Vermilion Forks Field Naturalists continued our trek along the old VV&E (Vancouver, Victoria and Eastern) railway bed on Saturday, April 16th. We had walked a stretch of it between Princeton and Hedley earlier this month, and on this occasion started at the Red Bridge, west of Keremeos. Six club members cycled a longer route than that of the eleven walkers, but we all started together and were once again blessed with blue skies and warming sunshine. As we headed eastwards we passed through fragrant, new riparian growth along the river, and eventually were surrounded by aromatic, beautiful blossoms of the fruit trees in the many orchards of the area.
It was a lovely morning, and along our route we encountered a sweet alpaca guarding a herd of sheep, a foal frolicking with its mother, thousands of turkeys and an impressive selection of birds. We observed 20+ species, among them Wood Ducks, Cliff Swallows, Eurasian Collared Doves, a Belted Kingfisher and California Quail, while one of our avid birders spotted 3 flocks of Sandhill Cranes flying overhead! Once into Keremeos we walkers continued along the river dyke, and met up with the cyclists at Pine Park (which we had to ourselves), where we relaxed and enjoyed our lunches. Once again we parted as each group headed back, somehow managing to arrive at our vehicles at approximately the same time! The walk was just under 10 km, whereas the cyclists incorporated some of the village’s quiet side roads in their extended “Tour de Keremeos.”