Because of the rain, I had driven past some of the attractions inside Yoho National Park. That meant I arrived in Golden several hours earlier than I expected. Even after exploring the town and checking into my motel room, I still had time to burn, so I decided to take a drive, just for the heck of it, down Route 95.
British Columbia Route 95 begins in Golden, and eventually enters Idaho, becoming US Highway 95. For part of the way, it passes through the Rocky Mountain Rift Valley, which contains the headwaters of the Columbia River. Up here, the mighty Columbia is still pretty tame. Also, at this point, the river runs north, not south (it makes a U-turn north of Golden, then runs through Revelstoke, and continues south into the U.S.
The drive south of Golden via BC 95 is beautiful, but the scenery doesn’t change much, kilometer after kilometer. The road travels along the east side of the valley, with the Rockies on the east of the valley, and the Purcell Mountains lining the west side. In between are the Columbia River Wetlands, and the meandering river, that often splits and recombines.
If I had driven further, I would have ended up in Radium Hot Springs, then Invermere, and eventually the tiny community of Canal Flats, which marks the official start of the Columbia River. Instead…
… I turned around and headed back towards Golden. It would have been too far to continue all the way to Radium Hot Springs (103 kilometers one way) then return.
Nicholson: Canyon Creek Road & 12 Mile Creek Road
As I headed south, I was enjoying the view of the Purcell Mountains, and I wondered if there was a way to get closer to them (since BC 95 stays on the opposite side of the valley). I found one place: at Nicholson, Canyon Creek Road crosses the Columbia and connects with a network of dirt roads that wind (seemingly) aimlessly along the hillsides. Canyon Creek Road led to 12 Mile Creek Road…
… which led to some gigantic puddles…
… and an occasional good view of the Rockies to the east.
I have no idea exactly where I went. I made a few u-turns when the roads deteriorated from wide gravel to double-ruts. The guy inside my GPS unit thought I had lost my mind, so I shut him off, but kept the maps turned on, so that I wouldn’t lose my perspective on how to get back.
As a bonus, I found a few trees that had started to turn (on the second week in September).
Here’s the time-lapse dash-cam video of the drive south, then north on BC Highway 95. I did not include my dirt road meanderings, but you’re not missing much — there were no significant landmarks along the way: