By now, we’ve been home for approximately two months; our fun travel adventures are always tough to leave behind; but the continuing transition into married life is its own adventure.
Here is the completed map of our wedding trip travels:
View Wedding Voyage in a larger map
We arrived back in Calgary in the middle of the Calgary Stampede with Brian having asthma/allergy breathing issues (likely due to all the hay in town for Stampede) and trying to get back in the swing of the working world and not having a new hot spring soak every day. We have been able to take a few mini-trips by doing some caving out in Canmore (blog post here: http://www.twobsinablog.ca/2011/09/canmore-caving/), day trips to Banff, and enjoying the company of friends from out of town. On the September long weekend we were also able to get out to the mountains and do some hiking and visiting Brandi’s aunt & uncle in the Crowsnest Pass.
Now our long range plans are focusing our sights on the next big adventure by planning a Honeymoon 2.0 for next year — we’re currently thinking The Mediterranean in the spring.
Friday brought us another beautiful day and more hot springs! After the traditional pancakes with blueberries (and a bit of scrambled eggs on the side), we drove from Goat River to Cranbrook where we restocked some supplies (Tim Hortons coffee, bbq lighter, s’more fixin’s).
We drove up through Kimberly and Invermere, before winding our way up to Lussier hot springs.
The hot springs were PACKED: A couple families with small kids, a big group of rowdy drinking teenage boys, and a few quieter older couples. With the river run-off still so high, only one pool was accessible, and it was ‘warm’ at best. Everyone was crowding into the one available pool, but fortunately we were able to find a small nook, a bathtub-sized section, just meant for the two of us, where we huddled in and soaked up the minerals. My silver rings turned this weird reddish-brown colour (which hadn’t happened in any of the other springs we’ve visited recently). I intended to get some photos of the effect, but they buffed back up to silver before I remembered to do so.
Once we’d had enough of the splashing, shrieking kids, and the loud obnoxious drunk boys, we headed back up to the van, and drove further up White Swan forestry road to find another Camp Free BC camp site some 50 Km from the highway.
We found a really beautiful spot right next to the river. There were some older couples camping just down the way from us, and when we pulled in, one of them and all 3 of their dogs came over to welcome us and ask where we’d been, and where we were headed. We chit-chatted a bit, but when he heard we were just married, he left us alone — but not before cracking jokes about if the van’s a-rockin, he won’t come a-knockin. Haha.
We noticed it was getting cold, and thought it must be a chill off the water, so we started to bundle up. The wind picked up more and more — before long, it was incredibly windy! Cooking and keeping things from flying away was a huge challenge. We decided to make an early night of it and hid in the van, playing crib and drinking warmed red wine (a trick we learned from that Swiss couple we met in Golden a few months back).
Saturday morning we hit Radium Hot Springs, and then were on the road back home. We thought about also stopping at Banff Hot Springs, but by the time we were 1.5 hours from home, we decided we would rather just get back home to our cats, get some laundry on, start the transition back to real life.
By now, we’ve been home for almost a week — and the transition’s been a little rough. Our fun little adventures are always tough to leave behind. Plus, Brian is having some asthma/allergy issues (likely due to all the hay in town for Stampede). We’re back to work (though allowed to wear jeans all week, thanks to Stampede!), and we’re now focusing our sites on future adventures!
On the large scale, we are planning a Honeymoon 2.0 for next year — we’re currently thinking The Mediterranean in the spring. On a smaller scale, we’re only halfway through the summer and are sure to have many more Ziggy adventures in the next couple of months.
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
Wednesday morning, we had breakfast by a crashing roadside waterfall — scrambled eggs and garlic pan-fried potatoes. A few people, seeing the sign in our back window, stopped to congratulate us.
After breakfast and coffee, we headed on to Halfway hot springs, which we’d never previously been to. While wandering around trying to locate the path “down”, we said hello to a couple random hippies — and were surprised to realize we knew these hippies. It was Tarzie, and her husband and baby. I’ve known Tarzie for years through the Calgary Burner community! An awesome surprise to find them by accident. They were happy to show us the way, and give us a little tour around all the different pools. Halfway is quite different than St. Leon — and pretty amazing. There are multiple different pools in different places, spread along the shoreline of the river. There were about a dozen people here and there, and we chose a sweet little spot and hoped in — right next to the rushing river. We hung out here in a state of pure ecstatic bliss for a few hours, until we realized our faces were burning, and we had to carry on down the road. It was sad to leave, but we knew we have a lot of ground to cover, and more hot springs to hit!
We carried on down the road to New Denver for lunch (cheese, tomato & avocado sandwiches) and gelato. From there, it was on to Nelson. We went to an actual restaurant in Nelson — The Outer Clove. It’s a garlic-centric restaurant, which we love. Food was fantastic, service was friendly, and we were able to sit in the shade on the patio, watching the people go by.
It was a lovely relaxing evening in a town we love. We always fall in love with Nelson when we’re there. We had to take a look at the real estate listings, and there are some beautiful little homes well within our price range — there’s just that small factor of not knowing what we’d do for work in the area. We camped nearby, just over on the North Shore. Again built a little fire and made some smores and listened to the crackling. I even fell asleep a few times, just gazing into the flames.
Upon leaving Sparkling Hill (which was sad to leave — I’m sure we’ll be back for anniversaries down the road!), we headed back to Kathy’s & Dave’s to pick up our wedding gifts and leftover wedding booze. We also discovered around this point that Brian’s wallet seemed to be missing. I’d put the hotel on my credit card, so we hadn’t needed or thought about Brian’s wallet since some time before the wedding. We each searched the van, to no avail. We also looked around Kathy’s & Dave’s place — also no luck. I was sure it must just be in the van somewhere, so we said some more goodbyes, and headed on out of town. On the way, we stopped at the bank so Brian could get a new debit card. He has a scanned image of his driver’s license on his phone, which was helpful — and of course was able to answer all the security questions.
We toodled down south to the Needles Ferry — which, if you haven’t been on it, is small and cute. Not the smallest I’ve seen, but it is hauled across the river by cables. Waiting for the ferry, we met a family in a little white Westy, hauling a boat. We chit-chatted about (what else?) our Westfalias, and we pointed him towards some websites he might find helpful (The Samba, Van Cafe, Gary Lee).
After the crossing, we drove up through Nakusp, and on to St. Leon hot springs. After we drove up the long, steep, narrow, rocky jagged road, just about to hike down to the springs — a motorcyclist pulled up behind us, and pointed out that if we drive back the way we came, but turned right when we could, we could get up close to the springs from the bottom — and there were campsites here. While packing up some stuff to take up to the springs with us, Brian found his wallet — in his camera bag — Hooorrraaaaaay! It’s still a little hike to get to the springs from this side, but it’s not as steep from the bottom.
We got the springs all to ourselves for a couple hours. As usual, it was calm and beautiful and secluded. We drank some beer and ate some bread with oil & balsamic.
When night started to fall, we wandered back down to the van and had a little campfire. We roasted tofu dogs and then made smores, and later climbed into the van and finally opened our wedding gifts and cards — and were once again totally humbled by the love and generosity of the people in our life!
Late at night, when we were about to head to sleep, a lone guy in a truck came down, parked, and he wandered up to the hot springs by himself. He and his truck were gone by the time we woke up in the morning.