Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Driving Home from Nelson

After a lovely relaxing week in the Kootenays it was time to pack up and head home. The weather had improved throughout the week so by the time we were driving home the temperature was in the late 20's and sunny.

Mojo was packed into his small square of space for the journey. He actually travels very well and didn't seem to mind the limited leg room.

One of the more interesting towns we drove through on the way home was Greenwood. Proudly one of BC's smallest towns it largely became established when copper was discovered in the area around 1900. However, by the 1920's the price of copper had dropped significantly and the smelter plant eventually closed. Since then Greenwood has continued to exist predominately as a small agricultural and logging town with the noticeable feature that many of the historic buildings along the main street have been preserved.

Views here of the main street in Greenwood (thanks Mum for these photos)

Sometime later in our journey the landscape changes noticeably from mountainous, forested to open plains and desert like.

The last major town before we come back to the Lower Mainland is Osoyoos, a large resort town on Lake Osoyoos which boasts one of the warmest & driest climates in Canada.

View of the steep switchbacks along the side of the Okanaghan Highland which lead down into the valley basin where the lake and town are situated.

Views of Osoyoos

Finally we reached home having had a terrific week away and pleased to have discovered another beautiful part of BC.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Circular Drive around Kootenay Lake & Creston Valley

On the Thursday of our stay we decided to take a circular drive alongside the lake, through the Creston Valley and back up to Nelson.

The forecast was good, although the day started with a little high cloud. We drove East along the West Arm of the lake to Balfour. From here runs the longest free ferry route in the world, a 35 minute ride to the opposite shore of Kootenay Lake.

Mojo and I waiting at the ferry terminal in Balfour.

The ferry ramp

There is a small sandy beach in Balfour and we were surprised how clean both the beach and water were given it was adjacent to a marina and the ferry dock.

Views around Balfour

The ferry coming in (thanks Mum for this pic)

We loaded the car onto the ferry and then got out to enjoy the ever increasing amounts of sunshine. Views here back up the West Arm of Kootenay Lake from the ferry.

The small lakefront community of Harrop which is accessible only by ferry.

The West Arm of Kootenay Lake

Now we are approaching the main body of Kootenay Lake. The ferry will take us across this to the Eastern Shore.

David on the ferry

Views across to the East shore from the ferry

Looking North up the lake. It seems the mountains and forest just go on forever.

Mum and Dad on the ferry

Approaching the ferry dock in Kootenay Bay.

Now we are off the ferry and drive alongside a small inlet called Crawford Bay, before the remainder of the lake opens up.

Driving south on the East side of the lake we stop at Lockhart Beach Provincial Park. The small sandy beach provides beautiful views across the lake.

Thanks Mum for this photo too

This brief clip of video gives a panorama of Lockhart Beach Provincial Park. There was a reasonable breeze as seen by the waves on the lake but this always seems much exaggerated by the microphone on the camera !. Nonetheless, it was a really lovely location and unfortunately it was too early to stop for lunch because it would have made the perfect location for that too.

After another hour or so drive and a stop for lunch we finally reach the end of Kootenay Lake. It is an impressive size being some 90 miles in length from North to South, however beyond the end of the lake the valley continues as fertile farmland and eventually merges into the Creston Valley.

We reach the town of Creston. It's a small town of just over 5,200 residents. Having had a heyday in the gold & silver rush of the late 1800's this town has settled into a small rural farming lifestyle.
Views along the main street

After a stop and walk around Creston we take the Crowsnest Highway over Kootenay Pass towards the town Salmo and then North up to Nelson. The Kootenay Pass is the highest mountain pass in Canada that is (officially) open throughout the year. It does of course get closed periodically during heavy snow but it is intended to stay open. The highest point of the road is 1775m (5823ft).
Shortly after the summit we reached Stagleap Provincial Park, predominately used for backcountry skiing in the winter it is also on a key migratory route for mountain caribou and the Southern Selkirk population of grizzly bears. We didn't see either but it does have a small lake giving a good opportunity to get out of the car and stretch our legs.
View of Bridal Lake in Stagleap Provincial Park

Mojo on the hunt for some caribou or grizzly

Finally a view of the sun glistening on Bridal Lake.

It was a great day out with beautiful views and just the right length.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Mojo Working

Here is a little sample of Mojo doing his class homework. We have just started back to class after a break for August at Beginners Obedience class. We are practicing our lessons and some tricks that they suggested we learn. The 'Tidy Up' is our own idea.

Mojo loves to work like this so hopefully he will get better & better.
Video courtesy of Adrian's dad; Thanks.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Burlington Northern & Santa Fe Railway track walk

The following day in Nelson was damp and cloudy to start so we took a walk along the old railway tracks of the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway. After the climb up Pulpit Rock the day before everybody was quite happy to have an easy walk today !

There weren't many views from the walk but just a couple of clearings where you could see down on some of the town.

Mum and Dad

Glimpse of the eastern end of the town and Orange Bridge through the bushes

Lots of bright orange berries in the hedgerow

Looking back down on the town

Mojo then chilled back at the house with Mum and Dad while David and I went off to check out the local hot springs, Ainsworth Hot Springs for the afternoon.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Pulpit Rock

The next day of our stay in the Nelson area we decided to walk up Pulpit Rock. It is a relatively short but steep trail on the Northshore of Kootenay Lake West Arm overlooking the city of Nelson with an elevation gain of around 1300ft.

There wasn't much to look at on the way but we were rewarded with great views from the top.

Looking over the Eastern end of the city and the Orange Bridge and Lakeside Park in the foreground where we had walked yesterday.

Closer view of the bridge

And of Lakeside Park

Chahko Mika Mall is the location of the big box stores in Nelson

Overview of the city of Nelson

More views of Nelson, with the tiny airport in the foreground

Close up of the airport

And of the historic downtown area

No idea who's house this is but thought it looked pretty neat ?.......

The Prestige Lakeside Hotel & Convention Centre

Mum and Dad at the top of Pulpit Rock