Thanksgiving weekend in Nadina countr

The solitude of forestland, miles of open spaces and autumn gold enriched colours amongst nature's beauty of Nadina country.

Nadina Lake Lodge was the perfect destination for a Thanksgiving vacation.

Nadina Lake Lodge was the perfect destination for a Thanksgiving vacation.

The solitude of forestland, miles of open spaces and autumn gold enriched colours amongst nature’s beauty.

What a better way to enjoy creations bounty than spending some time amongst it all?

Nadina, the name is probably as old as time itself. But it’s glory still stands for those who take the time to indulge in what it has to offer.

Traveling up Colleymount Rd. one can see the tall Cottonwoods in full gold colour along the lake shore. The occasional bald eagle rests high, perched on tree tops waiting to catch their prize.

Canada geese are present, but the deer and black bear are scarce today. A stop at Colleymount recreation site is always a must. The place is silent, except for a chattering squirrel and gentle waves lapping. The pebble beach feels like moss beneath your feet and the scrub brush are bright in colour.

At the West end of Francois Lake and the Nadina River, scars from spring’s high water are present.

The Nadina River comes into view along the road with it’s willow banks and clear water. One kingfisher seems to be enjoying himself at a bridge crossing.

Traveling now past the turn off to the Nadina River spawning channel. An old sawmill site, now only a memory.

The entrance to Nadina Lake Lodge is always a welcome site after a long drive. Wendy  and Brad Thompson, great hosts are always there to greet everyone. They are great people and know how to make visitors feel welcome.

My cabin is the 12′ Davis, equipped with a large wood cook stove, perfect for cooking a Thanksgiving dinner.

Some of the other cabin names are Lucky Strike, Rainbow, Hillbilly,  Lonesome Polecat, and Wild Bill’s, of course this one is named after the late Bill Richmond.

The first job was to build a fire, get unpacked, then go for a drive. Old Tahtsa Rd. is my goal.

Grouse are in abundance and alder are slowly closing up the road. Surprisingly robins, flickers, warblers, finches, and sparrows are everywhere.

Twinkle Lake was my next stop. This site is surrounded with young pine and was once a base camp in the 1960s for the exploratory work done up on Berg mountain in the Sibolas. The meadows to the South are golden brown and low cloud is lingering.

A small cross near the waters edge reveals the name Paul George Skender 1925 – 2006.

I turned towards the Nadina River spawning channel, observing it from the top of the hill. All seemed quiet except for the workers over at the facilities. I walked down to the flowing channel over the steel bridge to the outlet at the Nadina River. The salmon are gone now, their skeletons litter the banks.

Speaking to the workers, this is the first day they haven’t seen a grizzly bear. Apparently around 10 bears were here feeding on salmon after the spawn. The bears are smart, they don’t like walking on the grated steel bridge deck so they sprawl their legs and walk the steel frame to get across.

About 6,000 salmon were counted this year, a good recovery from the spawn four years ago of 1,200 salmon.

Darkness is beginning to fall.

One good thing about this time of the year, you don’t have to worry about refrigeration, the outdoor air does it for you.

Day two and the previous night’s wind has calmed, the skies are breaking and the sun is coming out.

The Thompson’s are busy today. Wendy is baking pumpkin pies for dinner. Brad is working on the propane fridge eventually getting it running.

I placed the turkey in the wood cook stove oven. I had to get the stove good and hot to bring the oven temperature up to cook the bird.

Took a walk on the trail over to the point on the southeast arm of the lake. Passed by Joe Gordeau’s stone, the founder of this lodge, his final resting place. In the distance the Sibolas are fully covered in snow. The sun is low in the Southern sky. I discovered how fast a wood stove oven can lose it’s heat when you are not paying attention. I needed to change the propane if Thanksgiving dinner was going to be saved.

While in the cabin, it was brought to my attention of a cow moose swimming across the arm to the point where I had been earlier.

The story was then told about July first when a cow and calf swam across this same area. Close behind a grizzly was in pursuit. As they swam to shoreline all the guests started yelling causing the bear to stop in the water on it’s hind legs looking while the moose made their escape into the forest.

Dinner is moving along quite well with mashed potatoes, yams, green beans, gravy and all the trimmings.

Day three and daylight reveals a gentle snow falling outside the cabin window. The evergreen boughs are dusted lightly, but it only lasted an hour.

Time to pack up and clean both cabins before saying goodbye until next time.

I traveled South on Nadina Main towards Tahtsa Reach. I’m now back on the old Tahtsa Rd. heading towards Sweeney.

The road is narrow and winding in places. Sweeney, Rhine Craig, and the Tahtsa Range are covered in snow just below the timberline. But their peaks are lost in the clouds.

West Sweeney recreation site is another beautiful area. Sweeney mountain stands directly above here. Sweeney is home to the historic Emerald Glacier Mine beginning in 1917 at the height of WWI producing mainly silver ore.

Tahtsa Reach, the end of the road, usually wind swept but calm today.

The Swing Peak Hotel or McNeil Cabin, is really showing it’s age. The water at times laps against it’s door opening.

Old roads lead to many secluded campsites here. The lake shore is a driftwood hunters paradise and plenty of it.

It’s been a lovely weekend with the real world waiting outside.

Richard Cannon, Fraser Lake