August 15, 2004

Back from West Kootenay

For someone of my limited travelling inclination and experience, I certainly covered a heck of a lot of ground in the last week.

The main stop was a few days in Kaslo, on Kootenay Lake in the West Kootenays (British Columbia). Getting there from Creston in B.C. has to be one of the coolest drives a person could make. It winds around mountains with some hair-raising turns, landslide warnings and includes a ferry ride. (On the way up we had to take the long way since we couldn't get to Balfour and the ferry - a landslide blocked the way).

But Kaslo was only one part. There was the getting to Kaslo and the return trip, by another route. So we took in quite an array of mountains and mountain lakes, deer and elk, and various grizzly bear warnings.

We drove from Edmonton west to the mountains to get there. On the way back, we went south by Creston, nudged the Idaho border, up to Cranbrook, over to Fernie where we camped, then on to the Crowsnest Pass and finally to Fort Macleod where I got off and took the bus back to Edmonton.

Of all the things we saw, I think I'd have to say the Frank Slide, where part of Turtle Mountain collapsed and slid down on a coal mining camp back in 1903 (the largest slide in North America), was the most astonishing. Any pictures I've seen of this area don't really capture it. The immensity of the boulders and the breadth of the slide are ... well, astonishing. It makes you feel very small and very fragile.

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