This is the 3rd post on the Adventure Canada Series. If you haven’t read parts 1-2 of the blog series yet, you can read them here:
Adventure Canada: Failure to Launch
Adventure Canada: The Gravel Strip & Beauty
Adventure Canada: How to Go Crazy
“All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn’t hurt. ” – Charles M. Schulz
As we drove from one beautiful part of Canada to another, I couldn’t help pondering the rugged terrain that was flying past the windows. Such steep mountains and narrow valleys are perfect for flash floods, ambushes, and avalanches. It is no wonder that the European explorers had so much trouble crossing the Rocky Mountains. These vagabonds traveled by boat, horse, mule, and foot for months to accomplish what our family drive at 100 kph while listening to an audio book. They spend so much energy to make it to our mutual destination. If only they’d had the source of the most potent energy on the planet.
We found this source of energy in Invermere, BC. It is concocted by Kicking Horse Coffee Co. and is delicious and can complicate an afternoon. However, I am getting ahead of myself. Let’s start at the beginning.
On our way out of Banff National Park we decided to stop at a few points of interest. Some were to scope out future campgrounds (so we didn’t have to camp on that gravel strip again -should we return) and a few others were to see some other natural features of the park. My favorite was a 2.4 km hike up Johnson Canyon to the Johnson Canyon Lower Falls.
For the average person this distance is not a hike. However, when climbing up a canyon with an extra 22 lbs of one-year-old wiggly person on one’s shoulders, 2.4 km is the perfect distance. OH, and my 7-month pregnant wife thought the same. Yep, we’re pretty hardcore.
The best part of this “hike” is that the entire journey up the canyon is beautiful. Parts of the hike are on a catwalk that hangs off of the canyon wall!. At the end of this little jaunt is a powerful waterfall. An added bonus is a naturally carved stone tunnel that hikers can pass through to get a closer look & feel of the falls.
As for our little family, it was a great way to get the wiggles out, see some great water features, and help our daughter address the challenges of a hiking trail (she tripped on a root and skinned the inside of her upper lip).
Then it was lunch and more driving.
As we arrived at Radium Hot Springs in Radium, BC there was excitement in our little teardrop towing vehicle. Not only were we at the end of another leg of our journey but speculation concerning our future camp site was rampant. After the disappointing gravel patch in Banff National Park, we weren’t sure what to expect in Kootenay National Park. We visit the Radium, BC area about one time per year for family-get-togethers but we’ve never camped there so the ideas bounced around the vehicle for a time.
As one drives through the little town of Radium, it is easy to miss the enormous hill that rises above the town and glacially carved valley. Upon that hill is Redstreak Campground. It is a nice place that is out in nature. It seems that the campground officials realized our predicament at Banff National Park and made up for it in Redstreak Campground. We were in one of the most remote border campsites. It was great. It was just dirt, deer, bears, trees, a large population of friendly big horned sheep, and us. Our little girl has no fear of dirt and, as we set up camp, she parked herself in a particularly attractive dirt patch and began playing with the grass and throwing small rocks.
For lunch, we were low on food so we went into town.
Radium is small and doesn’t have too many eatery options compared with a larger city but they do have one of the best places we’ve ever eaten. Safta’s Kitchen is 100% delightful. This is Isrealie food at its best. Try the pickled florescent-pink turnip. It will blow your mind. Seriously!
For the next few days, we went hiking, did some reading, and generally enjoyed a low-key camping experience. It was during one of those days that we decided a treat was needed.
As I mentioned in the first installment of this series on our Canadian trip, Senior Management and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary during this trip. Our anniversary gift to each other was to get coffee at our favorite roaster in the world; Kicking Horse Coffee Co. in Invermere, BC. So we packed up the one-year-old and made the 10 km drive to the coffee house of our dreams. We didn’t know it, but our dreams were soon to turn into nightmares.
Kicking Horse Coffee Co. roasts their own beans, sells unique blends locally, and general blends around the world. For years, we have frequented this establishment for their fine coffee. This, however, was our first trip with a small child. Every parent knows that a child, no matter how sweet and well-tempered, is quick to observe discrepancies within the family unit. For instance, said child’s inner monologue may go something like this:
“I have ice-water. Mommy and Daddy both have a brew of coffee so good they think they hear Bob Marley personally serenading them. That is not fair. I am displeased.”
To avoid the foreseeable cacophony of high pitched comments, escalating into shouts, and eventual crying, we ordered her a small hot chocolate.
After 20 minutes of coffee crowned bliss we, as the parents, noted a change in the behavior of our sweet daughter (buzz buzz buzz). She ran around more than usual. She was greeting everyone who entered the coffee shop with a loud “HI”. She left little visual streaks behind her in her haste (buzz buzz buzz). It reminded me of the Warner Brother’s Road Runner Cartoons. She was almost literally bouncing off of the walls. On a hunch, my wife sampled the hot chocolate (buzz buzz buzz). It, like the coffee, is delicious.
In some circles, it is known as drinking chocolate. Drinking chocolate is a lot thicker and, therefore, loaded with more sugar than planet earth can supply in a single year (hyperbole but that is the way it tasted). Our little one was tripping on chocolate! She was so hyper, she could make a humming bird look dead (buzz buzz buzz).
After wearing out our welcome a bit, we decided to depart for camp. This buzzing little package was buckled back into her car seat and taken back to camp at full volume (buzz buzz buzz). A good run in nature is what she needed! So we trapesed out through the wilderness for a few miles (buzz buzz buzz). Then we trapesed back (buzz buzz buzz). Bed time came and we got her all tucked in and sang a few songs together (buzz buzz buzz). Bed time flew by so fast we didn’t even sense the shock wave.
One Hour (“I feel so warm inside! Look at all the Chocolate Pixies!”)…
Two Hours (“Bet you wish you got me water huh? This stuff is like jet fuel to my neurons!”)…
Three Hours (“Rational thought is a myth they talk about in college. Pandemonium rules!”)…
Two Frazzled & Exhausted Parents (“It’s your turn…NO…It’s YOUR turn.”)…
One Hyper Child (“There are a thousand bouncy balls in my head!!!”)…
Four Hours (Warning: You are now approaching the threshold of hell.).
At long last, almost seven hours after ingesting what we now know to be the world’s most potent energy source, the one year old collapsed and fell asleep.
I cried (hyperbole?).
It was good to see her asleep.
The next day was the last of our vacation. As our bleary, blood shot, and battered eyes opened upon another glorious Canadian wilderness morning. I wondered if the early European explorers would have had an easier time crossing the mountains had the Kicking Horse Coffee Co. already existed. I believe they would have if they’d ordered the hot chocolate. However, the following day they would have a strong desire to be held by Mommy and they’d have been kind of weepy.
Maybe the weeping was our daughter’s chocolate withdrawals or stark terror as the local big horned sheep slammed their heads together in a thunderclap of skulls, horns, and fur. I’m pretty sure it was the chocolate though that caused her to cling to her mother. After the previous day of chocolate induced hallucinations, she was probably comforted by gripping her real mommy.
I believe that REAL adventures start when things go wrong.
That night in a teardrop trailer with a crazed little girl is one of my most treasured adventures.
I can laugh about it now…but just barely.