MITCHELL’S MUSINGS: Enjoying a winter holiday

A vacation in warmer climes wasn’t in the cards this winter for various reasons I won’t get into

Glenn Mitchell is a columnist and managing editor of The Morning Star.

Glenn Mitchell is a columnist and managing editor of The Morning Star.

A vacation in warmer climes wasn’t in the cards this winter for various reasons I won’t get into, actually it’s been a couple years now but I really won’t get into that either, for your sake.

However, something closer to home that takes a little less time, and cash, and pre-planning and, well, wintry, was in order.

When my wife first mentioned Nakusp Hot Springs my initial reaction was “that’s not in Mexico, is it, or is there one there too?” as I was still clinging to the hope we might get away south of the border (well, two borders technically).

But then I thought it’s been likely two decades or longer since we’ve been there and I’d heard good things from a friend who had stayed in the chalets recently and enjoyed it immensely. Besides, I knew Mexico wasn’t going to happen anyway so…..

Why not?

Well, I have to admit my first thought on that one was the drive over the Monashees in the winter. It can be a challenge if conditions are well, seasonal, and it’s a little isolated and mountainous and…….oh get over yourself already, you need the getaway out of cell range and the forecast looks pretty good so let’s go on a little adventure. Count me in, I guess, ha.

So I booked a a couple nights in Cabin No. 2 and even decided to go one better and complete the circle route by booking another night in Salmon Arm so we’d come back the Galena Bay ferry way through Revelstoke.

It was very cold the day we headed out on Highway 6 but the sun was shining, the roads were bare and dry and we even hit the Needles ferry at just about the right time, always a bonus.

A late lunch in a cozy deli in Nakusp, an easy drive up to the springs and we were in our comfy chalet well before the sun went down. All’s right with the world mate.

The first thing we noticed was how quiet it was, almost too quiet.

So, naturally, we had a nap in our new mountain home and tried to ignore the feeling of “what are we doing up here again?” when you don’t have TV (there is a little one but we tried to avoid it) or the Internet to entertain you day and night.

But it’s all about winding down and forgetting about the outside world anyway. It just takes a little down time to learn how to relax.

And what better way than to hit the hot springs just steps away from your front door.

By then it was dark and something about sitting in naturally heated water when it’s -15 outside in a winter wonderland looking up at a jet black sky chock-full of stars is, well, pretty magical. And now they provide those foam noodles so you can lean back and float and, well, ponder….it was pretty perfect.

Well, except for one thing. The music that night was fine but featured a soundtrack that included flute (or tin whistle perhaps?) solos that reminded me of the Titanic movie and kept me from relaxing 100 per cent. Ha.

However it led to some fun exchanges as I would grab the foam noodle along with my wife and proclaim, “Whatever you do Rose, don’t let go.” Maybe you had to be there.

The next day it started snowing and we went for an exhilarating hike to the source of the hot springs which included a walk over an impressive bridge structure that boasts superb views. It’s only a few years old and definitely worth checking out.

The only thing, even though the forecast was initially for two to five centimetres, no one told Mother Nature and it just kept snowing and snowing, which added to the nestled=into-nature feeling in our chalet but, of course, anxiety about the trip home started to creep into my brain.

I know I lost some sleep the night before over it but I needn’t have bothered.

The drive to Revelstoke, although challenging at times and pretty darn deserted I must say, added to the adventurous feel of the entire trip and we felt like we accomplished something and enjoyed ourselves at the same time.

Take that Mexico.


Vernon Morning Star