This column comes to you from the road as we toodle around in northeast Washington doing one of our favourite forms of recreation — camping and kayaking with a touch of fishing thrown in when the opportunity presents itself. This time, however, we never did get the kayaks off the top of the camper, and while we also never bought a short-term fishing license, we did scout out some awesome lakes and filed them away for future reference.
For the most part, and in order to maintain the work-life balance that is so important in today’s ultra-fast pace (Hey, I sent that email 30 seconds ago — why haven’t you answered?), we tend to do shorter mini-vacations and more often in an easily drivable radius around our lovely valley rather than being away two or three weeks at a pop. Maybe subconsciously, I remember the words of my first boss in my teen years who advised if the place could run without you for a couple weeks, it probably could run without you at all. Try that nowadays and see where labour standards takes you… Anyway, having spent many years exploring in the radius above the 49th parallel, we have started exploring southwards and, frankly, other than signage, funny looking money and maybe a weird accent, you would be hard pressed to say what country you would be in.
Avid fans of history, we tend to check out museums and stack them up against our great one here that Tammy Hardwick and others have done an awesome job with. For instance, we checked out Molson, which is a semi-ghost town (population 21) a mile-and-a-half south of the Canadian border below Osoyoos. (We tried to find Kokanee first as part of our due diligence but failed).
It was co-founded by the Canadian brewing magnate John Molson around the turn of the century and is one of many examples of the blurring of the border back and forth in earlier times.
We also spent a fair bit of time along Lake Roosevelt towards the Grand Coulee Dam, where you see the dance that has to be done with water levels at various dams in order to guess what is coming down the pipe once, and how fast, the snow leaves the mountains in Canada. The lake was as low as I have ever seen it — down 80 or so feet and a good half a kilometre of sand exposed as you trek for the water’s edge — reminiscent of a scene from Lawrence of Arabia as I stumbled mindlessly over the dunes towards salvation of cool clear water. OK, maybe I need to work out more, but as we drove back beside the swollen Kootenay River through Bonners Ferry and back home, it was amazing to think that the same water would be coming up against the Grand Coulee Dam, filling up Lake Roosevelt after its journey through Kootenay Lake, many assorted dams and the Columbia River.
Neil Ostafichuk is the recreation supervisor at the Creston and District Community Complex.