In early September we took a weekend trip to Radium Hot Springs for a family getaway. It was really nice as we had a very busy summer and our trip east was jam packed with visits, so we wanted to spend some time together outdoors as a family. Naomi booked us a motel, we packed our stuff and off we went. We pulled the kids out of school early on Thursday (they don’t have class on Friday) and returned home on Sunday evening. We are so thankful that we live close to the mountains, and also for the wonderful weather (mid 20s C) during our time.
Our trip to Radium Hot Springs took us across the continental divide, the line where rain goes either to the Atlantic or Pacific oceans.
We stopped in the valley along the highway in Kootenay National Park to throw rocks in the Kootenay river and enjoy the scenery.
Friday was hot springs day! We went in the morning to the pools, then on a hike, and back to the springs in the evening.
The next day, we went on a long hike to Cobb Lake.
The round trip was 5.2 km and took us almost 5 hours. That includes taking time for snacks and a picnic lunch when we got to the lake. Along the trip we could hear just the stream in the valley, but after that – silence. It was one of the very few times in my life where I couldn’t hear anything man made (other than the occasional whine about when we could have a snack). No cars, trucks, airplanes… It was wonderful!
North is on the right of the image. The trail head is just before the highway starts to descent into the Kootenay River valley.
The kids each had a backpack in which they carried their water, some snacks, and other stuff. Ellie carried my binoculars, Adelaine had the first aid kit, Ethan had the essential sling shot! Naomi carried our lunch and I had the photographer’s burden: glass and metal. And bear spray.
We were alone on the trail most of the hike, and even had about 40 minutes at the lake without anyone else being around. The water in the lake was flat and smooth like a mirror, providing some nice reflections. The lake is actually a bog, and the “ground” around it was wet and bouncy. You could feel the ground move quite a ways away when the kids were jumping up and down.
Part of the descent to the stream in a valley was quite steep, so there were a series of switchbacks as we criss-crossed our way down the slope. Ethan and Adelaine both like being at the front when we go on a hike. Ellie usually lags behind. When we got too far ahead of her we called her bear bait and told her to catch up. We made a treaty so that Ethan got to lead us to Cobb Lake, and Adelaine lead the way back. Here is Ethan the trail master stopping to listen…
He kept doing this quite a bit along the trail as the only thing we could hear was the stream getting closer and closer.
Here he is crossing a little spring that made the trail a bit muddy, and his method of keeping off his feet dry.
Once we went up the other side of the valley we got to this one part of the trail where we turned away from the stream and started to descend to Cobb Lake. Over the distance of about 4 meters on the trail it got very quiet… suddenly we could no longer hear the stream, or anything else for that matter. It was so quiet. I took the kids back up the path to the corner where you could hear the stream again, then a few meters down the path where is was silent. Magical.
The stream about halfway along the trail provided lots of entertainment for the kids. We could have spent a lot more time there, but we had to get back to our hotel. The kids didn’t know it, but there was a movie being shown in the park that night!
Before the movie started we got to witness some interesting behaviour of some of the town’s resident big horn sheep. They were eating apples and pears off the trees. Watch the video to see how they did it.
Drive-in movie in the park!
Our last day in the mountains we drove back into Kootenay National Park and stopped to do two hikes as we made our way home; Dog Lake and Marble Canyon.
The Dog Lake hike was 5.8 km.
Along the trail to Dog Lake, Adelaine and Ethan couldn’t agree who would lead the family along the trail, so they decided to share the job, holding hands as they went along.
Cobb Lake and Dog Lake in relation to Radium Hot Springs.
Marble Canyon is an easy hike along a fenced-in trail with lots of bridges crossing over the deep, cold canyon. The glacial melt water of the Rockies are a wonderful blue colour, which creates an amazing palette with surrounding nature. I didn’t realize that there was a waterfall at the end of the hike, so I left my tripod in the car. Luckily I had my gorrilapod in my backpack, so I was able to use some neutral density filters to get some long exposures.
We had a wonderful 3.5 days away as a family, with many new memories and a greater appreciation for the beautiful world God has given us. Thank you Lord for the opportunity, the wonderful warm weather, the sights along the trails and time as a family. What a blessing.
Then we crossed the mountains and returned home to this, but that is another story…