kootenay bound

our annual trip north began with a drive along highway 3, the crowsnest which i consider the best (read most scenic and pleasant) drive to the interior of b.c. our destination the “kootenays” my old stomping ground and where many friends still live amongst the mountains and lakes.  we dawdled along, taking pictures of old building, mountains, rivers and the ever changing foliage as autumn descends.  being familiar with the route we did not stay long in any one spot but we did take some extra time to explore greenwood, a relic of days gone by and apparently still thriving and a stop for a picnic in grand forks.

we stayed with a friend in trail, an old mining town know for teck cominco, the worlds largest non-ferrous smelter, still going strong and dominating the town as it sits on a high plateau above the columbia river.  our friend recently moved back to trail after living for many years in vancouver.  she gave us a guided tour of the town, through the old italian neighbourhoods clinging to the cliff sides and along the river to parks and more upscale  developments.  we dined at the long standing  colander restaurant in the downtown core.  it seems to have been there forever, serving copious amounts of pasta, chicken and meatballs….mmmmm.

next day, after a lazy start, we headed off for kaslo.  visiting old haunts where i had lived for several years.  following the west arm of kootenay lake we first visited nelson, b.c. and my old hometown during the 70’s, following the west arm of kootenay lake through to balfour where you can cross the lake on one of the longest free ferry rides in the world.  the last leg took us to kaslo, past ainsworth hotsprings, noted for the very hot caves and majestic view of the lake and the purcell mountains.  following the steep shore of kootenay lake we arrived in kaslo, a jewel on the lake!

i lived and worked in kaslo for a couple of years before moving back to vancouver, it still feels like home and friends there make it tempting to return for the remainder of my retirement years.  with a population of about a thousand souls it has a friendly atmosphere and no shortage of charm.  one of our friends is half owner of the treehouse restaurant and, in my opinion, the best place to eat in town. visiting another friend we had three encounters with bears within an hour, two, we suspect were the same bear!  the first was enormous and fortunately unaware of our proximity, the second however was too close for me and had it not been for max “the bear dog” we would not have been as ready to bolt into the house as it sauntered by.  a walk through the side streets brought us the next bear!  enough! we headed back to our hotel and a relaxing drink of wine.

kaslo is full of history and has been well preserved by the residents and business community alike.  for more info, visit their website.

here is an assortment of images taken on the way to kaslo, bc.

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rhododendron flats

on a short day trip we had the chance to stop at  rhododendron flats in manning park.  the grove of pacific rhododendron is just off highway 3 (the crowsnest) highway.  there is a small parking lot and toilet along with information signs about the grove.  as they are natural/native only one colour grows, however the beauty of them at different phases of development are as diverse as any garden.  it is a pleasant 15 minutes stroll around a well maintained path amongst the pines and cedars.  the grade is gently but not suitable for wheelchairs or someone with difficulty walking.

m1 r1 r2 r4 r5 r7 rh7 rh8 rh9 rh10 rh11 forest floor

the ubiquitous max
the ubiquitous max

brian minter

last night i had the remarkable opportunity to meet with brian minter.  for those who may not know him, he is a gardner extraordinaire and owner of minter gardens in rosedale and a shop and garden centre in chilliwack.  among his many other activities he is a radio personalty on cbc, chancellor of the university of the fraser valley…and much more.  see his bio here.

brian provides 30 minutes (i think mine was closer to 45) of his valuable time to anyone interested in garden planning.  his insights and recommendations were all that i was looking for, he explained what would suit my yard, listened to my plans and long term expectations and gently nudged me along.  though the outcome will not likely be as literal as the rough drawing he made, it was an inspiring meeting and will definitely guide me.  brian also offered follow up and an invite to call if i had questions, something i would be hesitant to do knowing all that he does in the community.  i think i’m ready for the next step, getting the yard prepared for the work ahead.