Posted by: Silver | March 27, 2011

Kamloops to Chase

Distance cycled: 18 km
Ascent: 80 m
Cycling time: 1 hour

Kamloops may have looked very reminiscent of California, but it certainly wasn’t exactly the same. My Dad doesn’t normally get snow at the end of March, for example…

Apparently, it isn’t particularly normal for Kamloops either, but, in defiance of all statistics and weather forecasts, the day of my departure from Kamloops started out very white indeed. All morning, I stubbornly chose to believe the forecasts that promised sunshine and 10ºC, but by the time I’d finished presenting to the lunchtime meeting of the Kamloops West Rotary Club, it was quite clear that stubbornness can only get you so far, and it certainly wasn’t going to get me to Chase in anything approaching comfort or safety. However, not one, but two members of the Rotary Club (with trucks) very kindly offered their chauffeuring services to me and Ranger, and so – albeit by a slightly different mode of transport – the journey continued on schedule. In fact, the weather started to clear up not long after we left Kamloops, so in the end I was able to pedal the last 18 km or so: better than nothing, but barely enough to work up a sweat and certainly not enough to work up an appetite again after fuelling myself up for a full-length ride – I felt so bad about my lack of ability to do more justice to the delicious meal my hosts had prepared for dinner!

While I was in Chase, my hosts very kindly treated me to a fascinating introduction to some of the village’s history and culture. First, given my interest in First Nations culture, I was excited to be taken to the Little Shuswap First Nations reserve to visit Quaaout Lodge. On the surface, this just looked like your average upscale resort and conference centre with aboriginal-themed décor, but a guided tour from Frank – a member of one of the western Shuswap bands who had come east for the golfing – revealed his plans to use the facility to introduce people to the ways of the Shuswap Nation. There was a reconstruction of a winter pit dwelling or Kikuli (pronounced ‘kick willy’, but a trans-Atlantic difference in slang meant that the Canadians present didn’t seem to think that this was as funny as I did…), and a fully functional sweat lodge, amongst other things. I was extremely grateful to Frank for taking the time to show me round, and I wish him all the best with his educational endeavours.

Next, I was taken to the district museum, which was opened specially for me since I was only in town for one day; I felt extremely honoured! There, I learned more about the ‘western’ history of Chase and how the town sprang to life almost overnight when a sawmill was constructed here and workers were needed. Once again, I was very grateful to the staff for taking the time to introduce me (and my hosts, as it turned out!) to some new and fascinating aspects of the area’s past.

My time in Chase was interesting in the best possible way, and I only hope that a few of the people I spoke to might have found my introduction to SOS Children’s Villages equally interesting.

A view of Little Shuswap Lake from the Little Shuswap reserve

The entrance to the kikuli

Not quite so attractive, perhaps, but still an important part of the local culture: there's a major salmon run through the Shuswap, but once they've done their breeding, their fate is sealed. It's an important part of the natural cycle to let their nutrients return to the ground, but they don't half pong...

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