Thursday, June 3, 2010

Day 17 Kootenay National Park, BC


We spent the day touring the Kootenay National Park located in southern British Columbia. The Park was established in 1920 as a motor road as part of a Grand Circle Tour to link the Canadian Rocky Mountains with the national parks of the American West.

Kootenay National Park covering 1,406 km2 (543 sq mi) in the Canadian Rockies and forms part of a World Heritage Site. The park ranges in elevation from 918 m (3,012 ft) at the south-west park entrance to 3,424 m (11,234 ft) at Deltaform Mountain.

The park takes its name from the Kootenay River, one of the two major rivers which flow through the park, the other being the Vermillion River. While the Vermillion River is completely contained within the park, the Kootenay River has its headwaters just outside of the park boundary, flows through the park into the Rocky Mountain Trench, eventually joining the Columbia River.

The park's main attractions include the Hot Springs, Olive Lake, Marble Canyon, Sinclair Canyon and the Paint Pots. The hot springs offer a hot springs pool ranging from 35°C to 47°C (95°F to 117 °F). The Paint Pots are a group of iron-rich cold mineral springs which bubble up through several small pools and stain the earth a dark red-orange colour. The Paint Pots were a major source of the Ochre paint pigment for a number of First Nations groups prior to the 20th century.  Mik now has a yellow underbelly that he picked up on our hike through Paint Pots springs area.

We saw a variety of water falls, glacier-clad peaks, the Columbia Valley grass lands and two bears. The first bear was a small one that was along side the road. The second bear was a large grizzly that cross the road and disappeared into the forest before I could get the camera out.

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