August 25, 2017
Everyone except Rod told us to take the ferry across Kootenay Lake instead of crossing the big mountain at Salmo. As we checked out of Castlegar RV Park, Kim recommended taking the ferry. I’m sure the truck would do the job fine, but it is such a beautiful drive down the other side of Kootenay Lake, we opted to take the ferry. Kim and her husband do a great job running this RV park. I hope we get to come back.
We were very lucky to make the ferry, having only a 10 minute wait. This is the prettiest lake I have seen in Canada, with 10,000 foot mountains surrounding its crystal clear waters. Today it was clouded with smoke from distant fires. It’s only a 35-minute ferry ride, and they are very efficient getting cars loaded and unloaded. The drive down the east side of the lake is gorgeous, but today with all the smoke, it wasn’t so great, and Cranbrook is 165 km away on a twisty, winding road.
Unlike our trip four years ago when so many rivers were flooded, every stream we crossed was extremely low. We needed special regulations water permits, so we had to get to St. Mary Angler Shop in Cranbrook by 6:00. We barely made it. A nice young man named Gabby greeted us and helped with the permits. He said the St. Mary’s River and Skookumchuck are in good shape and have lots of fish. What a relief! We bought some flies and fly boxes and thanked Gabby. This is a great fly shop with all the equipment and guiding services you need, and they are all really nice people.
Now, could we find a campsite in Provincial Park? Lucky again! We pulled into the same site we camped in four years ago. Bob, the camp ranger, came to collect the money and talked for a while.
Make sure you stay abreast of all the fires and that your escape routes are not in danger of being shut down. In a lot of remote places there is often only one way in and one way out. In the wilderness it’s easy to get cut off from what’s happening. We see tourists wander into Big Sur all the time completely clueless. Fire moves and changes quickly. Just don’t get trapped. This is a bad fire season.
That’s a great point Jane-Ashley. Today they closed all the forests here in Fernie. No one can go up for any reason. We are heading south to Crossover Campground in Wyoming. It is in a very remote area without cell coverage. We will stop in Whitefish or Columbia Falls and find out what is going on before going in. Thank you so much.