Adventures in British Columbia, Part Two – Kaslo


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.

View from Beach 2008

View from Beach 2008

View from same beach, summer 2017

View from same beach, summer 2017

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.

One bridge across the river

River walk, Kaslo

River walk, Kaslo

Callum found a snake

Callum found a snake

Newest Bridge

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.

Kaslo Beach

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.

Kaslo Arts and Culture Show

Kaslo Arts and Culture Show

Sarah's latest pottery

Sarah’s latest pottery

Potter at Work

Potter at Work

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.

Long rescue trough leading to culvert under highway

Tiny Toads on plastic barrier

Toad Rescue

Toad trough going under the Highway

Rescuing escaped toads to walk across Highway in a bucket.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Fletcher Falls

Fletcher Falls

Fletcher Falls

Fletcher Falls

Fletcher Falls

Fletcher Falls

Fishing on the beach at Fletcher Falls

Fishing on the beach at Fletcher Falls

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.

Riding the Ferry from Balfour

Riding the Ferry from Balfour

Broom Maker Shop

Broom Maker Shop

Finished Brooms

Finished Brooms

Broom Maker at Work

Broom Maker at Work

Trimming

A Harry Potter Broom

A Harry Potter Broom

Sculptures outside the Weaving Shop

Sculptures outside the Weaving Shop

A couple more bear sculptures inside the Weaving Shop

A couple more bear sculptures inside the Weaving Shop

The Kootenay Forge

The Kootenay Forge

Inside the Forge

Inside the Forge

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.

 

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Five Things to Do in Kaslo, British Columbia


I’ve just booked my annual trip to British Columbia to leave in a few weeks. This time I will spend my time in Kaslo relaxing with family and enjoying the Kaslo Jazz Etc. Festival, which has become a much bigger event than it was the previous time that I was there for it, ten years ago. I’m looking forward to it and hope to have some new stories to share.

In the meantime, I’m posting this blog that I drafted some time ago, giving you a little more insight into Kaslo, my favourite little town in the Kootneys.

In 1899 the City of Kaslo was branded “The Lucerne of North America.” This small mountain town, just west of Canada’s Rocky Mountains, lies between the peaks of the Selkirk and Purcell mountain ranges, offering serenity for those who seek it, and lots of activity for those who prefer to be on the move.

  1. Camping: There is a good sized Campground right by the shore of Kootney Lake.When we stayed there a couple of years ago we had plenty of room for our motor home. The lot wasn’t quite deep enough to accommodate the bike trailer, but we were able to unhook and leave it at a convenient spot nearby, at no extra cost. The price included electric, water and WiFi, and use of the dump station. The owner was very helpful in finding us what we needed.

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  1. Dining, Shopping, Entertainment: Within a short distance from the campsite is the main street where several restaurants, coffee shops, a hardware store, a grocery store, a pharmacy, clothing stores, and a Credit Union are located. Much of the food is organically, locally grown when in season. One of our favourite eateries is the Blue Belle.

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Patio at Blue Belle

  1. Accommodations: If you aren’t into camping, there is a very nice, fairly new hotel, aptly named The Kaslo Hotel, on the main street, and several Bed & Breakfasts throughout the residential streets.Hotel (2)
  1. Historical Attractions: Also situated on the main street, moored at the dock, is the SS Moyie Stern-wheeler, an historical, restored paddle boat that used to transport passengers, up Kootney Lake, the only way to get into the small communities along its banks at the time. During the summer and fall seasons there are open tours, and often there are shows in the lounge. On one trip we enjoyed an excellent performance by two young, accomplished violin players. Like most things in Kaslo, it is operated by volunteers and maintained through donations.

 

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SS Moyie

A short walk up A Avenue (Hwy 31), the volunteer-restored Langham Cultural Centre has an Art Gallery on the first floor where the many local artists have the opportunity to exhibit their work. On the second floor is a history of various buildings in Kaslo, and the story of the lives of the numerous Japanese people who were interned in Kaslo during the 2nd World War.

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  1. Biking, hiking, paddling: Throughout the hills of the Kaslo area there are great roads for motorcycling.

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And along the shores of the lake and the Kaslo River are many trails for hiking
and biking. Another volunteer group, The Trail Blazers, has worked tirelessly
over the years to create and maintain the trails along the river bank, including
the building of two wooden bridges across the river to allow access to both
sides.

Look for more details about this in my next post.

Kootney Lake is a popular place for kayaking and canoeing, too.

Last Two Packed-with-Fun Days in Kaslo


The wind was cold, the sky grey, the rain pelted down, as we stood in front of the too-wet-to-sit-upon bleachers that had been erected along the waterfront especially for the event. We were watching and waiting for sight of one or both of our grandchildren.  They, each accompanied by a parent, were participating in the annual Sufferfest being held in Kaslo. What is Sufferfest you might ask?

To quote the website intro: “Kaslo Sufferfest is a dynamic mountain biking and trail running event in the Kootenay Region’s mountain village of Kaslo in British Columbia.” This is a two-day event that draws many participants from the Kootenay area. There are races of varying lengths and degrees of difficulty for anyone age thirteen years and up. There is also, on Saturday only, an option for kid’s ages thirteen and under to bike or run a 2.5km course departing from Vimy Park.

Our five-year-old grandson is a fast and enthusiastic runner, too fast for Sarah to keep up to, so he was accompanied by his father in the eight and under running class. Sarah and her four-year-old daughter chose mountain biking in the six and under class.

Children began to trickle in, and after about fifteen minutes we saw a little pink bike, carrying a very determined, blond-haired girl round the corner, mother closely in tow. She saw us standing there, I’m sure, but her eyes were on the finish line. The fact that she’d come in last did not faze her. She was proud to have just completed the task.  And well she should be, considering she was the only four-year-old in the race, and she had just learned to ride a two-wheeler a month ago!

Before long the runners started to appear and we soon saw the boy we were looking for come running and smiling around the corner. Our presence distracted him and we had to remind him to continue onto the finish line. He was awarded a second place “medal” (huge chocolate chip cookie on a lanyard). I think he might just make a name for himself as a runner one day.

On Sunday morning we were honoured to be invited to join Sarah and Kendrick and the kids at a Drumming Circle and drum-making workshop, being held by the local Aboriginal Community at the Kaslo Youth Centre. We were warmly welcomed into the Circle, invited to share lunch, and encouraged to ask questions, take pictures and lend a hand in the making of drums and sticks.

The first step to making a drum is to choose a wooden frame.

wooden drum frames

wooden drum frames

Next, a skin is chosen and circles cut from the appropriate sized patterns to  fit the frames.

Tracing Patterns

Tracing Patterns

Long strips of hide are also cut for tying the drum heads onto the frames, and then they are put into warm water, along with the circles, to soak for a couple of hours until well softened and pliable.

Soaking the drum skins

Soaking the drum skins

While we waited we were entertained with songs and stories in the Drumming Circle, lunch was shared and pieces of leather were cut, stuffed and sewn onto wooden dowels to make drum sticks.

When the soaking was done, the hides were punched with holes for tying, and then stretched and tied over the frame, using the long strips of hide. There is a particular pattern to follow.

Punching holes for tying

Punching holes for tying

Drum tying

Drum tying

Drum tying

Drum tying

Drum tying

Once the series of tying is complete, a final piece of hide strip is wrapped around the outside to hold the edges down until the hide has completely dried.

drying

Ready for drying

Completed drums

Completed drums

Sometimes the tying pattern is different, as in the one above, and often times the owner will take their new drum home to personalize it. They all sound wonderful in the drumming circle.

What an interesting way to spend our last day in Kaslo. It reinforced my feelings that Kaslo is like one big, loving, sharing family.

Day 4 of Kaslo, BC Visit


Saturday dawned wet and cool. We had breakfast at The Treehouse Restaurant before meeting up with the family at the popular Farmer’s Market, where fresh vegetables were purchased and local crafts admired. The rain let up so we could enjoy lunch in the warmth of the sun outside one of the many bakery/coffee shops along Front Street, the main street.

Treehouse Restaurant

A great family-style restaurant as long as you don’t have food allergies

Jim and I shared a table with a photo journalist who had recently returned from documenting life in South America. He told us of the slide show presentation he was giving at the Langham Museum and Cultural Centre next Friday evening, an event we planned to attend.

After lunch, it was decided that we should all go pick up our swim suits and take the half-hour drive along Kootenay Lake to Ainsworth Hot Springs, another one of our favourite places to visit when in the area.

Ainsworth

Ainsworth Hot Springs,

Ainsworth Hot Springs, on the hill

There’s nothing like soaking in the warm water of the natural springs, while watching the children splash about. A sign above the door told us that the temperature in the large pool was 101 degrees Fahrenheit. For the brave, there was an option to wade through a tunnel where the temperature was 104 degrees. Jim made it through, but I had to stay near the entrance.  The heat and humidity made it difficult to breathe. At the entrance to the tunnel you can also get quickly cooled off by getting into the plunge pool, a cool 59 degrees! Up to our ankles was enough of that for us!