June weekend trip to Boundary Country and West Kootenay

Rossland, BC has some old buildings with false fronts and fancy balconies. (Richard McGuire photo)

I took a weekend trip in June to the area east of Osoyoos in the Boundary Country and West Kootenay.

This part of British Columbia is very different from the Okanagan. It was opened by mining, with forestry and agriculture following in the wake.

I drove to Texas Creek campground in Gladstone Provincial Park on Christina Lake, a provincial park with more comfortable facilities than I’m used to at the more rustic (and cheaper) B.C. recreation sites. I used it as a base for two nights and travelled around with just my car.

This was partly because I’d had trouble the last time hauling my trailer over the Blueberry-Paulson Summit, Bonanza Pass east of Christina Lake behind my little Golf. It’s a long and sometimes steep ascent reaching 1282 m (4,206 ft.)

Rossland is a ski and outdoor recreation centre, which like other communities in the area, started in a late 19th century gold rush.

Trail still has a very large lead and zinc smelter, but it too was developed as the result of a late 19th century gold rush.

I had considered camping at Champion Lakes Provincial Park north of Trail before I decided to avoid crossing Paulson Summit, but didn’t want to risk arriving late with it being full and not having a reservation. I opted to camp back at Christina Lake, but decided to do a short visit to check out Champion Lakes. It was more crowded than I was used to, but looked like a great family relaxation spot with beaches, wading areas, swimming and water activities like kayaking, stand-up paddle and canoeing on one of the small lakes.

Rossland is the home of 1968 Winter Olympics gold medal skier Nancy Greene and the provincial park just north of there is named after her. I only had time to check it out from the highway, but it’s a small park in a beautiful alpine lake setting.

Finally, on the way home Sunday morning, I stopped over in the old Boundary Country mining “city” of Greenwood – with its old false front buildings, making a pit stop at Midway, mile zero of the Kettle Valley Railway. The KVR, which opened up the region, was built in the early 1910s to maintain Canadian sovereignty as Americans spilled over the border to chase silver.

(Richard McGuire photos)

Children walk past a horse sculpture called Rusty, by Cedar Mueller on the main street of Rossland, BC. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Old Fire Hall and St. Andrew’s United Church in Rossland, BC. Both recall an earlier period dating back to the turn of the last century, when Rossland was a mining community. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Crown Point Hotel in Trail, BC was built in 1929, replacing an older hotel. It is designated as a heritage site by the Trail Historical Society. You can still get rooms there and my bet is more than a few miners have had too much to drink within those walls. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Teck zinc and lead operations dominate the skyline of Trail, BC like a castle over a medieval city. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Trail Teck operations viewed through the Victoria Street Bridge have an early 20th century industrial feel. (Richard McGuire photo)

People relax and play on the beach at Champion Lakes Provincial Park near Trail, BC, while others canoe, kayak and standup paddle on the lake. (Richard McGuire photo)

Nancy Green Provincial Park north of Rossland, BC is named after the ski champion to won gold at the 1968 Winter Olympics in Grenoble, France. Her family moved to Rossland when she was three and there are many mountains in the area to challenge the best of skiers. (Richard McGuire photo)

I camped at Texas Point campground in Gladstone Provincial Park on Christina Lake. In the evening, I hiked down to the water where I spotted this boat below the cliffs. (Richard McGuire photo)

Greenwood is an interesting old mining town — make that “city” — from the late 19th century. This saloon at the Windsor Hotel with its false front is quite distinctive. Dating back to 1899, this is said to be one of the longest operating pubs in B.C. Unfortunately, it’s been closed this year following controversy involving the owners. It appeared in the 1999 movie Snow Falling on Cedars. Some of the buildings on this street were used to intern Japanese Canadians during World War II. (Richard McGuire photo)

The post office and former customs house in Greenwood, B.C. is an interesting building with a brick clock tower. Greenwood became a city in 1897 and it hasn’t lost that designation, even though its population is only around 800. It claims to be Canada’s smallest city. (Richard McGuire photo)

The Barrett House in Greenwood, BC was built around 1897 and has housed some of the “city’s” politicians over the years. With a large verandah, corner turret and gingerbread trim, it is a one-of-a-kind building. (Richard McGuire photo)

At the right is Greenwood’s community centre and library, as my car and trailer are parked on the main street below. The historic copper mining “city” has a number of interesting old buildings. (Richard McGuire photo)

Midway, BC was Mile 0 of the Kettle Valley Railway, which operated in the first half of the 20th century and connected to Vancouver through Hope. Today much of the old railway bed is a hike and bike trail and the old train station is at the Kettle Valley Museum. During the mining boom at the end of the 19th century, Midway reached 6,000 people, but today it’s a village of around 650. (Richard McGuire photo)

About Richard McGuire

Richard McGuire is a photographer and photojournalist based in Osoyoos in the South Okanagan region of British Columbia, Canada.

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