Kelonwa to The Rockies – Canada

We stayed in a B & B on Monday night just out of Kelonwa.  It was called Fairways B & B and it overlooked the Black Mountain Golf Course.  It was a lovely spot and our hosts, Linda and Al were very hospitable.  Linda cooked us a beautiful breakfast the next morning – I even ate the bacon which I am normally not fussed on.  It was maple cured bacon which she dusted in flour and sprinkled with Montreal Spice – very tasty and crunchy.  Steve wasn’t too pleased that I ate the bacon – this would normally be passed his way. We ended up getting away a bit later than we had planned due to an impromptu business coaching session with Linda – Steve can never resist these opportunities. She was reasonably new to the B & B business so was grateful for the ideas. Steve was also enamoured with DJ the little dog. Not to mention the 7Up fridge that had been restored and contained coronas – thank goodness it was a bit early for partaking.

Today we were travelling through to Invermere to stay with our friends Diane and Ken.  Invermere is a community in eastern British Columbia, near the border of Alberta.  It sits on the northwest shore of Lake Windermere and is a popular summer destination for visitors and second home owners from Calgary.  Invermere is approximately 465km or five and a half hours drive from Kelonwa.

We were going to be following the Trans Canada Highway for the majority of the trip and we were going to pass through two National Parks – Mount Revelstoke and Glacier.  We stopped in Revelstoke for a look around and to grab some lunch.  Revelstoke’s economy has traditionally been tied to the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) and it still maintains a strong connection to that industry. However forestry, construction, tourism and retail have increased over the past decades. Today, telecommuters, freelancers, tech workers and entrepreneurs play an increasingly important role in Revelstoke’s success. 

About 25km out of Revelstoke is the Giant Cedars Walk which Diane had recommended we do – it was only half a kilometre long but had a high concentration of giant Cedar Trees, some of which were more than 500 years old.  Unfortunately the weather wasn’t the best but the rain had eased when we got to the GIant Cedars Walk.  This forest is here as a result of moist westerly air flows from the Pacfic Ocean rising over the Columbia Mountains.  As this moist air climbs, it cools and produces incredible amounts of rain and snow.  The combination of substantial Spring snowmelt followed by abundant rainfall during the growing season makes this area the perfect lush forest environment.  These conditions are unique to British Columbia.  This is the only place in the world where a temperate rainforest exists this far from an ocean coastline.  

The old growth forests of Mount Revelstoke National Park are unmanaged landscapes cultivated by time where natural processes have created a collection of old and new, large and small, living and dead trees.  This delicate balance of age and form took centuries to evolve.  They are home to hundreds of species, living in fragile equilibrium, that would not exist in younger forests.

No tree lives forever, but because of their extensive root system, trees can remain standing long after they die.  Western Red Cedar snags (stab dubs dead trees) can remain virtually intact for up to 125 years.  These larger snags provide habitat for many cavity-nesting birds and mammals.  The hollow cores of large old growth cedar trees are sometimes used by black bears for winter denning sites.  

Our next stop was at the Rogers Pass Discovery Centre.  Rogers Pass is in the heart of Glacier National Park, in the midst of mountains popular for ski mountaineering, camping, hiking and mountain climbing ever since the region became accessible in 1886.  Rogers Pass is commemorated as a National Historic Site of Canada.  The pass was discovered on May 29, 1881, by Major Albert Bowman Rogers, a surveyor working for the Canadian Pacific Railway. 

He was accompanied by his nephew and ten Shuswap Indians, he first set eyes on the potential pass from the crest of Mt Avalanche.  He was forced to turn back due to lack of food and provisions, but confirmed this route a year later from the east.  In gratitude, the Canadian Pacific Railway named the pass for Rogers and presented him with a $5,000 cheque.  Initially, he refused to cash the cheque, preferring instead to display it in a frame.  I’m not here for the money he declared.

The Discovery Centre was quite busy as a couple of tour buses had just pulled up.  We had a quick look around – there were a number of stuffed animals typical of this area.  They also had a sample of their fur that you could touch – it was amazing how warm they felt and you could imagine why they were used by people as clothes.

Mountain goats negotiate cliffs using their non-skid hooves and natural sense of agility.  They live in the most rugged and inhospitable areas of the Columbia Mountains to avoid pursuit by predators.  In summer, mountain goats graze in alpine meadows, seldom ex far from an escape route.  During the warm months they shed their dense coat of winter fur in ragged clumps, giving them a scruffy look.  Mountain goats are continuously threatened by falling rock and avalanches, but the goats of Glacier National Park also face the unusual problem of avoiding Avalanche control artillery fire.  Remarkably, these herds persist, wintering just out of range of deadly shrapnel.  

The Caribou are a subspecies in North America.  They are well adapted to cooler climates, with hollow-hair fur that covers almost all of it’s body including its nose, and provides insulation in winter and flotation for swimming.  They can reach speeds of 60 to 80km per hour.

Our next destination after leaving Rogers Pass was a town called Golden.  We dropped down from the Selkirks (part of the Columbia Mountains) into the Rocky Mountain Trench, where we crossed the Columbia River. The Rocky Mountain Trench is a geological depression extending north-northwest for about 900 miles (1,400 km) from western Montana, south of Flathead Lake and through British Columbia to the headwaters of the Yukon River. The trench’s rugged floor, which is 2–10 miles (3–16 km) wide and 2,000–3,000 feet (600–900 m) above sea level, forms a natural travel route.  In this section of the trench we followed the Columbia River south towards its headwaters which are not very far from Invermere. What is really interesting is that the Columbia is in fact flowing north to Golden (where we crossed it), continuing on until what is called “The Big Bend” where it then turns to flow south not far from Revelstoke.  It crosses the Canadian border into the State of Washington, ending on the border between Washington and Oregon at its entry to the Pacific. It is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest of North America.

Just after Golden the sun came out so we were able to see the Rockies which are very majestic.  We had crossed into the Mountain Time Zone just before Rogers Pass so we lost an hour.  We arrived into Invermere about 6.30pm to a warm welcome from Diane and Ken.  We met Diane and Ken in the Hawke’s Bay back in 2011.  They were travelling around NZ for two months and we were staying at the same B & B in the Hawke’s Bay.  We got chatting over a glass of wine and it turned out they were going to be in Auckland later in their trip so we invited them to come and have dinner.  We have kept in touch over the years and finally we are visiting them in their own backyard.  They had prepared a feast for us which was so good – Steve was in heaven with the salmon.  The weather had definitely warmed up so we sat outside under the mosquito proofed pergola.  


This blog was originally set up to share our 9 month adventure around Europe and the USA with friends and family in 2014. On returning to NZ in January 2015 I decided to carry it on so I could continue to share any future travel adventures - it has become my electronic travel diary. I hope you enjoy and get inspired to visit some of the wonderful places we have visited.
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2 Responses to Kelonwa to The Rockies – Canada

  1. Vicky Wilks-Jasmat says:

    Sounds amazing. Tell Steve he needs to get a dog. Xx

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Rolled across your blog today. Enjoyed the story, but the photos made me long for summer, as another snow storm rolls in today.

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