Taking the High Road, Part IV: Nelson to Vancouver, BC

Still getting caught up on the blog from our summertime road trip! And time is just flying! So, there may be a flurry of posting activity in the next couple of weeks to get us up-to-date and ready for the new year! 2020 – WHA…?!

After visiting the Hugos in Saint Maries, and NOT eating Taco Bell, we busted a move up to beautiful British Columbia – another place on the Earth that Jody had not seen. One word comes to mind when I think of what we experienced in BC – TREES! Holy cow there are a lot of trees, but there are also a lot of logging trucks and, scattered among all the trees, are the clear cuts, big ones, small ones, and crazy-to-access ones. Nuts. It’s one of those catch-22s – as human populations increase, there’s a massive demand for natural resources, wood being one of them, and Canada and the PNW have a lot of trees, so…The crux, I suppose, is to ensure that extraction practices, whether they be for wood, oil, metals and minerals, sun and wind – whatever, are done in a manner consistent with conservation and sustainability of ecosystems and species and protection of human health. I’m not sure this is happening anywhere in the world, but it’s something toward which we can strive. Ok, I’ll get off that soap box.

Despite any consternation over clear-cutting, we fully embraced the absolute beauty of this place. The quaint one-horse towns; the grandiose urban centers with their massive high rises and overabundance of restaurants of every ethnicity; the long stretches with nothing but blacktop and towering peaks, and water – big rivers and lakes everywhere. And, amazingly, dare I say, the bugs weren’t that bad. Oh, and the campgrounds – Canada does these right. The campground hosts keep the individual sites virtually spotless (and in one case, raked like a Zen garden), and they even greet you at your selected site in their golf carts, chat you up, take your money, then offer you firewood for a nominal fee. Such a warm and fuzzy experience. Very Canadian.

While in Nelson, we were able to see a rehabilitated Kokanee stream full of fish, but luckily didn’t cross paths with the female bear and her cubs who were foraging on the same stream that week. It was a pretty cool sight. We did our walk about town, exploring shops and getting some good food and partaking of craft brews.

We left Nelson, and the Kokanee Creek Provincial Park (and the Torchlight Brewery), and headed north to the Nakusp Hot Springs. Anyone who knows me knows that I’m not a fan of public swimming pools or hot tubs (as mentioned previously in our Yellowstone post), but we’d heard this place was pretty nice and everyone is required to shower before entering the pool, so…So, it was hot. And crowded. But we scored soaking spots in the pools and a campsite on the grounds – next to a family of seven, including a few very small children. We were concerned it was going to be a long, loud night, but they were the best neighbors ever. They even offered us hot chocolate in the morning. So sweet.

After the Nakusp Hot Springs, we made our way through Kelowna (the third most populated city in BC – after Vancouver and Victoria ) and Hope (probably one of the smallest towns in BC), and landed just outside Mission at the Rolley Lake Provincial Park/campground, which was “full,” but we managed to squeak in for the night. The following morning, we were off to Vancouver for a few days. As in all big cities, parking sucks, the high rise buildings blot out the sun, and the have-nots are desperately trying to make a go of it among the haves. It’s difficult to ignore the tough reality of the growing economic divide that exists in every community, every city, and every country in the world…sigh. But that’s another topic for another time (just like the extraction of natural resources, see above). What was easy to see is the diversity of this big city, the integration of residential with commercial development, the efficiency of public transportation, and the value of open spaces, like Stanley Park. We thoroughly enjoyed our brief stay here, and will definitely return someday.