Pictures from the Lower Mainland and the tail end of our hot springs tour.


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Natalia was really happy we had planned on taking the ferry that had the sweet brunch on it.
This is from Schwartz Bay to Tsawassen as we're arriving in Tsawassen. I won't comment on the
fact that we found a campsite at well past 11 the night before or the outstanding shower that
Natalia had courtesy of my camping stove. Needless to say, it was a great morning.


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We had the great fortune of being able to visit with my friend Matthew Harms, his wife Heidi, and
their lovely daughter Saffron.


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Here is Mom, anxiously awaiting bun #2. We had a nice lunch at a Vietnamese place.


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Matt and Heidi took us to their beautiful new home. We had a really nice visit and this picture
is in their huge back yard.

Harrison Hot Springs


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Our next stop was at Harrison Hot Springs on the banks of Harrison lake. Since I didn't have
any interest in paying the big dollars to stay at the resort, we slummed it in their municipal
pool, which is also fed by the same waters.


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This pool had flair and harkened back to the early 80s. The wood paneling at the top was a nice touch.


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Natalia wading around in the pool at Harrison Hot Springs.

The Okanagan


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After Harrison, we made the trek up the Coquihalla and into the lovely Okanagan.
Arriving late, we made camp at a nice (but overpriced) campsite in Peachland. We also hit up
the local farmer's market, which turned out to be more of a crafts market (blech). This sign,
however, made up for it. How sweet is Butt Rd?


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The next stop was the most pretentious winery I've been to outside of California - Mission Hill.
It's a nice enough place, but I prefer my wine the way I take my coffee - simple and not too fancy.


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The view from the amphitheatre to Lake Okanagan.


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Natalia in a cute white skirt looking out to the lake from Mission Hill Winery.


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Natalia with some grape vineyards behind her.


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We took a brief stop at Quail's Gate and enjoyed that much more than Mission Hill. Far less
pretention and more of a focus on enjoying life. This is the view from their tasting room.


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I thought Quail's Gate was my favourite. I bought a few bottles of Gewurtztraminer for my dad
and we headed back for our tour.


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Part of the Mission Hill tour took us into their cellar, which Natalia enjoyed immensely.


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Natalia and some oak barrels of wine.


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Natalia and I in the wine cellar. It looks like I've already been into the wine!


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The view from Mission Hill's award-winning restaurant. Definitely not the ugliest place I've been.


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The same view but without Natalia and I in it.

Kelowna, BC


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Ogopogo was everywhere in Kelowna. I thought he needed to be ridden.


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This guy's shorts were shorter than Eric Lynn's. Just disturbing, but entertaining nonetheless.

Nakusp and the Arrow Lakes


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This is a picture of Lower Arrow Lake from the Needles ferry.


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Natalia, waiting for the ferry.


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This is an actual cable ferry crossing the lake from Needles to Fauquier.


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Nakusp Hot Springs, Nakusp, BC. This was a short drive from the town of Nakusp in the
interior of BC south of Revelstoke. If they ever build a bridge at Galena Bay, this area
will absolutely blow up.


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One of the things that makes this hot spring awesome is the tanning areas complete with shade
if you want it. Also, these springs were incredibly clean. We camped just outside the hot springs
the night before and found it quite nice (other than the bear on the way in). I couldn't get
a good picture of the hummingbirds but they also added to the pool's attraction.


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We stopped and had lunch at this rest stop on the way to check out more hot springs.

St Leon hot springs


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After a longer-than-I-wanted drive up gravel logging roads, we made our way to the infamous
St Leon's hot springs. The guitar-shaped concrete pool is visible here. A hose in the pool
brings water from the spring itself to the pool as well as water from a nearby stream.


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The view from inside the guitar.


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The changehouse at St Leon's.


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Natalia liked this spring since we were the only ones in it for awhile. An older gentleman
showed up a little later.


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Doesn't she look happy?

Halfway Hot Springs


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The Halfway hot springs were a little further up the road and even deeper in on a logging road.
I thought we were lost until we came upon a gradual descent trail towards the river level.
This is one of the colder pools.


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This was an older style soaking pool made with plastic to keep the mud out. It was quite
grimy and full of algae so we passed on this one.


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This was where the money was at. The springs themselves moved some pretty hot water, so it
was just a question of taking a hose and moving some water to an appropriate place. These
stoners had made some nice pools with rocks that we didn't mind joining.

Halcyon Hot Springs


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By the time we got to Halcyon, we had already been to 3 hot springs. Even though there is lithium
in the water, we decided to take a pass. It's clear they're trying to take this resort upmarket.


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Natalia looking out on Lower Arrow Lake and Halcyon Hot Springs.

Ainsworth Hot Springs


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On the way into Ainsworth, we came across this hotel. We thought Natalia's sister would
enjoy it since she likes mermaids.


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The Ainsworth Hot Springs was definitely a highlight on the trip. It's clearly been here for
years and the caves here are pretty unique. More information on this and other hot springs
are HERE .


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Here is the access to the caves.


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A great view across Kootenay Lake makes for a relaxing soak in the pool.


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Natalia had been here before on a band trip, but she enjoyed the return trip as much or more.


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A view on the way into the caves. You can see the effects of the mineral water in covering anything
being used for structure in the caves.


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Natalia inside the caves.


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It was totally dark until my flash went off. Nice scarey face Natalia!


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A view of some of the really hot water coursing into the caves.


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You can almost watch the limestone form new formations inside the caves.


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I give Ainsworth two thumbs up for sure.


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Natalia and I sweating up a storm inside the caves. It was almost as humid as Toronto in the summer.


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There was also a plunge pool. You can tell by Natalia's face that the water isn't quite as
warm as the hot springs water, in fact not even close. Compare 43 deg C to 5 deg C.


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Natalia and I inside the caves.

Radium Hot Springs


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Radium is one of our more normal hang-outs. It's also one of my grandma Banda's favourites too.


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If you look closely, sometimes you can see goats up on the hill.


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Natalia enjoys sitting in the pools a lot longer than I do.


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What do you think? 9 hot springs over the course of our vacation. Not too bad I'd say. It
was the first time I had taken 2 consecutive weeks of holidays since 2002 and I even shut off
the email on my Blackberry! Um, more vacation time please!

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