We finally had a bit of time where our schedules were not so rushed and decided to hit the road for a few days. With the truck fully loaded and thick smoke filling the air we headed east to Kaslo with hopes of blue sky. One ferry ride and four hours driving later we were setting up our car camping tent at the Kaslo municipal campground, in the thick smoke. I guess we were not going to avoid the forest fires aftermath after all. Camp stove dinner, a casual evening and cooler temperatures had us ready for bed shortly after dark. The girls however had different plans in mind. Being fully charged from sleeping on the drive had them bounding around the tent like it was a bouncy castle.
Morning came with a large bowl of porridge and toasted bagels for the four of us. We loaded into the truck and headed out for a day trip drive. With hiking a bit out of the question we bounced our way on the back roads 12 kms to Mount Buchanan Fire Lookout. Reaching a height of 1912m above sea level we could see all of the smoke in the valley.
Yes it was a little disappointing but this is what we sort of expected. We were however just hovering at the ceiling of the smoke and above us was blue sky so we could watch a couple planes and helicopters flying over head. The greyish blanket of smoke casted a feeling like you were a long way from everywhere and the lookout was still more than pleasant. The Kootenay district have turned it into a historic museum where you can walk around and get a feeling of how the people use to live for their shifts in the watch tower. There are printed out large scale photos in all four directions that lets you imagine what the surrounding mountains should look like. They were amazing!
With some snacks in us and cruising our way back down to the main road we made a stop at one of the entrances to the Kaslo River Trail system for some views. After a short walk we came across the Trailblazers bridge. A brilliantly painted wooden bridge taking you across the river joining you to numerous multi-use trails in the area. The solidly built wooden structure was constructed from donation of caring businesses and citizens through out the area and individual placards display their names on the handrails.
Back into downtown Kaslo we had a recommendation for a lunch stop at Chez Serge food stall for a late poutine lunch. I would say it is a must do if you are in the area and enjoy this type of food. With a simple menu but varying in options you could probably make a few trips here and not be disappointed.
We opted to take a walk on the water edge and enjoy the calming setting that Kaslo portrays. Rocks were tossed, dirt was eaten and water was splashed.
Back at camp we dried off and started to prep for dinner. With a large park joining the campground to the south, the little ones had to make a visit to the play ground after our evening stroll. With the sun starting to set and the night growing dark we meandered back to the tent for a final clean up before setting the girls down for the night. One of our fellow campers just then informed us that the resident black bear had just walked through the play ground shortly after we had left. With the girls all tucked in and asleep for the night we had a chance to enjoy the evening with a few rounds of cards under the lantern glow before we called it quits ourselves.
The following morning we packed up camp and continued south down the western bank of Kootenay Lake and eventually crossed the orange bridge into Nelson. Here we met up with Bretney once again and started a little walking tour. We window shopped down Baker Street then continued onto Cottonwood Falls Park. A tucked away little green space with a rather impressive set of falls considering its location.
After relaxing on the rocks for a while we made our way back to Baker Street and grabbed a bite to eat at the Main Street Diner. The outdoor patio was more than appealing to sit back and enjoy all the culture that the Nelson down town had to offer. By the end of it day we had moved slightly out of town into Slocan Park for a visit with Bretney and her family.
Bretney and Lee just started a huge renovation on their basement so the next couple of days involved some manual labour of electrical work and pouring concrete in exchange for some casual shopping at Bret’s Bibs Warehouse. Bretney has her own home business making kids clothes and our two girls are frequent supporters.
While the guys worked the girls took the kids to Castlegar for the day for a picnic lunch and wander in the park.
We did make some time to enjoy the area as well. A short walk along the Slocan Valley Rail Trail, a decommissioned railway line, had us down at the river’s edge for more relaxing and stunning Kootenay Scenery.
Once night fell we continued to have more bear excitement as one fellow continuously climbed the local fruit trees in Bretney and Lee’s yard eating all the apples and pears it could get its paws on.
Sunday morning had now come upon us and it was time to say our goodbyes. Thanks and appreciation was all around as we started down the driveway and made the journey back north through New Denver, on to Nakusp then back home to Vernon. Bretney and her family are always so kind and welcoming and this visit was just as pleasant as the last trip we made here a couple months back. We absolutely love this area, and will be back to hike more again soon.