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The Beauty That Surrounds Us

 In Unleashed!, Weekly Forum Discussion

We have done this discussion topic more than once, and I love it – going on an artist’s date has changed me profoundly. Consciously Woman has pushed me out of my comfort zone, and as a result, I am living a better life. After getting through some of the busiest weeks of the year with our business, I decided to take a much needed break and do a hot springs tour with my best friend. Kim is a high school friend who lives in Manitoba and at about this time every year, she comes out west to relax and recharge. She encourages me to do the same, and it’s become a very welcome annual girls’ holiday. We’re both mothers working very busy full time jobs, and we know the only way to continue is to have balance. We created our women’s retreat every year after Christmas for exactly this purpose.

This year we decided to do something new – a Hot Springs Tour. We had no plan, we just did as we pleased. We started at Banff Hot Springs, and stayed overnight sip a few cocktails and eat from the train at Banff Sushi House. The next morning, we drove an hour and a half to Radium Hot Springs, which is close to home, but still relaxing. We soaked in the pool, caught up on life and laughed a ton. Next, we went south to Fairmont Hot Springs where we had a soak, but also swam laps; Kim and I were once on a swim team and we also played water polo together (swimming laps seemed easier over twenty years ago). After Fairmont, we made our way over the Salmo Creston Pass to Nelson.  We drove through a white out and missed any scenery, but made up for it with the tunes, sunflower seeds and chit chat.

The reason for the five hour drive to Nelson in a white out was to visit another childhood friend, Ange. We hadn’t seen her in about fifteen years, and when we met, she hopped in the truck for a trip to Ainsworth Hot Springs. Ange advised us to stop for groceries and gas as there wouldn’t be many options over the next few days. Unshaken by this or the snow storm, we load up on food and wine and look forward to getting reacquainted with the hot springs. On arrival, we were given a small room to share, and quickly realized it would not be an issue – we immediately as if we had never been apart. The caves are one of Ainsworth Hot Springs amazing features. Going into these caves though is one of my biggest fears – first, a quick Gin & Tonic. It’s a good thing these girls are worth it, I actually went through six times! The first time was very quick, as I tried not to overthink things, and the last time I was able to stop to have a few photos taken. I drew the line at spending time in the farthest back cave. Phobia tamed, we had a well-deserved, amazing dinner and drinks at Ktunaxa Grill.

The next day we took a very isolated and winding highway, stopping along the way in Kaslo for a quick coffee and snack. I loved the brightly coloured historic buildings along the shores of Kootenay Lake, and the shops filled with interesting art pieces; there is a lot of history here. Kaslo is by far, one of the cutest towns I have ever visited, and I will definitely be back. Our destination for the evening was the Huckleberry Inn in Nakusp, and after surviving quite the snowstorm we were happy to arrive at this quaint little cottage. First, we went to Halcyon Hot Springs as the roads were only going to get worse. Halcyon overlooks the Arrow Lakes, and is one of the nicest hot springs. Although we couldn’t see them as we sat in the pool, we could imagine the beautiful views. After another amazing dinner, we headed back to our little inn to watch old VHS movies, sip wine and catch up.

There was about a foot of snow when we woke up early the next morning for our drive to Nakusp Hot Springs.  Giant snowflakes fell on our faces while we sat in the pool, nestled in Kuskanax Valley, at the foothills of the Selkirk Mountains. This is one of British Columbia‘s best kept secrets. The water was the hottest all the Hot Springs we visited, and the design was the most original. With our tour of hot springs drawing to an end, we stayed another night in Nelson. To break up the long drive back, we had an amazing lunch at Frog Peak Café in Crescent Valley, and received a call from Invermere – our high school friend Sarah was driving out to join us for the night. We were thrilled! We spent our last evening cruising the streets of Nelson, with its historic buildings on the water’s edge, reminiscing about old times, old friends and enjoying a few craft beers. Delightful.

I realized on this trip that one of the reasons I’ve become the person I am is because of the amazing people surrounding me while I was growing up. I also was reminded that balance is very important. If I had said no to this trip, I wouldn’t have re-kindled these amazing friendships. I decided: the next trip around the Kootenays would be in the summer, when we can actually see more of the beauty surrounding us.

By: Amber Schick

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