West Kootenay Road Trip

With the summer days finally arriving and greeting us with staggeringly warm days we chose to head out for a drive to pay a visit with some old friends. The Toyota was gently loaded up but the seats were full with the four of us. Leaving our home town of Vernon at 10:00, we travelled 135kms east on Hwy 6 until we reached the small inland ferry crossing Upper Arrow Lake. The 20 minute ride is always a welcomed break from the windy mountain roads of the interior of BC. Once on the east shore we continued the 60kms to Nakusp to catch up with some old friends. Bill and his wife Carla own the Heritage Nursery in town which sells bedding plants, trees, local handcrafted goods and even has an antique furniture store on site. This place has an amazingly casual feel and a wander through is always a necessity. Unfortunately this time around Carla was at her other job so our schedules didn’t not quite line up.

After a hour or so of catching up with Bill we decided to push on east towards New Denver. We made it all of 10kms before we came across a truck with travel trailer on its side and in the ditch. There was no emergency vehicle on the scene yet but a handful of passerbyers had stopped to help where they could. We continued on. 3kms outside of New Denver us and the two vehicles infront come to a grinding halt. I could see from the drivers seat that there seemed to be a power line only a meter or so above the road surface. A car from the other direction crossed the lane on the corner, plowed through the pole and came to rest tendering on the bank on the hill with the power pole on its roof.

Soon on the scene were the emergency vehicles. After 45 mins of lingering around in the 37 degree heat the local authorities communicated that it will be at least 3 hours before the road was open again. Huh, now what should we do. We turned around and headed back to Nakusp. By now Carla was off work and we met up with them for a visit. They live slightly out of town so this entitled another ferry different from the first.

Two more visiting hours passed and we decided to push on. This time now all the way to New Denver. Our original plan was to head to Buchanan Fire Lookout for some stunning views, but after all these delays we were now burning daylight and chose to just head for our final destination. 11.5 hours after leaving our front door we finally made it the 310kms to our resting place of Slocan Park. Ever since the girls have been born we have been supporting and adoring the hand made clothes from Brets Bibs. After keeping in contact, mainly via instagram, we met in person. Bretney and her Husband Lee along with their son Bryden greeted us warmly with dinner made and a comfortable place to stay for the night. With the girls only sleeping for an hour on the drive and high 30 degree weather, we were all astonished that they managed to stay composed. Once the evening temperatures dropped to below bearable around midnight, we all crashed until morning.

Around 8am we are woken to Bretnay having a breakfast of pancakes, scrambled eggs, bacon and fresh fruit waiting for us. By 10:00 were now out the door with intentions of hiking up to one of Nelson’s notorious hiking lookout spots, Pulpit Rock. Pulpit is not a very long hike but a steep one indeed, 1.8kms with a 400m elevation gain to the rock lookout. From here you also have another option to hike up to the flag pole which is apparently a parasailing take off point. This continuation is another 0.9kms on the black diamond route or 1.1kms on the blue square, depending on your trail selection. Either way you have to gain another 260m of elevation. That totals 660m of elevation change in just under 3kms. Once we got to the rock we made a quick decision to push on to the flag pole and as we don’t always like back tracking so we decided to go up the difficult route and down the easier route. This was indeed the best choice for us, especially with having the girls on our backs. Carrying the extra 30lbs or so was just adding to the challenging decision and there were a few sections near the top where we had to use our hand to help climb some small rock bluffs. By the time we crested the last bluff and saw sight to the Canadian flag flying in the wind we were both exhausted. It was now nearly 2:00, it was the hottest day of the summer so far and our food and water stores were near empty. We let the girls run around, rested our legs then loaded back up to head to the truck. The descend took about half as long as the ascend and the truck thermostat read 41 degrees C. We were wiped. The girls on the other hand, barely broke a sweat, never stopped talking on repeat and Lidija even managed to catch a little shut eye on the way down.

Pulpit Rock
View From Pulpit Rock
The Flagpole
View From The Flagpole
View From The Flagpole

We quickly joined Bretney, Lee and Bryden at the beach after a quick stop for litres of water and sport drinks. The refreshing waters of Kootenay Lake was amazing after a day like today. The girls shovelled sand as we lounged around and enjoyed the company of our gracious hosts. Once the sun got low we all packed up and headed back to the house. We enjoyed another feast and were even treated to an amazing custom ice cream sandwich from a local shop before resting for the night.

The following day we got a tour of Bretney’s up and coming fashion styles before we hit the road on route to highway 33 and our last stop in Westbridge. Here we met up with Shannon’s parents where we enjoyed two full days of floating tubes down the Kettle river, BBQs and camp fires. With the weather still blasting us in the mid 30s this was exactly where we wanted to be and exactly what we wanted to be doing. By Sunday evening we were now back in the comfort of our own beds and enjoying the memories of our mini road trip with all of its unexpected twists and turns.

One thought on “West Kootenay Road Trip

  1. Pingback: Kaslo and Slocan Park

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