Adams River & Kamloops

Adams River & Kamloops

I had signed up for a photography trip with the Seattle Mountaineers to photograph the spawning salmon at Adams River in British Columbia. it’s supposed to be one of the largest populations of spawning salmon in the world. Since I’ve never seen salmon spawn, I was interested….and wondering how we would photograph it.

So, we loaded up the cars (I rode with another person) and followed our fearless leader on a seven hour drive from Seattle. We might have gotten there sooner, but the leader was carrying bear spray and had to have her car, etc., inspected by customs AND she was one of those drivers who sped up, slowed way down, then sped up again…and suddenly almost coming to a complete stop. On a trip a year after this one, I found out why she drove that way…she’s a bird fanatic. If she sees a bird, she brakes to get a better look…no matter that she’s on an interstate with traffic behind her. A very, scary driver….I shudder from the memories.

We didn’t get to our hotel in Kamloops until around 11:00 at night, so we headed straight to bed.

After a half-decent sleep, it was time to get up for breakfast. I had a hard time falling asleep last night because our “leader” has to be the noisiest person ever to get ready for bed. In fact, the manager told us this morning that the adjoining hotel room’s guest complained about the noise. After a quick breakfast, we headed to Roderick Haig-Brown Provincial Park where there were good viewing areas of the spawning salmon.

The water in the river was very shallow and you could see hundreds of salmon trying to work their way upstream. In some places, the water was so low that the top half of the salmon was above the water level. It was easy to tell the males from the females…the males have a huge hump on their back and their mouth is hooked since this is where they store the accumulated protein during their life in order to have energy for the swim against the current. The females usually had white, tattered fins and tails. You could also see the sharp teeth when the males opened their hooked mouths, sometimes attacking and biting the tail of another male.

We hiked a bit and found another spot where we sat for an hour, snapping photos of some salmon that were really close to shore and talking to two Canadian Rangers (very friendly and very fun to talk to). The Rangers told us to be on the look out for bears…they had seen a couple earlier that morning. We never saw the bears, but we did see plenty of bear scat….and you could sure tell they had a diet of salmon and berries!

At the end of the day, we packed up and had dinner at a restaurant in Kamloops before heading to the hotel for bed.

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