Saturday, 6 March 2010
Nelson Pt II
I'm alive! Katy said that I should write this one just to prove that I'd recovered from the various recent illnesses... I was going to do an Al-Qaeda style video recording but have you tried buying video cassettes these days? I think those guys have cornered the market. Anyway, I'm feeling much better, thanks for asking. I’ve started writing this sitting in the sun on the verandah of the day lodge here at Whitewater, the ski hill for Nelson, B.C. The ski hills are pretty tiny compared to any others you might have been to; one lift goes left, the other goes right... that’s it! That said, we spent a day there in gorgeous sunshine and had a brilliant time, with the best snow so far and there are loads of tree-runs which Katy enjoyed and I endured. And the slopes are so quiet… sometimes you really do have a mountain-side to yourself! However the bigger adrenalin rush was saved for the journey home, 20 minutes on the bus of death; rattling itself to bits and only occasionally pointing straight down the road (other times slewing sideways on the pot-holed and icy steep mountain road). But the driver seemed fairly relaxed about the whole thing (which is the standard position to adopt in Nelson), so we just enjoyed the ride.
Nelson is situated in a mountain valley, just above a massive lake. Fir trees cover most of the surrounding area and the town appears to have much more history than the other places we’ve visited so far. When we first arrived, we got a taxi and the driver said there are only two directions in Nelson: “Uphill or Downhill”. I thought he was just being jovial until we saw the roads… and the buses really were labeled either uphill or downhill! Weird. The town's main claim to fame is that it was the location for the filming of the 80's film, Roxanne starring Steve Martin (when he was still funny). It still clings to that fame with a guided tour (we declined).
This town is also culturally very different; there seems to be a quiet battle raging between hippie-ville and commercialism. It has its own landing-strip / mini airport and a lot of land near the lake was undergoing development, spoiling what would otherwise be a lovely area. It would be a shame if the locals were to be priced-out of the area... on the other hand some of these hippies can be bloody annoying! I listened to one tell someone else (cooking at the stove, and therefore with no avenue for escape) about how she'd elevated to a higher state the night before (well, some of these bunk beds are quite tall).
The hostel is also different to all the others so far, I guess because they are not catering purely for skiers / boarders. It’s more like a converted hotel (in fact I think it is)... lots of wooden floors and rooms that don't have the odour of smelly socks. The place is great! We met a really nice couple called Craig and Ashley from Ontario and really everyone else that wasn’t 100% hippy were great! One of the first people we met (Lauren) appeared a bit full-on at first, but over the days I realized she was actually just genuinely really nice! I think Katy was impressed because from the first conversation with her I confidently predicted she was a teacher (she is undergoing her teacher training at the moment). Thanks for the lift to the Greyhound Lauren – life saver!
I should briefly mention that we watched the Olympic Ice Hockey final (Canada vs USA) – I truly underestimated how big a deal this was for the Canucks… until I watched the man running through the bar in a red thong after they won in extra time!
Tuesday saw us go for a stroll around Nelson. We walked down by the lake where they had created an outdoor gym; whilst I suspect that Katy had this planned all along… I did some exercise! Then, having consulted the town’s visitor information centre, we decided to go to Pulpit Rock (http://www.trailpeak.com/trail-Pulpit-Rock-near-Nelson-BC-1275 ). When the person at the info centre said it was about an hour’s walk, I hadn’t fully grasped that the hour in question was just the vertical climb up the side of - and let’s not mince words here – the mountain. It didn’t include the walk required just to get to the start and it also did not take into account us taking a wrong turn during the climb… adding on an extra half hour’s vertical climb. We only stopped when we realized that ours were the only human footsteps there (the others belonging to elk, bears, mountain-goats etc). The views were breathtaking, which was frankly unnecessary as my breath had already been taken by the walk up.
Wednesday was a rest day (by which I mean Katy went snowboarding and I made the most of the facilities in the day lodge).
Next stop Big White.