mountain highway

the second leg of our journey took us from kaslo to golden, jasper and grande prairie.  our usual habit is to travel up highway 1, the transcanada and head north just before lake louise via the banff-jasper parkway.  it is usually a winter trip and often we feel we have the parkway to ourselves as it ices over in many areas which, no doubt, discourages many drivers. this year however we were travelling in the fall, for the first time, and are glad for it as the leaves are turning to their autumn colours and we often followed a ribbon of gold as we zipped along the road.

this is our 20th or is it 30th trip up the parkway and we never tire of its wonders. here are some random shots taken through the sunroof of the car or side window.

a bit of trivia:

the two segments of our holiday: “kootenay bound” and “mountain highway” totalled 3,300 kilometres and include some of the highest passes in canada:

Mountain Passes    
Bow pass
Sunwapta pass
Kicking Horse pass
Roger’s Pass
Allison Pass
Sunday Summitt
Blueberry-Paulson Summit
Anarchist Summit
Nancy Greene Summit
Surrey Lake Summit
Coquihalla Pass
2.088m
2.035m
1.643m
1327m
1342m
1282m
1535m
1236m
1575m
1444m
1244m
Banff-Jasper Parkway
Banff-Jasper Parkway
Yoho National Park
Glacier National Park
Manning Provincial Park
East of Manning Provincial Park
Christina Lake to Castlegar
East of Osoyoos
Christina Lake to Rossland
North of Merritt
Highway 5, 60 km from Hope
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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.

Continue reading “kootenay bound”

a very big circle tour….

a very fast trip to northern alberta to see family. along the way i took too few photos and missed far too many to make a better photo essay. we drove north through the yellowhead highway 5 from hope to jasper, this is quite scenic and one of the few times we’ve driven it in summer, following the north thompson river until we head east and the beginning of the mighty fraser at valemount. the segment through jasper national park is too familiar too us and we slowed only to grab a couple of shots of elk and mountain sheep…and a raven. the mountains were spectacular and the weather was with us all the way.

our first stop was a charming setup on the banks of the Athabasca river. we had a “rustic” cabin on a high ridge with a clear view of the river and the sound of rushing water. rustic…no running water, outhouse and all the senses of nature, including a rumbling thunder storm (poor max).

a three hour drive up highway 40 and we’re in grande prairie and wide open spaces, big skies, lush fields and oil wells. as you’ll see, I have a thing for the prairies…they are awesomely beautiful and ever-changing. the sky is spectacular and the colours of the fields and trees are a painters dream.

heading south we followed the banff/jasper parkway, a spectacular valley of mountains and glaciers, the blue grey rivers fed by the glaciers and the turquois lakes, inviting but oh, so cold. we were fortunate to see a mother bear and cubs and some very large big horn sheep who appeared right beside the car while we were waiting for traffic.

highway 1 to the beautiful town of revelstoke. revelstoke is located at the headwaters of the arrow lakes surrounded by high mountains and the mighty columbia river. the town itself is a picture postcard with tin roofs for the high snow fall, well cared for yards and home which are most Victorian in style and date back to early 1900’s. the downtown section is truly a postcard setting, revitalized and perfect for visitors. an architectural highlight was the old courthouse located on the south edge of the town. a great place to visit.

ever southward. we caught the early morning ferry south of revelstoke, then a leasurly drive to kaslo, b.c. via nakusp and new denver, both quaint and charming lakeside towns with a strong connection to mining and b.c. history.

kaslo, my old home town (for a while) a perfect village of about 1,000 souls nestled on the shore of kootenay lake. the old building have mostly been restored and the homes are a fantasy for lovers of early architecture. the town hall is the oldest of it kind on the b.c. mainland. too many restaurants (the tree house is my fave), a beautiful golf course and hours of exploration if you have the time.

home via highway 3. all mountains and climate changes along the way. here are a few, or too many photos from the trip…in no particular order.

almostwet

autre

athabaska

athabasca

baby1

bowlakebowwow

bored

bowlk

canola

clouds

contrast

drivearound

elk

harvest

happiness

food

jasper

kaslo

kasloch

mama

mtlake

mtrobsign

mtsheep

nocorner

oil2

petitcabin

oursummercottage

oldentrancebb

prairie

south

space

storm

wheat

wideopen

puffed up

thanks for all the input wordpress and facebook users.  i have an abundance of these attractive spotted towhees that are unique to the pacific northwest (according to sibley).

these beauties bounce around in the undergrowth that borders the yard.  they are not shy and welcome the seeds, particularly the nyjer from the feeders.

yellow bird

it’s been a while since i took any shots of birds…just too busy i suppose.  more likely though, i’m never ready with my camera when the opportunity arises.

there seems to be a change in species visiting the yard over the last week, including the return of the hummers.  what i notice most, but do not see are the wide array of new songs in the air.

this yellow beauty, in my neighbours tree about 15 metres from my back door.