Bear with me! This rather long-winded title will make sense. You just have to read through this entire blog post.
I awoke in Golden BC in my comfy tent after a……challenging night. It started well enough as I finished 5 chapters of my book and fell into a deep sleep at the late hour of 9:30 PM! I know….night owl!
I had forgotten the one negative of the Golden Campground from my previous journey. At about 1:30 AM I was awaken by a grunting, throbbing engine noise and a mechanical wailing that best can be described as a banshee! You see, across the river from the campground is a CN railway line that seems to be a favourite spot for these huge trains to prepare for their upcoming journey through the Rockies. It went on until 3:30 AM!! You could not sleep through it, it was so loud. My lightweight tent fabric was no barrier. The cacophony finally settled and I was able to fall asleep at 3:35 AM but the racket started up again at 5:30 AM for another 30 minutes before it all ended. I fell asleep again and was up briefly at 7 AM but then laid in my sleeping bag cocoon until 8 AM.
After getting up, I walked into town for breakfast at Jita’s Cafe. A nice, local place with an East Indian flair but with reggae music (go figure) and great coffee. I had a great breakfast that was very filling. With a latte it rang in at $13. What a deal!
I went back to the campground and spoke to the attendant about the train issue. Clearly, I was not the first person she had heard this from. She stated the entire town wants the rail-yards to move but to no avail.
I had a shower at the campground before departing with the lowest flow shower I have ever been in. I felt like I molested the wall the shower head was attached to!
I got on my way by about 10:30 AM and the plan was to initially get to Revelstoke by noon. There was a lot of road construction and reduced lanes (heck, no lane markings whatsoever) as well as very slow logging trucks pregnant with huge piles of logs. This was going to be slow so I put on the tunes and went with the flow….I mean, crawl.
It was quite overcast with low lying cloud and my watch kept giving me storm alerts. It did look like rain.
Just before I got to Revelstoke proper, I recalled a lovely parkway called the aptly named Meadows in the Sky, so I veered sharply onto the turnoff which suddenly appeared. To my dismay, when I got to the gate the parkway was closed for the season. Sigh. As I turned around to head back to Highway #1, I noticed a side road that appeared open. I took it and in 1 km it delivered me to the parking lot for the Nel Nelsen Park.
What a pleasant turn of events. This fellow was an immigrant from Norway who settled in Revelstoke and brought along his passion for (what amongst other winter sports do Norwegians love?) ski jumping! He introduced ski jumping to Canada and in the process about 5 World Records were set here in the early part of the 20th century. I had no idea. He also inspired “girl gliders” to take up ski jumping and one of them was the first female at 16 years of age to go off the B jump without a man holding her hand! I’m not kidding. To me it sounds much more dangerous to go off a ski jump holding any other human’s hand as opposed to doing it on your own.
There was a lovely, steep walk up the slope the skiers landed on with interpretive signs along the way. Here are a few pictures looking down the slope towards Revelstoke.
Believe it or not the skiers had to climb this slope in the good old days carrying their equipment in thigh deep snow if they wanted to jump. The slope was then manually compacted by numerous skiers and their skis to afford a nice hard-packed surface for the ski jumpers to land on.
At the top A jump, there was a brilliant sculpture you could lean into to get a sense of what it looked like from the ski jumper’s perspective.
I found a side trail from the top that took me a different way back and eventually deposited me on the Meadows in the Sky Parkway. Yes, I was going to experience some of it as it turned out. It took me about 3 km away from my vehicle but it did not matter. I had the parkway to myself and it was all downhill. The fall colours were still present here.
I got back to my vehicle and headed off to my next stop, Nakusp BC. I have such fond memories of the hot springs here from many years ago and was looking forward to going back for a dip.
The highway was very quiet and the drive most enjoyable. I got to the Shelter Bay Ferry in good time and just prior to the next sailing. Good timing. It was starting to rain very lightly.
I was most surprised when I got to the other side at Galena Bay and started down the highway south. It was like fall was still in bloom here. There were many larches in their full fall prime colours lighting up an otherwise dreary landscape with low lying cloud. It was magical. It was like a feast for the eyes as I drove along. I also found a new hot springs resort to one day take Anna to called Halcyon Hot Springs!
I finally got to Hot Springs Road (there is a theme here…) and took the windy, eleven kilometre road up to the Nakusp Hot Springs. It was so quiet. Perfect! I had a most pleasant soak for about an hour with wonderful music piped in. As I clung to the side wall of the pool I looked out at the steam from the Hot Springs rising to merge with the low lying cloud. The mountain side was almost enveloped by the fog but one could make out the trees, including occasional larches, appearing and then disappearing like ghostly sentinels. Glorious!
I toyed with the idea of staying in Nakusp but thought it would be better to push on to New Denver BC. I wanted to get as close to the “Silver Triangle” as possible to enjoy the next three days.
When I got to New Denver I was ready to just stay at a hotel.
I was tired from all of the driving today and it was raining and most of the campgrounds here were closed for the season. The problem is New Denver is just not a happening town. No offence but it was dead and everything appeared closed. The accommodation left a lot to be desired. The two motels looked rundown and the one guest house I went into was like a morgue. The community board listed a B&B on Union Street (it took me awhile to figure this out as it was not listed on the community map- it turned out to be the main highway #6 as it went through town) so I went there but there was no sign. I stopped in anyway and a nice middle aged fellow came up to me and told me this was not a B&B but his private home. We had a nice chat and he told me of his family troubles, but, also told me when I deftly steered the conversation to accommodation, that my best bet for a hotel was in Kaslo BC.
It was another 50 km but the road over is the equivalent of a roller coaster ride and it was almost dark. I decided why not, what’s another 50 km? I started one of my favourite jazz CD’s and off I went. This road is punctuated with a SLOW sign every corner for the first 25 km. There are no lights on this road. It is dark-sky dark. The drive is almost hypnotic. I remembered this road well from decades ago when Anna, my brother Ed and I rode this on our bikes touring the “Silver Triangle”. At that time, it was June and the climb in the opposite direction from Kaslo to New Denver was incessant, very cold and wet. I recalled how we were all hypothermic by the time we got to New Denver. Ah….memories. This time I was nice and warm in my truck
I arrived in Kaslo and found the Kaslo Hotel on Main Street and am I glad I did! The fellow in New Denver was right. What a fantastic place!
The room was almost boutique in nature and character. Very comfortable and upscale appearing. The receptionist recommended the pub in the hotel and I was tired enough I acquiesced. I had not eaten since this morning in Golden and was famished. I started with a nice Nelson Brewery Honey Ale and a cup of very hot chicken noodle soup (good for the soul), followed by a spectacular special main of Mediterranean chicken on a bed of risotto. Yum! I had to have (what, was there a gun to your head!) the three fruit crisp for dessert and then went for a night time walk around town.
When I got back to the hotel I asked about the availability of a hot tub (what, an earlier soak in Hot Springs was not enough for you?) and was told of course there is one. She would open it for me. It was on the second floor right by my room. When I went through the entrance door I was surprised it was outside on a patio overlooking Main Street open to the sky and was nice and hot. Rain started to trickle down as I soaked in the tub alone.
What a relaxing way to end another perfect day. I really do consider myself fortunate. I love days like this. Chance recommendations, deciding on a different plan, unexpected new favourite places and the surprise of seeing things you did not expect to see.
Life is good. I fell asleep today as rain was falling, in a comfy bed, with a full stomach and the full expectation not to be awoken by a shrill CN train!