Monday, October 26, 2009

Through the Fuzzy Mountains ...

... and into the Desert

When Cuppa and I visited Vancouver and British Columbia two years ago, we rented a car for the whole time and got around quite a bit. This time, we decided to stick close to home base for the most part and limit ourselves to Shank's mare and public transit. However, with the girls, we also took a quick two-day trip into the dry interior and back.

It's a 400 km trip from Vancouver to Osoyoos (see blue squiggle on map below) and a total change in geography. Right on the Pacific, Vancouver and the windward slopes receive abundant precipitation, but the interior, leeward side is in a rainshadow to the point where parts of it can be considered desert or near enough.

While travelling, especially in scenic BC, one wants to take many pictures, but there are very few opportunities to stop. So, we made the most of our situation and snapped away to our hearts' content whilst travelling at speed, which is why I called them the Fuzzy Mountain in the title. Taking photos became even more problematic on return trip with the windshield liberally bespattered with bug carcasses. Nevertheless, I'm going to inflict some of my attempts upon you.

The mountains are never far away in Vancouver, but I'd say we were definitely in them somewhere around Abbotsford or Chilliwack (click on the map to enlarge it). At that point they looked something like this: heavily forested with trees from the summits to the valleys.

The next two photos were also taken in the windward, rainier regions.

Soon, however, perhaps somewhere between EC Manning Park and Princeton the vegetation changed noticeably with trees becoming sparser and the surroundings beginning to look dry.

Of course, this change continued until we were in a desert or extremely close to such as we neared Osoyoos, which is about a stones-throw to the America border. We picked Osoyoos because we wished to visit wine country and heard that there was a unique native-run winery there. Perhaps, I will say more about Osoyoos at a later date. In the meantime, Cuppa has mentioned it here and here.

While I have known about windward and leeward slopes and rainshadows for a long time and always seemed to be referring to such in my geography classes, it was quite interesting to drive through the transition myself.


Anonymous said...

Beautiful scenery and the pictures are very good. I am enjoying learning about Canada. We may have to leave here some day. HH is beginning to question our gov. No place is absolutely problem free, I guess. Either one thing or another.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

I have visited Kamloops and was surprised at the dry grassland around there. It amused me seeing signs for trout fishing. Apparently there were lakes in the hills that were good trout fishing ponds.

The transition from one climate zone to another can be very dramatic.

Barry said...

An interesting and insightful trip, Anvil. I have learned much along the way. I would love to take that drive myself sometime.

And I really like your new background.

Mara said...

Loved the photos and information and I think your new background is very autumny (is that a word?)

Ginger said...

It looks almost exactly like the journey across our own state. I love the scenery and variety of the Pacific Northwest! So glad you are able to get over to "this side" now and then.

Bernie said...

My late husband was in the air force and this allowed us to see every province and territory in Canada....none prettier than BC, my favorite spot was around the Okanogan Area, was in Chilliwack once and it was very nice. Your photo's bring back some wonderful memories.....:-) Hugs

Diana said...

Hi Ac,
I've missed your beautiful photos! And love your colorful new background! What a lovely trip I enjoyed it , thank you!
Love Di

Donna said...

Love the photos!! And the new background!!hughugs