Some buds and I went to Tofino BC, which is – dare I say – the surf capital of Canada!
We hiked, we surfed, we drank beers, but we mostly surfed, and I captured some footage from the sky of the beauty that is Vancouver Island.
Some buds and I went to Tofino BC, which is – dare I say – the surf capital of Canada!
We hiked, we surfed, we drank beers, but we mostly surfed, and I captured some footage from the sky of the beauty that is Vancouver Island.
We arrived at the Berg Lake Trail parking lot and joined the group of eager hikers gathered around the information desk. After a quick safety briefing, we watched a quick video, and then went outside to the big deck behind the building. There, standing at 3,954m (12,972ft), scraping the sky, was Mt. Robson. There was not a cloud in sight — a rarity for the area — and Robson looked as mighty as ever with a bluebird sky surrounding it. We jumped back in the truck and drove down the road to the trailhead.
From the trailhead to the first campsite, and our first snack stop, at Kinney lake, is 7km. The trail is wide and well traveled by both hikers and mountain bikers. Michael had the idea to cheat a bit. We could mountain bike the first 7km, save ourselves some time, then lock the bikes at Kinney and continue on foot! I wouldn’t necessarily call it cheating — I heaved my 50 pound backpack up and onto my back, adjusted my helmet as best I could so the top of my pack wouldn’t keep knocking it over my eyes, and took my seat on a mountain bike for the very first time. It was hard; hard to keep balance with a heavy pack, hard to bike up hill with the weight, hard to go downhill without feeling like I’d fly over the handlebars. But of all the pain I was feeling in my back, my lungs, my legs, my wrists, it was my butt that hurt the most. We finally arrived at Kinney and locked our bikes next to the others on the bike rack, and my butt and I were relieved. (Read about the time we took bicycles around Tuscany!)
We stopped next to the lake for a quick snack, and then continued the hike up to our next snack stop, Whitehorn campground. The climb up was tough. There were stretches that were just straight uphill for what seemed like an hour! My layers came off and I wore just a t-shirt and hiking pants. We hiked through deciduous forest and the fall colours were just spectacular. The blue sky, the orange leaves, the brown of the trail, it really was autumn at it’s best. At Whitehorn, we sat down by the river, pumped some fresh water into our bottles with the filter, and chowed down on some nuts and berries.
Whitehorn is where a lot of people decide to spend their first night. Those people are sensible. We are not sensible people. Today we are hiking all the way to Berg Lake. We continued through forest and came to the bottom of a hill. Michael said, “this is where the real climb begins.” WHAT?! We had already biked and climbed 11km and 300m, and now the climb begins? Yes, because Berg Lake is another 11km and 700m up. See? Not so sensible.
I don’t have to go into detail. The climb was hard, I was sweaty, the end. We stopped by Emperor Falls on our way up. The falls were not as full as they are in the spring, with all the run off, but from where we sat, with the falls booming in front of us, and Robson standing high above, it was a pretty epic snack spot. (Read about another epic climb we did to the tallest mountain in Slovenia!)
We arrived at our campground, Marmot, where we would stay for the evening. We went down to Berg Lake and pumped some more water into our bottles. There, across the water, was the giant, and utterly bewildering, Berg Glacier. We were pumping glacial water into our bottles. It doesn’t get much fresher than that! The glacier rumbled and groaned. Tremendous cracks, like thunder, echoed across the lake and through the valley. I stood on the shore of the lake, unable to move my legs, and felt my chest vibrate with the sound. Whoa.
We set up our perfect little tent, inflated our Thermarests and air pillows (I know, boujee), and began making dinner. Tonight we enjoyed Indian food! Lentil curry over rice. Nothing beats a hot meal after 22km of hiking.
I slept well, considering the colossal cracking of the glacier continued through the night. This morning, we would cook some breakfast couscous. I prepared the mix at home by combining couscous, with cinnamon and sugar, and some dried fruit and nuts. I felt pretty fancy! But, like an idiot, I forgot to write down the ratio of couscous to water, so this morning we had to guess. After our breakfast of sweet couscous soup, we enjoyed tea and coffee down by the water. The bluebird, cloudless sky from yesterday, was now covered by a thick layer of clouds. The top of Robson hid behind them, and the glacier disappeared into the cover. After our lovely, lazy morning, we continued onto our next camp spot, at Adolphus Lake only 7km away.
We walked through forest, across gravel flats, through a swampy field, and yelled “HEY BEAR” the whole way. I love a good wildlife sighting, but I just wasn’t keen to cross paths with a bear today. We arrived at the campsite and set up our home. The whole reason we came to Adolphus lake, is so we could cross the provincial border back into Alberta, where, under the Jasper Parks rule, we could build a campfire. We went on a mini adventure around the lake, and on the way back to the camp, collected a bunch of firewood.
This evening, we had the place to ourselves. We built a big, beautiful fire and set up a couple of logs around it so we had a table and two chairs. We played dice! I kicked Michael’s ass. My achilles tendons were starting to fatigue after our long day yesterday. I took off my boots, held my feet to the fire, and massaged my calves a bit. The sun went down and we climbed into bed. Once our headlamps were off, it was pitch black. There was not a sound around us. Now this is private.
When, I woke up this morning, and looked up to see the fly of the tent pushing on the inside walls. I put my hand up to push it off, and a HUGE layer of snow slid off the roof of our tent. I zipped open the door and stuck my head outside. Greeting me this morning was a thick, fluffy blanket of snow, coating the ground, hanging from the trees, covering our tent. It was still snowing. The magical flakes floating down were big and fluffy, and landed on the ground without a sound.
Our breakfast couscous was much less soupy this morning. We packed up some snacks in our little daypacks, hauled our food up into the bear hang, put our big backpacks in the tent, and left for an adventure! My achilles tendons were so tight as we started walking. I popped an Advil — extra strength — and hoped it would numb the pain.
We hiked back to the BC side of the valley, and took a left towards Snowbird pass. The climb was difficult and my achilles were giving me such a difficult time. Then I had the thought, “they are ‘achilling’ me,” and I laughed. The clouds continued to move, and before we knew it, the valley was socked in. Our day trip to Snowbird ended with lunch just below the cloud line. We still had an epic view from our snack spot, looking out over the Snowbird glacier and down the whole valley from where we came. On the hike back down we saw mountain goats! They sat, high up on a sheer rock face, just hanging out, escaping the wind. Now that’s the kind of wildlife sighting I like — from afar!
We continued our walk back to camp. On the way was a huge, dead tree, laying next to the path, with so many perfectly dry branches for a fire, so we began collecting some. I was able to balance a bunch of wood on my daypack, and Michael took a few armfuls. Here, I thought we were only a few hundred metres from camp. Turned out, we were over a kilometre away. I trudged through the mud and snow with an enormous bundle of wood, laughing at our premature firewood collecting.
We arrived back at our tent and met Andrea and Phillip, two folks from Edmonton who are on the last night of their eight day trek along the North Boundary Trail. They confessed we were the second couple they had seen on their entire journey, but it wasn’t hard to know; they couldn’t stop talking, telling us stories of what they had seen, the rivers they crossed, the meals they ate, the wildlife they ran into, the sunsets and sunrises they enjoyed. I was happy to be the first to hear it all!
Both Andrea and Philip, and Michael and I were enjoying our last night in the backcountry. My favourite thing about the last night of a big hiking trip is eating ALL THE FOOD you have left. We had such a feast — noodles, Indian food, miso soup, chocolate — and enjoyed the gigantic fire we built with all that wood. The snow began to fall, the wind picked up, and when the sun went down, we retired to our tents.
We were up early this morning. Not as early as Andrea and Phillip, but early for us. I climbed out of the tent, and went to the bear hang to retrieve our food, then, I set up the stove and began cooking while Michael packed up our camp. Today the breakfast couscous was perfect. TOTALLY perfect! We enjoyed our breakfast and warm drinks under the skirt of a huge fir tree, staying out of the snow for as long as we could before hiking through it.
The path was covered in snow, thankfully, we could follow Andrea and Phillip’s footsteps to stay on the trail. My achilles are absolute hell today. I popped another few pills and tried my best to hike through the pain. We were only a few metres from the border of Alberta and BC, and across the path were fresh bear tracks. The tracks were on top of Andrea and Phillip’s, and oh, so perfectly clear. For me, this is the ultimate bear sighting.
We walked all the way to Berg Lake, where we stopped for a quick snack, and then continued on all the way to Whitehorn. Here, we stopped, took out the stove, and cooked up our last pack of noodles for lunch. A couple sat nearby and we chatted with them. They had also just come from a multi-day camping trip to Berg Lake. They looked to be in their 60s! I hope to continue to be as active as I age.
Finally, we arrived at Kinney Lake, and never did I ever think I’d be so happy to see that damn mountain bike again. The ride down was much easier than the ride up; my pack was lighter and much smaller, and I had the greatest motivator of all — desperation to get off this dang mountain! We flew down the hill, passing other hikers as we went. And then, lo and behold, passed Andrea and Phillip! Ok, now I understand why the bikes feel like cheating.
When we arrived at the truck, my face was speckled with mud, my achilles tendons were tight as can be, my shoulders were raw, my lungs exhausted, and the biggest, goofiest smile plastered across my face.
In May 2012 I began a list of all the things I want to do and the places I want to see. Over the years I have been adding items to this list. Some people might call it a bucket list. I don’t like to call it that because bucket lists seem to be something people write when they have only a little bit of time left: they are sick, they are dying, they are worried about a zombie apocalypse, or an asteroid hitting Earth, etc. Mine is a to do list.
When my friend Chloe found out one of the items on my to do list was to go ice fishing, she called up a gaggle of fishing friends, and we headed out to a big ol’ frozen lake near Edmonton. We woke up at some godforsaken morning hour, and our convoy drove out of the city before the sun even came up. We arrived at the trout pond, and found a spot to park the cars near the water. Unfortunately, for Kurt and Ryan, the driveway to the parking lot was invisible in the snow and they missed it entirely, driving right into the ditch. All the boys got out of their cars, hitched the car to one of the trucks, and helped push it back onto the road.
We drove one of the trucks out onto the ice. I sat on the tailgate with Chloe and James. The ice auger was revved up, and the boys began drilling holes! I was handed a rod with a lure and a worm that was still wriggling even after being ripped in half and shoved onto a hook, and was told to drop it down the hole. I did and just like that, I was ice fishing! Ryan asked what was in my pocket. I pulled out the flask of Fireball I brought in the event I got cold sitting outside all day. We exchanged a high five, and each took a swig. It was 8:30 am.
I heard a commotion nearby and James, who was also ice fishing for the first time today, reeled in the first fish of the day! He was a happy man as he pulled that fish out of the water. The seal was broken, and all of a sudden fish were being pulled up steadily. Six beautiful rainbow trout were fooled this morning by our lures and wriggling worms. I caught none of them. All hope was not lost though, for when the biting slowed, we packed up our gear and, after pulling Kurt’s car out of the ditch for the second time, headed to the next lake.
The clouds disappeared when we arrived. The auger was out again, drilling holes through the ice to the water. I lowered my wriggling worm and lure into a hole, and set up my chair to face the sun. Then I fell asleep. I was so cozy all wrapped up in layers, the sun warmed my face, the Fireball buzz was at a nice sustained level, and not one fish nibbled my lure. I woke up when Ryan exclaimed: He caught something! He pulled up a fish from the depths. It wriggled and writhed, and even though he ended up throwing it back (it was too small to take home) we all cheered and high-fived. It was an exciting moment!
To be honest, I think ice fishing is kinda boring if you aren’t catching anything. That being said, drinking cinnamon whiskey in the sun on a bluebird day, with an amazing gang of buds, is an absolutely beautiful thing. I had the most splendid day out there on the ice, and what’s more, I was able to cross something off my to do list!
There I was, driving along highway 93, on my way to Abraham Lake, and out of the corner of my eye, I see a lynx! It was going for a casual walk along the side of the road. It was far too slippery, and there was a very big truck with a very big trailer following very close behind me, so I did not stop. Instead, I took a selfie so I can always remember how excited I was to see my first lynx.
I turned from highway 93 onto highway 11. I was still beaming from the lynx. As I drove, I looked out at the surrounding land— it is so beautiful here. Then, lo and behold, what catches my eye? Two lynx. I stopped and reversed back to where the two cats were by the side of the road. Holy moly! I rolled the window down, turned my music off, and just sat and watched them. They were playing. Their paws were so big, they were so furry, and I could have died. I went from seeing zero lynx in my life to seeing three lynx!
I arrived to Abraham Lake with a lynx-inspired smile on my face. Almost as soon as we checked in to the lodge, we wrapped ourselves up in our best frozen lake attire, and wandered down the hill towards the lake. The ice is so cool. Huge, broken slabs of glacier blue ice stretched along the shore. As we slipped and slid down the hill, we both regretted not wearing our traction aids. We reached the ice and slowly, ever so carefully, took a few steps out onto it. I was nervous at first, because I have seen enough internet videos of people falling through ice to know it’s funny to see, and not funny to be the one falling, but as we continued to walk, my confidence level began to rise.
Abraham Lake is unlike any other lake I’ve visited, and that is because of it’s frozen bubbles. Decaying plants on the lake bed release methane gas, and as the lake begins to freeze, these methane bubbles get trapped under the surface of the ice. Looking down through the surface one can see how thick the ice actually is— maybe three feet thick in some places! We came across our first bunch of bubbles! How cool! Wow, nature, you look good! Then, we heard a huge boom. Not a crack, more like a thumping. Twice. Thump thump. I gasped. We froze on the spot. Again, thump thump. The ice was shifting under our feet. No cracks, no movement we could feel, just huge, almost glacial shifting. The thumping sounded like a heartbeat, and you can bet your bottom dollar if I was high in that moment, I probably would have started to cry and gone on a rant about how mother nature is “like, totally alive”.
We continued to wander and slip around, gasping at how cool the bubbles were. No matter how many bunches we saw, it just did not get old. As we walked and chatted, we relaxed a bit. Perhaps our confidence level was too high? Perhaps we stopped walking so tentatively? I took a step, and the ice cracked under my feet. The ice cracked under Michael’s feet too. We stopped, dead in our tracks, unable to move. Holding our breath, we began to slowly shuffle backwards. We reached a spot where we could see the ice was super thick again, let out our breath, and got the F back to shore.
This morning, I woke up when the sun shone in through the windows of our tiny little cabin. Waking up to the sun over the mountains? Life is good if you’re me. Last night we used a lot of wood while trying to not freeze to death, and we needed to replenish the stockpile. We stepped out into the day; “Hello world!” I sang. The sky was so bright, so blue, and so clear, yet somehow it was snowing. I scoured the sky, but could not find a cloud responsible for the magical flakes. The way the snow was falling made it look like it was dancing. It barely even looked like snow at all! The way the sun reflected off each flake made them look like pieces of glitter. What I’m trying to say is, it looked like magical glitter was dancing around me.
Michael went round back to the woodshed and chose the best pieces of wood to chop, then he brought out the axe and handed it to me. I was to chop wood while he fetched more water from the creek nearby. There I was, axe in hand, wood by feet, surrounded by magical glitter snow. I chopped! And I chopped! I chopped stumps into logs, and logs into kindling. I felt pretty damn good about myself.
Over the sound of my epic outdoorsiness, I heard Michael return with the water. He went back into the woodshed to get a few more logs and I heard him yell. I thought he must have found a dead animal or something, but he came around the corner holding a Krazy Karpet! That’s right, one of those thick sheets of plastic we would sit on as kids, and rip down snowy neighbourhood hills with nicknames like ‘Suicide Hill.’ I squealed with delight.
As it turns out, when I am indoors, I am your average, albeit overly-enthusiastic, 27 year old woman. When I am outside in snow, I become 8 – an 8 year old child. My voice goes up a few octaves, I squeal, and – I don’t laugh – I giggle. I hopped on the toboggan and slowly built a path down the hill in front of the cabin, squealing and giggling, the whole time. I climbed back up the hill, and went down again, this time a bit faster as my path that was forming nicely. The next time I went down, I flew! Michael took a turn on the Krazy Karpet too. He didn’t squeal nearly as much, but I could tell he was having fun. It was the most beautiful, perfect afternoon. Tobogganing in the back country with Michael? My day couldn’t have been better.
I have traveled around the world, and when people find out I am from Calgary, Canada they ask me two things: Where the F is that? and Do you ski or snowboard? In fact, dear reader, I do not ski or snowboard, but not for a lack of trying on my parents’ part. When I was a kid, they really encouraged me to love skiing, taking my sister and I out to the mountains on weekends. Then, when I realized I may look cooler on a snowboard, they enrolled me in lessons. My sister remembers those lessons ending with a quick trip down the hill on the medic’s snowmobile for me. Needless to say, this was one horse I was not tempted to get back on. I would live my entire teenage life feeling a bit left out when my friends went out to the mountains on ski trips, but I came up with all sorts of excuses— too expensive, I don’t want to slow my friends down, I have no gear, etc.
I was recently inspired to try snowboarding again. I was inspired to challenge myself to try something (somewhat) new, and something I thought I would be bad at. I signed up for the three evening beginner’s snowboard lessons at Canada Olympic Park.
On day one, I was full of the craziest concoction of fear and excitement! Fear that I would be the only adult in a beginner’s class, fear that I would fall and break my neck, fear that I would look uncool. Excited that I may actually like it, excited that I may be kind of good at it! I picked up my board and boots from the rental shop, and headed out to the hill. As I walked by the chairlift, I shuddered. Flashbacks of the panic I once felt loading and unloading from the chair haunted me. I found my way to the meeting point and found my instructor, Alexander. He introduced himself and the 14 year old girl sitting next to him. The others joined us, and I was pleased to find out I was not the oldest person in my group. We began the lessons with basics— how to hold the board, how to tighten the bindings, how to put the snowboard on the snow so it doesn’t slide down the hill. We hopped on the magic carpet (the more fun way to say ‘conveyor belt’), and head up the bunny hill. The first few runs were a success! I felt stable and confident. I didn’t fall once! And of course, as soon as I said that aloud to Gavin, one of the other beginners, I lost balance and fell, on the carpet, going uphill. The 8 year old skier behind me laughed her ass off.
Day two had breezy beginnings. We did a few warm up runs down the bunny hill, and Alexander took us through some basic heel edge stuff. I wobbled down the hill, nervous about the speed I picked up as I went. Meanwhile, the under-12 Sunshine Racing group FLEW past me. Our evening ended with the chairlift. I confessed to Gavin how nervous I was. He laughed, not entirely sure why I would be so scared. I boarded the chair with ease and I didn’t even fall while unloading! Success! The 14 year old girl in my class was boasting and bragging that she was at the hill all day, and she had been on the chairlift “like, so many times” already. I told her I couldn’t come to the hill because I worked all day. She said, “it sucks to be an adult.” When the lesson was over, she complained that she couldn’t stay because her mom was there to pick her up. I said, “Oh, too bad you can’t drive yourself. Sucks to be a kid. Plus, I’m going to eat chocolate cake for dinner because I’m an adult and I can do whatever I want.” In hindsight, I shouldn’t have let a 14 year old get under my skin so easily.
Day three felt amazing. It was the culmination of all the little tips and tricks Alexander had been giving us the last two nights. I only fell once getting off the chairlift, face first, and had to army crawl out of the way to safety. We worked on our edge swapping, and began fine tuning our skills. I was actually getting the hang of it, successfully snaking my way down the hill.
If you had told me a week ago that I would be successfully edge swapping, excited to get on a chairlift, and looking forward to the next time I go snowboarding, I would have laughed right in your face and called you a dirty liar. But look at me now! I challenged myself to try something new, something I thought I would be bad at, and I feel like a million bucks.
Today was a totally beautiful day. Madison and Sarah picked me up to whisk me away for a forest adventure. I was hungover, yes, but itching for a nature day. We made it to Tim Horton’s just in the nick of time before they stopped serving breakfast, for a hangover hash brown sandwich and a few cups of coffee. We hopped back in the car and were on the way to the forest. I was one happy camper.
We arrived and began our ‘quick’ walk to the waterfall. I say ‘quick’ because I am sure it was, but the heat, the hash brown sandwich, and the hangover, were not a solid combination for a walk in the woods. The shade from the trees was so welcoming. We walked to the end of the path and found a beautiful waterfall. Oh God, that rushing water made me thirsty AF. How I just wanted to be in that water. It was so clear, and a beautiful shade of green, and just so enticing! There was a deep, clear pool above the waterfall, and it looked perfect for a swim, but the water was flowing quickly, no scratch that, it was straight up rushing, so we decided we wouldn’t swim above it. Instead, we walked back down the path and found a secluded spot in the sun across the river.
We walked through the water, set up our towels in the sun, and put on our swimmers. Then, it was into the water, the glacial water, the ice cold, glacial water. Let’s call it ‘fresh’. It was so, damn fresh! We all shrieked and giggled as we waded in. Sarah and Madison were far braver than I, and just dove under the water right away. There I stood, ice water up to my belly button, nipples ready to cut glass, shivering, like a wimp, for ages. I couldn’t bring myself to do it! That is until Sarah handed me her GoPro and told me to dive… Anything for Instagram, AMIRITE?!
We spent the rest of the day eating, chatting, and sunning ourselves. It was glorious! We filled our floaty boat with air and while Sarah napped, Madison and I went for a quick float down the creek. We hopped in the floaty boat and just laughed the whole way around the bend. I was nervous I might pee because I was laughing so hard, but I didn’t! We clambered out of the boat and the sky had turned the exact opposite colour— from blue to black— and we could see lightning in the distance over one of the mountains. It was ominous to say the least. We packed up our stuff with such speed and crossed back over the river to the path.
We reached the other side of the water, and it began to rain!!! Now, I don’t always use three exclamation points, but when I do it’s when I am talking about extreme weather. It was POURING. Within seconds, my clothes were soaked right through to my skin. I used my deflated floaty boat over my head and backpack in an attempt to keep dry. It didn’t work. Not one bit. We hiked back out through the forest, sloshing through puddles and laughing at our luck. We may have been totally and absolutely drenched, but we were laughing. Back in the car, and back to the city. The best hangover day ever.
Saturday, November 28
Today, Joslyn and I head out into the mountains for an adventure. We started in Goat Pond which is my favourite place near Canmore. As we drove up the side of the mountain, Joslyn was so surprised by the cars driving the other way. Some of them were spotless. She commented on how clean they all were, and I joked that maybe there was a mountain car wash at the top of the mountain. How very Canadian… We parked and went for a quick walk around the pond. It was beautiful. The most beautiful, clear, blue-skied day. We couldn’t have asked for better weather.
We drove on along the road towards Spray Lakes. I haven’t ever driven past Goat Pond before, so I was excited to be exploring. Up the road, we saw a gathering of vehicles. “I bet there’s wildlife over there!” I exclaimed! Joslyn joked, “wouldn’t it be crazy if it was a moose?”
It was a god damn mother moose and her calf! As we drove up, we saw clearly that these two moose were licking the salt off the car parked on the side of the road. It was AMAZING! We pulled over to the other side of the road and were taking pictures frantically, giddy, giggling, and screaming with excitement. We wept. I was so happy to be seeing my first ever moose. What a time to be alive. The mother moose kept looking over at us, curious perhaps. She looked up, then went back to licking then looked up again, then went back to licking. Then she began walking towards our car. Oh. My. God. Is she going to jump on top of the car and into the sun roof and attack us? No, in fact, she was just craving that mineral and began licking our car! A moose car wash! There IS a car wash at the top of the mountain! We sat in the car, laughing our heads off, crying tears of joy. I saw a moose! Happy first moose, Beth. The moose and calf walked into the forest and disappeared. We smiled and we waved goodbye.
We arrived back at our cabin, physically and emotionally exhausted. After Joslyn had a nap, and I had a giant bubble bath— I know, I am royalty— we finished our night off in Banff at the Grizzly House for a fondue frenzy! We cooked our beautiful chunks of meat and wiped the garlic butter splatter off our wine glasses. Our dessert course came and we quickly finished the fruit and cookies for dipping. A few drips of chocolate remained on my plate and without the slightest hesitation, I lifted the plate up and cleaned it off with my tongue. I said to Joslyn, “do you think boys are trying to pick us up right now?” as I licked chocolate off my plate.
What a day we had in the mountains today!
Blue sky? Check.
A bubble bath fit for a queen? Check.
A fondue extravaganza? Check.
Red wine with my girlfriend? Check.
Methinks this was the perfect day.
Any Calgarian will tell you, one of the best parts about living in this city, is our backyard— the Rocky Mountains. Whether you are an extreme, outdoorsy, winter adventurer, or a sitting in the lodge by the fireplace, hot chocolate with Bailey’s drinker, we can all agree, there is something damn magical about those Rockies. One glorious weekend in December, three of my most fabulous friends and I drove out to spend some time in Radium, B.C., in and around those devilishly handsome mountains.
On Friday night, we had big plans to go to Radium Hot Springs. We were having a few drinks, ate a delicious dinner, and as you do with fantastic company, chatted around the table for a while. Tyler used his phone to look up the opening hours of the facility. It closed in 45 minutes! Ay Carumba!!! We scrambled to get all of our things ready, changed into our swimmers, and ran out the door. We arrived, ran to the door, and discovered it was locked. Turns out, the pools stop entrance thirty minutes before close. Damn. Defeated, we walked back to the car. In the parking lot, there was a big sign, one of those signs with the face cut out. After taking one ridiculous picture of my face through the sign— which turned me into a mountain cat saying, “I like underpasses”— we piled back in the car and head back home.
The next morning we ate bacon and eggs for breakfast. Perfect. We piled back in the car and head to Invermere. It was here, we would treat ourselves to a delicious Kicking Horse cup of coffee. We continued our drive past the lake, and to Lussier Hot Springs. We were unable to get into the paid pools in Radium last night, we would find ourselves a free pool today! Lussier Hot Springs is at the end of a treacherous cliff-side road, with a good ol’ “drop to your death” to one side. We arrived and parked, and walked down the steep path to the river. How cool! There are three natural pools, of varying heats, that are positioned right next to a rushing, mountain river. We were one of three groups there— plenty of room for everyone. We stripped down to our swimmers and slid slowly into the hottest pool. We spent three hours at Lussier Hot Springs that morning. We chatted with the local old naked guy, and a few other groups, but mostly just talked about how amazing the water felt.
Our fingers had sufficiently pruned and our skin reeked of sulphur. We drove back out to the highway. Garrett had the bright idea to stop near Radium at an old mine turned swimming hole. He called it “the cliffs,” which made me feel like I was in high school and was about to go somewhere my mother wouldn’t approve of.
We wandered down the forested path and found ourselves in front of a stunning watering hole. The snow hung on the branches surrounding, the air was crisp and silent, and the water reflected the scene like a mirror.
Here we stood, eating chips and drinking beer, marvelling at the beauty and wonder of nature. After a slippery ascent back to the car, we drove back to Radium. Another totally whimsical, relaxing, and perfect weekend in the mountains.