I left my home on Puget Sound in Washington State early in the morning, cruised into a glorious sunrise and crossed the Cascade Mountains. Arriving in Coeur dAlene mid afternoon, I was delighted to have a long evening at Arrow Point Resort.
From Coeur dAlene to Fairmont Hot Springs in British Columbia, I followed Highway 95 through the rolling grain fields of the Okanogan country and into the mountains, following the Kooteney River. I crossed the border at Eastport, which becomes Kingsgate on the Canadian side.
Several hours later I arrived at Fairmont Hot Springs, my home for a week of day trips around Banff National Park. Set at the headwaters of the Columbia River, Fairmont Hot Springs offers something special year round. The main attraction are the springs themselves, consisting of several naturally warm pools.
After a pleasant night at Fairmont, I drove to Radium Hot Springs, a small town with a big hot spring. Here one can bathe in the "sacred waters of the mountains" just as indigenous peoples did long ago. You may even visit an ancient bathing pool. The waters here have traveled deep into the earth, returning to the surface hot and loaded with restorative natural minerals. The hot springs are naturally heated in the earth to about 103 degrees F. Swimsuits, towels, and lockers are available to rent, and a cafe is open all summer. Lifeguards are always on duty.
Continued in Part Two: Cruising Through Banff National Park