Nelson etc.

P1000390_FotorWe’re in Nelson. How we got here is our usual adventure – starting early in the morning, driving through a sun-splashed couple of hours and arriving in the city with the intention to unhook the hybrid from the SIGmobile in order to navigate Nelson’s hilly streets. Good plan. However, plan B kicked in when we found ourselves in the middle of downtown Nelson without having found a pull-out to unhook. No matter – just drive to the municipal campgound. That, of course, meant finding the campground.

We eventually did, after navigating a couple of back alleys and doing some interesting back-ups and turn-arounds. The aforementioned campground was less than ideal – and that’s being generous. Happily, there was no room and we headed across the bridge to the Kootenay Creek Provincial Park and Campground. And here we are in a sunny spot where the solar panels are working overtime.

After settling in, we investigated downtown. Nelson is every bit as charming and delightful as I remembered. Certainly one of the prettiest towns in the province.

We also drove through little towns on the way here that are among the nicest we’ve seen – communities we could live in. We talked a lot this morning about living here, buying property etc. etc. It wasn’t a particularly easy conversation but a good one.

As I said to Simon afterwards, I love him even more. Sometimes it takes courage to speak honestly. But the result, in my experience, is always good.

I think we have a plan and I think that together, we are going to make a good decision. Tomorrow we are going to explore some communities and have a look around.

We also bought a great hiking book today for the Kootenays. There’s a lot here – we just have to be able to access it. I think, with the help of this guide, we may just be able to.

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Today was a long, long drive: all the way from Tete Jaune to Nakusp. The drive took us down 5 (Yellowhead), through Kamloops over to Revelstoke, then down 23, including a ferry crossing of Arrow Lake to Nakusp. We rolled into our RV site at about 6. I was done. Simon had enough energy to set up the RV and dash into town to grab some beer and get a feel for the community.

He really is my hero – doing everything that he does including the long, long drive. He kept us both entertained by babbling (he calls it amusing conversation). Just because I laughed doesn’t mean I condoned the prattle.

It’s a good thing I love him anyway.

Sometimes, like today, I almost step outside my body or beyond who I am and marvel at my life. We left the mountains and were thrown suddenly into wilderness and then almost desert-like conditions. Then, just as suddenly, we approached the mountains again – and then, here we are in a broad valley ringed by tall hills overlooking a lake. To think that yesterday we were high in the Alpine in the pristine Rocky Mountains. Today, we may as well be on another planet.

It’s almost more disconcerting than flying to another country and stepping into a new world.

I also had thoughts about my life. Where I’ve been. Where I’m going. What is my purpose now? What do I leave behind? What mark? Is there really sense in life? Am I repeating patterns without being fully conscious of them?

I have many questions and few answers. The questions, however, are the key. If I keep asking, I keep looking and, hopefully, learning. And so, life goes on.

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Verdant Pass

P1000365_Fotor Today we finally managed to “do” Verdant Pass.

The weather may not have been ideal – rain, wind, cold – but the sun broke through in spurts and the mountains revealed themselves through clouds and swirling mist.

We were a tad (a lot) skeptical into hour two of our hike as we were still in trees, waiting for the hike to become a wonderful, epic four-booter. We grew more and more skeptical. Could our guide-book be wrong for the first time?

Then we crested the meadow. Oh my! The views and the meadows stretched on and on. Never had either Simon or I seen such a wild alpine meadow. Every bit of wet brush we’d practically bushwhacked through was so so so worth it!

We could have spent the day there, even when the wind blew up and the rain clouds blew back in. But we were on a tight schedule with a dog pickup and getting ready to head back out tomorrow morning. Reluctantly we stopped after drinking in the meadows for about an hour or so and booted it back, peeling off rain jackets and putting them back on at the whim of the weather.

The day was glorious – shared with my love. On the way back, we came much too close to running out of gas – and would have if the Robson Park visitor’s centre hadn’t had a couple of pumps – which we were NOT expecting! We’d decided we were going to putter into Valemount on fumes or hitchhike or something.

So – what a wonderful win. And then we picked up puppies shiny and clean from baths and pawdicures. And now – ready for our next adventure, which may include buying property! EEEEEK!!!!P1000369_Fotor P1000371_Fotor P1000373_Fotor P1000376_Fotor P1000381_Fotor P1000382_Fotor P1000387_Fotor P1000388_Fotor P1000389_Fotor

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Plan B, C, D and maybe even E

DSC_0103_FotorWell, we went with Plan B today – and a jolly good thing it was. It poured all night and all morning. When the clouds began to part just a touch this afternoon, we saw new snowfall on the mountains. I suspect Mount Robson would have been a very cold, wet and likely snowy place today and tonight.

I’m just as happy to be semi-warm (it never gets hot enough for me) and cozy in the SIGmobile.

Plan B continues with hiking Verdant Pass tomorrow and Cavell Meadows the next day before we dash off in the general direction of the Slocan Valley.

And that’s where Plan C comes in. Simon and I have been talking for weeks and months about a piece of property where we can be pretty self-sufficient. It seems that while I went to bed early last night and slept the peaceful sleep of the innocent, Simon stayed up on the Internet getting highly excited about properties he was finding – one in particular. At breakfast he regaled me with the details: acres, house to lockup, outbuildings, soil, sun, etc.

We talked well into the afternoon and not just the two of us. Those talks included a realtor who figures prominently into Plan D, which calls for us to meet him at the property at 11.30 a.m. on the 27th. Plan D also calls for us to stay in the Slocan Valley until the 31st because that’s when the foreclosed property offers go to court and so on. Don’t ask for details – it’s all too much and too overwhelming to talk about right now. Suffice to say, we may or may not, be property owners soon.

Right – and that brings me to Plan E, which involves screaming and running around in circles while questioning any sanity I had left.

Deep breath.

There – I think I’ll be okay. I am going to contact a hiking group in the Slocan and see if they can rescue me. It seems that all the nearby hikes involve either a boat or a high clearance 4×4. I am hoping they will take me. What happens to me after that is a question that has yet to be answered. However, given our adventures in the wilds of the mountains so far, anything is possible.


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Maybe Plan B

DSC_0039_Fotor So there I was (we were) yesterday in the sun (and wind, it must be said).

Today, we started off pretty good – and then the weather changed. As we drove to McBride with the dogs to their new puppy care and spa facility, we watched the wind rise up and the storm clouds roll in. It is pouring buckets – no, not buckets, vats and barrels – we are in a waterfall.

Maybe I exaggerate a tad – but still.

The question now is, what to do about Mount Robson. This may well change our plans. We’re both fine for hiking and backpacking in inclement weather, but to leave on a major hike in absolute horribleness – I don’t think either one of us is game for that. We have decided to call it at 6.30 a.m. when we wake up. In the meantime, we’ll get our packs ready and prepare to go.

I suggested Plan B – hike Verdant Pass on Tuesday when the weather is once again supposed to be beautiful. Then, the next day, pack up and head to Nelson.

In the meantime, here we are in our little home, cozy as can be. The furnace is running and we have electricity, Internet and hot water. Simon is going to make omelets for dinner.

Life is good.
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Wilcox Pass

P1000262_Fotor One more amazing day! One more amazing hike!

Do these stunning days ever stop?

I think not.

After yesterday’s humdrum hike, today’s so far surpassed expectations, it was dizzying. I thought it was going to be just a tiny little day hike. After all, it’s a tourist place: middle of Columbia Icefields. We’d also been warned: expect many, many people – but only to the middle of the pass, which is a mere 90 minutes or so from the trailhead. After that, we were set to do some exploring.

We hit the trail at 9.30 and had it almost to ourselves. Up we went through subalpine forest to emerge very quickly into alpine meadow. Glorious from the word “go.” Simon and I both took so many pictures the number was ludicrous. But it was a case of point your camera anywhere and you’ll get a brilliant shot.

After the top of the pass, we kept walking toward Tangle Creek (or Pass or Falls – Tangle something or other). We walked and walked and walked until we hit the highest point of our trail and the view into the next (Tangle?) valley appeared. We stopped for lunch, alone on an alpine, windswept tundra – totally at peace and in a state of bliss and love.

I can’t quite describe what places like this do to me. At one point I told Simon that I felt like “home.” But it’s more than that. I feel not so much like I belong in landscapes like this, but that I belong TO them.

And they fill me with love and that love spreads. I feel the love spill over to Simon just as my love for Simon also spills over into these landscapes.

After lunch, we hiked back. From there we decided to head up to Wilcox Peak. No – not the top – mountaineering stuff, that one – but as far as we felt like. We thought, maybe just at the top where the grass ended and the rocky bits started. So we did that – climbed up and then got off the trail to trek across the sloping scree for good views.

After some photos, we headed back to the trail to hike down. But there was the trail heading up – and Simon asked, “Do you want to go up?” “Sure,” I said.

I mean, why not?

And so we headed up steep scree and loose rocks. Up and up. We were determined to reach the saddle – which we did about 20 or 30 minutes later. And, oh my, it was worth it. There we were, once again on top of the world, with ranges and icefields, glaciers and meadows spread below us.

It was a glorious moment.

Even the trek back was sublime.

We reached our car again a little more than eight hours after setting out. So much for this being a small day hike – it was a big, satisfying, wonderful, epic day.

One more favourite hike to add to my list.

And now we are in Tete Jaune Cache with one day to prepare for our two-day trek to Mount Robson and Berg Lake. I am praying to the weather gods because, at the moment, the forecast is for heavy rain and that just won’t do.

In other good news: we have Internet and hook-ups for the first time in ages. Also, we get to sleep in tomorrow for the first time in ages.

Life is very good indeed.P1000267_Fotor P1000274_Fotor P1000276_Fotor P1000287_Fotor P1000301_Fotor P1000309_Fotor P1000327_Fotor P1000333_Fotor P1000340_Fotor P1000341_Fotor P1000344_Fotor P1000346_Fotor P1000352_Fotor P1000354_Fotor P1000356_Fotor

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Tonquin Valley and more

P1000242_Fotor Today has been an amazing day- but I’ll save that for tomorrow, along with a million photos. Yesterday, an “oops” sort of hike – and here is what I wrote about that at the end of the day:

All I can say about today is that it was “interesting.”

We set out to hike Verdant Pass. I blame myself entirely that we didn’t hike it or even find it until the end of the day.

If I’d read the directions carefully, I would have realized that the trail to Verdant is unmaintained and unmarked and, indeed, not even a trail for the last part – just route finding and scrambling.

So – instead of hiking Verdant Pass and spending time in the glorious alpine, we trudged for 17 kilometres down Tonquin Valley. And I do mean trudged. This is not a trail I would ever recommend. Simon tubbed it, “Monotony Trial.”

I was more disappointed that I would have liked to have been. It took me most of the trip there and back to get over it and simply enjoy (or at least resign myself cheerfully) to the fact that we’d booted those kilometres in record time and got some great exercise on a sunny, beautiful day. Also, Simon made me giggle hysterically for much of the time – and that’s always worth a trip.

Now that we’re back, after deciding to come back and do Verdant Pass on the 24th, I’m not sure if I want to. The description of the trail (or lack of one) has no appeal to me at all. On the other hand, Edith Cavell Meadows appeals to me now – particularly if we go as far as we can, far past the tourist stops.

At any rate, that was the day. Future decisions will happen in the future. We will or will not do Cavell Meadows and/or Verdant Pass.

As with all things, we will make these choices together.

Now – a hot shower (yay!) and Wilcox Pass tomorrow. A disappointment in a hike is such a small thing. Great things to come.

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