Thursday morning we got up, and aimed almost immediately for Ainsworth Hot Springs. These are the first commercial ones of our little hot springs tour, but still well worth it. If you’ve never stopped in here, it’s worth checking out at least once. There’s a little cave where the springs come out of the mountain, and you can walk through the hot, waist-deep water. There’s also a little cold-plunge pool, which I was even brave enough to use this time around! Twice! My dad used to do it, and tried to convince us, but one toe in the water was enough to send us shrieking back to the main pool.
After Ainsworth, we went back to Nelson, because we were not yet ready to say goodbye to it (as per usual). We grabbed lunch at Kootenay Bakery, which was all vegetarian – and super super yummy. On our way out of Nelson, we got a little turned around and ended up on a dead-end one-way road hiiiigh up the hill… Unfortunately, as Brian was attempting a 57-point-turn to get us out of there, he bumped a concrete block retaining wall. It was shocking, and a little embarassing, but far from the worst thing that could have happened. One corner of our back bumper is now a little scuffed, and has unattached itself from the van – nothing unfixable. For now, it’s bungee cords holding it on. But in my opinion, what’s a Westy without bungee cords holding on the bumper?
We crossed on the Kootenay Lake Ferry, and just as we were docking, some very dark clouds dropped some big fat drips on us. And as we hit the road again, it turned into hail. We rescued our lawn chairs from the roof (we’re taught this lesson over and over), and carried on down the road. The weather made us wonder if we should have stayed on the other side of the lake… Perhaps indefinitely… But it didn’t last long. The rain and hail just cooled everything off, and then lifted as suddenly as it had appeared. The weather went back to hot and dry.
We camped at Goat River Canyon on Thursday night, which we found in Camp Free BC. It’s a beautiful spot just up the hill from a roaring river. The sound is amazingly soothing. We made gnocci for dinner with pesto, tomatoes, and mushrooms. Followed of course by smores. Just as the daylight was draining from the sky, this dark little cloud started spitting out lightning. We noticed it was growing and moving pretty quickly, headed straight for us. As the lightning and thunder expanded around us, we gathered up everything we didn’t want getting too wet, and piled it into the van. And took photos and photos of the developing storm. Our campfire was a good one, and it survived the downpour. We sat by the fire in between cloud bursts. When the storms had finally all moved along up the valley, the sky opened up to the most brilliant stars.
Video: Goat River – Lightning