We drive the International Selkirk Loop

  The International Selkirk Loop Haze, smog, smoke….call it what you will, but it persists in the Northwest. People in Idaho and Washington say the smoke from Canadian wildfires is really messing up the scenery. When you get to British Columbia the folks up there say the smoke from wildfires in the states is really mucking up their scenery. It […]

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The International
Selkirk Loop
Haze, smog, smoke….call it what you will, but it persists in the
Northwest. People in Idaho and Washington say the smoke from Canadian wildfires is really messing up the scenery. When you get to British Columbia the folks up there say the smoke from wildfires in the states is really mucking up their scenery. It seems that nobody likes it, but nobody is willing to take the blame either.

Today we have rain showers. Maybe some clearing of the air will follow.

 

Since we are parked near Bonners Ferry, Idaho we decided to start our loop by going north, stopping, of course, at our local Mennonite bakery to load up with breads, Muffins etc for the trip.
Our border crossing into British Columbia was uneventful with the customs agent being most concerned about our fruits, vegetables, and of course our vast arsenal of handguns that all US citizens must carry at all times…… He seemed a little disappointed that we didn’t bring any. (actually he was very pleasant) After a “Have a nice visit to Canada” and a wave we rolled into British
Columbia.

 

After stopping at several pull outs along the river, we happened upon a small park that was a project of a pipeline company. It appeared that the park was constructed in an effort to show environmental responsibility. They had created a stack of large stone slabs with metal sculptured fish circling around it depicting every fish species indigenous to the area.
They also carried the fish sculpture themes
to all the trails around the little park. It was a pleasant touch.

 

On the way to Creston we stopped at a fruit stand in a large Orchard community, and picked up some fresh fruit. The peaches, were quite good. (not as good as those from Chilton county, Al ).

 

 

From Creston we followed the Kootenay Lake scenic byway to Crawford Bay where we visited the Broom factory that makes the brooms for the Harry Potter movies.
We also stopped in an artisan weaving shop and watched the barefoot weaver in action. (Jo is doing a review).

 

J

Just a short drive north from Crawford Bay we arrived at our cabin in Riondel. Situated on a hillside with a great view of the mountains and the lake, we found the cabin a lovely place to rest on the back deck and watch the owner’s horses grazing and playing in the pasture. A flock of wild turkeys wandered through as we sat relaxing.

Later we noticed a couple of fawns walking through the horse pasture with
the horses.

 

After a great night’s sleep, and breakfast, we started early on our next leg of the trip along the Selkirk Loop.
Crossing the free ferry to Balfour was a real treat with great views of the lake and surrounding mountains from the upper deck.
As it turned out, we ferried across the lake three times at different times of day going back and forth to our cabin.

 

 

From Balfour we drove along the western side of Kootenay Lake, stopping several times on our way to the small town of Kaslo were we had our lunch on the outside patio of an old hotel with a great view of the
lake.

 

On our way from Kaslo to New Denver we stopped and explored the ghost town of Sandon, a town that bustled in it’s day to the silver discoveries in it’s mines. Molly Brown’s place still stands and is in good repair, although it does not seem to be operating it’s
original business. (we did not go in to check).

 

After a sunset ride on the ferry and the short drive back to the cabin our day was finished. It was a good one.

 

 

Our third day started with our last ride on the ferry with the sky clearing nicely and white fluffy clouds over the peaks of the mountains. Much of the smoke has cleared.

Turning south in Balfour, we followed the west arm of Kootenay lake toward Nelson. A side loop to the town of Trail (little Italy) fascinated us with it’s residences built on the side of a mountain with switchbacks that would cause a mountain goat to falter.

The original miners seemed to use every square inch of ground to build on, even if it was at a 45 degree angle. There was also a very nice museum that gave us much information on the history of Trail.
Artists of every type seem to have taken possession of the busy little town, which turned out to be a favorite spot on our trip.

 

In the afternoon we headed on toward Salmo with a short side trip to the top of Kootenay Pass where we saw our first moose.
She confidently crossed the road in front of us, and marched to the small lake on the
other side, giving us plenty of photo ops.

 

 

Then it was back down the pass toward Nelway and the border crossing into Washington. Our US customs agent checked our cooler for forbidden
fruit, questioned us about our home locations, and sent us along with a “welcome home”.
Following the shores of the Pend Oreille river, lakes and mountains in abundance, we arrived at our last overnight stay at Chewelah Washington.
After a great dinner, an even greater night’s sleep, and a nice free motel breakfast, we started our last loop home to Bonners
Ferry. Winding around expansive meadows and farmland along the Selkirk mountain range that borders the Pend Oreille river valley, we came to Priest River, Idaho where we decided to drive up the river to Priest Lake. Some of Jerry’s relatives had spent some time there a few years back and recommended that we take a look.
At the end of the drive we were delighted to find the Waterfront restaurant, staffed by a wonderful chef who convinced me that I had never had a burger before today. She even gave us a small bag of the spices she uses on the burgers. Like any good chef, she kept a few of the
ingredients secret. We dined while looking out over the mist along the mountains and the lake.

The last leg of our trip took us south of Sandpoint along Lake Pend Oreille to the Farragut State Park. The navy brig, turned museum, where a large number of German POW’s were held during WWII, was interesting and informative.

The campgrounds in the state park were extremely nice and in picturesque settings. Then we drove along the
lake to Sandpoint and then home.

 

 

We found the available guide books to the Selkirk Loop to be somewhat inadequate, especially on the British Columbia side, where road postings and stops recommended were often unmarked. Still, we had a
great trip.

 

Roadtrips are always better when shared with friends. We are going to
miss Sharon and Jerry when they head home Monday.

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