Friday, November 29, 2013

Kootenay Lake ~ SS Moyie ~ Kaslo, BC

We have visited Kaslo, BC several times in the past and have always enjoyed this lovely little village on the Kootenay Lake at the junction of Hwy 31 and 31A.   I have written about our previous visits in Kaslo, (you can click here to see more), but there is always more to see and enjoy.  Our visit today is a bit overcast but the sights of early snowcapped mountains are amazing to see.

Mt. Loki in Purcell Mountains 
The Vimy Park sits at the edge of town on the water and is also home to the Kaslo Municipal Campground for the RV’ers travelling this way.  The location is within walking distance to downtown and offers great views no matter where you are parked. Mt. Loki, (elev.2779 m. – 9117 ft) part of the Purcell Mountains was surrounded by clouds on our visit but offers a beautiful sight anyway. 
SS Moyie Steamboat and Museum in Kaslo, BC 
We’ve never had the tour of the SS Moyie before and today was going to be the day that we get to see the beautiful old passenger sternwheeler as she was in all her glory.  This National Historic site was first launched in Nelson, BC in 1898 and retired in 1957 after steaming the Kootenay Lake for all those years. 
Steering wheel of the SS Moyie, Kaslo, BC
The SS Moyie logged almost a million miles of travel and memories during that time, carrying generations of families making the Kootenay Lake area their home.  The legacy continued with families and workers, as well as soldiers from both world wars.  The story is told with photos and a video that are seen when you visit the visitor center nearby.
Trunks in storage in SS Moyie
The SS Moyie restoration was a volunteer project that took years of hard work to get to where she is now and restored to the Victorian design she originally had.  We enjoyed seeing the beauty of that era and have to marvel at the job well done by this small community of Kaslo in their accomplishments with this sternwheeler.  
Kaslo River follows Hwy 31A
We left town and followed Hwy 31A to see all the wildlife and beautiful scenic sights offered along this road that connects Kaslo and New Denver.  We’d last driven this section of highway pulling the RV, following the Kaslo River which travels about 48 km. (30 mi) to Kootenay Lake.  The Kaslo to Sandon Railway once made its’ way through here to deliver the silver mined in Sandon, in the Silvery Slocan area. There are many marked trails along this old railway trail.  Click here to see our recent visit to Sandon. 
Red-tailed hawk searching for prey
We’d been told there were all kinds of wildlife to be seen along this section of road but the only wildlife we did see was this hawk, circling overhead on one of our stops to enjoy the views.  We didn’t get to see what he was looking for but with water nearby, there is no doubt there were many little critters down there. 
Hwy 31A roadside 
We were able to see a small beaver dam on the river running through this area.  I don’t know the reason the water took on such a turquoise color in some spots but it sure did look pretty on this flat area among some trees.  The Kaslo River is fed by a lot of creeks running off both sides of the highway all through this area.  
Beaver lodge near Kaslo River
Another claim made was that we’d see the “biggest beaver lodges”.  Maybe that is true, this was a pretty big beaver home that looked like it had been there for awhile.  We didn’t see any of those hardworking beavers who are our Canadian national animal, but they tend to be nocturnal.  Signs of their work is more likely to be seen than they are. This was just not a day for wildlife viewing. 
Cloud shrouded Selkirk Mountains 
As much as this was not a day for wildlife viewing, we were not disappointed in the sights we did see and enjoy.  The day was chilly, not a typical early autumn day; the snow was not too far away, although that is not unusual for this time of year and we saw more beautiful snowcapped mountains.  We had a great day of sightseeing.

We’d now completed the ‘Silvery Slocan Circle Route’ and have seen the sites from New Denver, Sandon, Nelson to Kaslo and around on Hwy 31A almost back to New Denver. We have more Kootenay roads to cover and share from our travels in the Fall of 2013 as well as many from the past visits. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Sandon ~ New Denver ~ West Kootenays, BC

Day 2 of our West Kootenay tour began with some blue sky and sunshine which was a lot prettier than our trip to Nakusp the day before.  After a breakfast at the hotel, we began our next adventure following Hwy 6, which will take us to the Sandon Ghost Town and into New Denver for a visit before we reach our final destination of the day in Nelson, BC.

Selkirk Mountains at Summit Lake, BC
Fresh snow means it is getting colder but it’s dressing up those mountains to look even better. We did stop at Summit Lake to take in the wonderful view with the welcome sun shining on us.  This is also an important breeding sight for the Western Toad.  There are times during the year that traffic will be stopped in order to protect them and let them cross the highway on their way to or from the lake to breed then return to their habitat; this happens three times a year. 
Klondike Silver is still occasionally used
We left Hwy 6 at New Denver and went up Hwy 31A to the ghost town of Sandon.  That town has a great history and one you can learn by visiting the museum there.  We had only planned to look around the one place that was open but we didn’t realize the museum has no heat, so much for warming up on a cold day! 
Silversmith Powerhouse, Sandon, BC
The fee into the museum included a tour done with photos. Andrew, the tour guide definitely gave us our money’s worth and shared lots of history about Sandon.  The town once had 5000 residents but now has only 12 who live here.  The Silversmith Powerhouse is the oldest operating hydro station in BC and supplies hydro to Sandon.   
Main Street Flume of Sandon, BC
 These are the remains of the wooden flume that channeled Carpenter Creek through town for almost 60 years.  The structure was covered by a wooden Main Street after the fire of 1900 but the flume survived many spring run-offs until a log-jam destroyed it in 1955.
Molly Brown's Brothel
 In the 1890’s, this was one of many bordellos in Sandon.  The history of this silver mining town would not be complete without acknowledging that these were a big business in those days.  This is being restored now and is a private home so no tour offered.  
Slocan Lake at New Denver, BC
I don’t recall the elevation of Sandon but it is high and it was darn chilly when we were there.  We soon headed back down to New Denver and spent more time at the peaceful looking Slocan Lake on the Mori Lakeside Trail.  It was not warm but was quite a change from the visit in rugged cold Sandon. 
Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre, New Denver, BC
 The Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre is dedicated to remember the 22,000 displaced persons during WW2.  12,000 of those were sent to internment camps in remote areas and this was one of those camps.  In 1992-1994 it became the memorial centre and has since been designated as a national historic site of Canada in 2007.  
Gardens of Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre
 We were one day late to visit the Nikkei centre as they closed for the season at the end of September but we were able to look inside the gates and feel the memories of the tragic events that created this camp.  
Kohan Reflection Garden, New Denver, BC
There is also the Kohan Reflection Gardens nearby on the lake and that is open all year. We walked around this peaceful area to enjoy the serenity offered in a Japanese garden.  The work is done by volunteers and reflects some of the history of the Japanese people. This is located adjacent to Centennial Park and the Municipal campground.

Our road trip continues.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Arrow Lakes ~ Nakusp, BC ~ Kootenays

We love rv’ing but that was not to be our mode of accommodations on this tour of the West Kootenays.  With one RV, four adults and the park we’d considered was closed for the season, motel-ing it was to be.  This worked out just fine for everyone but it also reminded us of how spoiled we are to have our own RV to live in on our other travels. 

Snow on Mt. Sproat of the Selkirks
 It was the end of September so we knew we could be facing some cooler temperatures.  I wouldn’t say we were prepared for snow but we were enjoying the scenery it created and the photo opportunities it offered.  The snow level was high enough and far enough away to think we’d not have to walk through it, which we didn’t.
Ferry crossing to Galena Bay, BC
Our first morning gave us lots of black clouds as we travelled Hwy1, stopping for lunch in 3 Valley Gap on one of their last days of the season.  Their heritage ghost town was closed so we carried on Hwy 23 from Revelstoke to ride the ferry from Shelter Bay over to Galena Bay
Clouds over Upper Arrow Lake, BC
The ferry ride is free and leaves Shelter Bay every hour on the hour with more rides added during tourist season for this 20 minute trip.  The ferry departs on the half hour from the Galena Bay side. The view today is rather limited due to the dark clouds but it also makes for some wild looking skies.  As much as I love blue sky and sunshine, this adds a different twist to the scenery. 
Ione Falls at rest area on Hwy 23
Once we arrived onto the Galena Bay side of the lake, Hwy 23 continues and follows the Upper Arrow Lake.  We stopped at the Ione Rest Area for a look at the 60’ Ione Falls that is at the back of the park. It is a small park and unless you know the waterfall is there, it can easily be missed as you drive by. 
Nakusp Promenade on Upper Arrow Lake
The town of Nakusp is the first overnight stay of our Kootenay trip.  We checked in then headed down to the waterfront.  The promenade follows along the entire length of the town with a sandy beach at the Nakusp Recreation Park at one end and the marina at the other end with sights to enjoy in between. 
Arrow Lake and Nakusp, BC
We had visited Nakusp before and I was anxious to share the beauty of this view of the lake before the threatening rainfall began. It was a cool late afternoon but the view was worth it. There are homes that line the edge of the park that runs along this waterfront and we marveled at this incredible view that they could enjoy every moment of the day. 
Red foot bridge leads us into the Japanese Gardens
Japanese Gardens in Nakusp, BC
There is a very long Japanese history in the area and that has been honored with a Japanese Garden overlooking the lake.  We spent some time in there as we made our way along the promenade. 
Spicer Gardens in Nakusp, BC
Although fall brings a slow end to a garden season, there were some pretty blooms to enjoy under the pergola of the Spicer Garden along the promenade at Nakusp.  We stopped to enjoy some of the blooms we saw there. 
"Deepening Peace" by Toru Fujibayashi of Nakusp, BC
We stopped to enjoy this sculpture but it had no name on it.  I found another sculpture the following day by Toru Fujibayashi and it was through some research on this artist that I learned that this sculpture, “Deepening Peace” was his and that it had been dedicated only the day before our arrival.  I’m sure it will soon have a plaque to name the talented artist and the name of the sculpture.

We finished our promenade walk without rain and although we didn’t take in any of the other Nakusp sights or activities, there are plenty to enjoy and the natural hot springs would be the biggest draw of this day but the heli-skiing will be happening soon, too and they say it is the best! 


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