Day 27: To Fairmont Hot Springs - Western Canada 2007 - CycleBlaze

July 26, 2007

Day 27: To Fairmont Hot Springs

I got up at 9 and paid $20.80 to the park warden for the campsite. On the road finally at 11:10 after fixing another flat tire (#5 during this tour). The weather was sunny, warm, with low humidity. The road goes a few km along the Kootenay river, then climbs 300m to Olive Lake and 1486m Sinclair pass.

I didn't go through very many tunnels during this tour.
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Then a big descent to Radium hot springs. Big enough to have TWO runaway truck ramps. I didn't patronize the hot spring, though.

Looking down on the main Radium hot spring pool. They somehow chlorinate the source because the hot water flowing in the channel had a strong chlorine smell.
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Immediately after the hot spring the road squeezes through narrows with the road literally constructed on top of the creek for about 100m. Most places they would have blasted away the rock to make room for a road, but apparently Kootenay National park didn't want that.

The narrows at Radium hot springs. The road is built on top of the creek.
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The road continued descending to the town of Radium Hot Springs outside the park alongside the Columbia river. It was interesting to see how SMALL the river is here compared to the giant river downstream.

The town of Radium Hot Springs seems to be booming. Many signs about real estate developments. Many new shopping centres, etc. I ate lunch at a Mexican restaurant and bought groceries. I tried to get cash but no ATMs in town will accept foreign bank cards. I never had that problem previously when touring in Canada.

By then it was downright hot in the sun and there weren't many trees to provide shade. The heat felt good after so much cool weather in the Canadian Rockies. I had a headwind going south which helped keep me cool and bug-free. Traffic was heavy on highway 93/95.

The Columbia River is a small river in this area.
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It's hard to imagine how much bigger the river gets by the time it flows into the Pacific ocean.
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Cute restaurant.
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The next town down the road is Windermere. I didn't actually go into town because it is several km off the highway. Windermere supposedly has an ATM that takes foreign bank cards but I didn't want to detour to get there. Windermere is a fast-growing town with many big real estate developments. The highway stays well away from the lake to allow villas, townhouses, and golf courses along the lake shore.

After 6 days in national parks it is a shock to see billboards again. This is near the town of Invermere.
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The road continues following the Columbia river downstream. Not flat but no monster climbs either. My destination for the day is the town of Fairmont hot springs. I camped at the Spruce Grove resort, a very large commercial campground. I opted for a shadeless campsite rather than a buggy shady campsite.

My campsite along the Columbia river at the town of Fairmont Hot Springs.
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After dinner the sun was getting low and I ventured back to the Fairmont hot springs resort. The 2km climb to the resort entrance is very steep. I'm glad I didn't attempt this on the loaded bike or when the sun was shining. On a hill overlooking the entrance is the Indian Baths, a free hot spring bath house. I soaked there from about 9-10 PM, until it was almost dark.

The free Indian Baths at the entrance to Fairmont Hot Spring.
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Charmaine RuppoltNice that the Indian Baths were free!
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3 days ago
Looking out the doorway at the bath house. The walls are extremely thick.
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Inside one of the 3 tub rooms.
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I leaned out the window and took this sunset picture.
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The Indian Baths is a GREAT place to watch the sunset. It has panoramic views of the valley below, Columbia river, and mountains all around. In the final evening light I coasted 4 km down to my campground.

Today's high temperature was 30C (86F). First summer-like day in a long time. I slept without the rainfly for the first time on this trip. A clear sign that the climate is getting steadily drier.

Distance: 78 km / 48.8 mi

Climbing: 600m / 1980 ft

Today's ride: 78 km (48 miles)
Total: 2,209 km (1,372 miles)

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