Carolina: Cruising Past 70: Our Lifestyle Adventures: Leaving No Stone Unturned in the Canadian Rockies, Part 1

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Our Lifestyle Adventures: Leaving No Stone Unturned in the Canadian Rockies, Part 1

into the Rockies
Baby-sitting Kai and Jax, my fifth and sixth grandkids, in Calgary, gave Bill and me the opportunity to leave no stone unturned in exploring the Canadian Rockies. In three weekends, we explored three of the four adjacent national parks that have been designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites. We had already visited Jasper National Park in 2009.  All four are only between 1 ½-3 ½ hours away from where my daughter Claudine lives. Part 1 is about Kootenay National Park.

On the Park Road
Continental Divide
points of interest
As soon as we entered Kootenay NP, we were welcomed by the age-old Continental Divide sign. I was thrilled it was all in yellow but unhappy the letters didn’t register well on our camera. It said: “This is the continental spine of western North America. At this location, it separates two watersheds, two provinces, and two national parks.” Immediately after this landmark, we stopped at Marble Canyon, but it started to rain so we did not continue what would have been a great mile and a half walk. Neither did we stop at Paint Pots because it was still raining and we had seen lots in Yellowstone.

At Numa Falls, we found out the bridge had collapsed, and the area was closed. Bill and I decided to go over the fence and go as far as where the waters broke into a fall. Well, I tried but it was Bill who completed the feat, but I was so afraid he would fall that I kept on asking him to come back. The result is that we do not have good photos. But we caught a pensive raven watching everything we did! Then before we left, I spotted a red car that happily lent color to the otherwise drab scene of waters rushing down to fall against the gray and black mountains that had not burst into spring.

Sinclair Canyon
Neither did we stop at the Kootenay Valley Viewpoint because the rain had not stopped. We thought we could just see it on the way back. Soon after, we saw the sign for Radium Hot Springs. We did not stop because we intended to spend a couple of hours there the following day from Radium Village. Right after the hot springs, a breathtaking scene suddenly appeared. It was the Sinclair Canyon! It was such a sight and, of course, we stopped for a photo!

Columbia Valley

bighorn sheep roaming around Radium Village

And only a few minutes after, we reached the Best Western Plus Inn in the Radium village where we stayed for the weekend. We had a quick soak in the spa tub, and indoor pool then proceeded to the Visitor Information Center to confirm how best to spend our day and a half. Before crossing the street for dinner at the pub across the road, lo and behold, some of the bighorn sheep that have made the town home were on the Center grounds waiting to be photographed by two excited visitors! 

Scenes in and around Invermere on Windermere Lake in the Columbia Valley
The Columbia Valley is in the western foothills of the Canadian Rockies. It is the region in the Rocky Mountains Trench near the headwaters of the Columbia River between the towns of Golden and the Canal Flats. The central hub of the valley is the town of Invermere which is on the beautiful Windermere Lake. The road to Invermere gave us a lot of interesting shots of mountain goats, red-lined churches, and a field of dandelions. We walked through downtown and had lunch there. 

Radium Hot Springs
There are two towns with hot springs in the Valley, Fairmont Hot Springs and Radium Hot Springs, which was nearer our hotel. It was named after the radioactive element when an analysis of the water showed that it contained small traces of radon, a decay product of radium. The radiation dosage from bathing in the pools is inconsequential for a half-hour bathing. The air concentration of radon is higher than the level at which mitigation is necessary at residences but is also insignificant for a half-hour bathing. Radium was formerly thought to have curative powers, but that has since been disproven. So we bathed for just half an hour in the hot pool, skipped the cold one, and just tried the heat in the Plunge Pool, which is near the source. It was not as hot as we expected.

The day ended with a German dinner at the famous restaurant in Radium, Old Salzburg. Across the road was a weird looking house featured on TV. It is the Woodcarver's Home. What a town!

Next part will be about Yoho National Park and the town of Golden in the Valley.
Woodcarver's Home