The Dyck family from the Yorkton area of southeast Saskatchewan was getting ready to hand in their room keys at the Fireside Inn on Friday, June 28 when a curious neighbour came by with a camera and digital voice recorder. The Castlegar News, incidentally, happens to be a contented long-term guest at the south end hotel.
Word had come that the family was in a bit of a predicament, and its visit to Castlegar did not have the voluntary nature so highly valued by vacationers.
An auto-related misadventure had put them in the situation they were in and, happily, there had been no injuries to any member of the family of five.
A return visit to Ainsworth Hot Springs was in their plans and the vacation was apparently going well as the terrain was reasonably familiar.
Things took an unexpected and potentially tragic turn as they were travelling between Kaslo and New Denver. The aftermath of a downpour-triggered rockslide led to $5,000 repair bill for their van. It was not just the dollar amount that put a crimp in their plans, but the time required for repairs to be made.
This turn of events led to an extended stay at the ‘Crossroads of the Kootenays.’ With a benevolent rate offered by the Fireside Inn, for a room with space for five and rudimentary cooking facilities, the Dycks were relatively well set.
They said they’d been treated fairly and hospitably by everyone they’d dealt with, including the dealership doing their van repairs and a local church congregation which made them welcome.
With a courtesy car available only part of the time, however, the Dycks soon quickly became familiar with the quirky, elongated nature of Castlegar’s layout, like the way a stroll to Millennium Park from Fireside Inn is not necessarily ‘casual.’
All the same, the family unit was grateful to be together and healthy, particularly in light of the natural disaster in Alberta which had coincided with what would have been their return trip to Sask.
On that day, with a forecast of hot, dry weather, all looked promising for the start of their trip home. There was even a bonus in the way of an attraction that just happened to be on their way.
“We still have one final stop to make,” said father John, “the main place we wanted to take our kids… Fort Steele (near Cranbrook). We were going to do it first on our trip but we found out some of the things don’t go into full swing until late June, so we thought we’d go back that way.”
Here’s wishing all the best to the Dyck family, and that their return trip is memorable for all the right reasons.