Monday, July 27, 2009

Creston, BC to Crowsnest Pass, Alberta, Canada

We set off on a sunny morning from Creston, BC, Canada after an overnite stay at the Sunset Motel east of town. Now we were approaching the East Kootenays, on our way to visit Karen’s cousin and see some sights in Alberta. Traffic was fairly light and we followed Hwy 3/95 through Moyie onto Cranbrook, BC, Canada where we stopped for fuel but no time to stay, we were on a mission to get to Alberta today.

Fernie, B.C., Canada
We were starting to see some beautiful mountains as we approached Fernie, BC, Canada and we pulled into a park for some picture taking but with all the trees, the mountains were not visible. Good time to use the park facilities, though.

Gateway to Elk Valley

Fernie, BC, Canada is called the “Gateway to Elk Valley” and is rich in native history and coal mining. They now offer year round events too many to mention, but check out this website.

We went into town and took pictures from the main road thru town, Hwy 3, which shows a great view of the mountains no matter which way you turn. We drove around looking for the best view without power lines and stopped long enough to take some pictures then were on our way again.

Sparwood, B.C., Canada

We arrived in Sparwood, BC, Canada in time for a late lunch at a neat spot that Karen had been told about. We had the best lunch and were glad we’d waited for it.

Sparwood, BC, Canada is known as the “Heart of the Elk Valley” and home of the largest truck in the world. We just had to get a picture of that. Sparwood is a small town and once known predominantly as a coal mining town, where these large trucks are used.
A great way to learn the history of the mining is to check out this webpage of a virtual museum:
It is still a mining town, but is now more diversified with tourism and recreational activities being promoted.

Frank Slide, Alberta, Canada

Our next highly anticipated stop was to see the Frank slide. We’d oohed and awed at the mountain views of the Crowsnest Pass we were driving thru with Karen identifying the mountains we saw, relying on her childhood memories and doing so well, too. We stopped at the Frank Slide Interpretive Center, which is situated on the slide, with views of the mountain and the rock still sitting as it did the day of the slide.

The Frank Slide happened April 1903 and 76 lives were lost. It is history that is well worth knowing and the story should be told. We were disappointed in the Centre but more for the lack of assistance the staff were giving than the center itself, although we weren’t impressed with the quality of the short film we did finally find to view, but the story is important. We did file a complaint with the office.

Karen’s cousin grew up nearby and gave us a tour of some local landmarks. We drove right into the base of the Frank Slide. It was quite remarkable to think of all that rock crashing down on the village of Frank. You can read the story on this link:

Lundbreck Falls

Then we went onto Lundbreck Falls just off of Hwy 3. They are so pretty, took lots of pictures from the top then walked down to take some close ups, too. They are part of the Crowsnest River and fall 12 meters. The town of Lundbreck is off the highway a bit so we didn’t get there but is home to 234 residents. It was named after Mr. Lund and Mr. Breckinridge in 1903 when they came to develop the area for mining. There is the Lundbreck Fall Provincial Recreation Area with year round camping and lots of outdoor activities to do, so a nice place to spend some time enjoying the Crowsnest Pass.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Kaslo, B.C. on our Kootenay Road Trip

After enjoying a great lunch with our friend Karen Mae in Nelson, we left this pretty little city to carry on with our Kootenay Road Trip. We had places to go and see so we were on our way by early afternoon.
We drove up Hwy 3A, which then becomes Hwy 31 at Balfour, BC, for about 46 km (28 mi) and stopped at Ainsworth Hot Springs with the thought of enjoying a swim in the hotsprings, something neither one of us had done for many years. To our disappointment, the pool was closed for repairs so we had to pass on that idea.  We carried on north on Hwy 31 for 24 km (14 mi) enjoying great Kootenay Lake views and the Purcell Mountains until we reached Kaslo, B.C.

Karen and the S.S. Moyie
There is a lot of history in Kaslo, including the S.S. Moyie. I enjoyed writing about that in a previous page, if you wish to read more, click here.

Tourist information, Kaslo, B.C.
Imagine the fun of working in tourist information for Kaslo. The view is spectacular and the staff was very helpful, and included a wagging tail from the friendly resident dog. Tours are available on the S.S. Moyie and include great historical and nautical stories of the past. There were a couple of kayaks for rent on the shore of the lake, ready for those wanting to experience the water up close.

Front Street - downtown shopping
Kaslo is a small town but seems to have all you'd need on their main street, including a grocery story, markets, deli and several interesting shops and galleries. Karen and I stopped for coffee and a pastry at a little family bakery store and enjoyed the great service. They also offer a computer with internet for those travelling and wishing to go online.

The Mariner Inn
We didn't stay in Kaslo but there are several accommodations, including the new hotel recently opened. And what a great view that would have! There are also several campgrounds in the area, most of them on the beautiful Kootenay Lake. We'd visited the Cedar Bay RV park on one of our former visits to this area and it is situated between Ainsworth Hot Springs and Kaslo.

Marina and boathouses
 At the far end of town is a small park with a quiet view of this little bay, it was a great spot to spend some time before we left town to carry on with our travels.  I believe this park is also where they hold the Kaslo Jazz Etc. Summer Music Festival held annually and enjoyed by many visitors as well as the local residents.
Now follow us onto the East Kootenays.  Click here to see more.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Nelson, B.C., Canada on our Kootenay Road Trip

Karen and I are still on our first day of our Kootenay Road trip. We have seen so many great sights and put on lots of kilometers so we're ready to end the day in a very special place, Nelson, B.C., Canada. Karen has come back to her home town after many years away, many memories and many changes.

Nelson is definitely one of my favorite little cities. It has richness in history both for those that built the city and for our family. We lived here during the early years of our marriage, due to being transferred here twice and also two of our daughters were born here and so it holds very special meanings on many levels.

Kootenay Lake
We checked into the old restored Hume Hotel, one steeped in history, and walked uptown to find a great spot to eat a late dinner. Then we drove around town, finding old familiar spots to remind us of the old days. It was a gorgeous sunny evening and we wandered around the Gyro Park, enjoying the sights and the view from high on the hill above town as the sun set.

                                                                   Downtown Nelson, BC

There are several spots in the downtown area that have outside patios to eat on, extending onto the parking section of the street. The tree lined street make it very appealing and it is a very busy downtown during summer weekends, especially, dinner time can even be difficult to find a place to eat.

Lakeside Park

The park makes a nice shady reprieve from the summer heat and we had to have some french fries with vinegar, hmm, that does bring back memories of old !
Although there are many changes over the years, there are still many things that bring back the childhood memories to Karen and our other friend Karen who joined us for the day to reminisce
about the old neighborhood.
For more on Nelson visits, check out this other page.

Now we move onto the next day of our Kootenay Road Trip. We visit Ainsworth, Kaslo and Creston, B.C.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Kootenay-Alberta Road Trip - Salmo, BC, Canada

Karen and I left Trail during the late sunny afternoon and drove through the small villages of Montrose and Fruitvale on our way to Nelson, via Salmo, BC, 60 km (36 mi) away on Hwy 3B.

Salmo is a village high in the Selkirk Mountains on Highway 6. Before the Columbia River dams were built, the Salmon River was heavily stocked with fish, giving the original name as Salmon River. The townsite changed its' name of Salmon Siding to Salmo to avoid confusion with other places.

Keith and I had RV'd here when he was working in the area a couple of years ago and enjoyed the September weather. It made it very easy to travel to Trail, Castlegar or Nelson as they are all within a half hour's drive and Creston isn't far using the Salmo Creston Hwy. That was another great working holiday, work for Keith but a holiday for me ! And it was also before I was blogging.
There are a couple of RV parks in Salmo. We'd stayed in the one behind the Selkirk Motel on Hwy 3B and there is another on Hwy 3 heading south. Nothing fancy about either one but easy to get to and park in.

The Gold Rush and the logging history is told with stone murals around town. I've taken pictures of most of the murals but have featured only a few. If you wanted to see more done by the students of the Kootenay Stone Masonry School with local rock, check out

The Placer Miner
The first to be done and is on the back of the museum.

Grizzly Bear
Completed in Nov. 1990, a project of Kootenay Stone Masonry Institute

2 lifesized springboard loggers

The loggers are showing how it was done in the past.  After a short stop to view the murals and take pictures in Salmo, Karen and I headed north on Hwy 6 and passed thru Ymir, B.C., with it's historic old Ymir Hotel but little else, and got into Nelson, B.C., after a long day of sightseeing and driving.

Stay with us and enjoy the sights of Nelson, a little town I never tire of and Karen's hometown.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Kootenay/Alberta Road Trip, Rossland & Trail, B.C., Canada

Here are some pictures as we enter Rossland and Trail on our trip through the Kootenays. We stopped for gas as we entered town but didn't make any other stops in Rossland. We had our sights set on spending the night in Nelson, BC so we passed right thru town.

Downtown Rossland, B.C., Canada

Rossland, B.C. has a permanent population of 3653 but that number must go up considerably in the winter months when they have the world known Red Mountain Ski Hill. Rossland is where Nancy Greene grew up and this is the ski hill that she made famous, when she was winning gold medals at the Olympics during the 60's.
There is a park named in Nancy's honor as well as a lake with camping facilities on it, not far up Hwy 3B from Rossland. You'll find more info at:
Rossland also offers summer activities such as hiking & mountain biking as well as many others for the visitors coming for the beautiful scenery, trails and alpine lakes.
The city of Rossland was booming in 1897 as a mining town with the first major claim on Red Mountain. Cominco smelter in Trail is still a major employer of residents of Rossland.

Cominco smelter in Trail, B.C.

The original smelter was built in 1895 and later grew to be the largest lead-zinc smelter in the world. This does dominate the cityscape but I found the scenery around town to be so much nicer than it was many years ago. More green showing, it is a much prettier city than it was in the 60's, likely due to the changes in the way the smelter works.

The town of Trail Creek was imcorporated as a city in 1901 and is now Trail, known as the Home of the Champions, recognizing those from the area who have excelled in sports, education, art and industry. The city of Trail is steeped in history and has beautiful churches and buildings downtown.

Columbia River

Trail has a population of 7237 and is nestled in the Selkirk and Monashee Mountain Ranges. The Columbia River is a beautiful view from most locations in town, especially from the small park overlooking the river right downtown for all to enjoy. We were able to watch a duck family on the waters edge below this view.
On our way here, we stopped at a Rock Creek rest area, check that if you haven't already.
Follow us into Salmo, B.C. to see the rock murals:

Friday, July 10, 2009

Kootenay,BC-Alberta Road Trip - Rock Creek, Greenwood & Rossland, B.C.

This was a trip that we'd talked about making for a long time and finally my friend Karen and I were going to make the Kootenay Road Trip a reality. Follow us on our journey through the Kootenays in the interior of B.C. and into Alberta, as well.

                                                   Rest area on the Kettle River

We followed Hwy 33 from sunny Rutland in the Okanagan and enjoyed the scenic Rock Creek cutoff. The traffic was light but we did pass thru some rain and heavy cloud, making very few photo opportunities for this part of our trip. It was dry for our rest stop visit, and this scene brings back childhood memories of other river beds and creeks, I love this, it is a genuine rest stop.

Church in Greenwood, B.C.

Greenwood, B.C. has made some changes to their downtown area, which cannot be missed with Hwy 3 passing right through town. It seems we were in too much of a hurry to get any pictures of that pretty little shopping area.

We carried on and took time to drive around Grand Forks, B.C., where I had hoped to get some great pictures, but our timing was perfect for the heavy showers they were getting. We did find their City Park right close to downtown on the Kettle River that offers RV facilities and recreational fun things to do.

Grand Forks has much history and many tree lined streets with heritage buildings to enjoy. It is worth spending some time there but that will be another trip for us to plan.

We carried on, passing through Christina Lake, B.C., a great resort area and drove up through the Blueberry Paulson Pass and cut over the Strawberry Pass to get to Rossland, B.C., a wonderful little town that is perfect for snow skiing during the winter season. I will write more on Rossland later.
See more of the Kootenay-Alberta Road Trip.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Canada Day at Banana Island on S. Thompson River

It was a gathering of family and friends on the beautiful sunny day to celebrate July 1. The flags were there as were several hats and garments with the maple leaf brightening up the beach.

Our grandson models his hat

There are a few locations along the shore of this small island so that we were able to have a private location to ourselves and others were doing the same on the other side.

Early evening sun shines down on Banana Island
 Banana Island is located east of Kamloops, B.C. on the S. Thompson River. It is a small provincial park, the only amenity is an outdoor toilet but that is a welcome sight when one spends the day here.

                                      The island offers some pretty views across the river. 

                                                                      A Kekuli
There are several kekuli, pronounced kickwillie, on Banana Island. They are the remains of an undergound house or storage built by First Nations people. This example would have been for storage, but there are some larger ones that would have been a family home.

Peaceful South Thompson River

Boat crosses the South Thompson River over to Banana Island
Trains and boats are a common sight from the shores of the S. Thompson River, Kamloops, B.C.
Happy Canada Day


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