Monday, 27 June 2011

Wherever I Lay My Hat - Paul Young

The tiny hamlet of Toad River, at 'mile 422' on the AlCan Highway, is more or less contained within one square mile with just a few homesteads scattered around it. I stayed overnight at The Lodge which consists of a small restaurant, gift shop, a dozen or so wooden cabins, a few guest rooms within the main complex, parking for a number R/V's (Recreational Vehicles) and a petrol pump.

Out and about at 05:00 this was the scene looking up the highway to the north and before the mist had cleared, which also made it difficult to see much across the lake.

This is designated Highway 97, British Columbia.

To get a flavour of what Toad River is about and the origin of the road itself, you would need to take a look at the front cover of the restaurant menu which I had considered re-typing but soon succumbed to the lazy option of photographing it. A right click on the image will increase the size, then do the same again to make it even bigger.

There is an airstrip, not of international proportions but of great importance to the locals especially in winter and emergencies!

The 'standby aircraft'.

Right next door is the school which teaches up to Grade 9 (15 years) after which further education means a move to Fort Nelson, or elsewhere to High School, or via the correspondence course system.

After the early wander I returned to the cafe for that much needed caffeine shot, to find that most civilised 'endless cup' system to be in operation.

Time also to take a look at the hat collection, while keeping a firm grip on my own, cherished, headgear.

The coffee was enjoyed in the company of Private Investment Manager Larry Osachoff, a man of the same vintage as myself, and a character indeed. Larry had obviously mastered the technique of combining business with pleasure, and as an ardent 'long distance cyclist' had peddled his way across more countries than many would ever visit, while making a good living. One such story he related was when he flew to Mongolia to assess the prospects of a new copper mining venture which at that time supported just 150 workers. During his visits there over a number of years, he rode nearly the full length of the country, much of this through the Gobi Desert, expanding his client portfolio in so doing the company now employing 1,400 personnel. His next leg of the AlCan was the 120 mile run up to Hot Springs, so I wish you well Larry and thanks for your company.
John Williams heading for Alaska on his Harley Davidson.

The moon was still visible but it was now time to search for some wildlife starting with

these Wild Lupins that are all over the place.

The same could be said for the local Raven population,

no shortage of them here.

Female (left) and male Ring-necked Duck

male Blue-winged Teal

Slavonian Grebe,

almost in full 'summer plumage'.

The morning dew clinging to a Spider's web.

Chipping Sparrow

Myrtle (Yellow-rumped) Warbler.

Blue Butterfly


female Common Goldeneye (on head shape alone).


Spotted Sandpiper

Try as I may I haven't so far pinned this most flighty bird down. When flushed it would fly a great distance, only to return to the rocks close to the car park later.

By 07:00 the picture was like this, and that's when I met

John William for a chat who was also heading for Alaska on his Harley Davidson. Bon Voyage John!

Mammals Update:-

Ground Squirrel, Grey Squirrel, White-tailed Deer, California Sea-lion, Raccoon, Hawaiian Monk Seal, Black Bear, Moose (or Swamp Donkey as they're known around here), Cony (Rabbit), Coyote, Mole plus unidentified Bat & Vole Sp, Stone Mountain Sheep, Beaver & Elk.

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