I love our camper. It is a very cozy little home on wheels. Although space is limited (how much can you fit in the bed of a pickup truck?), there still seems to be room for everything we need. We have a comfortable bed, clothes, dishes, food, and a small bathroom with a shower. The camper has a furnace to take the chill off on cold nights (it is a three season camper). On this trip we have brought along with us fishing equipment, my plein air painting supplies, some books, cameras, iPads, crib board, and our mountain bikes.
Our first destination was the ArtsWells Festival in Wells, BC. Wells is a tiny village (population 250) in the interior of BC, east of Quesnel. This area was settled in the late 1800's during the gold rush. There are still mining claims in the area that are being actively worked. Nearby Barkerville has been restored and is a popular tourist destination. Fifty years ago, Wells nearly became a ghost town. However, a number of artists moved into the community and restored many of the old buildings. They lobbied to keep the school open.
Wells is now the home of Island Mountain Arts. As well as the four-day ArtsWells Festival on the August long weekend, which is mostly music, but also theatre, literary events, and visual arts, the community also hosts visual and performing arts workshops and courses throughout the year. Some of my favourite music events of the weekend were Ken Hamm, Aurora Jane, Carole Pope, Coco Love Alcorn, Jenny Ritter, Kym Gouchie, Scarlett Jane, and Quique Escamilla.
We had a great camping spot behind the Jack O' Clubs Pub, near the river. One of the days that we were there, we rode our bikes to Barkerville and had lunch and spent the afternoon there (and took in a Ken Hamm concert in the Methodist church), then rode back. Another morning, we hiked some of the trails along the Willow River and Williams Creek. As the whole area has been so extensively mined, these watercourses, Jack O' Clubs Lake, and the village of Wells itself are built upon and surrounded by old mine tailings. We also went and visited with Claire Kujundzic and Bill Horne, two of our favourite artists who run the Amazing Space art studio and gallery.
And what does all this have to do with belly boats? Well, as we were travelling over the Interlakes highway between Little Fort and 100 Mile House, we camped one night at a little fishing lake. This whole area is a world class fishing destination. We, however, are only set up for fly fishing in rivers, not for lake fishing. So we stood on the shore looking out at the pretty little lake, and watched the fish jumping and rising in every direction. We knew that later in our trip we would be travelling through another area with many fishing lakes.
So, when we pulled into 100 Mile House, we went to a fishing store and bought ourselves early birthday presents. Belly boats. These are essentially inflated truck inner tubes for fishermen to sit in while floating out in lakes. They wear waders with flippers on their feet to propel themselves through the water.
Yesterday we got to try out our belly boats. We are at Puntzi Lake, a famous fishing lake along the route to Bella Coola. What fun! It was lovely to be out in the lake with the loons and the gulls. Apparently the rare white pelican is nesting at this lake this year, so maybe we will see one. We got a couple of bites, but didn't catch anything.
When it started to rain, we finished up and went back to our campsite and had dinner. There was a tremendous thunder and lightening storm in the evening, but we were warm and cozy in our camper.