A very early start for an 11 1/2 hr bus ride to Castlegar where Raquel very kindly had me to stay for the week. It’s my last week before I start work so thought I should make the most of it. This was also my first trip to the interior, so was looking forward to exploring. I was also just in time to tick the trip off list as the bus route is stopping at the end of October.
It was a very long bus ride so going to keep the notes brief.
Raquel met me and we went straight to the local pub the The Lions Head. It’s about the best pub I’ve been to in Canada in that it’s a real pub! We were joined by Raquel’s daughter (Emily), sister (Robyn) and her friend. My burger was excellent and I worked my way through a few beers before treating myself to a nice whiskey. We then played jenga with a twist, every piece has a truth, dare, never have I ever, categories etc which I thought was a great addition!
We had a very chilled morning, I just worked on my triathlon coaching course and Raquel did some work. The weather didn’t start off great but it cleared up and one of Raquel’s friends (Jack) dropped by with a fishing rod so I could have a crack in the afternoon on one of the rivers or lakes. I had my own kit but didn’t have the local set up so was very grateful for the pointers as I am all too aware of that fishing the wrong techniques leads to no fish.
After lunch Raquel, her friend and baby, and I set off for a small walk to a waterfall by a lake so that I could then fish. It was the most beautiful afternoon and a fun little waterfall but the water level is so low I don’t think it was as impressive as it could have been.
After this taster I was then very excited to do more fishing over the next couple of days.
First thing in the morning we went for a beautiful short hike from the golf course up to a mountain top look out. The views were absolutely stunning and this time of year is amazing. The trees colour is turning, the mist on the river as the air is so cool and the snow tipped mountains.
We briefly went down to Robyn’s coffee shop to hang out. I had to try the cinnamon bun which she had assured me the night before were excellent and it didn’t disappoint, I would highly recommend them. The three of us went back to Robyn’s to hang out and have a drink but after a long day none of us lasted that long before retreating to bed.
After helping Raquel with a couple of chores (had to try and make my stay useful!) to, I was allowed to go fishing again with another of her friends Wayne. I borrowed her truck on the promise that I didn’t crash it which I thought wouldn’t be too difficult. However on the 20 min drive to Wayne’s house I had a very close call. I suddenly noticed that up the bank beside me there was a deer scrambling up the bank and then charged down, I accelerated and moved out so I didn’t hit it but unfortunately the car behind did. Having hit a deer last year in Scotland in a very small car I know what that can do. Luckily the rest of my trip went without drama.
We fished a different part of the river and the mist too a lot longer to burn off today which made temperature control a lot more complicated. We didn’t have any luck which was a shame but the fishing report can be found below.
On our way back from the river we bumped in to some people who one turned out to be Robyn’s step father which shows how small the world is. Having grown up in a town where everyone knows everyone I felt very at home with the atmosphere in Castlegar. I’m a big fan.
In the afternoon Raquel and I went to the neighbouring town, Nelson, which is a 30 min drive further into the Kootenay’s. It was a lovely drive and Nelson is a beautiful town on a hill next to a lake. We drove through town but there isn’t a huge amount to do apart from shopping so we went for a quick coffee at Raquel’s favourite coffee shop. Raquel had warned me that there was a slightly hippie vibe and this definitely played out.
I went for a run up the Columbia river to the dam but it was slightly further than I wanted to go so didn’t make it but it was a beautiful evening for a run.
When we arrived at Gabriella’s the restaurant looked very closed and we had a slight panic that we had driven 30 mins and weren’t going to get dinner!! However it turned out the only sign you can see is for the cafe which was very closed. Just round the corner was the entrance to the lobby for the hotel and the restaurant. The main restaurant had closed so we ate in the lounge bar. It was a lovely little Italian place with a massively extensive menu which made choosing pretty tricky. The hotel and restaurant has a very ski resort feel about it which is always a good atmosphere. We had a lovely dinner and the food and wine (another BC choice) were excellent. We had an really nice evening and time was flew so we didn’t end up getting back to Castlegar till nearly midnight. I would definitely recommend the restaurant and was well worth the drive up from Castelgar. I think I am slowly getting used to the acceptable time of travelling for things in Canada which is much larger than the UK).
We set off first thing for the 7-8hr drive back to Vancouver. As it wasn’t the bus we could take the more direct route along the US border. The skies were clear, the visibility excellent and I was looking forward to seeing all the scenery that had been hidden in the cloud on the way up.
The scenery for the majority of the drive was spectacular, once you get to Hope you are back on the highway its rather developed and less exciting but you are still in the mountains. Raquel and I had some hilarious conversations and spent most the time laughing. We have definitely created some in jokes that will pop up in some fairly odd circumstances going forward and are fully up date to date on each others lives.
The main industry across there region is logging and we past some serious sawmills. There 10’s of thousands of trees just stacked up ready to be chopped and apparently they have sprinklers all around the mill to prevent fires and try to protect the wood as this is the heartland of forest fire territory.
We finally made it back to Vancouver and after some delicious sushi on Commercial Drive I did a quick turn around as my sister (Sophie) and her husband (Will) were arriving for a weeks visit.
Raquel, her family and friends have all been so awesome and kind and its been such a fun week to finish with before I go back to work. My adventures are going to be harder to come by now that I will be working again but I will make sure I make the most of my weekends, the long weekends (you get lots in Canada) and my very limited holiday (you don’t get lots in canada).
I will definitely be heading back to Castlegar and am already planning my next trip, probably before the end of the year. I just cant wait to get back up there for some more scenery (think the winter will be stunning), fishing (barely touched the surface and need to get in to the fly fishing), winter sports (the backcountry skiing is meant to be epic),the excellent company and of course more bears (although not in the winter)!!