Tuesday, 21 September 2010


Aren't these just the most enthusiastic clothespins you've ever seen?? I simply LOVE them! A friend brought them back from Poland where she spent a week caregiving to a friend having the new "liberation" procedure for MS. I'm going to get Dave to coat these with a spray of lacquer - they are just too precious to experience weather damage. Thanks, Effie, for this happy gift to a person who adores clothes hanging.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

West Purcell Waste Management

This is the type of biffy we found at the campgrounds along the Earl Grey Trail, at least on the west side of the pass. There don't seem to be biffies on the east side, which is a bit of a shame. I didn't actually use this particular toilet; it's found about 3 km up from the west trailhead. Yeah, that is a shrub growing up through the hole. Much as I appreciated having these toilets, it was a bit damp to sit on during our trek from west to east. C'etait dommage!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

A Wet Walk in the Woods

We walked the Earl Grey Trail from September 9 - 13th. It was pretty wet, although we didn't have a downpour of rain at any time. With the mornings so cool, even on the one morning when we didn't get rain, the bushes and grasses were so wet, we were all drenched within 5 minutes. This year the trail had been "brushed" and according to my friend Gerald it won't get done again for another decade. I'd hate to try it "unbrushed". The trail was challenging, but I generally had myself psyched for something worse. There were one or two fairly difficult hours of hiking, but overall, the trail was in good shape and easy to find. The avalanche slopes would be really tough to do if not brushed out, especially when wet!

We found the campsites in the West Kootenay to be really nice and had more facilities than we expected (like a toilet and a circle of stones and a few planks for sitting). On the "east" side of the trail there wasn't much at any campsite. However, that day, our rainiest, we created our own campsite in a patch of pretty dry woods not too far from a stream.

The biggest disappointment of the trip was not seeing the big peaks at Earl Grey Pass. We had glimpses of them from time to time, but not the big picture. I definitely plan to return by going to the pass via Toby Creek in the East Kootenays (17.5 km to the top of the pass). The greatest achievement, for me, was feeling pretty strong throughout the trip, and not getting depressed by the inclement weather. I even managed to cross a few wet logs, carrying my pack, by Day 5! The first 3 days are largely a "walk in the woods" and the old growth forest is magnificent. It's a worthwhile trek - at least once!

Wednesday, 8 September 2010


Tuesday marked the opening of school in British Columbia. Even though I know most of my former colleagues in SK have been back at it for at least a week, yesterday was the day that I celebrated To Hell With The Bell. It's my 4th one! I got together with a number of former teachers for breakfast. It is wonderful to feel such collegial spirit with so many people that I never worked with - perhaps that is why! Our late breakfast took place at the Kaslo Golf Course which has the best view of Kootenay Lake (north) and the Purcells northeast of Kaslo. I had a fine meal of French toast, carmalized bananas and pecans, and maple syrup. Yum! Happy New Year to all the teachers out there.

Monday, 6 September 2010

Three/Four on Whitewater Canyon

On Sunday, a friend and I hiked up Whitewater Canyon, a relatively easy hike to get to from Kaslo. This is the place where we get to see grizzly bears on the far side of the valley! Alas, the bears seem to have left that area; they are probably spending their time catching kokanee down in the valley bottom. This is my 4th time hiking up Whitewater Canyon and the only time I haven't seen griz. The good thing was they we found tons of huckleberries - that's today's picture in case you thought it might be animal droppings. We had a wonderful hike with NO SNOW and lots of berry picking to keep us amused. Thank you to Shelley for another delightful romp in the Koots.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

'Doing' Dennis Basin

Bet you readers figured this was a picture of Dennis Basin - wrong! It's actually Alps Alturas on a very beautiful blue sky day. The trail to AA starts on the left hand side of the picture from the cutblock and heads up to slightly below the snowline in the picture. On Thursday, because it looked as if it was going to be the only gorgeous day in the week, we headed up to Dennis Basin, across from AA. I had seen these ridges on Monday and wanted to explore. Thursday gave us the opportunity. We hiked a good trail to a pass, then the trail ended and it was pretty much figure out where to go. You can see that we got great views across to AA. We walked along one ridge, had to climb a very steep hill to get onto another ridge and a high point, and then came back to the 'basin' and to our truck. There had been heavy frost that night and no huckleberries grew on the plants. It was an outstanding hike and another perfect mountain day. The weather remained beautiful for the next two days!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Heading to AA

Monday, I went to AA - Alps Alturas, over in the north Slocan Valley area. It reminded me what a beautiful hike this is - a short walk through the forest where the trail opens into a lovely meadow. It was too late for much in the way of flowers and this picture shows the smattering of snow that fell in the high alpine at the end of August. This is one Kootenay walk with a really GOOD trail all the way, not too much elevation gain, and fantastic views. I'd highly recommend it as one of the best hikes in the Kootenays - you don't really have to be fit to do this one. The fact that abundant huckleberries were available to pick near the trailhead didn't hurt either. Another perfect day exploring the Kootenays - knowing that my former colleagues were back to work in Saskatoon made it all the better:)