Tuesday 23rd June 2015
Another day of warnings about being in bear, cougar, elk and moose country.
After a breakfast of our wonderful Costco Sultana Bran and the milk I bought last night we had an early morning look around Kaslo before continuing our run north along Kootenay Lake.
We found the interesting Kaslo Logger Sports Show site. The sports are held mid May each year and include pole climbing, woodchop, log rolling, tree felling and axe throwing. This year the event was M’Ceed by a Kiwi Champion and contestants from Oz. Never heard of it until now.
Also another smaller stern wheeler and a couple of boat homes caught our attention.
We started off with a beautiful sunny day, our destination was a ghost town, a 14 Klm detour along a winding gravel road off the main highway.
By the time we reached Sandon it began to rain.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandon,_British_Columbia Drizzle at first but it became more persistent as the morning wore on. This town became a centre of mining in 1891 when silver, lead and zinc were found. By 1898 the population had grown to 5,000 and it was declared a city. Most houses and commerce buildings were built along the creek.
In 1901 much of the town was destroyed by fire.
It was rebuilt. Much of the town was destroyed by flood in 1955. By then the town was abandoned anyway so has not been rebuilt.
Whatever is left is now part of an indoor outdoor indoor museum with relics from places other than Sandon.
How do you explain trolley buses from Vancouver 700 Klms away? When we arrived the town was lonely and forlorn with no evidence of human habitation but within an hour a car arrived and several buildings had lights turned on. It was cold and the rain convinced us to move on without visiting the museum. From previous reading we knew the town had been turned into a Japanese Canadian Internment camp during WWII. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japanese_Canadian_internment The internment stripped all Japanese Canadians of their jobs, homes, businesses, properties and status. During this time and afterwards they were sent to work at jobs nobody else would take on. On reflection even the Canadian Government of the time realised it was a purely racist decision and a dark chapter in Canadian history one which has been kept quiet. From our wanderings we saw no mention of the internment camp use in the town.
The drive back down the isolated gravel range road to the main highway was driven with extra care given the wet & slippery conditions.
Next town was New Denver but we could not explore as it was raining heavily but we did stop for coffee and of all things, a sausage roll, unheard of so far in Canada. Given the rain and expectation that it would continue for a few days as it headed south, we changed our plans. Instead we decided narrow mountain roads in these conditions were not for us so the decision was made to head north.
Next stop was the town of Nakusp on the Upper Arrow Lake.
This is a busy little town of 1,500 people with things like a marina and 9 hole golf course. About 13 Klms out of town on a mountain road is Nakusp Hot Springs beside the raging Kuskanax Creek. It really should be called a river. We did not go into the springs but went to look at a new covered timber bridge built over a 40 metre chasm. Amazing that a bridge was built at a cost of $400,000 for a small amount of hikers using the trail. The bridge is strong enough and wide enough to carry vehicular traffic. http://kootenaybiz.com/nakusp/article/new_kuskanax_creek_footbridge_in_nakusp_wins_award
We decided not to stay in Nakusp overnight but to push on to the Halcyon Hot Springs further along the road bordering the Upper Arrow Lake. Given the location and almost exclusive nature of the resort, the prices were reasonable so we elected to stay the night and were given the Poolside Cottage.
The usual bear and cougar warnings prevailed. The hot pools and views across the lake were stunning and by now full sunlight with attendant heat had arrived.
What a lovely spot. Dinner with a couple of draught Kootenee ales cost only a little more than dinner at a Boston Pizza.