A Traveling Australian Discovers Charm, Interesting Characters In British Columbia.

Silver Star mid-mountain village center.

The end of the week is nigh. Traveling from the village of a thousand colors that is Silver Star Ski Resort. Around the village ski resort, multi-verandered facades abound with carved wooden hand railings all wrapped in snow. Seven vivid colors minimum are applied to every house in Silver Star as though from a paint box. The village is Victorian-style charming with snow-covered fir trees here and there to complete the picture. We were not challenged with any of the legendary champagne powder. It rained; it was foggy. C’est la vie.


Charming main drag in Revelstoke.

We arrive in Revelstoke some short distance north. Silver Star behind us, we tourists have fallen into a more relaxed place.  Three quarters of the incumbents of room 331 & 325 ventured to the top of the mountain today. A Scottish mist or two precluded a sharp photo of the great view. We were not enticed into the tree glades for fear of collision, skiing in control for avoidance of said tree wells. We need to revisit, having been sufficiently regaled with enough stories of powder chutes, powder bowls, tree glade powder and well, just deep powder. A couple of weeks is allowed and put to memory for a revisit.

We meet a Stone Cutter at Revelstoke. Not a Stone Mason or a Brick Layer, a Stone Cutter. It has a wonderful medieval truth to the title, Stone Cutter. Spanish and unemployed in Spain for two years, he is now gainfully employed from dawn to dusk on Vancouver Island. The Stone Cutter needed to go skiing at Revelstoke, he was getting edgy with Stone Cutting and found two years had barnstormed by without a day off. He had the weird ability to express disdain by rolling his eyes far up in to his head so all you could see was the white of the sclera. Stories of cathedrals and restorations flowed. We parted eventually and found the skiing here good with the champagne style powder eluding us once again.


Who knew there was such a cool cafe in such a small town?

Moving on, we arrived at our next destination, Nakusp. Just an overnight stop on

Meritxell proprietor Wes Towle is what you’d hope a bookstore owner would be.

the journey South, Nakusp is a small but wonderful lakeside town, cold but also warmly inviting. What’s Brewing on Broadway, a curiously named village cafe entertained us with lunch and strong coffee. The tables are waited on by various staff. We had Ms. Taylee helping out with a smile and efficiency belying her young age. She joined in with our ragbag mirth and frivolity, and what an asset she is to this business.

Nakusp will envelope you with its spirit, engage you with kindness and wrap you in warmth. We stroll down the street. We meet Wes, the owner of the Meritxell Bookstore. He of great character, mirth, girth, wisdom and ample body. He laughed loud and shared his knowledge of life and books. With an easy intelligent banter, our time with him was too short. We left him after a huge belly laugh and in a Canadian drawl he exclaimed loudly. “I find that books that are intellectually below me are those books I tend not to read”

New Denver

Slocan Lake, Kootenay, BC.

As we drive to Kaslo, we are required to navigate around Upper Arrow Lake then down to Slocan Lake and the small village of New Denver adjacent to the lake. New Denver brings the sublime and very beautiful Slocan Lake into focus for us. We stop here. We climb down some narrow wooden stairs to a bench seat with a view across the lake to the distant glacier. There is not a sound. The lake reflects mirror images of the other shore and the snow-covered pines.

It’s a quiet contemplative place. A place once enjoyed by Barry Lamare. We sit and soak up the solitude and peace, my friend and I, like he did. You see, he was married to Sally, they met in high school, she was sixteen. The dedication on the seat is to him. They were together for fifty years, his wife and best friend, she says on the plaque. All those many years ago while on a long drive through the wilderness of Canada, they drove down out of the surrounding forest to a log cabin house on the edge of the lake. That log cabin now with an eclectic garden. A chance discovery nearly forty years ago and they stayed. And yet Sally still lives here.

Retreating, we climb back up those rickety wooden stairs. We meet a woman at the top with long hair.  We can scarcely believe it; it is Sally. She wears a blue knitted pullover with dark cords and boots, a flower atop her long locks. Her thick hair weathered now with the years. She is warm and wonderful as most Canadians are. An artist, young with life and looks that belie her age. She has filled her garden with ornaments, sculptures, bird feeders and rusted can tops on the apple tree to ward off the bears. Indeed, Sally shows us where a bear removed branches to get the juicy apples above, last Summer. She is willing, effusive and charming. I video her speaking about her life, love for  the wilderness, Barry and memories together. They both sat on that wooden bench many times together and watched the sun go down over the mountains behind the lake. For her, he is now a fond memory and a name on the plaque of the wooden bench Sally designed and built herself.

Life is what you make of it sometimes.


One Comment

  1. My trips to backcountry cabin ski weeks in BC have lead me to spend a few nights in Nakusp, Kaslo and New Denver. Great places and fond memories.

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