Sternwheeler Country

An unexpected treat waiting for us in Kaslo, BC was the beautifully restored sternwheeler, S S Moyie. Once it and 26 other sister ships sailed the long lakes that help define S.E. British Columbia. 

The dining room.

The ladies lounge.

The Canadian Pacific Railroad built and ran most all of them. Generally two stories tall, there was a freight deck (& engine room) below and a remarkably plush passenger compartment above. For longer trips, small rooms could be booked.

Fruit wasn’t the primary freight that got the railroad into the steamboat business – it was logging and mining. All those lakeside small towns and camps that served as jump off point to the the interior needed resupplying. It was easier to get access by boat than to build tracks.

This was also a time where cars and trucks were beginning to make an appearance and so the paddlewheelers even had to carry the seeds of their eventual destruction – motor vehicles.

This ship was beautifully restored – even small touches like leaded glass accent windows and clerestory panels, each with a different glass daguerreotype image of local landmarks. The map below gives you an idea of Canadian Pacific’s steam and rail penetration into this rugged country. The Arrow Lakes are actually the Columbia River.


It’s About Apples


Honeycrisp, Empire, Golden Delicious, Ambrosia, Spartan, Mitsu, Jonagold, Ida Red, Fuji and Granny Smith – all those apple varieties can be found along the Okanogan River Valley. The array of fruit makes your head spin and mouth water and Fall is the time to enjoy them at their freshest.


Unlike the Wenatchee area, there seem to be a lot more mom and pop orchards.


Perhaps it’s the micro climes but we were surprised to see orchards even high up in the side valleys and canyons away from the Okanogan River.


Those side canyons presented a challenge for water delivery in the early years. The wooden flume in the background is slowly decaying as electricity and drip irrigation allowed for even more acres to be farmed than before.


In a number of orchards we saw these runners made of a foil topped material. This puzzled us at first until doing a little digging. The reflective foil allows for better coloring of Fuji apples – it doesn’t affect maturation or flavor – just marketability.


In the small town of Tonasket, like so many of the villages along the Okanogan Valley, have sorting houses and cold storage, Again, it’s on a smaller scale than we’ve seen in Wenatchee, but, hey, who cares about scale – It’s Pie Time!!!


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Tonasket 48.705153, -119.439504