Then there’s Hope

I left with Bob on the 12:30 Ferry from Departure Bay to Horseshoe Bay, and driving through the lower mainland of Vancouver on Hwy 1 we headed for Hope. One of the little but not so insignificant considerations of driving the Hwy 1 or Trans- Canada from Horseshoe Bay through the city and beyond is the absence of any- nil, zero -traffic lights all the way for 170 km. It’s a smooth long flow right on through to Chilliwack, Abbotsford and on to Hope. Actually, to the opposite end of the country if you kept on going, the Trans-Can is one of the longest uninterrupted highways in the world.

Bob has a few days of work in Prince George and I’m taking the opportunity to go along for the mini tour. Again, fun for me, poor Bob has made this trek countless times over thirty-five years of working Pulp Mill Shut-Downs, saying he knows every stump and stone all along the way. I contemplated testing him. Naw, I’ll take his word.

Ok, so back to Hope. This is the first and only stop over on the little leg of our journey on our way  to Prince George, the second largest city in B.C. in the centre of British Columbia and a good 7 1/2 hour drive from Hope. In his robust younger days Bob would do the drive from Vancouver Island to P. G. in one go, but really that’s just madness, which makes me question exactly how many stumps and stones could one actually see driving like a dirt devil for twelve hours? (Total of 15 hours when you include waiting for the ferry and riding the ferry before even starting the drive!)

Ferry travel- another post.

Hope, the location where Rambo: First Blood was filmed. Hope with its massive fir-tree covered mountains RIGHT THERE looming over you, which caused me to wonder if the town came by the name of Hope from pioneer gold miners murmuring a prayer, I HOPE THIS MOUNTAIN DOESN’T FALL ON MY HEAD. Probably not, but that’s what I would (no, I do) say.

Suffice it to say, I don’t enjoy dwelling too long in the crevices and tight canyons of towering rock. Foothills, distant rocky mountain ranges, oceans, meadows, wide valleys, deserts and prairie are more my element. Yes, the looming mountain presence of Hope is pervasive, but in the town its threat feels slightly benign, ok, maybe even spectacular. Impressive also is the Fraser River running through the town, one of the longest rivers in Canada, with humble beginnings in Northern B.C.’s Fraser Pass building and running down into Vancouver’s Delta and New Westminster region and into the Strait of Georgia on the Pacific.

We got a room at the Windsor right downtown for $100, on another previous overnight stay in Hope we stayed at the Skagit Motel down the street from the Windsor, which we liked better. But the Windsor is just fine. We went for a walk through the neighbourhood before having dinner at Wallace, good restaurant by the way.

10,000 years ago this region was the home of the Sto:lo first nations until 1782 when, like so many(maybe all) European contact tragedies, small pox wiped out over two-thirds of their populations within six weeks. Below is the Dream Totem. Life had to have been quite glorious and richly abundant here for the Sto:lo along this big waterway before European contact. Way to go white guy.

Hope also holds the oldest church on its original foundation in British Columbia, the Christ Church, consecrated in 1861. The cedar trees that surround the church are magnificently huge, in fact the downtown has kept many of the old growth occupants intact, flanking the pathways to houses or lining a bit of the street and through the small park in the town centre; acknowledging them as part of the residential population, a rightly place in the neighbourhood.

On a bit of ground to the side of the little church is a Labyrinth, which of course I had to walk.

Next morning we grabbed breakfast at the Blue Moose across the street from the Windsor and began the long drive to Prince George.

 

 

Kimberley Condo

I am playing catch up here since I have been lazy about posting the past week! Bob and I had been staying at the condo right next door to our daughter Roo and her partner CJ for our first week. It backs onto a Golf course, along with some great hiking trails and is only a short distance up the hill between downtown Kimberley and the ski hill. We were given a very generously low rent to pay for our digs, when what the guy who is CJ’s friend only wanted was basic expenses, but we insisted on paying something a bit more than that! I mean it’s a beautiful condo, and he rents it out regularly, and he was kind enough to let us have it. This is his second residence, he spends most of his time in his primary home in Hawaii. So anyway super convenient for us and so comfortable! Made it easy for the four of us to get together for dinner each evening when Bob came back from work at either their place or ours. In the morning after Bob left for work and I’d done some yoga I’d go over to Roo’s for coffee, then plan what we would do for the day. I ate breakfast early ( because I would be up at 5 with Bob) but a few times Roo and I would breakfast together before heading out.

French Toast Y’all, with Fresh Berries, Yogurt and Maple syrup

We went to a baby expo in Cranbrook- Yes Roo is in her second trimester with her first bambino and I have to say although I’m over the moon about my baby having a baby – who I hope inherits our dimples- it hasn’t entirely sunk in. I think when I see her belly bigger in a few months THEN it will be real. We perused all the booths, and why didn’t I take any photographs!? Some great things out there for expectant mothers and babies now, I don’t recall baby expos when I was pregnant! Anyway we picked up several business cards and entered every draw offered for cool products, items and photography sessions. Then we went for lunch at SoulFood Company, a small new eatery started up by Roo’s chef friend,  Roo is a cook too,  that also focuses on local, fresh food. They gave us samples of their in-house sodas too.

 

Last Sunday when we arrived we all went for dinner at The Baurenhause, a Bavarian restaurant within walking distance from the condo that is outstanding in its organic locally sourced meats and vegetables; everything made in house right down to their mustard. We needed the walk after. Excellent food! The restaurant has some history attached, aside from it being a 350 year old Bavarian building from the Alps that was once a barn and then a home, that it witnessed the Black Plague, was disassembled in Bavaria, shipped to its present location in 1989 then reassembled. The original owners who did this feat still live upstairs. They lease the lower area to the chefs Nils Fuhge and his wife Michelle Klassen.

The old Baurenhause, web photo

 

What I ate! Pork Schnitzel with Poached Pear and Brie and Rosti Potatoes.

So it’s been a terrific first week, poor Bob though has been working hard but it’s been good too spending evenings with the kids over some good home cooked dinner!

Kootenay Time, Spring in the Rockies

Boarding the B.C. Ferry in Departure Bay that takes Bob and me to Horseshoe Bay on mainland Vancouver we begin the drive to Kimberley in the East Kootenays, an area over 27,000 sq. kilometers in south-east British Columbia stretching from Spilimacheen down to the Montana border and lies between Banff and the Kootenay lake; tucked between the Purcell, Monashee and Selkirks of the Columbia Mountain system and the Canadian Rockies.

From Horseshoe Bay we drove on the # 1 hwy to Hope then took the Coquihalla or the #5 as far as Kamloops, then back on the #1 that took us up into the high mountains and through the Glacier National Park to Golden where we spent a night, making it an eleven hour drive. (not including the two-hour ferry ride). From there it would only be a two and a half hour drive following hwy 95 directly south down to Kimberley.

Last year I was here at the end of May and first weeks of June and it was HOT, but May? I’ve been here for four days and although cooler it’s been sunny and windy. Friends back on the coast are still getting lots of rain and single digit temps. Too bad. 🙂

I’ve tagged along with Bob because he is working again in the area our daughter and her partner live, so we can get in some visiting time, me more than he unfortunately as his hours are long without days off for the two weeks we’re here. A visit made even more special because our daughter is in her second trimester with their first baby! They had also booked a week “pre-delivery” vacation to Mexico that coincided with our second week here so we’ll happily look after the four-legged grand babies Dexter and Jackson, their two chihuahuas, for a week. When they return Bob will be finished his work and we’ll have more relaxed time to spend a few extra days with them.

More to follow!

 

B.C. Ferry from Departure Bay Vancouver Island to Horseshoe Bay Vancouver.

 

Glacier National Park, east of Golden, B.C.

 

The Columbia Basin, Windermere area along hwy 95, heading South B.C.

 

 

Kimberly Re-Cap

Thought I’d take this opportunity to share a little more on my recent excursion to Kimberley, B.C. – My daughter, along with her partner Don, were super hosts and kept me happily active with hikes, paddles, bike rides, swimming and great eats! Since I had accompanied Bob out to Kimberley because he was working a shut down at the mill in Skookumchuck for ten days (outside of Kimberley) he didn’t get as much visit and play time as I got.

 

Nearly as soon as we arrived my daughter and Don loaded us up to drive 40 minutes out of Kimberley to climb the Fairmont Hoodoos in the Columbia Valley. The rest of the time was just my daughter and me. We took a 17 Km bike ride on the North Star Rail to Trail. Where once were railroad tracks they have been taken out and paved. You can cycle to cranbrook 30 K away.

It was good to get away, I was certainly restored, and I can understand why my daughter who even though was born on Vancouver Island near the ocean fell in love with the Kootenays. With big fresh water lakes, meadows, foothills, rivers, and of course mountains, I didn’t miss the ocean either. Not to mention great snowy winters and hot summers. Kind of a full package. And only a days drive away- ok a long (long) days drive, but I consider it in my backyard. Lucky me.

 

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Hoo-Doos

 

On top of the Hoodoos
On top of the Hoodoos

 

A day at Fort Steele
A day at Fort Steele
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Hiking the loop, Kimberley below

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North Star Rail to Trail, Kimberley
North Star Rail to Trail, Kimberley

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My daughter’s chill chihuahua Dexter. On St Mary’s Lake
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Haha lake

 

 

Pizza at StoneFire

 

Breakfast

 

Daughter and son in law getting chicken ready for the rotisserie.

 

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Kinbari Sushi

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Kootenay Time

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I’m presently in Kimberly spending time with my daughter, having taken the opportunity to go along with Bob to where he will be working for the next 10 days in Cranbrook, 30 minutes away. We chose to travel from Vancouver taking the more serpentine route of Highway 3, better known as the The Crowsnest Pass instead of the big wide Coquihalla and stay a night in Nelson on the way to Kimberly, well it was a little out of the way but in the general area all the same!

When I was a single mom I almost moved myself and daughter to Nelson in 1986 when hearing of affordable rents for big character houses in an artistically vibrant community, but was then also put off by reports that the town was so surrounded by the Selkirk Mountains that even summer daylight hours were short-lived.

I should have checked it out myself at that time. Yes, the mountains are there but on the town side they slope low and away and while being established on a wide western arm of Kootenay Lake created a charming and rather open valley. Walking its downtown streets I felt an attractive urban pulse akin to my Islands’ capitol Victoria.

Baker Street is the main drag of Nelson, British Columbia, Canada, a village of approximately 9,700 nestled in the Selkirk Mountains. The area offers scenic drives, hot springs, mountain bike trails and quirky shops, galleries and restaurants. The 1987 movie "Roxanne" was filmed here. (Christopher Reynolds/Los Angeles Times/MCT)
Baker Street is the main drag of Nelson, British Columbia, Canada, a village of approximately 9,700 nestled in the Selkirk Mountains. The area offers scenic drives, hot springs, mountain bike trails and quirky shops, galleries and restaurants. The 1987 movie “Roxanne” was filmed here. (Christopher Reynolds/Los Angeles Times/MCT) Photo courtesy of internet

I kinda loved it. Of course my daughter does too after visiting herself. ‘We could’ve lived here mom!’

In the evening, we got in to Nelson late around 8:00, we searched for dinner and decided on the Rel- ish Bistro on Baker Street, it was De-lish. Tenderloin for Bob and Butternut Ravioli for me. We left amply stuffed and contented. Next morning we walked around on the search for coffee and asking a passerby directed was directed to Oso Negro. Obviously a hot spot was bristling with patrons. Great coffee by the way. The cafe is surrounded too by a gorgeous garden and imaginative iron works.

I could live here.

After  breakfast we hit the road, crossing the bridge and drove up the coastline to catch the little Balfour Ferry ( the bigger one was being serviced) that would take us 30 minutes to cross over to Kootenay Bay, followed by a 3 hour drive into Kimberley. On a side note, we snidely chuckled when riding across the water saying how we’ve come a little out of our way (which it was) en route to Kimberley just to be able to ride a BC ferry for free, the only one in the fleet. We quietly rejoiced.

Kootenay Lake is massive, felt as though I was back among the gulf islands, and gorgeous. The remainder of the drive once reaching Kootenay Bay and driving down through Creston was bucolic. Stunning country continued all the way to Kimberly.

Kootenay Lake, BC

 

Kootenay Lake BC

 

D.K.Brint
Dinner at Re-LIsh Bistro, Nelson BC

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Oso Negro, Nelson BC

 

 

Hablo Español- well, my reoccurring attempt to

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I’m no stranger to the Spanish language, and not that I have any proficiency what so ever, but being born in California the school curriculum included Spanish, not sure if it still does as I’m talking some 45 years ago. My breath got caught just there.

I had it in junior high grades 7, 8 and as an elective in my junior year grade 9 at Huntington High, then my family moved to Canada where French was the dominant second language and was mandatory up to grade 10. I rather regret not taking advantage of that new language, but rather than jump in I stayed with what was familiar and was allowed to take Spanish by correspondence instead, which didn’t come to much since I had no one to practice with. When I got to grade 11 I took it as an elective. A side note about my Spanish teacher for that class, Mr. Gallagher, the first day of class he burst into the room holding a guitar, threw himself onto an empty desk and belted out La Cucaracha. He was an engaging teacher far and few between.

Later in life my husband and I traveled to Mexico a few times, one trip lasting three months backpacking and I took some Spanish tutoring, until our rented bikes were stolen one night and had to re pay the bike shop thus blowing my tutoring budget.

I took more classes in my town upon returning from that trip to keep the language alive. And again years later when I was employed at the University I recently retired from; one of our perks was exemption from tuition, so I had enrolled in a class that was compatible with my work schedule. One year.

One whole year, and I did o.k. but I struggled with exams and the finals. So obviously not quit getting it and I’m dismayed by this since this language and I go way (way) back.

So now a neighbor on my little island, who is originally from Colombia, has decided to hold  Spanish classes at our community hall each Wednesday morning. It is beginner level and I am attending, along with 20 of my neighbors, and although I know a bit more to take her intermediate class she plans on following up with,  rather than wait for that class I think I really need to begin the very basics again. I have  3 people in close proximity  that I can practice with too, I want to get this, I want to speak another language and by gum I plan to master it!

Anyone else out there having second language learning issue and successes? Did you have to persevere for years to break ground?  How did you finally break through the barrier?