Tuesday, July 12, 2011 (New Denver, BC)

We‘re supposed to be heading for a bit of a cooling trend here in the Slocan Valley so I wasn‘t surprised to wake up to more cloud than sun this morning.  But it was still very pleasant and warm enough for shorts so I‘m not complaining.  Nothing like the cool damp weather that they have been having back home on the Island.

As soon as Steve got up this morning, he poured his coffee into a travel mug...he was going fishing.  He loaded his gear into the boat and then wheeled it down the ramp into the water...very handy.  I took this picture through the back window as he was heading out on the lake...

While he was out on the lake, I finished up yesterday`s journal entry and then took my iPod and sat at a picnic table outside the washroom building (where there is WiFi) and check our email.  I`m glad to at least have some connection with "the outside world"!!
Steve came back in after about 2 hours...very disappointed with the fishing.  No luck whatsoever...not even a nibble!  He ate a bowl of cereal at the picnic table while I sat enjoying some sunshine and we chatted about what we should do today.
We decided to explore the Slocan Valley today...so we headed off towards the community of Slocan about 30 kms south of here.  Along the way, we stopped at this viewpoint and Steve took some pictures... 

The community of Slocan is off the highway at the base of Slocan Lake.  As we entered the community, we stopped at the Visitor‘s Centre and Municipal Campground.  After a stop inside the centre, we walked around the campground.  It is very rustic but does have 4 full hook-up sites with the rest having water and power.  There is also a separate tent section.  It sits on the edge of a creek...
With a little waterfall...

We were very surprised...and disappointed when we drove through Slocan...there really isn‘t anything there.  After driving around looking for a main "downtown" area, all we found was a rundown looking motel, the post office and a small not-too-bad looking restaurant.  We then drove down to the marina and beach.  The beach area was flooded and workers were busy clearing debris along the shore. We parked and walked over to the trailhead map to take a look at what trails were in the area.  This was the start of a long bike trail that went quite a ways south along the old rail bed.  Just across the river...on the west side of the lake...is the Valhalla Provincial Park which has no vehicle access camping...just trails leading into backcountry camping.  We decided to drive back to the bridge that crosses the river, park and take a bit of a hike on one of the trails.
As we were heading off on our walk, there were big dark clouds looming overhead but we thought we would go anyways...we weren`t planning on a major hike...just a little exercise. 
After walking 500 metres, we were at the trailhead and started our hike on the path along the lake edge.

This is a picture looking back at the bridge and where the truck is parked... 

The marina and beach beside the old mill...

We stopped at a clearing and were admiring the view of the lake when we felt some raindrops starting...okay, time to turn around and head back.  We were lucky though...the rain really didn`t amount to anything and we were back at the truck after a good 30 minute walk.
We drove another couple of streets in Slocan and deciding we had seen all there was to see of Slocan, we headed back to the highway.  We were heading back towards New Denver with plans of stopping in Silverton but the wind had come up and there was definitely a storm coming in so we returned home to the trailer.  We had left the awning down...not a good thing in a wind storm. 
And windy, it was!! As gusts came through, it was like a dust storm with the wind whipping along the dry gravel roadway in the campground.  We even had to eat our lunch inside because of the wind and dust.
Our neighbours, Robert and Judith had said that they had picked up a pretty good WiFi signal on their laptops last night while sitting up by the washrooms.  I had tried that yesterday but obviously had been at the wrong picnic table, so I thought I would try again.  It turned out much better for me today and with a much stronger signal, I was able to start updating our travel blog.  The last entry on the blog had been June 20th...so I had a lot of work ahead of me.  Thankfully the journal is already written (I try to keep it updated daily) so all I have to do is copy and paste it into blogspot...what takes the time is picking out and downloading the pictures. 
I sat at the picnic table for a good couple of hours and managed to add 4 days...well, it’s a start!  As I headed back to the trailer, I hear the rumble of thunder in the distance and then saw the storm clouds coming down the lake.  It was looking a little nasty!  We set up our chairs so we could watch the lightning show...but unfortunately the rain started and then the wind.  We tried sitting under the awning but the wind was still splattering the rain at us so we had to go inside.
It really didn’t rain all that much but it was still quite breezy out...it seemed to be blowing the storm clouds through quickly.  We stayed inside until after dinner...well, Steve had to go outside to barbeque the chicken...and when the dishes were all done, we decided to take the laptop back over to the picnic table and try using Skype to call the kids.  We didn`t try to use the video because we knew the WiFi signal wouldn`t be strong enough...we were just hoping that it would be strong enough to just make the phone calls.
As it turned out, Skype worked great and we had a great chat with both Angie and then Rob.  It had been quite awhile since we had talked to them...so it was really great hearing their voices!  After our chat with them, we called Chris.  He was driving home from work and although talking to us "hands-free", he was having trouble hearing us so we didn`t chat long.  He seems to really be enjoying his new job.
We were on a roll now...so we chatted with Nadine and Mike, our good friends Nancy and Rob and left voice-mail messages with Steve’s Dad, as well as his Uncle in Edmonton, letting them know we had called and would try again.  It had been great talking with family and friends tonight...I will use it to call my brothers another night.
After our calls, we headed back to the trailer and settled in for a little TV before heading to bed...

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