Reflections and images from my travels

No trains interrupted my sleep last night. What a relief! It’s quite overcast and drizzling here, but, that did not stop me from going out for my run. I found a lovely leaf-strewn pathway lakeside. The only drama involved a dog getting over enthusiastic and trying to take a nip or two out of me.

I then went for breakfast at the Treehouse Restaurant and pondered my next plans. I really like Kaslo and the hotel I am staying in is fantastic. After pondering a few minutes, a decision was made.

I went back to the hotel and booked another night. Why move? The amenities here were perfect and the Silver Triangle can be explored from this home base as I am already on it. I felt better and prepared to head out to explore the north half of the Silver Triangle today, take some photographs and most likely dip in the Ainsworth Hot Springs. What can I say, it’s a tough life!

My first stop was the Ainsworth Hot Springs. Quite different from Nakusp. I prefer Nakusp but Ainsworth has a neat cave system of about 20 m length where you can go in and really get a sense of what underground springs would look like. It is very hot and humid so they provide a cool plunge pool to cool off in beside the cave system. The body does tingle moving from cold to hot. I spent a luxurious hour soaking away.

Next, I drove back to Kaslo and gassed up the truck for the drive back to New Denver.

Just before Fish Lake there was a small collection of abandoned buildings no doubt from the mining era. A great place to start taking pictures. It was just the day for it as the weather precluded any hiking which I was hoping to do. Oh well!

I briefly stopped at Fish Lake and found out it is an important habitat for the endangered Western Toad. Who knew? Western Toad adults are mostly terrestrial amphibians that have wider bodies and shorter legs relative to body size compared with most other amphibians. They can be a variety of colours and usually have a thin pale green or cream stripe down the back. Females are generally larger than males and have rough skin on their front feet. All adults have large oval glands on their head called parotid glands. The “warts” on the body of these toads are actually glands that secrete a bitter poison that is distasteful to predators. I didn’t see any as they are apparently in the uplands digging into burrows in the ground below the permafrost in order to survive the winter.

I was re-tracing my steps but really wanted to stop in Sandon which I passed yesterday on my way to Kaslo. It is located about 10 km east of New Denver. You take a side road for about 10 km. Sandon is a ghost town (not really there are still about a dozen inhabitants) in the Kootenay region of British Columbia, Canada. Once the unofficial capital of the mining region known as the “Silvery Slocan”, only some of it remains standing.

After the discovery of vast amounts of galena ore here by Eli Carpenter and Jack Seaton in 1891, prospectors flocked from around North America to stake their claims. Sandon was incorporated as a city on January 1, 1898 and for a few years had more than 5000 residents, brothels and a booming economy. Two different railways raced to reach the town first; the Kaslo & Slocan Railway, connecting Sandon with nearby Kaslo, on Kootenay Lake, and the Nakusp & Slocan Railway-Canadian Pacific, from New Denver and Nakusp. Significant acts of sabotage were committed upon both railroads. Well into the 1900s, the hills around Sandon were actively mined by mines such as the Silversmith, the Slocan Star and The Payne. Smaller communities, such as Cody and Three Forks appeared on the map, continuing to provide opportunity to the miners. Like the other silver towns of the era, Sandon faded with the silver prices, and in 1955, a massive flood of Carpenter Creek occurred, destroying most of the remaining buildings. After the flood, looters tore apart the remains of many of the buildings.

Sandon was used as a Japanese Canadian internment camp during World War II.

It was cold and raining the entire time but I really enjoyed some black and white photography here which seemed appropriate. A powerhouses is still in operation since the late 1870’s and there is a collection of old electric city buses from all over Canada. I pretty much had the place to myself except for three young people who stopped in as well for a quick look. Everything was shut down as it was out of season.

Next, it was on to New Denver, which you will recall, did not leave the most favourable impression on me the first time. I was quite hungry at this point and any hopes of finding somewhere reasonable to eat here were quickly dashed. I suddenly remembered I had some dried food left from camping and had all my gear with me so why not picnic? I figured there must be a campground or park here and headed for the lakefront. What a surprise! It was an absolutely beautiful campground (closed of course) and park in full fall colours. Fantastic. There was also a covered picnic area perfect for my late lunch.

Generally, I am not the biggest fan of freeze-dried food but my mushroom cheese risotto turned out perfectly. A nice cup of hot tea and an apple and I was satisfied. I had a lovely little walk lakeside and returned to taking some colour photographs (taken with a cellphone which has an interesting take on dramatic filters!).

Silverton BC was only 5 minutes south so I stopped in and admired the Main Street shopping district and a local mining museum.

It was getting late in the afternoon so I drove back to New Denver and decided to check out another section which had a couple of Japanese gardens I did not have a chance to tour the first time I was here. The Nikkei Internment Memorial Centre was closed for the season (what else is new) but I did get a photograph of the outside and an inside view through the gate.

New Denver was starting to grow on me! Just a little more exploring here….but, it’s getting late….you need to get back! Just a few more minutes….I am glad I took the time as I saw a sign for the Kohan Reflection Garden and discovered a real gem!

There was no one there but it was open. An absolutely stunning Japanese styled garden that I lost myself in for about 40 minutes. The pictures speak for themselves.

I officially love New Denver and take back any disparaging words previously spoken in haste.

It really was time to get back to Kaslo and again I was going to drive Highway 31A in the dark with low lying cloud. Oh well, time to start the jazz CD and enjoy the ride. It really was spooky with mist, fog and the enveloping darkness..

When I got back to Kaslo, I really needed a walk after all of the driving, so, I took an invigorating 6 km night walk, in places, pitch black without the aid of a headlamp. I somehow survived and had a “burger and beer” at the Hotel pub. It was busy tonight.

To finish off, a relaxing soak in the outdoor Hotel hot tub followed by a chilling Netflix horror series worth watching ” The Haunting of Hill House”. Perfect with “All Hallows’ Eve” soon approaching.

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