Day 34: July 15, Salmo to Nelson. Distance: 51 km.

Today we started on another railway grade -- the Burlington Northern Nelson Fort Sheppard railway. We got on right at Salmo. The going was fairly reasonable, if a bit sandy and rocky for the first few kilometres. Also, the views were a bit "the same" over the entire grade -- not the most exciting rail grade. However, the little town of Ymir was a welcome break. We stopped at the Wild and Wooley General Store and had a snack. They make a "naughty" bar that is heavenly!! Definitely worth the stop.

From Ymir it was 17 k. to the summit of the rail grade. The scenery improves quite a bit as you approach the top -- big fields of wildflowers, mountains in the distance, and the appearance of Cottonwood Lake just past the summit. A great place for a dip. If the day is warm, you are sure to meet lots of friendly locals here. After the swim, it is an easy ride down the grade into Nelson. One of the good things about this rail grade is that you come into Nelson at the top of the town. Nelson is built on a steep slope, if you come in at the top, you get to ride down at the end of the day instead of up.

We stayed with Marlene Hogg. Her house is up high on the hill, so we took a small path down off the trail and wound our way to her house. It was a real scorcher of a day, probably 40 degrees. After getting settled in we decided to go down to town and take a swim in the lake (we were back very close to Kootenay Lake again). However, we had to make a stop at a bike shop. Mark needed another pair of cycle shorts (always bring two!) and I needed a new front tire. I was riding on a 34-mm wide tire. I wanted something a bit wider. I found a Specialised 39-mm tire. In retrospect, the extra 5-mm made a difference on the sandy trails we were going to encounter. We finished with a nice dinner downtown, then a really steep ride back to Marlene’s house and a good night’s sleep in a bed!

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On the Nelson and Ft. Sheppard rail grade at Salmo.

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  Almost at the summit of the Nelson rail grade.

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  Looking down on Nelson from the rail grade -- it is a steep town!