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Kelowna, B.C.

Kelowna, Nakusp & Frank Slide - May, 2009

I bought a new car so with 17 kms on it Karen figured we needed to road test it. Her grandson was playing hockey in Kelowna (370 miles away).
Kelowna Photo Album

Kelowna, May, 2009


Karen's grandson was playing hockey in Kelowna over the weekend so that was excuse enough for us to gas up and hit the road. That, and the fact that I had just bought a new car that Karen figured needed a road test. We left work early on Friday and hit the road in time to get to Revelstoke by dark.

After the game was over, we left Kelowna and took the back road to Vernon driving the west side of Lake Okanagan. Dad showed me this road this road a while ago and I wanted Karen to see it. There is nothing prettier than the Okanagan in the spring.

Nakusp, B.C.


From Vernon, we turned west on highway 6 staying in a log cabin motel at Nakusp for the night. The cabin was beautiful. By then, it was pouring rain and inside was snug and warm. Just where we wanted to be. Our only concern now was that we might run into a blizzard over the Crowsnest Pass in the morning.

The Village of Nakusp is a small community located on the shores of Upper Arrow Lake in the West Kootenays. The area around Nakusp was occupied by aboriginal peoples from the Shuswap. The town name is derived from an Okanagan Indian word meaning 'closed in' or 'come together'.

In 1811, the first reported European explorer on the Arrow Lakes was Finan McDonald, an associate of David Thompson. European settlers arrived in 1890, and the settlement took shape. In 1892 the post office, the first store, and a sawmill opened. It was expected that Nakusp would also become a mining boomtown, and the Nakusp Slocan railway was completed in 1893. With the building of the smelter in Trail, however, the plan for a smelter in Nakusp vanished. Several paddle steamers came into service on the lakes, transporting settlers, produce, vacationers, and just about everything else. The boats were retired from active service in the early 1950s.

August 19, 2013 - Note received from Ien van Houten of Nakusp

Delightful blog, will be back to read at leisure. Right now, I just need to correct one fact regarding the first inhabitants of Nakusp. The lakes region was the territory of the Sinixt. Please visit http://sinixtnation.org

It suits the government to perpetuate the fallacy that the Sinixt are extinct.

In the morning, we decided to continue with our south route plans through the Crowsnest instead of heading north to Revelstoke. I tried to talk Karen into taking the side trip down to Grand Forks so I could have some borsch. She wouldn't go along with this idea. I'm sure if she actually liked borsch she wouldn't have hesitated at all.

Frank Slide - Frank, Alberta

Frank Slide - 90 Seconds of Terror

The bonus of taking the south route is that it includes seeing the Frank Slide (Turtle Mountain). We stopped at the visitors centre for a self guided tour and I purchased a book and video.

The Indians of the area avoided Turtle Mountain. To them, it was the "Mountain that Walked" and they would not camp in it's shadow. Their legend would soon become all too real.
On April 29, 1903, at 4:10 a.m., in a minute and half 90 million tons of limestone crashed from the east face of Turtle Mountain and covered approximately 1.5 square miles of the valley floor. The slab of rock that broke free was approximately 2100 feet high, 2900 feet wide and 492 feet thick.

The slide dammed the Crowsnest River and formed a small lake, covered over a mile of the Canadian Pacific Railway, destroyed most of the coal mine's surface infrastructure, and buried seven houses and rural buildings on the outskirts of the sleeping town of Frank. Frank was home to approximately 600 people in 1903. It is estimated that 90 of the roughly 100 individuals in the path of the slide were killed.

Only fourteen bodies were recovered from the debris at the time of the slide. In 1922, a road construction crew uncovered the remains of seven more people. Several people in the direct path of the slide survived, including three young girls. Fernie Watkins was found amongst the debris. Marion Leitch, 15 months old, was thrown from her house to safety on a pile of hay. Gladys Ennis, 27 months old, was found choking in a pile of mud by her mother. Gladys, the last survivor of the slide, died in 1995 at age 94.

The South peak of Turtle Mountain continues to exhibit the same signs of instability that caused the 1903 slide. This has lead geologists to speculate that it is only a matter of time before another slide occurs. The Alberta government launched the Turtle Mountain Monitoring Project in response to the uncertainty of when a slide would occur and because of houses and recreation areas in slide path. The Turtle Mountain Monitoring Project has put sophisticated monitoring equipment on the face of Turtle Mountain which provides hourly updates on the size of rock cracks and the tilt and location of the Turtle Mountain. Experts say it's a matter of time before it happens again.

Visit CBC Video - 90 Seconds of Terror

We did hit a bit of snow in the higher altitudes but nothing that caused any problems. Three days and 1700 kms later we were back in Calgary. My new car passed it's road test.


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