Tuesday, August 25, 2009 – Day 44
We had a lot to squeeze into our last day on our Cross Canada Adventure. It all started with a stop at the Nk’Mip Native Cultural Centre. An amazing centre in the middle of the desert lands of Osoyoos. Our visit started with an interpretive hike along a desert trail in the blazing sun. Right from the beginning we knew it would be interesting as the kids were warned to stay off of the rocks that lined the path. It was a possible location for the many rattlers and other snakes that can become part of the tour. Although a hot day it was not unbearable and we learned a great deal of the First Nation’s history of the region. We learned about the topography, geography and plants of the region before being brought into a pit style home for the remainder of the presentation. The kids enjoyed seeing samples of artifacts such as bone fishing hooks and snake skins.
Although we did not see any snakes on our tour we did have the chance to watch their daily snake demonstration which included the opportunity to pet a snake at the end. Our guide doubled as the presenter at the snake demonstration that followed our desert tour. She handled the snakes like she was baking bread, calm and relaxed as she pulled the slithering , slick creatures from the buckets that cradled them. In her hands these snakes were so comfortable that they slid around like a bunch of kids on a park slide. The snakes seemed to be enjoying the hour long presentation as much as the kids as we were shown different types of snakes and how to identify them. It also taught the kids what to do and what not to do when they encounter a snake. Many of the mothers in the audience however rested in their seats as if they needed to go to the washroom, sitting still as jack-in-the-boxes.
We decided around noon that we were going to have to start making our way back home if we were going to conclude our trip at a reasonable hour. Our GPS gave us our estimated arrival time at the ferry terminal and with all of the on-the-road delays that always come up we didn’t have as much spare time as we had wanted.
We did however stock up on 200 pounds of peaches, pears and cherries in Osoyoos and then in the orchard stands on the road home. We couldn’t resist driving through all of the orchards without stocking up on some fresh fruit to can for the winter.
We drove along highway number 6 that winds North along the Canada USA border. There were plenty of signs on front lawns urging residents to “Say No to a National Park” in the region. It is such a beautiful area that officials would obviously like to turn the area into a national park… but with a national park come the busyness that many of the locals obviously were not in favor of. No matter what happens, this region of BC is definitely a treasure to visit.
On the next stretch of highway we saw 5 provincial park camping areas (EC Manning Provincial Park) and a tourist attraction I wished we had left ourselves enough time to visit. The tours of the Mascot Gold Mine in Hedley, BC seemed like a unique place to visit. But with an estimated tour length of 4 hours we would need to add a day or more to our itinerary. It will have to be on our list of places to come back to.
As we neared the outskirts of the town of Hope we could see the massive rock slide that carved off the side of a mountain on January 9, 1965. It was worth a short stop to see the power of what mother nature is capable of doing when forces work on it. The entire side of the mountain still looks like it was only scraped clean yesterday as one looks at the massive boulders that litter the foot of the mountainside.
As we entered the Fraser Valley I looked at the estimated arrival time for us to reach the Ferry Terminal that would take us home to Victoria. I noticed that we had very little spare time to catch the 7pm ferry and could tell that it was going to be a tight squeeze. We may need to wait another 2 hours for the last ferry of the day if things didn’t work perfectly.
Having a GPS is a great thing but as I watched the clock update our arrival time, first one or two minutes faster as I made some headway and then one, two, ten minutes slower as I reach heavy traffic, I wondered if I would make it. I seemed to be racing the clock, keeping my eyes glued to the arrival time on the GPS. I think I would have been better off turning off the GPS but instead I raced time the entire way.
We pulled into the ferry terminal with 5 minutes to spare and were the last vehicle on the ferry. We were so anxious to finally be going home and were grateful as we boarded the ferry to be heading on the final 1.5 hour stretch of our journey. Our cross Canada adventure was amazing. Going on a voyage is a great experience but so is coming home. After 2.5 months with 8 people traveling in close quarters we were ready to be home. The feeling I had as I closed my private bedroom door and fall asleep in a cozy bed that night can best be described by the old adage, “Home Sweet Home”.