Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Oh, CANADA! --- Radium Hot Springs, British Columbia

Reflections in Olive Lake at Kootenay National Park, British Columbia

Roger here...  We are in the Canadian Rockies --- first time event for our motor home, and Dianne.  The border crossing could not have been smoother, especially considering some of the stories we had heard.  I spent a half-day getting all the documents in order that I had read (and friends told me) that we might have to present.  We got up early because we had heard that the back-up at our Port of Entry could be an hour or more on Sundays in July.  As you can see, there were only five cars in front of us --- five-minute wait at 9:00 a.m.  Here is a synopsis of the exchange...

Me,  "Good Morning" as I handed the agent our passports and drivers licenses.

Friendly Agent, "Where are you from?"

Me, "Texas."

Agent, "Why are you here?"

Me, "To see the Canadian Rockies."

Agent, "Do you have guns?"

Me, "No."

Agent,  "Do you have weapons?"

Me, "Only bear spray."  Dianne showed him the can.

Agent, "That is fine. Do you have alcohol or tobacco?"

Me, "No tobacco, a six-pack of beer, and a 3 liter box of wine."

Agent,  "How long do you plan to stay?"

Me, "27 days."

Smiling Agent, "Have it all planned out, eh?"

Smiling Me,  "Yes."

Agent, "Enjoy your time in Canada."

 Yay!  Welcome to Canada.

Due to the fact that we passed through the border so quickly, we arrived quite early (before noon) at our campground in Radium Hot Springs.  As we pulled into town, we received a second greeting at the town limits.  There must have been a dozen of these bighorn sheep right along the roadside.

Ignore the white smudge from our camera -- hate when that happens!

We are currently in the middle of a seven-night stay in Radium Hot Springs, which is located on the edge of Kootenay National Park in eastern British Columbia. 

We got a glimpse of our RV Park in the canyon below before we entered the park.   Looked nice.

Canyon RV Resort at Sinclair Creek

When I went into the office of the (no vacancy) Canyon RV Resort on Sinclair Creek, I apologized for the early arrival.  I expected to be sent to an area to wait for an hour or so.  However,  I was for the third time welcomed to Canada and told not to worry, because our site had already been vacated so that we could immediately hook up.  We are both liking our first few hours in Canada.

We love our full-hook-up campsite!  It backs up to a hill where mountain sheep graze, we are told.  It is extremely spacious, well shaded, and quiet.  We will need to move to another site here after five nights --- had to do this even though we booked at the beginning of March --- but we do not mind.  Our next site backs up to the creek.  BTW.  We are able to post this due to the fact that the wifi actually works --- two parks in a row!

After setting up, we made a quick trip to the grocery to replenish all the fruits, vegetables, and meat that we ate prior to the border crossing to avoid problems.  We also stopped by the adjacent visitor center to scope out the town and the national park.  While there, we also bought a season pass for all Canadian National Parks.

Sinclair Creek
HIKE TO SINCLAIR FALLS, otherwise known as drama in the park....

On our first full day, we decided to do a short one-kilometer hike to a nearby waterfall that I was told about when we checked in.  We did not need to get in the car, as the trail was accessible from our park.  

  The four of us (dogs included) walked across a narrow bridge over Sinclair Creek and found ourselves in Kootenay National Park.  We followed the stream for a while, then the trail split.  The directional sign was confusing.  The arrows both pointed straight, but we could see a bridge below us to the left.  Hmmm?  A difference of opinion ensued.  Being a hopeless rule follower, I insisted that we go straight and not angle left down below.  Connect the bottom of the S's to the top of the next S's, and see if this means anything to you.
    (ABOVE)    national park roadway ________

                                 S                                 _______ trail___________(FAR BELOW)


If you figured the scenario out, you know that despite Dianne's protestations we followed steep uphill switchbacks to a national park roadway far above the trail.  We had made a wrong turn due to my wrong decision.  Unpleasantness occurred.  Bandido and I walked along a sidewalk to see the waterfalls from above. Tequila and Dianne walked back down.  (Dianne here:   Tequila and I quickly found the elusive waterfall by going the way I had wanted to go in the first place).

I assumed that I would not see Dianne and Tequila again until we met up back at the campsite.  (I had told him:  "If we trudge all the way up that hill only to find a road, I'm going home!" -- D.)

 However, when I retraced my steps to the bridge not followed, I found Tequila and Dianne by the elusive waterfall. Without saying a word, all seemed to be forgiven.  Funny how that happens when two people have been together as long as we have.  (44 years and counting....)

We waited for an interminable time to get a picture of the waterfall, while two doting parents took dozens of glamour shots of their daughter on a rock in various posed poses.  Other hikers gave up getting a picture.  They knew we were all waiting.  (Dianne again:  They must have been tourists from out of the country -- Canadians would not have been so rude.   Even the road signs here are polite.  For example, instead of "No Air Brakes!" the signs here say "Kindly Refrain From Using Speed Controlling Brakes in Urban Areas."  

Our patience was rewarded with nice pictures to commemorate a little bit of frustration.

BTW.  The day got much better.

Yes, it did....

After lunch, we drove into Kootenay National Park.  Quite an entryway!

Sinclair Canyon

... We took a short drive to  Olive Lake --- one of our favorite new places.  A natural spring next to and below the surface of the water created this crystal-clear lake, accessible by boardwalk.  You can clearly see the logs of fallen trees below the surface of the bubbling spring below the lake.

Water bubbling up from below replenishes the lake

The lake itself is truly a shade of olive-green:  

Honestly, the color of the lake seemed to be outdone by the reflections of the scenery in some of the clearest water we have ever seen.

Be sure to notice the clearly visible logs at the bottom of the lake beneath the "clouds" and
"pine tree covered mountain."

Dianne was in her element as she photographed the colorful fungus and moss along the trail...

... and red berries that are prevalent throughout the park, and...
... the yellow goo emerging from a dead log.  I say fungus.  Dianne says yellow goo.  We'll go with yellow goo to be safe.  :-)


We drove a little further after our walk along Olive Lake to a view of the Kootenay River Valley.  The photo below just gives a glimpse of the panoramas that surrounded us.


After our first foray into the national park, we returned to our campsite to drop off the dogs and find our swimsuits.  The hot springs were nearby and there was plenty of time left in the day.

The Radium Hot Springs in the national park were the initial source of interest in this area.  The mineral-rich 102 degree (fahrenheit) waters were soothing.  Over the years, the original spring has been transformed from rocky waters into....
... crystal blue waters, surrounded by a rocky cliffside.

I was slathered  with sunscreen, but since I cannot spend a great deal of time in direct sunlight, we reluctantly left after about an hour.  We could have sat under an umbrella for a while, or dip into the "cold pool", but it was time to enjoy happy hour and fire up the grill back at our RV site.

Check back soon -- there's more to come from Radium Hot Springs and Kootenay National Park.

One very nice thing we like about Canadian National Parks (as opposed to U.S.) is that they allow dogs on the hiking trails up here.  Bandido and Tequila love hopping into the car and taking off for the day's adventures with us.

The pet pictures of the day were taken along the boardwalk trail at Olive Lake:  




Nancy and Bill said...

Have gotten behind on blog following and I can't wait to catch up on your travels. This post is wonderful and I really want to take notes on your Glacier NP and Canada Travels. These areas are really on our TODOS list:o)) Roger, I would think that after 44+ years you would realize that "Diane is ALWAYS right;o))" Keep having fun!!!

Steve said...

Hello from the hot "muggy' tropics of southern Indiana. Great photos as usual and a great writeup about your first Canadian stop.