13-15 July Nelson to Christina Lake – glaciers, tornadoes and extra costs

13 July

In another attempt to kill me, Brenda suggested that we go for a bit of a walk in Kokanee Glacier Park. So we walked up to the lake. As we discovered on our return, this was a 445m-elevation gain, and the distance on the map was one way, not round trip. The lake at the top was still covered in a thick slushy layer of snow, and we had to walk through quite a bit of snow to get there. Brenda commented that other people would have learned from the last visit to a”… Glacier Park”, that there was likely to be snow about, and that I should therefore wear shoes, but she only said this 1/2 way up the hill. But my feet thawed back out again.

While we have Keas in alpine areas, which enjoy chewing on bits of cars, Canadians have porcupines. The car park had warning signs that if you were leaving your car overnight to put chicken wire around it. It seems that while Keas enjoy door rubbers and the like, because porcupines can’t fly, they have to make do with stuff that is lower. Like tyres, brake lines, that sort of thing.

It was remarkable though the difference in cars that simply going to an area, which had hills, brought about. All of a sudden there are European cars about, MGs, Triumph TR7s, a couple of Porches, that sort of stuff. It is amazing what corners do to the desired characteristics of cars.

14 July

Brenda was tired again today & didn’t feel like walking much, so we wandered around Nelson town, sat on a beach and that sort of stuff. You know, like a nice summer holiday.

15 July

We decided that we should torment Shari some more, so picked her up on the way to Christina Lake, which is pretty much another scenic hill surrounded lake. But there was an internet café there. As you mayor may not have noticed ( or cared), the emails have been few & far between of late. This is because there are sod all internet cafes in this country. That or they are all just hiding from me. Actually there are not that many cafes. It appears that cowboys don’t drink espresso, because the closer you get to the ocean, the better the coffee gets.

Brenda & Shari had just heard that a tornado had cut through a caravan park in Alberta between Calgary & Wetaskiwin. They made some pretty fast phone calls to make sure that there was no-one they knew there at the time, and luckily all of their friends were fine, although one of Brenda’s relatives was staying there & had gone out for the day, arriving back 10 minutes after it had hit.

Back at our campground we were lowering the tone of the neighbourhood again. Surrounding us were campervans which when they grow up want to be cruise liners. The standard campervan (or caravan) appears to be approximately the size of a small house, but with only a few of the really essentials. Like air-conditioning, TV aerials, satellite TV dishes, that sort of thing. Often rather than drive these busses around all day they will tow a small car behind them to use on day trips and the like. Generally nothing too fancy, just a Jeep Grand Cherokee or something. Or a ute. With the ute having a Goldwing motorbike in the tray. But my personal favourite was the one towing a trailer with a helicopter on the back. Only a small one mind you, we wouldn’t want to go to excess here, we do go on holiday to get away from it all. Somehow our caravan, just didn’t quite foot it. Oh well.

As well as being the land of excessively large campervans, Canada is the land of extra costs. I went to the bottle store to grab a few beers. Had a look in the fridge (they don’t have walk in chillers -odd huh?), see some for $8.45. Go to the checkout, hand over a $20 & get back a whole pile less change than I was expecting. Look at the till tape. There is a 60 cent bottle deposit, 60 cent charge for the chillier and tax. Why this could not have been included on the price label in the fridge I do not know. But still they have a jar on the checkout for tips. I’ll give you a tip. As much as I would like to say that this was an extreme example, it wasn’t. You just get used to seeing a price and adding 10-15% for all the other stuff they were going to nail you for but not tell you about until afterwards.