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Hot Springs and Hoodoos

© By Gene Chambers
  From the water, mist lifts in the still air. The rising sun bathes nearby evergreens in a soft green glow. You seem to float as you lay back and rest your head against the side of the pool, while arm mineral waters soothe aches and remove tension. You look up and gaze above the trees at the mountains, majestically beyond. Idyllic? Yes, it is: morning in the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort pool! A great way to start any day.
     In the early 1800s, explorers discovered the hot springs and marveled at their lack of the distinctive sulphur smell common amongst other hot springs. In 1923, the first pool was constructed, and by 1926, Fairmont Hot Springs was receiving widespread recognition for the curative powers of its naturally hot waters. Today, visitors from around the globe come to experience the spring's mystical healing properties, renowned for their therapeutic quality.
     Fairmont Hot Springs is located in the Columbia Valley, on highways 93 & 95 about 25 minutes south of Radium and 1 1/4 hours north of Cranbrook. There are four hot pools. Three are public pools with paid admission. Their temperatures are 102 F, 98 F and 92 F. The fourth pool is located at the Fairmont Hot Springs Resort hotel, and its temperature is 104 F. Over 1.5 million gallons of mineral-rich hot spring waters flow through the pools daily, and at night the pools are drained, scrubbed and refilled by morning.


     We decided to splurge and stay at the Resort hotel for a night because we discovered that our hotel fee also included unlimited use of the hotel's hot pool on both arrival and departure days. After arriving at 2:30 pm, we quickly changed and went for a soak in the pool. Once in the pool, we soon realized how smart it was to book into the resort. The public pools nearby were wall-to-wall with people, and the lawns around them were covered with sun worshipping bodies. However, the Resort's fenced pool requires your room card to enter, and there were less than 15 people inside. We found this to be true for the remainder of our stay. If you want a quiet relaxing soak, the resort pool is definitely the place to be.
     Nearby is Columbia Lake and the Hoodoos, a glacial till deposit that has eroded to form interesting cliffs. Several other resorts and a couple of golf courses are close by. Fairmont also has a large campground facility catering to everyone from campers to the largest motor-homes.
     After touring the area and trekking up to the top of the nearby hoodoos, we returned to the pool for an evening soak to relax our aching feet and legs before bed. What a soothing way to prepare for bed! After a sound night's sleep, we went back in the pool the next morning before breakfast.
     A 3-minute walk up a hill behind the resort leads you to the original bathing pools dug by the natives centuries ago. Water flows in tiny streams out of the hilltop and leads to shallow rectangular pools cut into the rock. Obviously, the natives knew a good thing when they saw it. In the hot pool the next morning, I visualize a native centuries ago, viewing the same spectacular vista that I enjoy

Gene Chambers is author of three secondary school textbooks on computer studies in data processing.

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Gene Chambers

If you go
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Fairmont Resort: www.fairmonthotsprings.com
B.C. Adventure: www.bcadventure.com/adventure/explore/rockies/cities/fairmont.htm
Travel B.C.: www.fairmont-hot-springs.travel.bc.ca/
Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invermere,_British_Columbia

Fairmont Hot Springs, near Invermere, has its own airport and is less than an hour's drive from Cranbrook's international airport.

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