Monday, August 18, 2014

Radium Hot Springs! (Canada - July 2014)


There is an abundance of hot springs in the Canadian Rockies.  In fact Canada's first National Park, the Cave and Basin Historic Site in Banff, is a geothermal feature.  After passing hot springs in Banff and Jasper, we decided a good way to wind down our trip would be to jump into Radium Hot Springs... and come out radioactive.  
But when we arrived in Radium, it was HOT.  So we went down the road to Invermere and jumped in Windermere Lake.
Radium is also known for the co-habitating Big Horn Sheep.  These guys aren't very scared of you and can climb anything!  I was about 3 ft away from this guy when I took this pic...
Behind the hostel we stayed at...
Getting water at the mini-golf course...
Kai liked them... and the raspberries
The next day it cooled off with an afternoon thundershower and we got to go to the hot springs twice!  Once before nap and after... 
The owners of the Misty Mountain Lodge where we stayed had met while bike touring around the world... they were on their bikes when they found this place for sale and purchased it several years ago.  She has since biked across Canada solo on this yellow bike.  The place is up for sale again so they can resume their life on the road...
The bighorn sheep scaled right up the sheer dirt cliff behind the house...
Our first rain of the trip.  And boy did it pour!


Friday, August 15, 2014

Lake O'Hara (Canada - July 2014)

This is another post that's like a month old... BUT...the place is amazing... and a bit tricky to get to.  To get there, you have to get one of the 42 day use permits they lease 3 months prior to your visit, or have to have a reservation at one of the campsites (even tougher to get than the day use permits), alpine huts (even harder still... you have to get it through an online lottery in Oct for the summer months), the Lake O'Hara Lodge (have to be loaded)... or hike in on the dirt road.  

At first I wasn't sure about the place, but the more I read about it, it sounded like it would be worth a visit... as I was doing research on this place, I figured out that the reservations were going to be coming up while we were in Japan.  So we volunteered Kim's folks for the task of getting a permit... and from the sounds of it, it sounded like medieval torture (thanx Mama Margie & Papa Steve!).  But we did manage to secure some spots... albeit not on the desired date (as Steve wouldn't be with us at this time... and this would be when the World Cup finals would take place...)  Yes, it was a tough decision, but I reasoned that I had watched plenty of world cup action and this was very limited opportunity for me to go into Lake O'Hara.  Although... I will be back.  For sure.  

The bus drops you off near the Le Relais Day Shelter.  If you can score a summer job here, you are soooo lucky.  
a bald eagle on top of a lone tree on Lake O'Hara greeted us to this magical kingdom.
Check out that backdrop... Mount Schaffer


We decided to take a tough trail... there are 3 alpine routes around Lake O'Hara, involving steep hiking, some scrambling, and some via ferrata.  The trails are really beautiful and well maintained, but I think we got in a bit over our heads with the kids and Mama Margie's knee got tweaked.  
the trail is a bit exposed ... I held Kai's hand here...
a traverse over there looks fun.
some sort of Columbine?
Kimbo dosing up on some SPF...
Kai had a lot of fun on this trail!
Back at the lake... the day was beautiful
Banzai!
Kai couldn't stop running and giggling
This is the view from the lake side cabins on Lake O'Hara... which start at 900$ CDN per couple.  Yikes. 
I got both boys!
Kai levitating over the bridge!
HDR action...
Family pic at Lake Louise
Mama margie & Nikko
Weehaw!
Nikko sure was tired after a long day of being carried around!
Next time: I'd like to camp out or stay at one of the ACC huts

  • I'd love to do all the alpine routes... spend a day or two at the Elizabeth Parker hut just trail running/scrambling during the day.



Thursday, August 14, 2014

Japan: Hiroshima!

Kim about to dragon kick a deer at Miyajima, a UNESCO world heritage site... I haven't looked it up, but I'm sure it's a punishable offence.
BTW, these posts are quite late... as this was back in May... alas... so it goes.  better late than never right?

This was my second visit to Hiroshima, a beautiful city where Kimbo's sister Rebecca has been for the last 17? years?  We went together to Hiroshima in 2009, and you can see the posts here if you are interested.  Rebecca was really excited to meet Nikko, and see Kai again.  And she didn't mind seeing us either....

The first day we went to Miyajima, where the deer are tame, gifts plentiful, along with the tourists, stairs, and nature.  I'd like to go back there to do some trail running on those steep trails.  The other days in Hiroshima, I got to go trail running every day.  Hiroshima is such an amazing city... with so many trails/mountains/rivers that are so accessible, yet very urban if you want.  I need hills, and Hiroshima has them.  

On the cab from Obaachan's house to the train station.
And the train...
Nikko was excited to meet Auntie Becca as well.  
The shinkansen comes with it's own powder room...
...
In Hiroshima!  Kai was ready to get back in the car after a long train ride.  
A Japanese Child Seat... pretty sure this thing doesn't meet US standards...
Kai showing off his pagoda jacket infront of a pagoda...
We went back to Mie-jima, a place Kai fell in love with.  
With it's tame deer...
Shrines...
even an An Pan Man Ojizosan

Deep Fried Custard filled snacks...
The best sno-cone in the world.  Seriously.  There are stawberries frozen into the ice block... then some simple syrup, with some condensed milk on top.  Amazing...
Nikko in front of the Great Torii
Kai contemplating life on the ferry ride home.
The JR rail pass works for this ferry!
Hiroshima city center - at the A-bomb dome.
The Nozomi Shinkansen!
On our way home we stopped by the Anpanman muserum!
in Kobe... there are like 5 of these...
with a hair salon...
pretending to be Baikinman
Nikko was happy on the train ride...