Wednesday 31 May 2023

Third Battalion, Regiment Freiherr von Zach, Number 15

What pictures of figures and not scenery? Well yes. 

This is the last battalion in Regiment von Zach. I had completed this before I went to Canada, but I only finished the basing yesterday.

And all three battalions of the regiment.

Sunday 28 May 2023

In Distant Lands - The Finale

Well our time in Whistler was short, just two nights and I was a little underwhelmed with the place if I am honest. The town is pretty enough and the village centre was certainly pumping, but it is a ski, mountain biking and hiking centre for which we are not really geared. That said, we found a couple of museums and galleries to visit, had a few drinks and some nice dinners.

A modern Thunderbird totem pole at the Squamish-Lil'wat cultural centre
Above and below, Whistler Village scenes

On Sunday morning we took to the road again, heading to another cousin in Langley, a satellite of Vancouver. There we handed back our rental car and met up with more second and third cousins, some we had met before, but still more that weren't even born when we were here previously.

The hot warm weather of the previous week was gone and we were under grey skies and temperatures in the mid-teens (C). On Tuesday we went to old Fort Langley. Built in 1827 the fort was built by the Hudson Bay Company during the Oregon border disputes as a sort of insurance policy...if the border was settled on the 49th parallel instead of the Columbia River it would secure the British claim to the Frazer River. Three years later it was a major trading post in the area and the primary export port for salted salmon to the Hawaiian Islands. After 1846 it became the provincial capital.

While much of the fort is a reconstruction (the white storehouse building is one of the few original structures) it was of great interest to me. I have a passion for the old west and this is the nearest I have come to an old west fort, even if it wasn't a military post. I was surprised how roomy the interior was - 180 meters on the long axis and 60 on the short. I chambered up onto the ramparts, through the blockhouses and among the buildings. A number of living history demonstrations were running - the blacksmith, the cooper and the yarn maker.

On Wednesday we went up to Harrison Hot Springs with my cousin and her husband. We set off on a cool grey morning but by the time we had had some lunch and "taken the waters" mid-afternoon the sun had returned and we had a pleasant evening meal with a view over the lake before briefly taking the waters again in the late evening then a nightcap.

It was dull when we arrived...

But soon brightened up

And there were some spectacular views at sunset (above and below).

The same view the next day...much sunnier and warmer.

The hot weather had returned and temperatures soared again to 32C. On the Friday we went out to White Rock, close to the US border, for a walk along the sea shore and lunch overlooking the Straight of Georgia with fabulous blue skies and dozens op people wading in the shallow water.

White Rock Pier - the longest in Canada
A look back at the shoreline
A pair of totems on the shore

This was our last activity on the trip and now we are sitting in the airline lounge waiting for our flight to be called. In another fifteen hours or so we will be in Auckland and fighting the traffic to get has all gone so fast!

Sunday 21 May 2023

In Distant Lands - Part 4

We left the Lake House on Wednesday morning - it was booked for rental for the rest of the week and for the upcoming holiday weekend. Another cousin picked us up and took us out for the day. We skirted around the town of Salmon Arm to Little Shuswap lake and up onto the Quaaout Indian Reserve, where we had lunch. While the day was warm, the smoke from the Alberta wild fires some 600-700 kilometres to the northeast closed in and restricted the view.

The smoky view across Little Shuswap Lake

After lunch we visited Margaret Falls. A brief walk through the forest brought us to the falls that were thundering with water from the spring thaw.

Later we had dinner in town with all three cousins and their partners to celebrate her indoors' birthday.

Thursday was a quiet day that ended with us all trekking down to the the local sports centre to watch the grand children play baseball, but that was soon aborted when a late afternoon electrical storm swept in - there was no rain, but at least the associated wind helped to disperse the Alberta smoke. So we went back to the house and we met three relatives that we didn't meet the previous Sunday.

The next day we moved on again and it was a difficult farewell, knowing that with the advancing years we may well not see some of the cousins again. We were on the road again to Whistler, via Kamloops, Cache Creek and Lillooet. This is beautiful countryside with terrain that varies from arid hill country west of Cache Creek (where it was easy to imagine whooping Indians coming over the crest), to roaring rivers, peaceful lakes and snowcapped mountains.

On the road west of Kamloops

This, and the next two images, the Fraser River in the gorge between Pavilion and Lillooet

This and the next two images, Duffy Lake.

The hotel in Whistler 

The now closed Whistler ski runs

We have only a week to go now, with another night in Whistler then it's back to Vancouver to meet up with another cousin.

Wednesday 17 May 2023

In Distant Lands Part 3

Friday was our day of relaxation in the luxurious  Chateau Fairmont Lake Louise hotel right on the lakefront. It is certainly not a cheap option, but this is our first overseas trip (and first holiday of any length) since 2018 and we decided "why not"!

It was a gorgeous day with hardly a cloud in the sky all day. We started the day with a walk to the far end of the lake. The lake itself is not large - just 1800 meters long with a maximum width of 600 meters - but its small size is made up for by the stunning mountains and forests that surround it. The ice was clearly melting (one of the staff reckoned it would be gone on another five days) with more blue beginning to show. The workers at the boat shed were getting out the canoes, readying for summer activities and by day's end there was a row of red hulled canoes across rather deck of the boathouse waiting for free water and customers. Without me rambling on about it I'll let some of the pictures we took on the walk speak for themselves.

The ice is beginning to melt 

More evidence of the melt

Magnificent trees against the clear blue sky

The blue of the lake starting to show through the ice

The frozen waterfall

The head of the lake, where the blue is becoming more evident

The cliffs at the head of the lake

Looking back at the hotel

Late in the evening looking across to the boat shed

Saturday saw us on the road again to visit family in the upper Okanagan Valley. Enroute we stopped at the town of Golden and visited the Golden Skywalk, a pair of suspension bridges 425 feet above the Kicking Horse Canyon.  The first bridge is around 140 meters in length and passes directly above the chute where the water gushes through. Then you walk through some pretty forest areas, past the zip lines and roller coasters to the lower return bridge, which is a little shorter at around 90 meters.

The upper bridge

The chute under the upper bridge

The lower bridge

Looking down the gorge from the lower bridge

I didn't take many pictures from the bridge itself because I was petrified  that with the movement on the bridge I would drop the phone!

After about an hour we were back on the road to my cousin's home near Salmon Arm on a beautiful spot on the banks of the Shuswap River - very rural, very peaceful. The weather has turned and it is fine and hot - unusual for the time of year the relatives tell us. Sunday was a family day with 15 of the 19 relatives that live in the area able to attend. It was wonderful to catch up with them all after so long. There is another such event when we get back to Vancouver where the rest of the family live.

The next day they took us out to their cabin on the waterfront at Mara Lake and in the afternoon out in their boat for a gentle cruise through the southern end of the lake in gorgeous 30+ degree temperatures.

On Tuesday the heat was not as searing and we cruised the northern end of the Mara Lake, had lunch at a pub in Sicamous before heading through the gap into Shuswap Lake then back 'home'.