Sunday, August 2, 2009

Nelson and Kootenay Lake

Alice likes the stone buildings in Nelson: art school and Selkirk College. Nelson was once a big railroad town.

On Saturday, in the Seattle-like heat of Nelson, after packing up and having lunch at the historic Hume Hotel, we visited the town museum. This beautifully air conditioned facility, in one of the many historic buildings, had some interesting historical photographs and objects, and psychelic oil paintings of various older houses in the town, definitely in the tradition of the Canadian Group of Seven. More iced coffee at Oso Negro, where Alice added food reviews of Nelson to Odaria on Twitter, a last visit to the Otter book store, and we were ready to head east. One last stop was to a BC liquor store to buy a bottle of Havana Club rum, unavailable in the US and said to be far superior to the contemporary productions of Bacardi.

We drove along the West Arm of Kootenay Lake for about a half hour, heading to the ferry dock for the ride across the huge and beautiful lake, naturally occurring and miles and miles long, and seemingly as wide as Puget Sound, as the ride took about as long as from Edmonds to Kingston. We thought it more beautiful than Lake Tahoe, in an area not so dry and surrounded by mountains and evergreen trees. The intense heat had moderated, and afternoon clouds, which later led to another spectacular thunder and lightning storm, shielded us from the sun, so we could fully enjoy the views from the little car ferry. Picture: Riding on the MV Balfour.

Once across, we stopped in the small community of Crawford Bay, which has an outstanding array of craftspeople, especially broom makers and a blacksmith. We bought a find hand broom attached to an iron handle for Wanda, and learned that the broom makers, whose workshop was closed for the day, had made brooms for various movies, as well as the Canadian publisher of Harry Potter books.
The road trailed south along the east shore of the Lake for miles, with many gorgeous views, and we began to spot peaks from the higher Rocky Mountains to the east as we headed for Cranbrook, where we slept well but didn't see much other than the thunderstorm, the fast-food lined strip along the highway, and the vast parking area of our Best Western motel.

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