Published: September 30th 2005September 30th 2005
Paint Pots, East Kootenays
People used to use these colourful muds to make paints
Today's journey took us out of the Rockies and into the Kootenays, a lesser known but no less spectacular set of mountain ranges. We were prepared for everything on the way back home to be somewhat of an anti-climax after the Rockies, but the Kootenays region turned out to be quite a discovery in its own right. Most of our day was spent driving southwest towards the hippy centre of Nelson, but we did make time to stop off for a quick walk in the East Kootenays to see the 'Paint Pots'. These giant, opaque, ochre and red ponds, and the surrounding muds, were used in times past to make - you guessed it - paint. I can testify to the effectiveness of the mud at fulfilling this purpose, as I somehow managed to get completely coated in the stuff. Quin had a merry old time taking incriminating photos and laughing at me as I attempted to get the splotches off my pants and shoes in the river .
The area just beyond the East Kootenays is filled with lakes and lush green hills, interrupted at intervals by the occasional town. The worst of these was Cranbrook, a truly
ugly suburban nightmare of fast-food chains and flat, grimy strip malls, the worst caricature of an all-American, hole-of-a-small-town I've ever seen. We made a bee-line out of there and continued through to Kimberly, modelled after a 'Bavarian village' (in a rather fake, kitschy way), before taking a long, winding route along lake shores to the ferry. I imagine the ferry crossing over to Nelson would have been quite scenic but due to reduced off-season scheduling, we instead ended up waiting several hours in our car and crossing after dark. So all we saw was blackness ;-).
After weeks in the wilderness, driving in a 'city', small as Nelson is, was a bit of a shock to the system. Needless to say, we managed to get quite lost and it was a while before we found our hostel. Yes, yes, we've finally caved in and decided to treat ourselves to a bed for the night .
There are more photos below