Day Tripping in the Kootenay's - Kaslo to Gerrard

Discussion in 'Canada' started by RiderJones, Apr 26, 2010.

  1. RiderJones

    RiderJones sketchy

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2009
    Oddometer:
    263
    Location:
    Nelson BC Canada
    note: If you'd like to see the first portion of this route, check out my first RR:
    http://www.advrider.com/forums/showthread.php?t=570784


    Continuing on my theme of short and sweet rides around where I live, this week I'll post some pictures of this weekend's ride from Kaslo north on Highway 31, to Gerrard. This is some of my favourite country, it feels pretty wild, and there is lots to see. There is plenty of wildlife, so keep your eyes peeled.

    I left my place around 8:00am, it was pretty cold out, and immediately wished I had brought some more layers of clothing to wear under my riding gear. I kept thinking, turn around, you're only a few minutes out....but I didn't...I was too excited to get going, the sun was just up, everything was cold and fresh... turning around just didn't fit in with my plans.
    The first thing I saw was this car that had pulled onto the shoulder of the road, no one it, pretty wrecked. The dead deer was on the opposite shoulder in the distance. (the little lump directly above the driver's side mirror, I thought I'd spare you the graphic photo) Man, I wouldn't want to hit one on a bike.

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    As I mentioned before, Kaslo is a really great little town ... very picturesque, hit it on a sunny day, and you will never forget it.
    There are two gas stations, the Esso at the south end of town has premium gas, the station in town doesn't.
    Every year on the May long weekend, the Kaslo Logger Sports is held in the park down by the lake. I see they just put up new climbing poles, as well as new axe throwing targets.
    Exactly where am I supposed to practice then??

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    The loggers race, two at a time, to see who can climb to the top of these poles, using a rope choker looped around the pole in front of them, and a steel spur strapped to each boot. It's one of the many events that as a spectator, you think, "There is NO WAY I could do that!" Even on a good day. Even not drunk.

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    This is the baseball diamond just behind where the logger's sports are held. There is also a great little camp ground and even a skateboard park. So bring your skateboard.

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    The town is full of turn of the century buildings...most of the old ones were built during the silver rush of the late 1800's

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    Who needs a fat house? Skinny houses are easier to clean.

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    I have my BMW panniers on for this ride... theoretically they could be stuffed with warm clothing.

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    This is known as the 'Kane House' ... it's a really great old 1890's mansion. I went to an amazing auction there once... selling off all the original contents of the house from the turn of the century. My lovely wife made me buy a beat up old cupboard, it was a pie-safe I think. A screened in cupboard to keep your baking safe from birds/bugs/animals. I won the bidding in front of a large crowd of mainly locals. There was an audible gasp at the final hammer, as the auctioneer repeated how much I had just paid for what amounted to some rusted screen and old boards.

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    It was quiet on main street. This dog seemed shy...and didn't want to look directly at the camera.

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    I got talking to somebody and had asked if the snow would be all gone on the road to the Mt. Buchanan lookout, which offers a stunning view of Kaslo and the lake. They didn't think so, but suggested the Wardner Street trail...as an alternative.

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    Excellent! Even if I couldn't ride up to the top , I could still do a short hike and get my bird's eye view of town.

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    .8 km ...that's not far. So I kept my riding gear on, ditched the helmet and gloves, grabbed the camera and started up the trail. Now, .8 km isn't far if you are in say, Saskatchewan. This being BC, it was like taking the stairs to the top of the Empire State Building. I was sweating like a pig when I finally staggered up to the viewpoint. I'm glad I didn't run into anyone else. Hiking in riding gear isn't funny!

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    Nice little house with big yard and great view...nasty thistles though!

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    Right, enough of town...let's hit the road.

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    Today being April 25th, I was so glad I opted not to bring my warm clothing and instead left room in the panniers for my tire chains.

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    By the way, I just switched to a SmugMug account rather than Flickr...I figure its a good idea to support this site. (and it works really well so far)

    This whole area has loads of old miners cabins and homesteads...there are some really cool old mine shafts up the lake...I'll take some pics...

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    Lost Ledge is a beautiful little campground...

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    Wouldn't it be great to pitch a tent here? This is looking North up Kootenay Lake....the weather is still kind of cold and cloudy...

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    Almost at the top end of the lake is a little town called Lardeau. Davis Creek is where the town gets its water, and is also the site of another really great camping spot. If you stop right at the bridge where Davis Creek runs under the road, there is an amazing trail that goes up the mountain above the Lardeau. If I remember right, its maybe 1/2 an hour to 45 minutes of pretty sweaty hiking...but the payoff is an insane view of the whole valley. There are also mountain goats up there...the big shaggy white ones with little black horns. and cougars. And bears.
    If you follow the creek for about 100 feet up behind the little pump shack, you can see a really cool old mine shaft.

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    Hmmmm. I wonder if they were looking for this sparkly rock? If I smashed this bit of rock out of here, could I afford a new Shoei Hornet??

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    I wonder what this greenish rock is? Copper?

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    I'm not a big fan of caves. This is as far as I'm going. What if it's a BAT cave? or a BEAR cave. Or a cave full of toxic gas?? They should post exactly what kind of cave this is at the entrance.

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    ...watch this space! More pics and riding coming tomorrow...
    #1
  2. Argus16

    Argus16 ThReAd KiLleR

    Joined:
    May 8, 2006
    Oddometer:
    840
    Location:
    Vancouver Island
    good stuff.
    I'm planning on attending the BC Big Trailee 5 in June, where hopefully some of the local riders will share/show us the great spots around there.

    You are in the heart of dualsport riding right there. Keep the pics coming.
    #2
  3. RiderJones

    RiderJones sketchy

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Nelson BC Canada
    Hey thanks...I'll post some more pics tomorrow...I've never been on a big group ride....I wonder how many riders will be on the BC Big Trailee?


    Years ago I spent a summer building a cabin in Lardeau, which I sold as soon as it was done. I thought I'd stop in and see it. It's always a bit weird visiting your past.
    The rock bluffs in the background of this picture are where you can see Mountain Goats. Its fun to sit on the beach with binoculars and follow them as they skip along the cliff face.

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    I like this 'address' sign....hopefully the owners won't mind me having a quick look.

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    Here's a not-so-great- picture of the cabin when I had just finished it. I built it out of 2x6 that I had salvaged from an old distillery. The siding was milled from a cedar tree that stood where the cabin is now, the cedar shingles are from Remco Cedar Mill just up the road, the windows were from the dump at meadow Creek.... I lived in a 16' diameter teepee for the summer .... as I was slightly crazy then.

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    I had cleared all the brush in front of the place, so it had a fantastic view of the lake, and the mountains, and even Macbeth Glacier...I guess the current owners are more into privacy....

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    Here is the bathroom complete with granite topped vanity, steam shower, tiled/heated floor, heated towel rack, bidet etc. ...

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    This is a really small one room cabin that is in the trees next to my old place...if you stayed there, I bet you would feel compelled to listen to 'Green Day' on your ipod.

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    Down at the beach ... looking towards Argenta.

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    ..an interesting piece of driftwood...it reminds me of once when I helped my Dad salvage wood from a grain elevator in Alberta...the years of grain rushing across the wood had worn away the softer sections, and it looked just like this.

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    heading back to the road and north....this cedar fence caught my eye, looks like it had just been built...I have always liked split rail fences.

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    Just a few kilometers up the road the lake ends ...

    a quick mountain goat check....

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    I'll put one derelict vehicle in here, just to meet my minimum Ride Report Rusting Junker quota.

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    Cooper Creek (Lardeau Valley Service) is the last gas stop for a while ...

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    Meadow Creek is in a really beautiful wide valley, with some great farms on the flats as you head north.

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    Great farmhouse! It looks Dutch.

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    Looking across the farmland to some pretty wild country...still winter up there.

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    Drifters is the only place to eat around here...it's sort of 'early 1980's skidder operator' vibe restaurant. I'm glad its there, it saved me from having to eat something of my own making, many times.

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    The place was packed.

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    #3
  4. Roughshod

    Roughshod weld proud

    Joined:
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    Oddometer:
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    Location:
    Calgary, and backroads of Alberta and BC.
    Splendid photo's:clap "Your' cabin is looking a hundred years old already! Looks great nestled in the trees! The old Buffalo Brewery here in Calgary (where you bought the "hoppsy smelling wood) still has a huge pile of rough cut lumber in large dimensions, which Im trying to aquire. :evil
    Do you have a map of your completed trip on the first posting, I forget? Also, when I do finally get down there on my DR, maybe we can do the ranch country tour. My Dad wants to know what the Brookmere range looks like now. A couple more weeks of welding and Im free to do a four day trip. Keep posting cuz.
    #4
  5. 250senuf

    250senuf Long timer

    Joined:
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    Location:
    Nelson area, Kootenai, BC, Canada
    Good choice to not go very far into that mine shaft. You never know what kind of atmosphere is in there. And if it turns out there isn't enough oxygen, well you'll never know....
    #5
  6. RiderJones

    RiderJones sketchy

    Joined:
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    Caves, Mine Shafts, wells, dark holes, crawlspaces, attics, dank basements...all are on my 'avoid' list. (although I have spent time in all of the above...which worries me)
    ...and you are right...mine shafts can be deadly for all kinds of reasons...
    #6
  7. RiderJones

    RiderJones sketchy

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    Hey Roughshod! The pile of 2x6's I bought at that distillery had apparently been infused with liquor over the years...they smelled fantastic whenever I sawed through one!
    I'll post a map of this little jaunt later...
    Also, I'll P.M. you re: Ranch Dual Sport Fun!
    :freaky


    Blacktop ends, gravel begins...always a welcome sign! This is the old Marblehead Station, which was a railway stop at the turn of the century. There is an old marble quarry just down the road, which is where the marble that went into building the courthouse and city hall in Nelson came from. I think they used to barge it down the lake from the quarry.

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    Too bad the train no longer runs here....although I'd have my doubts about taking this car anywhere either...

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    The old Quarry

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    Into the wild.....

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    The Lardeau River is a wild, braided channel, with a glacial green tinge to the water.

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    I noticed an amazing amount of beaver activity...dams, lodges and chewed down trees. This is a beaver lodge where they wait out the winter in comfort, and still have access to the water from a submerged entrance, underneath the ice and snow.

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    I saw mule deer, whitetail deer, elk, two kinds of grouse, osprey, eagles, and a huge brown bear on this trip...unfortunately by the time you hit the brakes, dig out the camera and take off the gloves.....you are left staring at tracks on the dirt road.

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    Nice wooden bridge ... skookum, as they say around here.

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    Lost or brave? Actually, as you can see, the road is great....

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    Saw this old nag dozing in the sun...the weird stuff on his mane and tail are burrs! The owners should give him a short haircut...that looks uncomfortable.

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    There are a few hardy souls living along this stretch...

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    These dogs came bounding out while I was taking the last picture....they looked like Great Pyrenees crossed with something else..

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    Look at the size of this old stump..... you can see the notches where the old axemen would insert a springboard to stand on, so they could get above the broad flaring base of the tree before they started sawing. By hand. With big long whippy saws.

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    One of the many creeks that feed into the Lardeau River

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    The trees almost touched each other over this section of the road...it felt like riding through a friendly green tunnel...

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    Some great old cabins along here ...

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    The sign in the window says 'NOT FOR SALE' . So stop asking. Sheesh.

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    more to come ....stay tuned! ...
    I'd love to hear some comments...have you taken a ride up this way? Planning a trip to this neck of the woods? Lived in a beaverlodge before?
    #7
  8. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

    Joined:
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    Location:
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    Very cool! My plans have changed and I may not make the Kootenays on my ride now, but having seen your threads I will make them a must for the future. Thanks!
    #8
  9. RiderJones

    RiderJones sketchy

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    Hey Squonker....whatdaya mean not coming to the Kootenays?? Whats the plan 'B'?:huh
    #9
  10. Holaday

    Holaday Man of Leisure

    Joined:
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    Vancouver's North Shore, B.C.
    Thanks for turning me on to the Kokanee Gold. Just had one in the afternoon sun on my deck. Got the patio furniture out today and insured the 990. :clap
    I like your suggestions for short hikes around the Kootenay towns. I will check them out next time I pass thru. When I was there in Sept l hiked / ran up the the Alpine Club hut in Kokanee P.P. Great ride up to the trailhead.
    #10
  11. RiderJones

    RiderJones sketchy

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    Hey Holaday.... no problem...you owe me a beer ;)
    The ride and hike up to Kokanee are both great... there are plenty more like that too. I have one in mind that is going to make a great RR...
    #11
  12. Holaday

    Holaday Man of Leisure

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    Cody Caves, Idaho Peak ?? :ear


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    #12
  13. MANXMAN

    MANXMAN Overlander

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    BRITISH Columbia
    My wife and I rode through this area 2 weeks ago. First time she had been along the river and Trout Lake. A great area to ride.

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    Enjoying your report. Looking forward to the rest.
    #13
  14. squonker

    squonker Eat my shorts

    Joined:
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    Plan B is northern California (my riding buddies for this trip are concerned they'll be rained on it we come your way :dunno). But...they have to be home by a certain date and I don't, so I still plan on coming to Creston to see friends on the way back. I won't desert the Kootenays!
    #14
  15. RiderJones

    RiderJones sketchy

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    Bridge repair...nice big timbers

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    another creek, another bridge....

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    ...arriving at my destination, Trout Lake, and more specifically, Gerrard. Which is actually just a bridge, not a town anymore.


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    there were half dozen or so other people, also here to get a glimpse of the world's BIGGEST Rainbow Trout species, the Gerrard Rainbow. They are spawning in the Lardeau River, right below this bridge. They can grow up to 35 pounds!

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    Theres two right there...unfortunately there was a bit of a breeze, rippling the surface of the water a bit. Pretty hard to get clear pictures....


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    All the dark shapes are fish..

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    If you are interested, there is a good website here: http://www.fwcp.ca/version2/forms/gerrard-rainbow/

    ....this is cheating a bit, but you need to see how big these fish are!

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    The road carries on to Galena Bay etc...I didn't have the time to keep going, but will do a report on that stretch in the coming months.

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    Just near the bridge are a couple of tiny old cabins...

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    Seeing the fish was great, definitely worth the trip. It was getting on in the day, so I turned around and backtracked home. The light had changed, and set up a few nice photo opportunities on the way back. I'll throw them in here at the end.

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    This was funny...somebody carefully made a little figure out of electrical tape, cartwheeling to his death...

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    Back in Kaslo, this is a great place for breakfast or a coffee stop...

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    I haven't stayed or eaten at the refurbished Hotel, but they did a good job of the reno...I hear its good

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    This rider magically appeared for my last shot...nice work mystery rider!

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    Thanks for stopping by everyone, I really appreciate your comments.
    ....posting Ride Reports is something I really enjoy. It's a great way to connect with fellow riders which is actually one of the best things about riding. I've got lots more RR's planned, stay tuned...
    #15
  16. RiderJones

    RiderJones sketchy

    Joined:
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    fair enough, Northern California sounds like fun, I'd love to ride there ....

    P.S. lucky you aren't in Southern California today...

    Updated: 04/29/2010 07:36:09 AM PDT
    FORT TEJON — The California Highway Patrol has closed southbound lanes of Interstate 5 in the Grapevine area north of Los Angeles because of hail, gusty winds and black ice.

    :eek1
    #16
  17. RiderJones

    RiderJones sketchy

    Joined:
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    #17
  18. RiderJones

    RiderJones sketchy

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    Thanks Manxman ... you're right, it's a really nice ride, the dirt road is great, scenery is great, really good chance you will see some wildlife....what more could you want!
    :D
    #18
  19. Holaday

    Holaday Man of Leisure

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    #19
  20. RiderJones

    RiderJones sketchy

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    #20