After exiting the Columbia and Western railroad grade, out came the maps to try and decide on which direction to head next. After narrowly ruling out the road to Rossland and Trail, it was back down from the pass into Castlegar again to eat, and top off the fuel tank. There are a lot of hydro dams on the way to Nelson, so we stopped at a couple of viewpoints to have a look. The large parking area in front of the Nelson Walmart was a tempting overnight spot as it is right on the riverbank, and Hailey went for a stroll along the river bank and watched a few gulls. Preferring islolation over potential noise and lack of privacy, and having lots of daylight left, we eventually pulled out and found a quiet spot with a bit of a lake view on the Bradley Ck fsr.
After a morning walk on the beach at Kokanee Creek Provincial Park, and another session with the maps, we headed for the ferry terminal at Balfour to cross Kootenay Lake.
The timing was perfect, as the ferry had just finished loading, and we were first in line for the next sailing! It wasn’t long before we were aboard and sailing across the lake to Crawford bay on the eastern shore. Because we were first on board, we were also right at the front with this view right out the windshield.
The ‘plan’ had been to take a forestry road shortcut across into the Kimberley area, but changed our minds and decided not to leave the big lakes of the Kootenays so soon. A U-turn was pulled and we made it aboard the next ferry sailing back to the western shore. Luckily, this ferry is billed as the longest free ferry ride in this part of the world!
Once back on the west side we were northbound towards Ainsworth Hot Springs and Kaslo. This time the Fletcher Ck fsr provided the perfect quiet, view camp spot high above the lake.
We discovered that some local residents had passed in the night when there were fresh elk tracks on the road in the morning.
Morning found us touring around Kaslo, a historic lumber, mining and sternwheeler base from the late 1800’s. Fuel levels were still good, but a propane tank needed filling, and the same place was a bottle depot, so I sold my small collection of cans to make more room in the rig. I also found a welder to do some quick repairs on my folding stairs that were threatening to tear apart before long. Then it was time for coffee at one of the many such places in this old style tourist town. This is another road junction, so another map consultation and decision was in order. North was the chosen direction, so we toured around the tiny village of Lardeau, looked at the Duncan dam, and the beaches at Howser, before continuing up towards Trout Lake. There were a few camping options at the very south end of the lake, but all were somewhat occupied, and several dogs convinced Hailey that it was not a spot for her. After an investigation on foot, we squeezed the camper down a rough little road to the shore in a very scenic little spot. We were glad that we didn’t have the 5th wheel along for this spot!
There was an ample supply of driftwood, so of course we had a fire while enjoying the sunset.
The next day we continued on north and took another ferry trip across the Upper Arrow Lake from Galena Bay to Shelter Bay. The ferry was very full, and I was the last vehicle on – leaving behind some larger RV’s and semi-trucks on the shore! Once again, I was lucky to not be hauling the 5th wheel, or I would have been waiting for the next boat again. There was a loaded log truck on the boat, that I’m sure was almost stuck under the ship’s bridge!
Apparently, he made it off the boat Ok, as he headed north toward mills in the Revelstoke area. I was surprised to see another loaded log truck headed towards the ferry in the opposite direction. Not sure what’s going on there.
Till next time …