Reflections and images from my travels

Winter is Coming!

Saturday, September 30, 2019- I awoke, still unsure as to my plans.  The sky was quite grey and snowflakes were starting to come down, but, not really accumulating in the city. I decided I just had to go for it and started packing which took longer than expected.  Because I was going solo, I had the perfect shelter with a four season one-person tent that could certainly withstand the predicted snowfall and still keep me warm and dry.  I definitely had enough food with the purchased backpacking meals from Yamnuska and also had the right gear for the weather.  I tried to pack as lightly as I could, but, since I would be based out of my car one does get a little bit lazy and includes things one would never include if you were on a fully self-supporting trip.  I also packed my lightweight snowshoes as I thought they would come in handy.  I had no idea what activities I would undertake, this was going to be dependent on the weather once I got out there.

I finally left the city about noon, picked up an extra hot latte and drove off with relaxing music playing to get into “chill mode”. The roads were wet, not slippery, but there was definitely more snow as I got into the foothills.  I decided to have a nice lunch at Bow Valley Provincial Park which was pretty much deserted.  My stomach full, I drove back into Kananaskis country [my favourite place in the world] and decided to stay at the Mount Kidd RV Park as my home base.

I drove around before checking in. There were 3 or 4 other vehicles staying there total. I certainly had my choice of spots.  I found a nice spot on the edge of a small hiking trail in F loop and decided this is where I would stay.  I checked in at reception and the woman staff receptionist appeared eager to have some work and happily took my payment for two nights.  I then proceeded back to my site to set up my tent-my home away from home!

Having finished setting up my tent, I decided a nice little walk on the Mount Kidd trail immediately adjacent to my site was in order.  The weather was not really that bad and I did bring along my camera for some purpose. I really enjoy this relaxed pace as well as the focus on simple pleasures like walking in the woods which always seems to improve my photography.  It is something rare to have a singular purpose as well as have the freedom to just do it.  The trail was somewhat wet with many of the surrounding deciduous trees overburdened with snow hanging over the trail forcing me to plow my way through ensuring a snow shower!  There was no one else there further enhancing the experience.  It was a “tiny little walk” full of huge enjoyment.

After completing this walk, I continued walking along the perimeter trail on the outer boundary of the campground enjoying the solitude.  This RV Park during summer months would be absolutely packed and have a completely different sense of busyness even though the environment would be completely the same.  I much preferred my experience despite the inclement weather.

I returned to my campsite and came up with the system for food transportation and went back to the Camper’s Centre where I had access to an outdoor table with a covered roof to keep me out of the snow which was coming down heavier.  I brought along two separate single burner stoves allowing “two pot cooking”. Yamnuska provides individually packaged meal portions of dehydrated food as opposed to freeze dried food which I find is much superior in quality, taste and satisfaction.  You do pay extra for this, but, I find high quality food is essential for the overall enjoyment of these trips.  One stove was used for hot beverages and soup/appetizers, while the other, was used for the main meal.  Because the food was originally for a backpacking trip, the main entrée could be prepared in a single pot. The meals themselves were substantial and, in my opinion, gourmet compared to the usual freeze dried packet foods one generally brings.

Upon completing my meal washing up the dishes as well as myself, I retired to my camping site and climbed into my tent as the temperature started to drop and the snow began to fall even heavier.  I brought along a book of short stories I have been wanting to read for the last year-another luxury afforded by this trip type. I generally only bring an adjustable headlamp for reading but do not rely on any other artificial light sources.  Unlike regular life, once the sun goes down and it is dark it is time to sleep.  After one short story I was ready to fall into a deep slumber at the exceptionally late time of 8 PM.  Unheard of at home!  I fell asleep to the sound of snow gently falling on the roof of my tent.  Under these conditions, sleep always comes easily.  I wondered how I would keep myself entertained over the next several days.  Read on to find to out!

 

Friday, September 27, 2019-after completing some laundry, looking at the weather forecast for the upcoming weekend and email conversations with my travel mate Bob, we finally decided to cancel the Rockwall backpacking trip.  This was the second year in a row! How disappointing!  We did make preliminary plans to attempt it next year but definitely would have to schedule earlier to try and avoid the snow.

The weather forecast for this upcoming weekend looked pretty bleak.  The city of Calgary, surrounding foothills and mountain parks were to get a significant accumulation of snow between 20-70 cm depending on the location!  The Rockwall was a relatively high elevation backpacking trip over 5 days and simply would not have been that much fun.

This left me with what to do with the backpacking meals I had picked up the day prior and the remaining time I had off now that we were not going on the backpacking trip.  I could just stay at home, but, what was the fun in that!  I had some thinking to do today as I would be going solo and the weather forecast argued against camping even in the mountain park valley.

Would I stay, or would I go?  The decision would be made Saturday morning.

Home James!

We awoke earlier than we had been awakening these past three days. I did not sleep as well as previous nights but still got eight hours in!

After a quick breakfast we packed up and began the drive home. It was cloudy with intermittent rain showers but also sunny breaks.

We took the Galena Bay Ferry (the dangerous goods sailing😱) and were blessed with a lovely rainbow. Sweet!

We stopped for gas and loaded up with Starbucks coffees in Revelstoke before driving through the mountain passes.

There were a lot of construction delays between Revelstoke and Field BC which slowed us down a bit.

We kept hearing of a “snow event” this upcoming weekend in Alberta/BC which could impact my backpacking trip to the Rockwall. Sigh…..!

The drive went smoothly and before we knew it we were in Canmore to pick up my backcountry food order at Yamnuska. We had a nice early dinner at Woods Restaurant in Canmore and then got back to Calgary before 6 PM.

What a nice, relaxing trip! My next trip was in danger of being cancelled as the developing weather forecast was predicting up to 30-50 cm of snow at higher elevations. Fall in Alberta!! It’s not looking good.

Halcyon Day 3

We had a nice sleep but not as restorative as the two previous nights. It was going to be another relaxing “open” day at the resort.

I made a nice breakfast and hand crafted coffees as Anna caught up on Stranger Things Season 2 on Netflix! Yes, she is behind.

We then finally got dressed and went for our walk. We explored further north of the northern edge of the resort boundary. There is a connector road that leads through some private properties and self-contained rental cabins with “private” hot springs. This eventually led to a private road (Burnham) that has private cabins and again hot springs. We took a picture of the signs for future reference but did not go further.

We eventually got back to our cabin and I had the brilliant idea (not shared by Anna) to go swimming in the lake off the floating dock.

Down to the lakeside we went. I told Anna she had to get some pictures to prove I did swim in the lake. Off the dock I jumped with unbridled glee like a child. The water was actually quite nice. However, I had to do it six times while Anna got familiar with the continuous shooting mode of her old compact digital camera. So worth it.

After the plunge, we set on the lounge chairs and just soaked in the nice weather and almost fell asleep. There was little wind and the temperature was about 17 C.

It was a quick trip back to the cabin to chill and relax (had we been doing anything else?) before we changed and went up to the hot springs for a final dip before our departure tomorrow. Having done the night swim last night, we were planning just to have a low key birthday dinner (yes, mine) tonight with another G&T nightcap before going to bed early.

Dinner, as always, was excellent! We both had the special- beef short rib with polenta. After dinner we had a last look at the pools and walked back to the cabin for the best hand crafted G&T’s by Anna. A fitting end to a memorable trip!

Tuesday, September 24, 2019- another great sleep with a wake up time of about 9 AM. Heaven!

This was going to be a touring day. We had a great breakfast which Anna made. I made up some packed lunches for our trip. She made from scratch pancakes with fresh fruit and bacon. Yum!

We loaded up the ca and hit the road. It was actually sunny with blue skies. We had a quick drive into Nakusp and enjoyed a nice walk around town and visited a few shops. It was warm. We couldn’t help but stop in at Jennifer’s Chocolates for a sweet little purchase of a selection of her unique flavour combinations like curry/chocolate and whiskey/chocolate.

Onwards to New Denver where we stopped at the local campground for “lunch by the lake”.

Next we had a visit at the Nikkei Internment Centre which was well worth seeing. The grounds were peaceful (a Japanese themed garden) in stark contrast to the sad story of what the government of Canada did to these Canadians simply on the basis of their race.

The living conditions (shacks) were awful and redress did not occur until the 1980’s.

We then went to the Kohan Reflection Garden- a place of peace and solace. It was so beautiful there. We thoroughly enjoyed touring the gorgeous Japanese gardens.

It was time to travel back to our humble cabin, but, we stopped in at Summit Lake Provincial Park along the way. Anna found a toadlet and learned about the plight of said Western toads.

Once back at the cabin, it was time to go to dinner at the Kingfisher Restaurant. It was busier tonight. Another great meal was enjoyed. The portion sizes were perfect and so well prepared. A four star restaurant experience for sure!

After dinner we went back to our cabin to change into our swim suits so we could enjoy a hot springs soak from 9-10 PM- adult swim time, no kids allowed (we kept our swim suits on).

We felt totally relaxed afterwards and enjoyed a Jameson whiskey nightcap and drifted off to sleep.

Monday, September 23 2019- what a great sleep! Over 9 hours. Unheard of at home.

We had a very relaxing and lazy morning with no plans to go anywhere. Our only goal was to do a tour around the resort grounds and go for a dip in the hot springs later. I wish my home life plans were so simple.

The resort grounds are set in lovely woods with the Upper Arrow Lake in front and the Monashee Mountains across the lake west.

We found a lovely chapel on the grounds and spent some time taking photographs there. There were two gravesides beside a lovely brook. Peaceful.

Next, we carried on around the north part of the resort and found some lovely spots including moss covered slopes and a playground.

The flowers were beautiful here as well as the landscaping.

We then walked over to the south part of the resort where we found the “Nomads” cabin for CMH and the path down to the lakeside trail where we sat and enjoyed the view. This is also the launch point for the water sports area in summer. There was not much action presently!

A lovely staircase led us back to our cabin where we sat and relaxed from our “strenuous” walk.

We had arranged dinner earlier for the following three nights at 7 PM. Dinner was amazing yet again. Anna decided she would only have whatever was on special each night as they varied each night and they were always fantastic. The service was so quick and friendly.

I took a few pictures of the hot spring pools from the upper deck after dinner.

We retired back to our cabin for a hand crafted G&T nightcap made with Dingle gin acquired during our recent Ireland trip in June 2019 (a Dingle got my baby… we laughed uproariously over this quip) and listened to the patter of rain on our quaint little A-frame. Our eyes drifted closed. Another brilliant, relaxing day. We could feel the batteries recharging!

A short blog post. Again, work has been way too busy so it was time for another mini-break!

Anna and I had planned a short stay at a lovely hot springs resort I had passed when I was traveling in this area last year. It is called Halcyon Hot Springs and is about 1 hour south of Revelstoke BC including the ferry ride.

Sunday, September 22nd, I was patiently waiting for Anna to arrive. We were both tired for different reasons and were looking forward to the break.

When Anna arrived a bit later than we had agreed on, I could tell from her eyes that she was exhausted and had probably done a thousand things that morning trying to get ready for our trip. Even short trips require preparation! Good thing I was driving.

We packed up, picked up coffees for each of us and we were on our way. It was nice and sunny as we drove west and the fall colours were coming in. Perfect!

The drive through the Alberta mountains was uneventful. Soon, a lunch stop was needed, so I proposed stopping in at a lovely little restaurant in Field BC called the Truffle Pig. Unfortunately, as we tried to get into the village along the one road access we were blocked by a train at the crossing that did not look like it was going to move anytime soon. Foiled!!

We drove on to Golden BC and stopped at a great little 50’s themed diner that served fantastic food instead. What a pleasant surprise! The burgers were great. That’s what I love about road trips. These little unexpected surprises.

The traffic was sparse as soon as we turned south of Revelstoke heading towards the Shelter Bay Ferry. The weather had also become very cloudy with low lying cloud and rain so we passed on the opportunity to visit the Meadows in the Sky (aptly named) Provincial Park. Perhaps we would visit on the way back.

We chatted with Katherine, the attendant, at the Shelter Bay Ferry side waiting for our crossing which only occurred once each hour, on the hour, at this time of year.

Before we knew it, we were on the other side and our resort was a quick 10 minute drive. We checked in and unpacked our supplies in our quaint “home from home” for the next 4 days. It was lovely and peaceful here. Just what we needed. We loved our little A-frame!

We relaxed for awhile and then went for a wonderful soak in the hot springs (2 mineral spring pools of different temperatures 104 F and 99 F) and then had dinner at about 8 PM. The food at the Kingfisher Restaurant on site was fabulous. Sleep came easily that night. Our plans for the next 4 days……none!

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