The Interior

After my run on Tuesday, I showered and headed back to campus. I noticed my right big toe was very achy. I stubbed it recently, and before that bumped it into a rock (when I fell down that hill). I could barely walk on it for the rest of the day, and it hurt pretty badly last night. I now have the toe tape-splinted, but if it hurts in another few days I’ll have to get an x-ray and a proper splint. It sure feels broken or fractured, which is a bummer because my walks and runs will be done for a while until it heals, and I wonder if I can do the 10K at the end of the October, as it generally takes a few weeks to heal. In the meantime I figure I can bike instead, keeping weight off that foot, and blog about some of my historical treks into the wild, whether it’s places we camped, visited, hiked, or ran.

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Near Kamloops

I have many fond memories of my time in Canada, from 2003, when I first visited, to now. Sometimes when I feel vulnerable or nostalgic, like I do today–not much sleep, in pain from the foot, etc., I dream of a familiar place like Kamloops, where my husband grew up. We visit often because his mother, aunts, and cousins are still there. His dad used to live there as well, though he is now further east, another trip we enjoy.

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Picture of the ranch in winter when my husband lived there as a child

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Picture of the ranch in summer, modern day

Going to the Interior is always a drive through a beautiful area that evokes silence and reverence. Heading east from Vancouver, we see a long flat valley of farmlands as the verdant green Coast Mountains disappear behind us slowly and the Columbia Mountains loom large in the distance ahead. Driving into the mountains feels a lot like journeying into a new world, a different place–as mist or snow shrouds the peaks and sunlight attempts to penetrate through and the dark blue of the mountains seems impossible, mystical, almost preternatural.

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Kamloops is one major destination, due to relatives there, but other favorites are taking the long way home (Highway 12 to 99, through Lilloet), camping at Sheridan Lake, visiting the Sun Peaks ski area, hiking Salmon Arm along the Shuswap–looking for salmon in the fall–Kelowna wine tasting, further east to Oosooyos and Castlegar and Fruitvale and Nelson and Banff (arguably on the Alberta border, not really the Interior) and up to the gorgeous New Denver and Wells Grey.

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One of Morgan’s uncle’s place outside Kamloops

But this post is all about time spent in Kamloops. As a city, it is sprawling in the valley, nestled in nearby mountains. It seems a little Americanized as far as mini-malls, big corporate stores, and fast food places. But certain parts, near the Thompson River, if you can get past the sawmill stink, and further out, are absolutely stunning. There’s a feeling of the West with the vast skies and old fences lingering around ranches and farms. Originally, Kamloops was inhabited by the Secwepemc (Shuswap) nation, part of  an Interior Salish language group. Cree-Saulteaux migrated to the area in the 15th century as well. When we visit it seems like a sleepy city, even though it has more than 85,000 residents. I think it’s because we stay out of the heart of the city since our relatives live around the outer areas.

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Yesterday I began thinking about snow and how much I miss it, and how much I miss spending holidays in Kamloops. We love to visit the Wildlife Park and just get outdoors. I don’t remember the last time I saw snow unless it was up in the mountains. I long to see it again; we haven’t had anything here in the past few years except a light dusting that melts almost immediately.

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Wildlife Park in winter — white wolf

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Wildlife park in summer

Kamloops is a very hot city in the summer as it is in a semi-desert zone, with Ponderosa pine, sagebrush, and prickly pear dotting the brown foothills around it. In the winter, it traditionally has gotten quite cold and snowy there, though they also have not had as much snow as usual in the past couple years. Though we have traveled there often, we usually go in the summer and have not visited at Christmas since 2008 or so. We are planning a trip back this year, and I’m excited about it–as long as the Coquihalla isn’t a mess, as near the summit it can also be dangerous with the snow and ice up there.

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