In case you haven’t heard, I quit my job in July.
Around the same time, I committed to taking advantage of my new found freedom and joining my parents on their time share adventure the upcoming fall.
Fast forward to October and it was time to head to Fairmont, BC. Yay!!
I was excited to be able to spend this time with my mom and step dad and was determined to find some budget friendly activities.
And by budget friendly, I mean free.
Here are some of the free ( or nearly free) things we found in and around Fairmont, BC.
Old Indian Baths
Picture an old cement shack perched on the mountainside with steam coming out of 3 windows. The ground was smooth and worn away from years of mineral water flowing by. There were no noticeable signs pointing to this ancient bathing place and I had no idea what to expect as we approached the old building. We found 3 doorways. Each opened to a crumbling room with a bath sized tub dug into the floor. Greenish slime, rock pieces, and white crusties covered the floor. Steam rose from the tubs. A window overlooked the modernized resort and mountainside.
I immediately stripped down to my bathing suit and jumped into the tub.
My parents left me to do some shopping and I soaked in the feelings of being in such a historic bathing place. The water felt great. The view was amazing. So many people throughout history had done this very same thing and I felt taken back in time. Up on the hillside, in natural hot spring water, feeling rock pieces crumbling under my body.
I was in Heaven.
Home of 1000 Faces
I’m not sure you can get any more eccentric than a man who dresses like a wizard, lives in what’s basically a tree house or fort, has goats living above him, and carves faces in logs for a living. Found in Radium, this place is well worth the $4 to go inside.
As you pull up to his place, you’ll find hilarious signs painted in a childlike manner. Tall logs are intricately carved with faces, and benches are perfectly placed for you to pose on.
You look up to see a walkway with goats peering down at you from a rickety walkway.
The place looks like the clubhouses we built as children out in the bushes with wood scraps collected from our dad’s shop.
As the man of few words invited us in, it was hard to know where to start. Carvings, scraps, old doors, goats. It was like a childhood dream and a homeless shelter crossed into one crazy fairy tale. And I loved it!
He has a gallery room with very fairly priced carvings and clippings of his worldly adventures posted all over the walls. Letters and pictures from school kids thank him for sharing his talent and creative piece of this world.
It’s people like this that make the world an interesting place and I thank him for opening up his home to share with us all.
Lussier Hot Springs
The reviews warned of parties and nudists and the beer bottles and underwear we found hinted that it was probably a fair assessment, but I am still glad we went.
When I think of hot springs, I think of nature. Rocks and water. And that’s exactly what we found here. Being off season, and before noon, we lucked out and had this place to ourselves….for about 45 minutes. And then the crowds came.
With 3 or 4 hot pools right beside a flowing river, this place was straight out of a nature magazine. I ignored the pair of underwear hanging over a rock and stared peacefully out into the trees, breathing in the fresh air. The sound of the river and the beauty of the scenery as I soaked my aching muscles was perfect.
It was well worth the somewhat scary drive up the winding road!
A Hot Spring Waterfall
I think the only thing better than a natural hot spring would be one with a water fall directly above the pool. We bypassed the resort pool once again and found ourselves ( well, my dad and I) crossing a well placed log to get across the creek and up to the falls.
These are located literally right next to the commercialized resort pool, but with natural views. With mom staying safely on the walking path, attempting, but failing to capture our adventure on my video camera, we threw our winter coats on a dry rock and donned our bathing suits as we tested out the hot pools. The feeling of the hot water smashing onto my back as it cascaded over the rock ledge gave me a much needed massage. I tested out a few of the shallow pools and stayed away from the ones close to the edge. I’m telling you, there’s nothing like being immersed right into the natural scenery while soaking in hot mineral water.
There are so many places to go hiking. We did the Hoodoo Trail, right in Fairmont. The views from the top were stunning. Another beautiful hike was the Wilmer Wetlands. My pictures don’t do justice to the beauty. I’m not sure if it was the fact that the sun was shining on the water, but it was probably one of the prettiest hikes I’ve done. We also paid to get into the Kooteney National Park. I think the 3 km Juniper hike was worth the entrance fee!
Traveling and making memories with my parents was something I’ll always remember. We ate all of our meals in the condo ( thanks, mom) , took advantage of the swimming pool and saunas, and enjoyed coffee…err… vodka…overlooking the golf course. And each night, we put a loonie down and challenged each other to a game of Rumoli!
Travel doesn’t have to break the bank!
What should I do and see on my next trip to Fairmont?