Ride the bus to the top of the mountain with bus driver Bill Anderson

Take a trip on the hot springs express

Ride the bus from Nakusp to the top of the mountain with Bill Anderson, and soak in the hot springs.

Change, the nature of all things, is announcing itself again these days. A chill is now in the air that bites at fingers in the mornings, and snow dusts the tops of the mountains in reminder that winter isn’t long away. Now is the season of raking leaves and hunting mushrooms, of snow tires and wood fires, insulation and other preparations in advance of the true cold.

What a perfect time to drive the winding and colourful road up to the hot springs and dissolve a day’s labours away in those warm waters. Here, we are blessed to have a variety of places to choose from, as if one weren’t enough.

Last Monday I met up with public transit in front of Overwaitea at 3:15 p.m., loaded my bike into the carrier on the front of the bus, and chatted with driver Bill Anderson as we made our way to the top of Hot Springs Road. A man carrying his groceries climbed on board and joined us for a portion of the trip, but the majority of the ride was just the two of us talking about bike trips and local hot springs.

It was the perfect day to go; we drove into a blue sky lined with green mountains dotted with yellow and red trees. Even the yellow centre line against the asphalt seemed to blaze its way up to the springs.

Anderson has been in these parts for decades now, moving from Saskatchewan after not finding enough work farming. He loves it. Like many transplants, he is in awe of the beauty of the Kootenays, really feeling like he’s living the dream.

We talked about biking up and down the sizeable hills you’re bound to encounter here, and conversation drifted to the late Kit Irving, a regular rider on the hot springs route. Daunted by the tricky curves in road, the Irvings preferred to relax and leave the driving to the professionals.

Mrs. Irving, as I knew her when I was working up at the Nakusp Hot Springs, would come every Monday with her husband and occasionally their daughter. Each week, they would arrive with the first bus around 1:30 to soak, and she was always cheerful and happy to chat. They would spend their time enjoying the pools, and were combed, rejuvenated, and ready to go when the bus returned to collect them, at about 3:30 p.m.

When I ask what other passengers he’s had, Anderson mentioned that there were three Asian ladies who came up on the earlier bus. Generally, the hot springs route is pretty slow, with the largest group he’d ever had topping out at eight people. That would still leave plenty of empty seats in the bus.

As we rounded the corner to the entrance of the building, I could see the three passengers waiting in the lobby for their post-soak ride down the mountain. What a delight, not to have to worry about the drive home after a relaxing soak.

Unloading my bike from the front of the bus, I waved good-bye to Bill Anderson and his passengers, and headed in to have a dip in the pool myself.

In the lobby I ran into manager Pat Farish and convinced her to let me take her picture next to the tiles painted by the kids at Nakusp Elementary. Farish was soon surrounded by the bright colours of ice cream treats, divers, rivers, and even more abstract curios and delights that decorated the hallway between the change rooms and the pool.

Then it was time to suit up and get relaxed, already! Lying in the sun in my bathing suit wasn’t something I thought I’d get to do again this year, but the hot springs make it easy. I bobbed and floated buoyed with the styrofoam noodles until all my worries had melted away and the marrow of my bones was warm.

After that, all I needed to focus on was balancing on my bike all the way down back into town, and soon I was back by the lake, having had my fill of fresh air and warm water on a fine autumn day.

 

Just Posted

Four fires still burning in West Kootenay

More than 25 fires were started by lightning in the last week.

OPINION: Kootenay tech sector is on the rise and everyone is noticing

Community Comment by Raghwa Gopal, president and CEO of Innovate BC

Nine fires burning in West Kootenay

All fires considered to be lightning caused.

Castlegar mayor releases FCM itinerary

Bruno Tassone delivers promised report on activities at Quebec City municipal conference

West Kootenay afternoon storms spark fires

Lots of thunder and lightning, and little rain, as system moves through region

VIDEO: Trans Mountain expansion project gets green light, again

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the decision in Ottawa on Tuesday afternoon

MPs hear retired B.C. nurse’s petition to change compensation for fatal medical errors

Teri McGrath wants provinces to implement no-fault system for medical errors

Horgan says he’ll still defend B.C. coast after second Trans Mountain approval

Meanwhile, one B.C. First Nation has announced plans for a legal challenge

Demonstrators on either side of Trans Mountain debate clash in Vancouver

Crowd heard from member of Indigenous-led coalition that hopes to buy 51% of expansion project

Police investigating fatal collision near Grave Lake

Grave Lake is located approximately halfway between Sparwood and Elkford

Grieving B.C. mom hopes Facebook message leads to new investigation into son’s Surrey homicide

Criminal Justice Branch didn’t lay charges, concluding no substantial likelihood of murder or manslaughter conviction

B.C.’s measles vaccination program gains traction in May

More than 15,000 doses of the MMR vaccine has been administered across the province

B.C. farmers concerned Agricultural Land Reserve changes choking their livelihood

Dozens voice concerns at special meeting hosted on Vancouver Island

UPDATE: Two-year-old involved in Chilliwack pool drowning has died

Toddler was reported to not be breathing as air ambulance called out Thursday afternoon

Most Read