Thursday night was a bit chilly up in the mountains at Little Island Lake - but we were toasty warm with our newly insulated van and our trusty furnace.
Friday morning we continued west through the Crowsnest Pass along the Crowsnest Highway. We stopped here and there along the way working our way through the towns - Sparwood, Fernie, Cranbrook, Yahk and Creston.
At Creston we generally take a left onto #3 highway then continue to Salmo and Castlegar. Since Castlegar was to be our final destination we opted this year to take the 3A along the east side of Kootenay Lake. This road - fairly windy - takes you to Kootenay Bay then onto Balfour via a free ferry.
It took us a couple of days but we finally got a shot of the no. 3 Crowsnest Highway sign.
Ahhhh - you just have to love ferries - yup - we were 4 minutes late for the 3:44 ferry - just a 1 hour and 36 minute wait.
We sure appreciated having our home with us. A late lunch and then a walk on the beach.
A nice crossing towards the setting sun, a 35 minute ride.
Derek hopped out and took a picture of the sunset from the deck.
Once we arrived at the Belfour harbour we headed north 14 km to Ainsworth Hot Springs. We really enjoyed our soak and time in the cave (40 C). Ainsworth is one of our favourite hot springs - there is a large warm pool and a smaller hot pool with a horseshoe tunnel through the cave. We spent the night in the Hotel parking lot which may have been a fairly risky stealth camping move but we were successful - no knocks on the door. Here are our pictures from our visit to Ainsworth a year and a half ago.
The next morning we stopped again at the Belfour Ferry to visit one of our favourite bakeries- Old World Bakery. The Ainsworth link also shows last years visit to the bakery. Nice that the girl working there remembered us.
From the bakery we made our way south through Nelson and on to Castlegar. Just before the Castlegar turn off we decided to take a tour of Raspberry and Robson and then on to Syringa Provincial Park. Wow - our first look at this park - very nice - a campground to apply to for next season. Fingers crossed.
After that we made our way to Derek's dad's place in Castlegar. After getting settled we walked over to the insurance office to register and plate our trailer. Only $379 later - ugh - at least the high price is for the first time only.
We spent the evening visiting and looking for places to rent. Although we were - are - pretty sure that we will go south for the winter - part of us is still thinking that if we could just find the right place with the right price we would settle down now..... A tough thing to do on demand. Our plan with going south is that when we come back in the spring - hopefully with a job lined up - we will have all summer to look for a place to live.
Although we've always thought that we would like a place out of town there are many reasons to live in Castlegar. We really like the older area - it is close to downtown, the library and the elementary schools. There are also several parks and walking paths by the river.
And exercise equipment - why join a gym?
Then a walk over to Zuckerberg Island. We haven't been here since Cassia was six weeks old.
Alexander Zuckerberg's house from 1951.
I just can't resist taking pictures of all the fall colours.
Being back in the Kootenays and Castlegar specifically has confirmed in our minds that this is the place we want to live. The area has so much to offer us as a family and a nice place for Cassia to grow up. We are excited about returning in the spring to get started on our life here.
Tomorrow we head to Nelson to purchase our Medical Insurance and then we are off south via Creston. We'll see you on the other side. I'm sure we'll have another story about our border experience. Hopefully it is a little easier - and shorter - than last year.
Here is a map of our trip from Lea Park to Castlegar. I don't even want to know what the mileage is since we will be doing most of it again just a little bit further south after we cross the border.