Feedback from a participant:
I joined the 2004 August tour with my children. I offered to write my comment of this tour in Elly's website, because I really wanted to do so.
At first I worried about the cost of this tour, especially of our air tickets in summer season. Now, after our tour, I can say great! It is worth visiting New Denver, I suggest it to you all.
As Elly organized our stay according to my children's age, they sometimes joined events they wanted to join and sometimes could spend their time with Canadian children to play. They could swim any time in the lake. Even on rainy days they could enjoy rain! Very much. My daughter cried," I would study English to come here again!"
It is so different to spend time in New Denver from in Japan. Time follows us human beings slowly.
If you join this tour, it means you might change your life into happier life.
New Denver is a wonderful little town those who love both nature and people live in. It's surrounded by mountains, blessed with plants and animals and at night, it's covered with the sky of so many bright stars. You can't forget about the lake there having crystal-clear water which looks almost good to drink. People are very friendly. You may think they look like they all know each other. Cherry trees there will never be forgotten! More than some families own a cherry tree. When I was there in July, the trees were loaded with cherries. Believe it or not, you cold help yourself to them! You don't have to feel guilty when picking some from someone else's trees. Nobody cares. What a wonderful, peaceful town New Denver is!!
On the way back from Idaho Peak, we did some mushroom picking. Barry, a great forest guide, who knows a lot about plants and animals, including mushrooms, taught us so many things about them. Big mushrooms were seen from place to place and we got many in the end. When a mushroom was cut by a knife, the base of the stem was covered with some soil to grow again better. At home they were washed lightly, cut into slices, and got dried in a dryer. It was done in a night. Some freshly-picked mushrooms were fried with butter. They tasted kind of nutty and sooo good!
Grizzly Bear Watching Hike
We went for a hike to see a grizzly bear. Surprisingly enough, on the way driving to a trailhead, we saw a black bear cub across a paved road already. The hiking trail was filled with alpine plants to make the trail look beautiful. Our knowledgable guides taught us a lot, saying "This flower is called la-la-la", "This is having a green flower and very poisonous", "These leaves are very good to your body" and so on. They were all English, of course, and it was a bit challenging to me both to listen and walk, but it was fun for sure. There were glaciers in places. We could enjoy the excellent views of mountains along the way. At lunchtime, I drank some water from the glacier to moisten my throat. We didn't see any grizzly bear after all, but we did see through binoculars some goats which were told to live only up on the mountains. We also had a chance to see some squirrels, a toad, and many deer.
With a help of Elly, a professional potter, I made a lot of pendant. Some wild grass, witch were taken home the day before, was used to make unique patterns on the clay. A few days later, I put some colors on them, picking them from many colors. It was quite fun, feeling like I was back to being a kid again. My husband mixed two different color clays together to make chopstick rests looking like they were made of marble stones.
In Elly's neighborhood, there is Nikkei Memorial Internment Center. Since Japan was one of the enemies against Canada and others during World War ?, many Japanese descent were kept in New Denver. This is a sad history, but not to let it happen again, part of the camp has been kept as a memorial center.
The Night Sky of New Denver
When you look up at the night sky, you probably have a stiff neck! The stars are amazingly big and bright. You'd be surprised, realizing there are actually so many stars. We saw some satellites, too. It's not a joke at all, though I did think so. The Milky Way was just beautiful. We could barely see northern lights as well. The sky was just like "a jewel-strewn sky".
A night fire seems to have a magical power to attract people. In the backyard of Elly's house, there is a big willow tree. When a fire is started under the tree, people come and share the fire, chatting together. As the fire crackles, people have tea or something enjoying leisurely hours. In the darkness, the fire let us see each other, lighting up around, including the tree's pendant branches. It's like we are in the same tent shaped by the branches.
A Nap by the Lake
One afternoon, after having so many wonderful adventures, we took a little nap to have a rest at the nearby lakeside. It was only a 5-minutes walk or so from Elly's house. We just lay down on one of the picnic tables there with a blanket on it. The lake was sparkling in the sunshine. A nap there was one of the happiest moments for sure.
Sherlock Holmes in New Denver
If you are very lucky, you might have a chance to see Sherlock Holmes in New Denver! He's always with a hat on, with a pipe in his mouth, and with a long mustache. They all make him look like an English gentleman. When he's in a suit, he looks almost like a mayor. Almost!! Actually, he is a very friendly, entertaining person. He could be a very good friend of yours there.
The nature of New Denver is extraordinarily beautiful. I think one big reason for this is that people there try to protect the nature, keep it as it is, and not to leave garbage behind. On the other hand, you can see some clear cuts on the mountains which are a big damage to the ecology. Very sadly, Elly says they are like big scars on mountains. Glaciers on the mountains are told to be getting smaller because of global warming.
This New Denver tour made a wonderful experience with a mixture of impression, excitement, a kind of shock and so on. I believe I'm very lucky to meet someone like my Canadian mom, Elly, through this tour.
When you go to New Denver and meet the guard dog at Elly's place, just call him "Angus"! (right spelling?) He'd be happy with his tail wagging for you!!