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April 23, 2010

hot springs & mountains

Melina and me went traveling around and visiting some of the most beautiful region of the kootenay’s. Here is a little sum up of what to do in the kootenay to enjoy yourself!

We left our home in Riondel in mid afternoon to take the 2pm ferry. We drove to Kaslo (charming town) and decided to cut trough the mountain to get to New Denver. The road trough the mountain was really beautiful and few miles before getting to New Denver we saw a sign for an Historical village called Sandon. We decided to go visit that place to start our tourist vacation 😉

Rolling down the dirt road, I have to admit that there was a strange feeling ~ some sort of theatrical deja-vu where young people go visit a Ghost Village and get abducted by the entities residing in the village! I was wondering why I didn’t bring my tanto (short Japanese sword) with me ~ a man should never leave home without his blade… and other random stuff like that went trough my head. I have to admit that when we go there ~ it wasn’t that much reassuring.

It was a ghost town from a early village that seems really prolific from the gold rush. One of the first building was a brothel and there were 10 or 20 tramway lined up in the center of the village. You could feel the intensity of a village born from a gold rush – now dead and empty. There seems to be people still living in the village which added to the spookiness of the place.

Coming back from the village we went trough New Denver and ended up getting to Nakusp. So we got to our first hot spring. From the outside Nakusp hot spring is nothing impressive. I wasn’t to sure about visiting a commercial hot spring but I was positively surprise by the quality of the water and the nice view. We were also quite lucky to travel in the mid season (skiing season just finished few days ago) so the pool were empty. Going back to Nakusp ~ staying in a hotel on the lake enjoyable and simple.

Next day we wanted to visit Halcyon hot-spring, but on our way we realized that St-Leon hot spring was just up the road. We drove there, in a dirt road – we had to stop before getting to far because of too much snow. Walking for 20 minutes on the road then in the forest. At first glance the place is not too impressive – a little refuge built in a blue tarp remove a bit of the charm, but once we got in the water it felt like heaven. Hot spring bathing in the wood is one of the best experience ever. The St-Leon hot spring pool as been built in concrete (nothing professional I assure you) and circled with rock, there are 2 other pools on the side of the mountain that are more naturally built. The top one which is also the warmest one, is create in the cleavage of the rock, so you sit directly on a slanted boulder. It feels really good and again we had the place just for the 2 of us. We left when more people showed up ~ we also inquired about half way which was the next hot-spring on the map – but the road condition wasn’t good enough to get there, so we continued to Halcyon.

The Halcyon resort is a small size resort. We weren’t sure to stay there at first so we ate at their restaurant for lunch… and that was the deal breaker. The food there is really good and the water that they kept on serving was really nice. The hot-spring is known for it’s healing properties and is one of the only hot-spring that you can drink the water directly. We rented one of their luxurious little cabin spent the night there – enjoying the hot pools, in the end the food was the best attribute of the resort.

Leaving Halcyon, we went to visit Coyote hotspring which is located about 100 meters away from Halcyon. We didn’t realize it was that near until we got back to Halcyon trough a gravel road that was crossing Coyote. We couldn’t find where to go register or where the pool where – and couldn’t but feel a bit sorry for this nice holistic healing hot spring center that seemed to not get the attention it deserved.

So we continued out trip ~ Heading toward Revelstoke! The view was splendid on the road – and the ferry landing was so gorgeous! It felt like a hidden treasure all that beauty. Getting near Revelstoke we saw really nice canyon and couldn’t help but going for a small hike. To our surprise we saw a trail marking and then some rope tied to the cliff. Quite excited about that adventure we went down there to realize that it was a rock climbing heaven! It was so beautiful with the cliff right on the river – and some installation already install for rock climbing. It was really nice to see how clean the place was even if there seems to have a lot of rock climbing activity there.

Revelstoke was quite an highlight of the trip. The ski season just finished the town was really quiet and serene. From hostel to cafe and sushi restaurant – we stayed there for 2 days enjoying the place (and the water slides and rock climbing wall in the public swimming pool!!). After an inspiring yoga class at Tap Root yoga studio we continued our trip ~ not too sure what was next.

Our first stop was a < a href="" > Northen light Wolf center ~ it was really interesting and I will talk more about it in a next blog post! But it really worth the while to stop by and say hi to these great people. It was really touching and a really good reminder about caring for the ecosystem that we live in.

Then we went toward golden – wanting to visit Radium and Fairmount hot spring but we ended up in White Swam hot-spring after a whole day of driving by. I guess we were a bit out of luck – but there was nothing notable in golden and other village. We also got turned off by Radium hot spring when we read it was pumped, chlorinated, heated, radio active water ~ that was too far from natural hot spring for us. Then Fairmount – there was supposed to be some free outside natural hot-spring – but it was dried out for some reason. And the whole Fairmount resort development seems also a bit too much for us. While traveling we came across a heard of Ram and stopping to take picture of them a man told us about the beauty of the Withe Swam hot spring.

So that is how we got to the last hot spring ~ around 7 at night, the sun was setting – the road condition was pretty good for a dirt road – but once we got there – Ho my God ! It was so great. Even if there were a lot of people in the pools (well 10 of us is what I consider a lot 😉 it was so sweet. There was also a small river that flows by which add to the charm of the place! Sleeping in the van re ran back to the hot-spring first thing in the morning to warm up from the cool night.

We then drove back home, passing by Kimberly, a nice Mountain village – stop there for a morning burrito. To finally get back home to our beautiful cabin on the lake. That was a really nice trip ~ and I was really glad to stay local and just see what is happening around. The region around here is really magical and healing !