My first morning in Kaslo began on a sour note, honestly! After petting the family cat, who had been out all night, I noticed a really foul smell in the room and soon discovered it was coming from her. We all came to the conclusion that she must have been lightly sprayed by a skunk. Kendrick (son-in-law) and Sarah took turns washing her with a mixture that Sarah had found recommended on the internet. Poor Tensen was very frightened by it all. It helped some and gave her coat a beautiful shine, but for me she was not so lovable the rest of the week because the odour returned whenever she was rubbed on the back of her head. She’s a lovely cat and I felt badly.
The smoke from the forest fires had lifted from this valley town, but the normally awesome view of the mountains was still obscured.
After a hardy breakfast of porridge and fruit, Sarah and the children, Callum and Skylet, and I headed for the River Trail, always a beautiful hike that begins in upper Kaslo and ends close to downtown in lower Kaslo.
By the time we got to the end, the temperature had risen and we were shedding our sweaters and heading to the beach where we ate a picnic lunch that Sarah had packed. Kendrick joined us later and they all went for a swim. The stony beach doesn’t appeal to me and my sensitive feet, but I was quite content to sit on a grassy ledge under a tree and observe.
The next day was more laid-back. The smoke seemed a little heavier and the air hotter, making up-hill walking difficult. I met Kendrick’s mom for lunch and then she showed me her new home. We relaxed in the breeze on her porch until Sarah drove down to get me and we all went to the beach again. Air conditioning isn’t something that most people or businesses have in Kaslo, so the beach is very popular.
Sarah made a delicious dinner of pizzas on rice tacos before we crowded around the iMac monitor (they don’t have a TV) and ate popcorn while watching the animated movie, Despicable Me.
There was constant news of more forest fires not too far away, which kept everyone on alert. Kendrick is a volunteer fire fighter and was on call to help with a possible evacuation all day Sunday. But it rained most of the day and into the night, beating back some of the infernos. We all did a little dance of thanks.
Sarah and I spent Saturday and Sunday managing her pottery stall at St. Andrew’s Church hall during the Arts and Culture Tour.
On Monday Sarah and I struck out with the kids to go fishing at two small lakes a half hour drive up Hwy 31from Kaslo. Callum is an avid fisher. Our first stop was – Fish Lake! However, there was no fishing there that day. Instead we participated in the “Three-year Study of Western Toads to Find Ways to Mitigate Highway Mortality” by scooping up many of the tiny toads and putting them into buckets to carry them across the highway safely. The previous day rains had brought them out in droves.
Unlike most amphibians Western Toads are mostly terrestrial, spending 95% of their life in terrestrial habitats, using aquatic environments only to breed.
A number of nature societies are working together to find a more permanent solution to prevent the thousands of toads from being crushed on the highway, such as installing barrier fencing to guide them through toad-friendly culverts.
We did eventually get further up the road to Bear Lake, but no fish were to be found. A cold wind chased us back to the car and home.
Most of Tuesday was spent in Nelson where Callum had a dentist appointment and Skylet had to pick up her new glasses in the morning. We had a great lunch and then Kendrick took the kids to the Community Centre indoor pool for a few hours. Sarah and I got to hang out, picking up some groceries and exploring some of the shops. Because the weather had turned much cooler, I bought a couple pairs of leggings at a second hand store, something that would pack easily into my already bulging carry-on. Of course the next day the heat was back and I never wore them once!
On Wednesday I helped Sarah do some cleaning up in her garden in the morning. In the afternoon we all went to the beach at Fletcher Falls to escape the heat. The breeze was cool and refreshing. Kendrick and Callum did some fishing; Skylet did some swimming; Sarah and I explored the beach for interesting stones.
Thursday, my last day, Sarah took me and the kids across the ferry at Belfour to visit some of the many Artisan Shops in Crawford Bay.
Early Friday morning Sarah and Skylet saw me off in Nelson where I caught my bus for the five hour trip back to Kelowna, where Judy would meet me once again.
It was a fun week with lots of interesting things to see and do, but the best part was just having so much quality time to spend with Sarah, something we haven’t had in a long time.