After several months of working hard at my day job after having moved back to Calgary, I was overdue for a trip to the mountains to rest and relax. Before my last trip overseas, I had ditched my terminally ill Cavalier (RIP Blue Rocket 1999-2012), so I was without wheels. What to do? Rent one, of course!
Except for one little problem … reserving a car online doesn’t guarantee you the car you select, it’s only a preferred vehicle. In other words, they give renters ahead of you whatever they request, and only hold what’s left over for you.
In my case, I wanted a Toyota Versa … I got a Dodge Grand Caravan. A turbocharged beast with tonnes of space I didn’t need, and extra girth I had to account for when making turns and parking and such.
Had I encountered a situation where I had to make a tight maneuver, I would have risked damaging my tires. At least in the United Kingdom, I would have been able to use Tyre-Shopper.co.uk tyres to replace them without the rental company being the wiser.
Failing that, National.co.uk tyres would have had exactly what I was looking for.
But I digress.
Good thing I had experience driving giant tour boats at Maligne Lake prior to this 😛
After dropping my bags at my friend Steph’s place and enjoying a wonderful evening catching up post-Maligne Lake (I was a tour guide there for three summers, hence the earlier remark about driving tour boats), I had a full day ahead of me. The first place decided to drop in on was the Miette Hot Springs area. Located an equal distance from the towns of Jasper and Hinton, it is a wonderful place to soak away an afternoon in 40c waters, all while admiring the scenery of the Front Ranges of the Canadian Rockies, soaring thousands of feet above you.
On this day, though, I intended to earn my time in the hot springs, as I set out on a hike down the trail that led to the source of the Miette Hot Springs. The old bathhouse was in an even more starkly beautiful area than the current one, but overcrowding issues due to the popularity of the site, and natural erosion led to its closure in the mid-1980’s, and the opening of the current pools.
Still, it’s quite cool to have ruins of this nature in the middle of a narrow mountain valley!
The natural beauty of my surroundings just improved from there on, a glacially cold creek tumbling down the hanging valley from where it spawned, overlaying a source of water almost hot enough to scald at first touch.
You know when you’ve reached the source of the Miette Hot Springs. Depending on the prevailing winds on the day that you stroll down the trail, you can smell it many hundreds of metres away. The sulphur and calcium laced waters deposit their solid particles on the rocks over which it flows, creating a stone known as tufa. Underground pipes carry the waters from this aquifer to the hot pools themselves back near the parking lot, which is where I headed with great anticipation, shortly after the shot I took above! 🙂
After the day’s tramping and soaking had run their course, there was only one proper way to end an active day in the Canadian Rocky Mountains … have a bonfire and beers! Heading out to a campsite with friends, meeting interesting new people and sitting by a bonfire that offset the chill of a high country evening was the perfect way to cap off my first day back in the mountains since I had lived there!
What would your perfect day in the Canadian Rockies look like? Hash it out for us below!