1999 Trip Log Part Two: Revelstoke, The Kootenays, Radium, and Lake Minnewanka

July 4, Revelstoke

After the band concert we were invited out to dinner to the riverside home of some old friends. Jim is a retired CPR engineer and enthusiastic fly fisherman and Connie is a school teacher. Dinner on the deck with it's great view of the Columbia river and Mount Begbie was very enjoyable.Jim told us that he always takes his Border Collie "Tuft" along on frequent fly fishing expeditions to local spots and that the dog's ears go up when he senses a fish.

Later that evening we returned to the campground where some new arrivals told us that they had been stuck at the visitor center at Field the previous night due to an unseasonal heavy snowfall. We must have left Kicking Horse just ahead of the storm.

July 5th, Revelstoke

We visited the Railroad Museum with it's enormous 1948 "Mikado" Mountain Locomotive.

We also searched the gift shop in vain for another copy of Volume Two of a series of CPR books. Janet had been showing the picture on page seven of D.M. Bain's 'History of the CPR in the Rockies Volume Two' to almost everyone she met. The picture from the nineteen forties is of the stern wheeler 'Minto' docked beside the steam train at the North end of the Arrow lakes. Two men on the platform in the picture appear to be Janet's father, Ralph Palmer, and Janet's grandfather and CPR plumber Dave Rabbitt. Grandad had taken Janet on the same trip when she was very young so a less dog eared copy of the book would be a definite nostalgia piece.

No visit to Revelstoke should be complete without a drive up to the summit of Mount Revelstoke. Unfortunately the strange 1999 weather had blocked the road with snow at the 16 kilometer mark so we decided to go out to Craigellachie instead. The site of the last spike on the CPR didn't have the book either so we returned to Revelstoke for supplies for tomorrow's trip down the Arrow Lakes.

July 6th Revelstoke to Kaslo

The weather turned clear and hot with light traffic as we headed down the Arrow Lakes road to the Kootenays. The free ferry at Arrowhead was there as we approached and our rig was loaded immediately.

After a gas stop at New Denver I removed the extension mirrors for the narrow road up past Silverton and on to New Denver. A number of huge, loaded logging trucks were traveling in both directions on that road and the regular mirrors on out tow vehicle still have limited usefulness with our seven foot wide trailer.

Kaslo

The Mirror Lake Campground just South of Kaslo cost $16.00 per night with power & water. Admiring the pretty mountain setting we struck up a conversation with the couple in the motor home next to us. They proudly showed us their spare tire cover with "Our house is a very very fine house." lettered on it.

"Was that a Beatles song?"

"Shame on you!" the lady exclaimed. "We're Charley Nash's grandparents!"

"Oops! Crosby,Stills, Nash, and Young."

Janet says she's seen the world's oldest surviving stern wheeler, the Moyie, before so we decide to just stay in the campground over night.

July 7 Kaslo to Yahk

Hitching the trailer poses some problems due to loose wheel chocks and a sloping site. I strip the gears on the hitch jack but manage to raise it with the hydraulic jack, hitch the trailer, then re insert the post which will now only go up. Off color Janet story material. The nearest well stocked RV parts places are most likely in Cranbrook so we will have to head there.

We head South for world's longest free ferry ride. The winding, narrow road along the lake holds some hazards besides the logging trucks and we just miss a deer around one of the corners.

At Balfour Bay we get in the lineup for the M.V. Anscombe but it's too long and we have to wait in the rain for the smaller 'Balfour'. I remove extension mirrors & make sure the propane is off. They really pack those ferries!

The crossing of Kootenay lake is very rough due to high cross winds. After disembarking we head South in rain, are delayed at one slide area, then go on to Creston for a gas stop. The road East of Creston is much wider so the extension mirrors go back on but now the radio warns of a storm coming from the west.

Yahk Provincial Park

Yahk is a small park beside a river and costs $12.00 per night plus a wood fee. We find a site away from the river as it's already quite cool and the river looks very high. I have to monkey with the hydraulic jack again to get level. The storm hits just after setting up, dropping some tree branches but the swaying lodgepole pines around us seem ok.

July 8th Cranbrook to Kimberley and Wasa Lake:

The Tourist Information Center gives directions to a local RV dealer. He turns out to be too busy but says try Holiday RV next door. The Holiday guy's help are also busy but they do have replacement units so its "Bring her over & we'll have a look at it. " I thread the car and trailer through RV lot then the Honda lot . Lonnie looks at the trailer, says "That's a 1000 pound jack. I don't have one in stock but can get one next door." Lonnie disappears, then comes back with the part and gives me a 10% discount so the total bill is $59.45.

We decide to go to the Happy Hans Campground at Kimberley but it's jammed with overflow space only.

"The Accordion Festival is on."

"I'm outa here!"

We already have a picture of Janet next to the world's largest cuckoo clock in the Platzl in Kimberley so decide to go on North.

Back down the hill a gas stop at Red's country store also get us a couple of Red's excellent deli sandwiches for lunch at Wasa Lake Provincial Park.

Wasa Lake Provincial park has nice roomy campsites where installation of the new hitch jack takes only a few minutes. There are no hook ups and a large number of reserved sites with campground fees of $15.00 per night. Sites are large and mostly well spaced with warm, sunny weather as a bonus.

Searching for the hiking trail we meet an archaeologist with a Kombi-Kamp towed by VW Jetta. He tells us that the Kombi-Kamp was built for speed with high speed wheel bearings and torsion axle suspension. Apparently the made in Denmark Kombi-Kamps have not been made since a company president absconded with funds around two years ago.

The hike up the ridge results in a panoramic view of the Rocky Mountain trench & Wasa Lake. A pretty site with dry, sandy, country similar to the area around Kamloops.

Back at camp people in a nearby site report a nice beach within walking distance.

July 9 Redstreak Campground at Radium Hot Springs

The drive North between Wasa Lake and Radium is on a good two lane highway through fairly flat country. Getting to Redstreak at the South end of the Radium town site involves a fairly steep series of switchbacks. Redstreak costs 18.00 with power only or $22.00 with power and a campfire permit. Sites are quite small and may require some creativeness for people with large units.

July 10 Redstreak

The weather is just too hot for sitting in the hot spring. I hiked up the Redstreak Loop early in the day. The trail is nearly vertical in places but leads to a panoramic view of the campground.

Redstreak also has a trail to the hot springs with the tops of some ninety foot tall Spruce trees right beside the trail in a few places.

July 11 Radium to Two Jack Lake

The drive up through Kootenay National Park to Two Jack Lake is quite scenic even though you ocassionally see SUV drivers who have stopped to talk to the cops. Two Jack camping fees cost $12.00 with a $5.00 off coupon & fire permit. Sites are small with lots of trees to maneuver between but Lake Minnewanka is nearby.

After setting up we drive to Lake Minnewanka. Our second last day of vacation is Sunny, with lots of Bighorn Sheep, and the lake is gorgeous.

July 12 Home

Highway 22 is recently paved and a good way to bypass Calgary if you take the road to Airdrie. We didn't and wound up touring some less well known country roads that eventually led back to highway two North for the last leg of our trip home to Spruce Grove.

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