Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Exploring the Kootenays

Part 3
Grey Creek Pass and the Kootenay Lake Ferry

Grey Creek Pass is one of the tours that was on my bucket list for quite some time. The pass is part of the Trans Canada Trail, the world's largest network of trails and once finished will stretch 23000 km through Canada, from the Atlantic to the Pacific to the Arctic Ocean. One needs a 4 wheel drive, high clearance vehicle to travel this pass which is only open from May to October. Now with the truck at hand we thought we give it a try.....
If you click on the image below to enlarge it, you can see our start point, Kimberley's St. Mary Lake and the Trans Canada Trail going west towards the Kootenay Lake.

Fall was in the air and warnings about a few inches of snow on top of the pass had reached us, but it was a beautiful day and a few inches of snow would not deter us.

St. Mary Lake marks the Kimberley access road to the pass and the road was gravel but very well maintained at that point.

The higher we climbed the more spectacular got the views.

After a few kilometers it got a bit more serious,

and the road started to show some wear and tear.

And soon we saw the first signs of snow,

and more snow,

and even more snow. I guess it was about 6 inches, and we were sure glad to have our truck!

Back down from the wintry outing we headed towards the Kootenay Lake Ferry. During the summer tourists wait in loooong lines to get on the longest free ferry ride in the world, but at this time of the year it was no problem. We just had arrived when we saw the ferry already approaching.

The ferry runs between Kootenay Bay, were these photos are taken to Balfour, on the west side of Kootenay Lake, about 30 minutes north of Nelson. The ride takes give or take 35 minutes.

We traveled on the Osprey 2000, a seemingly normal ferry, but when one looks closer, it shows a lot of love for details. Just look at the railing in the above image and the seats in the inside of the ferry. Simply amazing!

What a great way to travel with views in all directions...

Balfour greeted us with eclectic, Nelson style street vendors and

severe warning signs...;-)

Once on the west side we headed to Nelson for a late lunch and then took the ferry back to Kootenay Bay. Instead of challenging the pass again we decided to enjoy the sunset while driving along the Kootenay Lake, taking the longer but safer route home.

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