportive of anything local and Cow Bay Café has Wheelhouse (Prince Rupert)and Sherwood Mountain (Terrace) beers on tap. We each ordered a local brew and browsed the menu. There were so many amazing choices that it was hard to decide what to order. And….  I was having so much fun that I didn’t even take any food photos! But I did take beer photos!

Wheelhouse Flagship Pale Ale & Gillnetter Amber Ale behind

Since there are enough foodies out there describing food, I won’t. But it was amazing! The food that we ate may or may not still be on the menu because it changes frequently, depending on what local ingredients are available. We saw that there was an elderberry flower spritzer that we reeeeeally wanted to try, and we wanted to add Prosecco to it, but it was sold out. I’ll be foraging for elderberry flowers next spring! We still bought the Prosecco though and it was delicious. Making a mental note to come back, we headed out the door and wandered up the street to the HomeWork Store gift shop to browse before heading the half block to Wheelhouse Brewing .

The brewery is the tiny back part of a building, nestled along a large rock face with a large gravel area out front. I’d have probably missed it if one of my friends hadn’t pointed it out! As we walked through the door into the gently lit room, I could see that it was very quaint and rustic. There’s a serving bar on the left side as you walk in, a large community table beside it, an area for performers straight ahead and a couple of large industrial coolers to the right. I saw a long time friend sitting at the bar with a couple of buddies and stopped to chat for a few minutes. I then asked about the lovely sounding Gillnetter Amber Ale with the raspberries and lemon zest and as I suspected, it had all been consumed the evening before. I asked if they had their beautiful rich Smokehouse Porter, but being a seasonal beer, they did not. I ordered a Pale ale, filled my 2 growlers, the girls ordered their beers and we sat at the community table. One friend pulled a game off a tall built in shelving unit and we set up to play. I can’t remember the game’s name, but it was really hilarious and we laughed a lot. Plenty of folks started to come in, many dressed up from attending one of the three weddings happening in town that day. I knew a couple of folks, it was good to see friends that I don’t get to see very often.

The girls & I decided on a time to leave, finished our game and our beer and off we went. We’d had a great time and look forward to doing this again.

Full, happy growlers

On the way home, we stopped along the Skeena River and I took a couple of photos. Never a dull moment around here!

Happy trails!

Jen

My friend Krista ‘s phone cover matches Fiona!

Rubicon 2016

Here’s a re-blog of Offroad Vegan’s recent wheeling adventure 😀

Off-road Vegan

This year’s Rubicon trip would be unlike any other we have ever taken.  Maybe it was the seemingly countless trailer flops.  Or maybe it was the legendary campsite.  Or, the fact we started in Wentworth Springs instead of Loon Lake.

Day 1: Mt. Hood, Oregon – Yuba City, California

Our journey began at Mt. Hood in Oregon and we made our way through Bend for a lunch stop at Broken Top Bottle Shop and their legendary BBQ Tempeh sandwich.

As we made our way down Highway 97 into Weed, California, the sun started to set and the temps dropped from the high 90s to the upper 80s.

DAY 2: Yuba City – Wentworth Springs – Buck Island Lake

After an overnight in Yuba City, we dropped doors at a sketchy Motel 6 and finished the route to Wentworth Springs.

No Rubicon trip is complete without a cold beer at Uncle…

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