Manning Camping With A Family
Do I ever wish I brought a tripod.
Helen's work is quite constrained around
summer holidays - they are booked months in advance and you are
only guaranteed two weeks in the summer months. We got lucks
and got the two weeks adjacent to the August Long Weekend.
It's been a while since we went camping (we last went to Cultus Lake
when Nara was 9
months old) so we decided to go local - Manning!
If you are driving out to Manning, Othello
tunnels makes a great lunch stop. Just a few minutes up the
Coquihalla Highway is part of the remains of the Kettle Valley
Railway - the most expensive section built. They cut a
number of tunnels and bridges through a canyon that made an
otherwise good route impossible for trains. It was made more
than a hundred years ago, but it's still impressive today to walk
The tunnels and trellises really are the
star of the show but there are little bits of wildlife to see
too. I like Maidenhair fern - I was quite surprised to see
it growing out of a tunnel wall. Last time I visited we
found a toad at the side of the trail.
Welcome to Camping!
We told Claira we were going camping, and
she was really excited but she really had no idea what camping
was. When we got there and unloaded all the stuff from the
car, she was just a little confused. We have a play tent at
home so once I started setting up the big tent she got a better
idea of what she was in for.
We don't do a lot of Al fresco dining at
our house - we go out for the occasional picnic. The kids
seemed to like eating outside and watching the never ending drama
of the squirrels and dragonflies as they ate. Unlike me,
they seemed to have no problem getting in and out of the picnic
table and all the services they expect at home (glass of milk on
demand) seemed to be present here too.
In the unlikely case of boredom, Mom brought two bags of
entertainment. First we had outdoor play toys - bubbles,
scoop ball, beach ball and so forth. Second we had a bag of
coloring books and other treats like glowsticks - now known as
"Candy". As the sun set, we gave the girls glowstick magic
wands and we went to see the nature show at the amphitheater.
Well past their normal bedtime, the kids got settled in to
sleep. We brought mini-tents and winter sleeping bags so the
kids would have a warm and comfy place to sleep. Both Nara
and Claira are know for loosing their blankets so I hoped their
mini-tents would prevent them from getting too lost and
cold. They mostly did okay.
We arrived Wednesday afternoon. The
first major activity I wanted to do was go for a canoe
paddle. Thursday morning we made it to the day use area and
rented a canoe - $20 for the first hour, $10 an hour after that,
pretty much all inclusive. We brought kids life jackets but
we didn't need to - the boat rental place had plenty.
Canoeing must be like riding a bike - you remember the basics very
quickly. I never did get my J stroke back (I had to keep
switching sides when I was paddling by myself), but a basic stroke
was fine for the flat water and almost non-existent wind.
The kids started the trip very interested - looking at
everything. Then they wanted to play with the paddles.
Then they got bored. Finally the just hung their fingers in
the water watching the patterns the water made. An hour of
canoing would have been enough - one and half hours was just a bit
After we got the canoe back in we had a little swim at the beach
and a picnic lunch - happy kids again!
We took Claira and Helen back to the camp site for a nap and Nara
and I went out looking for adventure. I had heard of the
beaver pond - a place just down the highway that is a hotspot for
birds. It was two in the afternoon and it was just hot -
almost no birds to be spotted. We stopped by the Park Info
Center (not the store) and found a nice colony of ground squirrels
on a very well kept lawn. I started to realize that if
I wanted to get nice photos of birds, I would need to go when it
wasn't the heat of the day and I didn't have kid or two close by.
The next morning I got up some time before
6am and started driving up to the Sub-Alpine meadows - a place I
have been two a number of times to see flowers. I did see
cars when I crossed the highway but there was no one else on the
drive up to the meadow. I stopped at the pull out to watch
the sunrise for a few minutes.
The sun low on the horizon gives a different kind of light
compared to mid day overhead sun. As I was probably the
first car driving up the wildlife near the road hadn't yet been
scared away - I probably saw a dozen grouse and even saw juveniles
- usually the first to fly away.
The last time I came up here, these birds
were called "Blue" Grouse. Now they make a distinction
between sooty and dusky grouse. I haven't figured out how to
tell them apart.
When I got to the peak I decided to try my hand at the small birds
that fly perch in the trees. I don't normally shoot the
"little brown jobbies", but with a longer lens I'm starting to get
opportunities to see and identified species - It's surprising how
many different kinds of birds are actually out there.
I walked after looking for birds, I
brought out my macro lens and went looking for flowers. The
unusually hot summer mean the peak flowers were now weeks behind
us - only a few flowers were left in shadow areas.
The rock pile at the end of the parking
lot is a particular favorite for me because of the family of Hoary
Marmot that usually call that pile home. I was quite
surprised to see a Yellow Bellied Marmot there instead. I
spoke with a ranger later in the day - turns out the colony of
Hoary Marmots died out in a poor summer/long winter year.
There are Hoary marmots in other parts of the park but this
particular colony was gone and the Yellow Bellied Marmot's seem to
be taking over. I was little saddened.
I got back to the camp site by 9am and the
kids had just finished breakfast.
I decided to revisit the beaver pond to
see if there were birds there that I hadn't seen in my mid day
visit. Even pulling into the parking lot (which was empty) I
could tell things were different.
There were four Stellars Jay's
playing the parking lot and a cedar waxwing eating blueberries at
the trail head. A raven came in to see if there was anything
he could steal from jays, who promptly scattered. It's
always nice to see real behavior, not handout seeking.
As I walked down to the pond, I could see a great blue heron
flying away. I found found the great blue herons (I think
I've seen three of them) really easily frightened. The birds
in Vancouver let you get quite close without much care - at
Manning they seemed to fly as soon as the saw you, not matter how
far away you were.
Again, there were little brown birds that before getting a big
lens I would just keep walking past.
On the way back to the camp site I stopped
by the day use area. There were three great blue herons on
the docks near the boat rentals but I didn't see much else for
birds. The ground squirrel colony was very active in the
morning - I was hoping a hawk or other raptor would come by to
thin out the flock but no such luck.
I got back to the campsite before anyone
was awake. By 8:30am the kids were starting to get up and
wanted breakfast. The high altitude makes for cold nights
(hence the winter jackets for breakfast) but it quickly warms up
and by 11am you really want to take a swim to cool down.
Nara really liked swimming in the lake -
with the life jacket on she went for longer swims in deeper
water. Claira didn't like the life jacket so much and didn't
mind playing in the shallow, warmer water.
There were quite a few insects around the
lake. We were almost constantly being checked out by
dragonflies and a butterfly fluttered by to sample something in
the beach sand.
And then it was time to go! We had some errands left to do in the
city and after three nights and four days the kids needed a bath.
We made it back to Vancouver in time to see the fireworks!
Tags: canoeing(5), long exposure(2), night(2), tunnel(2), boat(2), tent(2)
People: Claira(10), Nara(9), Helen(4), John(2)
From: John Harvey Photo > John Harvey Photo - Camping > Manning Camping 2
Last Modified Saturday, August 15th, 2015 at 09:12:09 Edit
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