Doug Rutherford

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Kusawa camping

July 2016
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July 6, 2016


My vaunted hopes of getting started early in the morning were dashed quickly when I realised I only had one complete large jerry can for boat gas. Since we were going to Kusawa, it would probably call for a fair amount of fishing, and gas requirements for that.

When I did pick up fuel for the boat and generator, and a cap for a second jerry can from downtown, Clara wasn’t feeling well. We waited a bit, but the threat of losing out on a campsite drove us to the compromise. I would head out today with the cats, and Clara would come out with the truck tomorrow. This would create one issue, in that launching the boat without help and with the motorhome is not an easy task. Therefore, Clara would come out in the truck, rather than her car, and we would use that to launch the boat.

I started off, and the drive was rather uneventful until we reached the turn off for the Kusawa Lake road. I was rather pleased with the condition of the highway. Although frost heaved in the usual locations, it wasn’t too bad at all. The Kusawa Lake road, however, was a mess. Most of the 25 km to the campground was washboard, and you couldn’t drive much more than 40 kph for the whole road. It took more than half an hour to get to the campground. It is more than time for Parks to get the road graded again.

I did get camp fully set up, though, since the option for fishing was gone. This included setting up the stabilizer jacks under the motorhome, which keep it from moving when you walk from one part to the other. Clara says this will eventually make her sea sick. I also bought a new camping tarp for the first time in four years and put it up. This is a more complete set up than I have bothered with for some time, and certainly the first this year.



The campsite.

The cats were far more at ease this trip, although neither expressed a great deal of happiness with the washboard road coming in. I put Furball in the larger carrier and he seemed OK with that. Like Darcy, he spend most of the run into the campground sleeping.

It was nowhere near as warm and sunny today as it was yesterday. It did climb up to 20° but was cloudy and muggy most of the day. Guessing that rain is coming sometime in the near future is not a huge issue. It did get a bit windy this afternoon, with whitecaps on the lake. This probably would have restricted my fishing anyway. Ah, aren’t the grapes sour? By 8 PM, though, the sun came out and the sky cleared.


Walking scenery.

I used this as an excuse for a walk. I did a 2.2 km walk around the campground and out to the stream that runs between the first group of campsites and the second. It was a beautiful evening for a walk, with enough of a breeze to keep the mosquitoes from being a problem. I’ll knock on wood now, since in the three camping trips so far, I haven’t used insect repellent once. It’s been buggy in the back yard, particularly since I need to repair my mosquito vac, but not in the campgrounds. Since I’m looking to go to Lake Leberge at the end of the month, a lack of camping mosquitoes would be deeply appreciated, especially there.


Furball has spent his first camping day at the bottom step, looking out at the world. He really is my worst worry about running away. Darcy is quite the homebody, and she has spent most of the first day on the upper bunk, looking down on the rest of the world. I seriously suspect that, if I left the door open, she’d stay on the upper bunk.

I did take the guys out for a bit of a run, and quickly found a very good spot to put their tie-out stake. Furball, normally, was far more adventurous. He was particularly interested in the birds in the trees above him.


Furball, timber kitty.

And, a bit after 10 PM, it seemed time to just sit back, watch the fire, and read my book until it was time to go to bed. After all, it’s peaceful and what could there be to worry about?


Camping. What could go wrong?

July 7, 2016

I woke up during the night a few times, since Furball decided it would be a wonderful evening to see how many times he could stop the circulation in my legs by lying on them. Other than that, and some cramping in my poor left hip, I did have a great night.

This was the first night on the new mattress. When I was going for knee surgery, the plan was to sleep downstairs on the sofa bed for the first little while, rather than go up and down the stairs on crutches. However, a quick measurement proved that the sofa bed was far too low for me to comfortably get in and out. This necessitated a quick change of plans and I tried to find a inexpensive mattress that would the double bed and allow me to have a higher place to sleep. I ended up buying a rather nice memory foam mattress.

This quickly led to the consideration of adapting it to the motorhome bed. The corner of the bed is cut off to allow for more access into the bathroom. I was going to cut down the foam mattress and resew the cover, along with finally having the incentive to tailor the bed clothes for the bed. However, it only does stick out about a few inches, since the mattress is a little bit narrower than the bed itself. No modification of mattress, and bed sheets, required.

P.S. The mattress is far more comfortable than the old one that came with the motorhome.

Today started well, with me cooking a nice, but late, breakfast at 9 AM. This does seem to be our traditional wakeup time camping when I’m not getting up really early to go fishing.

After breakfast, I put the cats on their tie outs and did a bit of cleaning up. Then, I made coffee and went to read outside with the cats. They did surprise a vicious squirrel who was probably coming to kill us all and drive him away, or least, that’s Furball’s point of view. However, there are three dogs in the next campsite, and when the neighbours woke up and took the dogs out, Furball was quite frightened of them. He made a beeline for the door, but his line was tangled around a tree and he literally backed out of his harness. I did manage to grab him and pick him up but he was so frightened, he scratched me while I was trying to get him back to the camper. Note to self: time to restock the first aid kit.

This is kind of strange, since the dogs are all quite small and Furball hasn’t really shown any fear of dogs before. Darcy seemed a bit leery of them, as usual, but Furball was genuinely frightened. He probably is bigger than two of them to begin with, and the next campsite is about 50 feet away. I did buy off his consternation with wet food, the favourite treat in the house for both cats.

After a short while, Clara came with Katrina and Ryan. They drove up in their car and my truck. We used the truck to get the boat loaded and I took the kids for a bit of a ride, about 15 km in total. I ran it full out to see how well the boat would run. It was perfect. So, after that, I refilled the fuel tank and headed out to the first point on the other side of the lake to troll back. It did not run very well at all, surging again. If my problem was bad gas, why do I still have the same problem with new gas and fuel system cleaner in it?

I trolled on this side of the lake, therefore, in case it quit on me. I fished along the next bay, past the third campground. There were lots of fish on the fish finder, but they were all sitting on the lake bottom in about 50 feet of water. Not feeding, I’m afraid. So, I decided to see how much sputtering there would be if I ran it wide open on the way back to the campground. It ran without a hitch. I am confused.

Note that one thing was not confusing and ran perfectly. This was the fish finder from the old big boat. Since the boat was going so cheaply, I kept some of the items from it. This included the old Garmin fish finder, which works wonderfully on the little boat. One thing that did not work so well were the two cans of Coke I packed for the trip. The little cooler was still on the floor of the camper when I came back.

We made supper and then had a nap. After an hour, I decided to try the boat again. This was the worst it’s been, before and after being fixed. I had started for the first point again, but decided to come back to the dock since I didn’t think the motor was actually going to last long enough to get back. It simply does not want to run with any load on it. Half of me thought of packing up the camper and taking it back to Checkered Flag first thing in the morning to see if they could actually fix it. I also did consider just heading back with the boat early tomorrow morning, but since I probably wouldn’t get it looked at until at least next week anyway. I am a little bit tired of the motor’s issues this summer, since it hasn’t worked well this year at all.

I did come back and go for my walk. I didn’t get very far tonight, just 1.6 km. I did follow that up with two more smaller walks. Neither Darcy nor Furball were interested in being staked out with dogs on leads 50 feet away, so I took each for a walk individually. At about 9, I put a fire in. It was time for s ’mores anyway.

All told, the weather was nice although it did look like it was going to blow up from the north for a while. It was sunny and got up to 20° again today. The sunset, or as close as you get to it here with the mountains, was lovely, with Mount Vanier being licked by the last rays of the bright sunshine.


As we sat reading a bit before bed, along comes a fox down the campground road. He was quite the size, and a cross fox as well. We don’t normally see foxes in this campground. I wonder if this is the end year of the rabbit cycle, since I haven’t seen many of those this year either.

July 8, 2106

It rained overnight and the wind blew. All of the tent poles blew down on the tarp over the picnic table, which led to the cats being fascinated with the ropes blowing to and fro. There was a great deal of scrambling to determine who would have the best window vantage point to watch things swaying the wind.

Through most of the day, it was quite cloudy. The sun did manage to peek through about 4 PM (for a little while). We did spend some time sitting under the awning, watching the cats on their leads. The people in the site next door with three dogs left around lunch time, so they were quite content to be outdoors.

However, despite the sun, a large black cloud appeared across the lake, followed by several rumbles of thunder. It looked pretty bad, so I battened down the campsite, put away the tarp and much of the cooking things. I also went and pulled the boat up onto shore just in case. When the wind blows out of the north here, it tends to blow quite hard and the lake can get pretty rough rather quickly. However, it usually calms down just as fast.


Storm clouds over Kusawa Lake.


I had started supper on the barbecue but finished it indoors because of the way the weather was turning.

About 8:30, all was sunny and calm again and the temperature went up to its rather consistent high of 20°. The low last night was only 13°, a nice temperature for sleeping. I went for a walk, about 1.3 km, and then remembered I had some fuel system cleaner in the motorhome. I pulled the boat back out far enough on the wharf to lower the engine and poured some of that in the fuel tank. I sloshed it around and ran the motor at idle for about 10 minutes. This won’t tell me if it works fine, which it has on occasion but not consistently, but will get a bit of the cleaner in the system to sit overnight and work, if, of course, that is the problem.

July 9, 2016

Morning started early, since I looked out the window when Darcy head-butted me awake a bit before 4 AM. This is normal, since she is a bit emotionally needy at times and needs her early morning cuddle to get through the night. However, I looked at the window at a lovely sunrise, so I grabbed the camera and walked down to the beach to get some pictures.

I quickly discovered the memory card was still in the computer, so walked back to get it. When I came back, a woman had set up her tripod on the same spot with much the same idea I had. She laughed and said, “I’m glad I’m not the only wingnut up at 4 AM.” I grabbed a few pictures, so I should throw one in for an example of what the mornings are like.


Sunrise on Kusawa Lake.

We did go back to sleep and got up at a more reasonable hour. After breakfast, I got the dishes and got out the gear to try the boat… again. It worked fine. I ran her up under power and there was no power loss, no sputtering and no hesitation. I am confused. I did troll a bit near the campground, since I’m still a bit hesitant to trust going to the narrows, about 9 miles down the lake with a motor that’s been undependable. I did take another speed run after trolling a bit, since the fish were all about 1 or 2 feet off the bottom. They’re sleeping, rather than feeding, when they’re there. I came back in when it looked like the weather was going to blow up a bit. Sure enough, another afternoon thunderstorm came up.



With the storm, the lake was quite rough, although the bay in front of the campground was still quiet flat. The wind was blowing out of the south, and the point where the second and third campgrounds are does block off a fair amount of weather when there are southerlies.

I put a fire in a bit later, and wondered my standard epicurean question. Do marshmallows and chocolate go with a red or white? I read in front of the fire for a few hours, while Clara read inside the motorhome. I also managed to take each cat for a long walk, in spite of Darcy trying to pull a fast one and escape through the door when I was coming in. Both cats were far more adventurous than usual, and both went quite a ways. And, neither asked to come in for a change. They are rapidly becoming advanced camping kitties.

It stayed warm and muggy, even with the thunder. It hit a high of 21°, while the inside of the camper got to as high as 25°. Nighttime temperatures were quite comfortable though, every night.

I went back in, finished working on my log, and enjoyed a hot chocolate. Camping is strenuous.

July 10, 2016

During the evening, the cats raised quite a commotion. About 4 AM, they took turns running over us in the bed to the bedroom window, and then back to the kitchen window a few feet away. The were quite intent on something. This morning, when I was getting the generator started for the toaster (have I mentioned that camping is strenuous), there was a bit pile of fox crap right under our bedroom window. I think I get what the commotion was about.

I went to bed, feeling miserable with a headache and a sore throat. I woke up worse. We did grab a quick breakfast and started getting everything back together to come home. Clara drove my truck while I brought back the motorhome and the boat.

We also shared cats, with Clara taking Furball and me taking Darcy. Furball travelled with his seatbelt harness for the whole trip. He was good but was upset that I wasn’t in the truck with them. We met up at the Takhini Burn rest area, and he was fine after that.

I left Darcy in the carrier to the rest area, but put her in her seatbelt harness from that point on. She tried three time to get onto the dash, her favourite camping napping area, but fell since the lead was too short to let her get up. I succumbed, and reach over and unhooked her. She spent the rest of the trip on the dash in front of the passenger seat, happy as a clam. She sort of looked like a little sphinx, perched with her paws out in front of her, sound asleep…






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