Having just returned from driving approximately 900 miles return to see friends who live in the Kootenays, I have to tell you, in my opinion, at least, that I reside in one of the most stunning provinces in Canada.
As we drove, the colours from the turning Leaves became more and more startling. Leaves have mostly dropped where I live; as we drove further South, some Trees had only just begun to turn. The hues became almost psychedelic in their brilliance, along with the rays from a golden Sun in an intensely sapphire-blue Sky.
We drove to Revelstoke, in the eastern part of the province, near the Rockies and then turned South along Hwy. 23. This is a very quiet, country road where there was little traffic...but oh! what incredible views we had as we drove through Mountains and travelled beside huge Lakes. The Water glittered in the strong Sunshine and turned darkly sullen and angry when Clouds obscured the face of Sun.
We drove through Valleys where little light ever appeared...yet even there, the golden leaves offered a gentle glow. Mountains arose straight from the road in many areas. In others, lovely shiny, black Shale Cliffs rose high.
Gorges and Canyons and high Mountain roads made me turn my face away from the edge of the road, the odd time. These roads were narrow, with few concrete barriers...when we met any kind of large vehicle on this twisty, turny road, there were times I closed my eyes.
But just as quickly as we came into mountainous areas, Valleys and pastoral farms appeared. Coming from the brownish-shaded, arid Cariboo, seeing these luscious, flat green fields made me blink my eyes. Could anything be that green?
I was awestruck by the numerous hot Springs in the area. Some have been developed; my favourite place of all must be Ainesworth Hot Springs. One can wander deep into large, warm Caverns, with warm Water swirling around one's legs. Its walls are smooth, calcified. It reminds me of what a womb must feel like to an infant. This is Mother Earth's womb.
There were tiny, unincorporated villages dotted here and there. And the larger centres...such as the towns of New Denver, Nakusp, and Kaslo...were so endearing in their funky outlook. I had the largest, freshest hamburger for lunch I can remember having for awhile in Nakusp from a tiny, roadside stand.
Burbling Creeks and Rivers fed the Lakes, their origins from the large Glaciers dotting the area. Small ferries trundled back and forth, taking travellers over the stretch of the Arrow Lakes to connect with the highway on the other side. One ferry, across the Lower Arrow Lake, from Needles to Fauquier, took no more than a few minutes; all ferries were part of the highways, and therefore no cost was involved.
I love road trips such as this one. On the way to Queen's Bay, our destination on Kootenay Lake, there was no lack of conversation. Graham and I solve the problems of the World, as we drive. And we are accustomed to long drives...our trips to the Coast have prepared us for lengthy car jaunts.
We drove through Lumby, a town much changed since I drove through it last, many years ago. I silently said hello to my friend Priscilla, who writes about Salmon conservation for her blog the Xpress and lives in this pretty little area.
We drove to our destination in one day; on our return, we divided the trip into two days, staying in Kamloops overnight. We spent the next morning shopping, before returning home to our two Dogs, who were being looked after by our wonderful sitter.
At times, there is nothing better to do than to go where Spirit moves me. The highways and roads we took were hardly planned, yet the reward at only taking a road less travelled was bountiful. I am not all that fond of mountainous terrain, but the Ranges we travelled through, so close to the Rockies, have changed my mind. Perhaps I have not known Mountains in their Fall finery.
And my Father lived in Nakusp for many years. I have many of his paintings...now I understand why he loved the Mountains so. He was an artist. Even I, many years away from when I held a paint brush in my hands, felt a distinct urge to paint what I saw before me. How could you live here...and not somehow have the urge to translate Nature's beauty into some artistic form?
I found the populace who live amongst the tall Mountains a different sort...one that has not forgotten how to live off the Land. Quietly and at peace. In one town, for example, the people have voted for no cell phone usage.
I noticed, as we drove through the small Villages and Towns, that there were many, many hikers and walkers about and few vehicles. There is a taste of the old days here...days when I belonged in the hippie culture and life seemed more serene and slow and self-sustainable. It seemed to be, at any rate.
And I believe this is why I am so attracted to the area.
It feels as if I've gone back in time.
It feels like home.