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Report 1739: Six Weeks in Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC where English Tourists Don’t Get to....

By Eleanor from England, Summer 2009

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Page 6 of 9: Cranbrook to Revelstoke

photo by Eleanor

SS Moyie at Kaslo carried passengers up and down Kootenay Lake until 1957. It has now been restored as a museum.

From Cranbrook we headed up the east side of Kootenay Lake to get the ferry across to Balfour. We had been looking forward to this run but were frustrated as there were so many trees, you couldn’t see the views! We had a brief stop at Kockanee Creek Provincial Park intending to follow some of the trails. They were poorly way marked and in early June not well used. We drove through Nelson (a big, busy place) but couldn’t find anywhere to park so headed for Silverton where we had three nights.

Silverton is a delightful small town with little left of its industrial past except the open air display of old machinery. We drove to Sandon. This gets very positive reports in the guide books about how the ghost village is being revitalised. I think they have run out of puff since these accounts were written. It had a very run down sad feel to the place. Everywhere was firmly shut even though there was a sign outside Prospectors Pick General Store which said open. We started to walk along the Kaslo and Sandon Rail trail but after a couple of miles the bridge had been washed away and the stream was too wide for me to jump. All in all a disappointing visit.

The drive from Silverton to Kaslo is really good and it made a change to be able to see the scenery. Kaslo is a delightful small town with a lot of heritage buildings. A trip around SS Moyie was excellent and we would highly recommend it. This has been beautifully restored and was an eye opener as to the standards of luxury provided for travelers.

After Silverton, we headed north to Revelstoke. We decided to take the scenic route from Kaslo up to Meadow Creek and the gravel road past Trout Lake to Galena for the ferry. This is an amazing run - we hardly saw any traffic and the scenery was glorious.

The weather let us down in Revelstoke and limited the amount we did. We drove up the Meadows in the Sky Parkway on the afternoon we arrived. The sun was wrong for pictures but again we were disappointed by how few views you got because of the trees. The top of the road was still closed because of snow, so we didn’t reach the meadows at the top. We had a NP pass so didn’t have to pay for the drive. If we had it would have been expensive for few views. Far better were the two short trails we did in Revelstoke National Park - the Skunk Cabbage Trail and the Giant Cedars Trail.

There are two museums in Revelstoke worthy of mention. the RAilway Museum with a range of interesting displays and information and the Nickelodeon Museum. This was great fun. It is by guided tour as the owners play some of the different organs - the number you hear depends on how interested the group is and how busy they are. Tours are advertised as taking an hour but in fact we were over 90 minutes. It is the most amazing collection of organs and the stories with them are entertaining. This was a very worthwhile and enjoyable visit and not at all ‘stuffy’.

Rogers Pass is an amazing road to drive with stunning scenery. Even though it was dull, I preferred this drive to Icefields Parkway even though it is not as far. Many of the trails were still closed after the winter but the Abandoned Rails Trail is an easy walk and takes you past the remains of the wooded snow shelters. In Glacier National Park, the Hemlock trail is a very pleasant short walk through mature forest.

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