Sept. 8th – 13th

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                                                      every driving day a different color

I left on Friday morning headed for Nelson on my way to meet up with my friends. Because I had not been in a very long time, I was looking forward to touring around for the weekend – staying open to possibilities. I’d made reservations at the city campground. I wanted to be able to walk and explore this mountainside town, and not worry about driving and parking. As it turns out it was a good thing, it was their annual vintage car show all weekend long. The town was packed with tourists, every kind of vintage car roamed the streets… American Graffiti style…
a real throwback to the past.

After checking in at the campground – very dusty & noisy, crowded, no green anywhere, but it was in town and convenient – I went exploring –
I walked both sides of Baker St, roamed through  a few of the side streets, stopped in many of the shops, chatted with the shop owners, curious about how much it had changed. I could not believe the number of high end clothing shops and restaurants. Their health food store was like walking into a Canadian whole foods – not the hippie, off the beaten path place it once was. I loved it!
After a while I stopped in a small  coffee shop to escape the heat and the smoke, and to make a few phone calls. Just as I was going to call my friends to let them know I was in Nelson, their daughter walked into the coffee shop! I introduced myself…it had been a long time since she had seen me… we had a really nice visit.
There are a lot of coffee shops in Nelson…beautiful serendipity!

Saturday   Sept 9th            7:45a            Nelson BC

” I’m sitting in Bill listening to overhead planes and helicopters endlessly trying to put out the fires. The smoke has gotten so bad that my engine light went on! My mechanic informed me that the engine is having trouble “breathing” – not enough oxygen –  who knew?  I seem to have grown accustomed to the smoke, although I must say that last night the choices to leave the windows open and breathe smoke and dust all night, or close the windows and have the fan on to circulate the stifling air, were not great –
I wrote about the trees the other day – I was feeling their stress – this morning I’m feeling it in my lungs, and my eyes. It is supposed to rain today…here’s hoping!”

I had a lovely day wandering around town, Baker St was closed off and vintage cars lined the street on both sides as well as the side streets. It was very festive, music playing, food smells wafting, people from all over, sharing their car passions with each other. The promise of rain later in the day filled the cloudy grey day. It did eventually ‘rain’ –
more like a soft drizzle, but it was welcome nonetheless.

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Vintage car show   Baker Street      Nelson  BC

Sept 10th
I left Nelson early Sunday morning hoping to avoid traffic, headed for Schroeder’s Creek campground, north of Kaslo about 20kms.  After I parked and had lunch, my friends picked me up in their boat – the only way to get to their place. It was a glorious day, the rain had refreshed everything, so welcome – the air was clear, the trees could breathe again, the water was calm –
I so love being on the water. Once we got to the other side, we immediately hopped onto their barge, which was loaded with firewood for their family in Nelson, and went back across again to unload the barge into 2 trucks. It was a fun family affair. I loved hanging out with everyone… then it was back across the water to spend the evening with my friends. It was great to catch up.
I asked about the possibility of creating a piece somewhere on their property – I had my eye on their swinging bridge –  they agreed. It meant having to schlep my stuff across the water, but my friends were very gracious, helpful and accommodating – gratitude!
After dinner I was ferried back to my campground, where I immediately got everything ready  that I would need for the next couple of days –
I couldn’t wait to see what would happen!

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My view from Schroeder’s Creek campground looking east

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Taking a load of wood across on the barge and back again

9:30a the next day  Monday
I got picked up with all my stuff,  unloaded everything at the dock in the bay where I would be staying. Once I was organized in my cabin I walked the property, took photos, and decided that the swinging  bridge could work. There was a cable of sorts under the planks where I could hang the wire from. It would be labor intensive, but I was game… when would I have another chance to create an installation on a swinging bridge, over a creek? I worked until 5:30 when the sun disappeared behind the mountain. There wasn’t much else I could do at that point, so I went back to my cabin, had an outdoor shower…

I love an outdoor shower… in the Kootenays, in a cedar forest, on the edge of a creek, under twilight stars – beyond words!
I had dinner with my friends again, lively conversations, good laughs, great food.

Getting schlepped across Kootenay Lake … Fry Creek fire wafting through the valley

Tuesday
I spent time photographing the swinging bridge piece in different light throughout the day, sat on the dock in the sun, meditated and generally relaxed and enjoyed the glorious day. I also decided to use the time to experiment with a water piece/idea while I was there to see if it would work. In the end it did not, but I gained a lot of valuable information and understanding about what needed to happen for it to succeed.

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Failed water experiment

I decided to leave the bridge piece up for another night and take it down in the morning before leaving… I wasn’t counting on rain!
Fortunately the pieces were protected enough by the bridge that they survived.

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Swinging bridge     Kootenay Lake    BC

I was back at my campground Wednesday afternoon around 3p. After a long shower and exercises outside on the platform in front of my campsite, I had dinner and got organized to leave tomorrow. I had taken a fall in the creek when I slipped on some rocks and was feeling the trauma in my body. I was planning to stop at Ainsworth Hot springs tomorrow on my way back to Balfour ferry.

I wasn’t sure if I would have an opportunity to create another installation. Fewer and fewer campgrounds would be open as the season winded down. The fires were also limiting where one could travel –  I still felt as though I would like to scout around for future possibilities, even if making it would have to wait.
This next leg of my journey was going to be the first time since I began that I didn’t have anything or anywhere particular in mind as I drove through the landscape…
I was curious about what would draw me, inspire me –

Louise
Okori

All images   ©   Louise Pagé     2017

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