Summer

Aurora Borealis over Nelson

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Aurora Borealis over Nelson


Northern Lights Nelson, BCThanks for liking my photos. Taking pictures is just my hobby and I only have half-a-year experience in SLR camera taking. (I am not a professional photographer even though taking a photo of northern lights is kind of involved in my job.) But If someone can be happy with my pictures, I too am very happy to share with everyone. I am having a two month break now and driving a month all the way from Yukon to Northern BC, Okanagan, Kootenays and Rocky Mountains to explore more of Canada and to see my friends. Nelson is my Canadian hometown, such a beautiful and friendly community I have never found anywhere else. (I am from Japan, by the way.) I spent about four years in Nelson and was given so many things by the town and the people. I am so glad that I can give back something by taking a photo like this and show Nelsonites and tourists how beautiful this town is. (I knew that aurora activity was very strong with high chance of display even in this low latitude on the last weekend and I was luckily visiting Nelson for four days.) Anyways, thank you very much again for sharing my pictures and I hope to get back to Nelson soon. Warm regards, Kei Takayama 

Exploring more in Kaslo

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Exploring more in Kaslo

SS Moyie on Kootenay Lake Dozens of locals have suggested a trip to Kaslo since I moved to Nelson six weeks ago, and yet each time they’ve asked about my visit, I’ve had to shake my head and utter the same response: “I haven’t been just yet”. So last week it was time to turn things around and venture up the lake. Yet to travel beyond the Big Orange Bridge (BOB), it was all new territory for me. But with Nelson Kootenay Lake Tourism executive director Dianna Ducs as my trusty guide, I was in good hands and sure to see the very best of what Nelson Kootenay Lake had to offer. Accompanied by glorious weather and picture perfect skies, we set off around midday, with Kokanee Creek Provincial Park as our first stop. After winding our way through the lush campgrounds, we pulled up at the beachfront to stretch our legs and marvel at the view. Having heard raving reviews of the outlook, I was curious to see what the fuss was about. Armed with a camera, I strolled up the sandy path and marvelled at the panoramic views of the glassy lake, with the mountains reflecting in the water, and was in awe of what lay before us. We travelled further up the road to the renowned Balfour Golf Course and over to the dining and accommodations at Kootenay Lakeview Lodge. Wow, what a view! After taking in the view, our grumbling stomachs directed us to the nearby Dock n’ Duck restaurant for a bite to eat. Located a stone’s throw from the ferry landing, we watched the iconic Kootenay Lake Ferry pull into shore as we pondered what to order. Waiting for our food to hit the table, the camera continued to get a workout as we relaxed on the deck. But with the rest of our journey beckoning, it was back to the car shortly afterwards en route to Kaslo. The ‘ohhs and ahhs’ kept coming as we continued our journey and I couldn’t wipe the smile from my face as we saw the lake open up beside us. Watching the mountain scapes evolve and the sun filter through the pine trees made time zip by, and we soon arrived at our destination to stretch our legs and explore what Kaslo had to offer. Starting with a visit to the historical S.S Moyie, we made our way up the main street to browse our way through Kaslo’s quaint boutique stores. For a town of only 1000 people, the array of shopping is impressive. There’s quaint homewares, antiques, art stores and flower shops. That’s not to mention an array of cafes and wholefood stores to keep even the most hardcore foodies satisfied. After trawling through the local stores, we paid the friendly folks at Wing Creek Resort a visit and took a look at the luxury cottages on offer. Owners Deb and Kevin showed us around the in-house spa retreat before joining us at the Kaslo Golf Club for dinner, where we watched the deer emerge on the course as the sun sunk lower behind the mountains. As we waved goodbye to our hosts, just one stop remained on our agenda; the Ainsworth Hot Springs. Having looked forward to the springs all day, I was quick to whip on the bathing suit and dip into the water. Surprisingly busy for 9pm in the evening, there were children, retirees, families and groups relaxing in the soothing spas. But we were hardly fazed as the soothing water coerced our muscles into a deep relaxation and we watched the last wisps of sun drop below the mountains. Marking the end to a fantastic day, I can now say I’ve driven up the glorious 90km of Kootenay Lake from Nelson to Kaslo, and I can honestly say I’ll be back for more, probably sooner than I know.   Mountains and Kootenay Lake

Caving Adventure at Cody Caves

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Caving Adventure at Cody Caves

Caving in Cody CavesLast weekend, I was granted the opportunity to explore the newly re-opened Cody Caves for the first time.  I’ve been in caves before, but after this experience, I would say this was my first time truly ‘caving’. The trip began with a 20-minute drive up the mountain to the parking lot where we geared up in cover-alls, waterproof boots, helmets and lights. 

Our guide, Lee, described the geology in the area, how the cave was formed and assured us that locked gate put in place to deter trespassers would also prevent any bears (or other large creatures) from taking up residence inside the cave.  To my surprise, we also learned that there are no bats in this cave.  Other than the occasional packrat and a healthy population of daddy-long-leg spiders in the cave entrance, I was relieved to find out that there have been no other signs of life within the cave.

From the parking lot, we hiked up a forested trail to reach the cave entrance, which sits at about 2,400 feet on the mountainside.  Almost immediately after entering the cave, I felt as though I had entered a whole other world. The air was cool and damp, but felt refreshing and not the least bit stuffy or stagnant.  From the entranceway, we quickly moved on to explore the interior chambers of the caves, where the magic really begins.

We scrambled, crawled, and climbed our way through a labyrinth of passageways, narrow tunnels, steep drops and so called ‘squeezes’ to be rewarded with open chambers filled with pristine soda straws, stalagmites, stalactites, calcite and beautifully layered sedimentary rock formations.  When studying these naturally formed galleries of art, I was amazed at the incredible power it took for the water to dissolve the limestone and create these unique, incredibly fragile formations.  The ‘squeezes’, very true to the their name, where gaps between the rocks smaller than you’d think a human could fit.  After watching Lee gracefully arrange his body to fit the space, I realized that it was indeed possible, and less difficult than it appears. It became evident that caving is less about physical strength and more about challenging yourself mentally.  It requires the ability to suppress any childhood fears of the dark or small spaces. There is also a certain level of excitement and thrill about putting your trust into the hands of your guide and following them deeper and deeper into the earth. Luckily for us, Lee was incredibly knowledgeable and talked us through each new challenge with confidence and a level of calmness acquired from 25+ years of experience.  He reminded us on more than one occasion that caving involves “jamming yourself into the crevices in the rock using your elbows, knees and hips while making sure you’ve always got more than one reliable foothold or handhold”.   This was important advice for preventing slips and falls and reducing the workload on your muscles to conserve energy.

After exploring the deepest corners of the cave, we returned downstream back towards the cave entrance.  Just when I thought the adventure was coming to an end, Lee surprised us by bringing us to a set of ladders parallel to an underground waterfall – Cody Falls.   The water was icy cold, and crystal clear, offering us a refreshing opportunity to clean the dirt and muck off our hands and face. We arrived back at the parking lot tired, wet, still a bit dirty, but filled with inspiration and a sense of accomplishment.  We pushed the edges of our comfort zones and experienced the thrill of being able to explore a hidden underground world.  This is an adventure I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to anyone from families to avid cavers and anything in between! Interesting Facts:

  • The cave began to form when limestone beds laid down almost 600 million years ago were thrust up by mountain building forces occurring 170 million years ago.
  • In the Cody Caves System, an underground stream flows for over a kilometer through ancient limestone.
  • It was once thought that the inner chambers of the cave were walled with gold ore.  This is unfortunately untrue; the caves are however lined with an impressive display of calcite formations.
  • The calcite formations, being extremely old and fragile can be damaged in seconds and regenerate at a rate of only one cubic centimeter per century!
  • The explorabel length of the cave is in excess of 1.5km
  • Contrary to what the survey implies, the cave has not been fully explored.  The cave is likely larger than originally thought with undiscovered passageways and chambers.
  • Cody Caves is one of the best-known cave systems in BC and Cody Caves Provincial Park was the first subterranean park created in the province.
  • The Ainsworth Hot Springs originate in the Cody Caves area and are considered to be one of the best commercial hot springs in BC
  • The boxwork formations are considered to be among the best in the world, protruding up to 20.3 cm, whereas 2.5 to 5 cm is average. Boxwork is an uncommon type of mineral structure, or speleogen (similar to a speleothem, but formed by erosion rather than accretion)

Book a tour at www.codycavetours.com

More Information:

 

Cody Caves Rock Formations

Crawling in Cody Caves

Standing in Cody Caves

A newcomers guide to Nelson

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A newcomers guide to Nelson

New to Nelson, BCDissimilar is one word that springs to mind when comparing Australia to Canada. Sure, both countries share among the lowest population densities across the globe. But while Aussies can wear a pair of flip-flops year round, most Canadians have a collection of skis and down jackets always close at hand. These are just some of the intricacies of Canadian living my partner and I are learning since moving from Sydney earlier this month. Since we touched down in Castlegar airport two weeks ago, we’ve been baked in 31 degree heat, chilled in 4 degree temperatures and had to ring out sodden socks following torrential rain. We’ve worn down jackets and singlets within two hours as the weather changed its tune. And as the locals assure us “the seasons are changing”, it’s quickly become clear that we’ve got no idea what we’ve got ourselves into. It started with an unexpected job proposition earlier this year, and didn’t take long to persuade us to trade in our hectic Sydney lives for a little town called Nelson. Excited by the prospect, we Googled it a handful of times, scoffed at the icy winter temperatures and hunted for towns of a similar size to get an idea of what we were in for. But that was the extent of our knowledge as we packed our lives into suitcases and boarded a plane across the Pacific. Like any Aussie who finds themselves on Canadian shores, the scenery was the first thing to smack us in the face. A far cry from the flat plains in Oz, the snow-capped mountains made the first worthy Facebook post back home. Of course, that was quickly followed by pictures of the glassy Kootenay Lake and the picture perfect sky which put on a nice show for our arrival. Coming from a city of over 4.6 million people, our trepidation at Nelson’s minute population was quickly laid to rest after a lazy stroll down Baker Street. The town was buzzing with yogies, artisans, hippies and old folk from all walks of life. Local performers were busting out toe-tapping tunes and restaurant patios were laden with people soaking up the late afternoon sun. Even the shopfronts were far from our expectations, with an array of outdoor shops, boutique clothing outlets and wholefood stores able to satisfy the most discerning diners. But as outdoor enthusiasts, we had our sights on the mountain tops surrounding Nelson town. To fend off the jetlag in our first few days, we hiked the Great Northern Trail, rock climbed at several local crags and bouldered at the nearby Groham Narrows National Park. Each adventure exceeded our expectations, providing phenomenal views of the lake and enough photo opportunities to make my partner roll his eyes. As the days have gone on and our jetlag has receded, Nelson already feels like home. The people are outrageously friendly, the scenery never ceases to amaze and the sense of community is extremely welcoming. The next months and years ahead are sure to provide many more memorable adventures before the winter months set in and those flip flops find their way to the back of the closet. But that’s another story yet to be told. Blog by Louise

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