Leaving Creston is simple. The Crowsnest Highway cuts right through the town centre, so you simply follow it out. But as you round the bend out of the charming downtown, you immediately get pied with a slice of strip mall hell. "A-ha! Creston has its ugly side too" I thought. But it's only fleeting. Seconds later you're following a ridge that provides the most spectacular panoramic view of this utopian-looking fertile valley and it's hard not to be moved by the sight of it.
Remember the old computer game, The Oregon Trail? In the game, you cross the west in a horse and buggy, sacrificing oxen and losing members to Typhoid fever, all in the name of settling the valley of all fertile valleys, godlike rays shining down from above. The Creston Valley looks like that. As an aside, apparently Bountiful is somewhere down in that valley. Of course.
As I drive along I am quite taken by the vastness of this fertile, lush, agricultural valley. I drive by weathered grain elevators not unlike those of small town Alberta. Photo opportunity after photo opportunity pass, and I am struggling with myself: do I pull over, or should I just keep going?
Only a few minutes later down the highway, there's a sign for a scenic viewpoint. Perfect! Coincidentally, the car in front of me decides to do the same thing. We're the only cars here. As I stop my car a few feet behind theirs, two guys in their early 20's get out and walk up to the cliff and take pictures. I pull out my camera and I can see one of them glancing back at me. I yell out, "I decided to copy you!"
We're all snapping photos of this gorgeous valley and the two guys wander over to the lookout deck.
I eventually make my way over and ask, "Have you been here before?" "No, it's our first time." "Me too." The two of them are from Chilliwack and are just finishing up their cross-Canada road trip. They have no fixed itinerary and sometimes flip a coin at a fork in the road to determine where they go next.
We discover that we're all on our way to the Kootenay Lake ferry, although none of us know when it departs or how frequently it goes.
Soon after we all head back to our respective cars, and it begins to rain shortly after. On what was apparently one of the rainiest days ever on record in Vancouver, it finally catches up to me in the Kootenays. I find it strangely comforting and continue my drive up the highway to the Kootenay Lake Ferry.
To be continued...