05 March 2010
Kootenay River and the Rocky Mountain Sheep Project B.C.
Deer and Big Horn Sheep - Images by Kinsey Barnard
Its looking more and more like spring is already here and winter isn’t coming back. I was at my desk this morning when I heard “Yaak, yaak yaak!” I looked out the window and there on the pond was a mallard! Seems a little early for him but there you have it.
I made my first 2010 foray into British Columbia on Wednesday. First stop Kikomun Provincial Park. I thought maybe I could sneak in even though it doesn’t officially open until May 1 but the gate was locked.
I headed for Kikomun Bridge and the Kootenay River. As an aside, in the U.S. the river’s name is spelled Kootenai. At this location the river was still mostly frozen over but in other places it’s completely open and flowing free.
Kootenay River Ice Image
I learned something this week about Canada. We all know it is a sparsely populated country. But, for some reason it had never registered how sparsely. The entire country has fewer than 34 million souls. That’s less than California, which has around 37 million. And Canada is a very big country ranking number four in land mass in the world. Because this is so I can just stop right on the bridge and fool around as much as I want and not be in anyone's way.
What I observed from the bridge was a bald eagle and his eagless sitting on the ice. It looked like they had just finished a fish breakfast. You also get a fabulous view of the Canadian Rockies from this location. Unfortunately, a smoky veil hung over them, as it is now open burn season.
Bald Eagle and eagless Image
Next I wanted to check out the Rocky Mountain Sheep Project and the Bull River. On the way I thought I saw something interesting down the bank on the shore of the Kootenay. I unloaded Koty and we searched for a way down the bluff. I did find something interesting and this is what I found, a Kootenay Illusion.
Kootenay Illusion will go into my limited edition collection.
Koty found something interesting too, the little rotter! We had had to cross a railroad track to get to the river. A poor elk had fallen prey to a cowcatcher and was rotting on the tracks. Before I knew it Koty had one shoulder down in it. That’s my boy!
Koty Explores Kootenay Ice
The Rocky Mountain Sheep Project is a great place to hike and catch a glimpse of wildlife, most likely Mountain Sheep. The Project is right on the Bull River. In the spring after the water settles down from the runoff this river is the most beautiful glacial colors you’ve ever seen.
Bull River Image
We hiked in the Project for a couple of hours and never saw anything but a couple of black tail deer. It will be different in the spring. The whole sheep herd will come to the meadow and it’s quite a beautiful sight.
From the trails you can get great views of the west side of the Kootenay Rockies. The snow pack looks a little light for this time of year, not surprising considering the mildness of the winter.
Kootenay Rockies Image
Back at the ranch I was greeted by about 25 mule deer in various states of repose around the house. After speaking with the welcoming committee it was time to kick back and watch the sun set.
Dancing Deer Sunset