Getting There - Aneel's Travelogue

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Into Canada Nelson, BC, Friday, 26 August 2011 10:59pm

I did the 10am tour of Gardner Cave this morning. It was pretty cool. Literally. The cave maintains a temperature of about 39 degrees F. The cave is home to various colonies of Pack rats, so occasionally we'd see piles of stuff they'd collected for their nests, but is not home to bats. It's the third-largest limestone cave in Washington. The limestone probably dates back to the period when the continents were a supercontinent (Pangaea) and this area was a lakebed. There are some rocks in the cave from later periods (including some granite) that suggest volcanic activity after the limestone had been laid down, and there's some marble that was formed when the limestone was compressed by glaciers.

Perhaps the highlight (or lowlight?) of the tour was when we reached the bottom of the open part of the cave (it continues further, but is only a crawlspace and is closed to the public) and the guide turned off the electric lights. It's not often that I'm in darkness that profound.

There's a short hiking trail from the cave to Canada, so I hiked over. There's nothing at the border except a clear-cut through the trees and an ominous sign about how it's illegal to enter the US, except at border crossings.

I also stopped by the Boundary Dam, and was the only person there for the noon tour. The dam is much smaller than the Grand Coulee Dam, but supplies something like 60% of Seattle's electricity. I liked the tunnel system where the generators are housed. It's hewn out of the rock on one side of the dam.

I crossed the border into Canada without much trouble. The guard was suspicious that I might be carrying some pepper spray, but all I had was a pocket knife.

Once in Canada, I headed up to Rossland, to check out the Rossland Museum. They normally run a tour where you can go into a historic gold mine and see the equipment they used. Unfortunately, the mine tour is closed for safety reasons, so I had to be content with the above-ground exhibits.

I was starving, by this point (having stopped for neither breakfast, nor lunch), so I stopped for dinner in Nelson before continuing the last 20km or so to my campground. I think the novelty of camping might be wearing off a bit, because I was actually eager for my campfire to go out, so I could get to sleep.

The campsite next door has a very good guard dog.

162mi in 7:54