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British Columbia


After a week in Victoria, on Vancouver Island, where we visited our parents, we caught the 4pm ferry “by the skin of Tigger” on June 28th.  We went to North Vancouver to visit our good friends, Therese & Pat Bryan.  We enjoyed lovely fresh fare from their garden and spent the night in our rig on the street outside their house.

After a tasty homemade brekkie, we drove northwest to Kamloops, BC.  Therese sent us off with lots of fresh goodies for the road – Thanks Therese!

Here we had dinner with Fran’s cousin, Rick Paquin, spent Monday with Fran’s college pal, Brenda Willes and her husband and visited with our niece, Chantal, and our nephew, Jordan, and their families on Tuesday which was Canada Day.

We then headed southwest and hit Vernon, BC at the top of Lake Okanagan.  Located here is a resort called Sparkling Hill which has a spa with North America’s only cold sauna.  This we had to try!   It is purported to be good for your circulation, arthritis and chronic pain (if you have several treatments).

We had an appointment for 4pm that afternoon.  You get into your swim suit, socks and shoes.  They give you mittens, headbands and face masks to wear as well.  Very fashionable!  First you enter a small room that is about -14⁰C for about ten seconds, then a equally small room where it’s -54⁰C for another ten seconds.  In each of these rooms, the guide chats to pass the time away.  Then the big event; he opens the door into a third room that is -110⁰C!!!!  You walk in circle while in there to the tune of “don’t worry, be happy” while wiggling your toes, and sort of doing the chicken dance with your arms and breathing normally.  Here you stay for a maximum of three minutes and the entire time the guide is encouraging you to keep moving and giving a periodic countdown.  Your body tingles, you get pins and needles and your eyelashes and other facial hair gets frosty.  It’s quite exhilarating, really.  We enjoyed it.  BTW if you stay in there for seven minutes, you’re a goner.

We parked that night in the little town of Enderby, BC at the Visitor’s Centre beside the Shuswap River.  It was quiet and peaceful after the drunk guy yelling “Happy Canada Day” went by.

On the 2nd, we went through Mount Revelstoke National Park and bought an annual pass for Parks Canada as we hope to hit at least a dozen Canadian parks on this trip.  We strolled two boardwalks in this park: Giant Cedars and Skunk Cabbage.  This park is better explored later in July or in Aug/Sept as the snow has not melted yet so we’ll have to come back to this one.  As we’ll always be returning to BC for family visits this is quite doable.

We went a little further down the TransCanada Highway where we entered Glacier National Park (yes, same name as the one in Montana) and when we got to the Rogers Summit Visitor’s Centre we hiked the Balu Pass.  Actually Doug did the entire thing (12.8 km), Fran opted to only do about 10km as her left knee was bothering her.  The pass includes exceptional views of mountains, meadows, waterfalls and snow melt.  It was spectacular.  We saw a number of marmots along the way back.

We spent the night off the highway at a winter skidoo stopover and continued east towards Yoho National Park (which we have already seen although we did make a couple of short stops a view points.

Onward to Alberta…..